Search engine optimization is an essential skill in the travel bloggers toolset.
When you optimize your travel blog, including blog posts, it makes your blog more visible to people using search engines.
How are these people finding your blog to begin with?
By using search engines with keywords and phrases related to the topic and content of your blog.
To show up for these searches your blog needs to be properly optimized for search engines.
Let’s take a look at some travel blogging SEO strategies that you can start using today.
There’s just one thing – don’t expect it to happen overnight.
SEO takes time to start working.
Give it a month or two before you start panicking and making rash changes on your blog.
Otherwise, let’s jump right into it!
The Ultimate Guide to SEO for Travel Blogs
Consistent traffic growth is what every travel blogger is looking for.
With enough traffic you can make money travel blogging, sell your own travel-related service, or promote your own product to an interested audience.
Optimizing your blog and blog posts for better rankings in search engines is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short.
This is one of the best strategies for marketing a travel blog and building your following.
Let’s take a look at how to optimize your travel blog for search engines!
Setup Google Search Console and Google Analytics
There are two amazing free SEO tools from Google that every travel blogger needs to be using:
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
The data that these tools can provide is incredibly valuable.
Auditing your travel blog regularly and using the analytics data to make improvements can lead to insane growth!
Here’s some of the data you can get from these tools:
- Exactly where your website visitors are coming from
- Your best ranking keywords
- Keywords with poor rankings that can be easily improved
- The best and worst blog posts for engagement
- How long people are spending on your blog
There is so much information you can get from these two tools to improve and streamline your travel blogging strategy.
Both Analytics and Search Console monitor the traffic to your website once they’re implemented.
It’s great to go back and compare traffic stats to see if the improvements you’ve made are actually working.
Check out these helpful guides on setting up your Google Analytics and Google Search Console tools:
Start With the Right Keyword Strategy
Keyword research is one of the most important and valuable travel blogging strategies.
Ranking for the right keywords will determine the long-term success of your blog.
Learning how to research your market’s keyword demand and find the right terms and phrases to target will lead to better rankings and more traffic from search engines.
It’s not so much about the number of visitors to your blog – it’s the quality that’s most important.
For example, think of your blogging goals and what you’re hoping to achieve by starting your travel blog.
What sort of information is your target audience looking for online?
Put yourself in their shoes and check out your competition for inspiration on finding the right keywords.
When it comes to travel blog keywords – don’t overlook the demand of the long tail keyword.
Long tail keywords are search phrases that make up three or more words with a specific focus on search intent.
There is less competition for these keyboards and they convert at a better rate with search users further along the information funnel.
Using the right keyword tools, such as Google Search or KWFinder, you can find all the best travel blogging keywords.
Optimize Your Blog Homepage
Before worrying about optimizing your blog posts for SEO you need to focus on getting the homepage up to speed.
The homepage is an important page for travel blogs.
It’s a great place to showcase your best content and include sign up forms for growing your email list.
You’ll also want to promote your top converting products or services on the homepage of your blog.
Consider using a “Static” page as the homepage to your blog rather than the default blog roll.
This gives you more control over what’s being displayed on the page and where your visitors are being directed.
In terms of what to include on your homepage, here’s what it needs:
- Email signup form
- Quick introduction and overview
- Links or banners for top converting affiliate products
- Your most popular blog posts
- Any guides or posts you want to promote
- High quality images
When it comes to SEO, your blog homepage should send signals to Google about the type of content you’re sharing.
This makes it easier for Google and other search engines to rank your blog based on relevance.
Using plugins like Yoast SEO you can further optimize your homepage title and description.
Too many travel bloggers overlook the importance of a solid homepage – don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Optimize Your Blog Posts for Search Engines
Each blog post needs to be optimized for better search engine rankings.
Start by submitting your travel blog sitemap to Google using the Google Search Console tool mentioned above.
Google ranks each post on your blog independently of one another based on different factors present on your website.
These on-page ranking factors include:
- Using relevant keywords in the title tag and meta description
- Using relevant keywords in the Headings and content
- The length of the content (2000 words minimum for search engines)
- Image optimization and alt-text/description keywords
- URL structure
- External and internal links
These are some of the important on-page ranking factors that have an impact on your travel blogs ability to rank.
Content pages, otherwise known as blog posts, act as doorways to your blog.
The more content pages you have the more visitors are going to get from search engines – especially if these pages are SEO optimized.
How do you optimize blog posts for SEO?
Here are some of the best on-page SEO strategy guides for you to take a look at:
Go through these guides and apply what you learn to your own blog.
Once you get the hang of on-page SEO it becomes a natural part of your blogging process.
Build Links for a Stronger Domain
You’ve probably heard about link building before – you might already know what it is.
If not, here’s a quick description:
- Links to your website, also known as backlinks, act as votes in the search engine popularity contest. The more links (votes) your blog has the more popular (better ranked) it’s going to be.
Google uses the “authority” of your blog as a ranking factor to help determine its relevancy.
Links from related websites shows to Google that your blog is important and your content is helpful.
One of the metrics used to determine a website’s reputation is “Domain Authority”, or DA.
Getting backlinks from other websites, especially those with a higher domain authority, will increase the DA of your own blog.
This results in better rankings and more traffic.
This is one of the travel blogging strategies that doesn’t end – you’ll have to keep building links from day one to stay relevant and highly ranked.
Some of the best ways to build links for a travel blog include:
- Getting recommend by other travel blogs
- Guest posting or contributing on other travel websites
- Pitching other bloggers and website owners for link placement
- Creating super helpful content designed to go viral
For strategies on how to get backlinks for your blog check out this helpful guide on Backlinko.
Create Amazing Content
The foundation of your travel blog is the content that you’re sharing.
It’s this content – blog posts – that’s used to build links and drive traffic.
Without a foundation of great content it’s unlikely you’ll ever succeed with your blog.
Creating great content isn’t hard.
Instead, it takes a lot of effort and time but the process of writing detailed blog posts isn’t a difficult one.
With so many different blogs out there it’s important that yours is able to stand apart from the rest.
Here are some helpful tips on creating better content for your blog:
Stick to 2000 words or more
Your visitors are looking for detailed, in-depth content related to their travel issues.
There isn’t a hard limit on word count but two thousand words should be your soft target.
In this amount you can cover, in detail, most travel-related topics to provide the best guides possible for your audience.
Longer blog posts also have a better chance at ranking in search engine results.
Include images, videos, and links to authority sites
Use images and videos to increase engagement on your blog posts.
Large blocks of texts are hard to read and impossible to scan.
Include an image or video every 300-500 words for a better user experience.
Don’t forget to include links to other authority websites to further help your audience find what they’re looking for.
Inform, don’t entertain
Are you blogging to share stories or are you hoping to make money with your travel blog?
People typically aren’t interested in hearing about your experiences while traveling.
They’re looking for information that will help them with their own travel experiences.
Capitalize on this by sharing detailed, helpful information.
Mobile Friendly (Responsive) Travel Blog
It’s not surprising that more people are using search engines from their smartphones than any other device.
In the results Google displays mobile-friendly websites first.
This trend will only continue to increase as more people use their smartphone exclusively for trip planning and research.
So, how do you make your travel blog easy to use on smartphones?
It’s called “responsive design”.
This type of design displays a different type of blog page depending on how your blog is accessed.
Users are able to use a responsive website seamlessly between a desktop and smartphone with the pages properly displayed on any device.
Most travel blogging WordPress themes already Implement a responsive design.
Head over to the Google Responsive Checker tool and test your website.
If it’s not responsive, this is something you’ll want to fix immediately.
Optimize Your Meta Description for Search Engines
Your blog and each of its pages/posts has its own meta description.
This is the text that appears as part of search engine results that lets users know what each link is about.
The information here helps users determine whether or not your content is what they’re searching for.
Having an optimized meta description can improve the CTR of your blog from search engines – the higher CTR, the more traffic you’ll get.
Depending on the Google algorithm, meta descriptions can range up to 155 characters.
This is just enough space to write a relevant, compelling, and informative description that entices search engine users to visit your page and not your competition.
Here are some helpful tips on writing a good meta description for SEO:
- Include a call-to-action
- Write in an active voice
- Use relevant keywords and phrases
- Unique and doesn’t appear elsewhere
Don’t spend too much time worrying about optimizing your meta description.
When you’re finishing up your blog post take a few minutes to fill out the description on Yoast.
Check out the current top 10 results you’re competing against for inspiration if you’re having trouble with the description.
Optimize Image Alt-Text
The alt-text for blog post images is often overlooked as an aspect of travel blog SEO.
Search engines still have difficulty analyzing images and rely on the alt-text to determine what the image is about.
This content also makes for an improved user experience since the alt-text will be displayed if your images can’t be found or displayed on screen.
As for search rankings, this is a small factor but in such a competitive industry it’s important to take every advantage that you can.
How do you optimize image alt-text for SEO?
It’s simple – add a few words describing the image to the alt-text section (on WordPress).
Use relevant keywords and search phrases in the alt-text but keep an eye on your keyword use so you’re not over-optimizing anything.
For example, instead of “img395.jpg”, you would want to use something like “paris-travel-guide”.
Optimized alt-text is descriptive, relevant, and includes keywords.
Check out this helpful guide on Moz for more tips on optimizing image alt-text.