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10 Solid Tactics to Improve Your Tourism Website Rankings

As the digital marketing space, technology, user needs and best practice tactics continually evelove, we like to either repurpose or update our blogs when necessary. We first published this post in 2015 and this is the latest update as of January 2023.

Google dominates the search engine market. In fact, Google holds 91.9 percent of the market share (GS Statcounter, 2022). It is the undisputed top dog of search engines and the most visited website in the world.

Make friends with Google, and your tourism website can rank well.

Don’t play by Google’s rules; the consequences can be dire. Google punishment may mean you are bumped from a page 1 ranking to somewhere in the deep, dark search abyss, never to be heard from again!

What are SERPs & Why Should You Care?

Search engine result pages (also known as SERPs or SERP) are the listed results that search engines such as Google return in response to a user’s specific word or phrase query.

In Google, SERPs include organic search results, paid ads results, featured snippets, knowledge graphs and video results.

SERP determines how your site appears on Google’s first page.

There are many ways you can create content that gets your tourism website to rank well in Google’s search results!

But first, put your customer hat on for a moment.

Type into Google a few keywords a possible customer may use to search when looking for relevant experiences your tourism business offers.
Google search browser

Do you see your business anywhere on Page 1?

Possibly not.

It depends on what keywords you typed into the search browser and how your tourism website has integrated Google’s ranking factors.

So how do I get my website to rank well, you ask?

Good question.

Before we jump in, there are over 200 factors that influence where Google ranks your website.

Google constantly tweaks the algorithm to ensure the end-user (that’s you and me!) gets the best possible relevant, high-quality search results.

You’ve got to like that! Google is working to benefit us – the end-user.

So here are a few tips on how to improve your tourism website rankings and stay friends with Google.

No. 1. Win with Responsive Website Design

Responsive simply means it fits or adapts to the viewing screen size – one website viewable on many devices. Suppose you don’t have a responsive website. In that case, Google will punish you in the mobile search rankings (i.e. when people search you on mobile devices).

Google Console - page is responsive

Google Search Console – check if your website pages are responsive

You may think, “meh – who cares. It’s only on mobile devices “.

Reportedly, in 2021 less than 13% of people were using the internet via PCs. In 2023, that number may be even lower!

That means over 87% of people globally are using mobile devices, i.e. smartphones and tablets, to view the internet. So if your website isn’t easily readable across mobile devices, do you think your target audience will be interested in your tourism offerings?

A website works for your business 24/7 – can you afford your most valuable online real estate not to be responsive?

Google thinks not!

Check every page is mobile responsive. Just because your home page displays correctly across devices doesn’t mean every page is mobile responsive. Google’s Search Console is the perfect tool to help you see if your web pages are responsive.

No.2 Update Your Google Business Profile

Claim your free Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and keep the listing up to date.

This time saving listing avoids the need to make duplicate entries while still providing information across Google products. You need only enter your business information once, which will populate into all of Google’s services. As Google notes, “Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps”.

When you next update your ATDW Listing (Australian Tourism Data Warehouse), you will be able to connect your Google Business Profile. Updating ATDW alleviates the need to even update your GBP as ATDW will populate your listing for you. Win!

Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business)

No.3. Start Blogging

Blogging is an impressive way to generate fresh content; it solidifies your credibility and builds brand awareness.
Quality content is still the first element Google looks for when cataloguing and indexing webpages. A website blog is a great way of creating fresh content.

FURTHER READING: 15 Reasons Blogging is a Powerful Tourism Marketing Tactic

No.4 Tweak your Website Copy

You may find creating new content consistently via a blog just too time-consuming. So, consider making changes by rewording or adding or removing entire sections of your website copy.

Google sees the significance of edits and changes as a part of its search engine algorithm and prioritises newer, more recently updated content for some search queries. It’s called the Freshness Factor.

Another freshness factor Google likes is how often has the page been updated over time? Has the content been updated weekly, monthly, or Never?

Google does love fresh content, but an older page that is regularly updated can work equally.

FURTHER READING: How to Write Great Tourism Website Copy

No.5 Use a Mix of Multimedia

Images, videos and other multimedia elements act as a content quality signal.

It’s not just about copy, so spruce up your website with quality imagery and videos and optimise with keywords via alt tags.

If you’re using videos, hosting via YouTube may get preferential treatment in search rankings – Google owns YouTube.

No.6. Add Helpful Supplementary Content

Adding helpful supplementary content such as currency converters, weather apps etc., may assist as Google may take this as an indicator of a webpage’s authority (Backlinko).

It’s also extrmely helpful to visitors on your site planning their next adventure..

No.7. Set Up an Ethical Linking Strategy

Ever been taken down that rabbit hole and into a deep warren when you read an article on one website, and there’s a link you click on…. three hours later!

As a website owner, you want to create good link juice (a colloquial term referring to the power of external [inbound – links to your website & outbound links from your site to other websites] plus internal links from one page on your site to another).

Ensuring you ethically use all three linking practices on your tourism website helps increase your website standing in search rankings.

However, the number and quality of inbound links to a web page contribute to a site’s significance. For example, suppose a page has 100 quality links leading to it. In that case, it will be ranked higher (in Google’s estimation) than one with only 20.

If you create informative, quality content, other websites may want to share your content on their websites. This tactic will enables you to receive ethical inbound links organically.

Other tips to gain quality inbound links include:

a) Write Press Releases

Most print publications now have an online equivalent. So submit it to media release sites (both paid and free versions) and send the press release directly to the quality print magazines with whom you have built a relationship.

If it’s relevant information, they’ll mostly be happy to include it in their online publication and link back to your website.

Need Further Help?

Download our Essential Media Release Guide with Template.

b) Guest Blog

Numerous online article depositories and other well-known blogging sites allow writers to submit articles and make them available to their readers.

Ensure you include your contact details at the end of your article and link it to your website. If they have enjoyed your article, many readers will visit your website to see what else you offer.

c) Online Directories & Review Sites

There are many quality online directories, review and industry-specific sites you could be listing your business to build quality inbound links.

  • Regional and state tourism industry associations
  • Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW) and Tourism Operator Database (NZ) listings – both free and powerful sites
  • TripAdvisor etc.

A link from a website considered an authority site by Google will pass on more link juice. Links are another great reason to join your regional and state tourism associations, as these sites usually rank incredibly high on Google search rankings!

d) Blog Commenting

Yes, it’s still a thing!

Blog comments have powerful SEO, networking and traffic benefits. Make relevant, value-adding comments on topically relevant business blogs to help with your link building & wider digital marketing strategy. The better the comment, the better the results you’ll get from it.

e) Be Social

Participating in social networking sites can create inbound links to your website and increase your page rankings.

Remember that a social media account with 10,000 followers, minimal posts, and little engagement may be interpreted differently than a page with 1,000 followers, lots of posting and high concentration.

Social share buttons on your website are a great idea, as the number of page-level shares may influence the webpage’s link value to Google.

No. 8 Terms of Service and Privacy Pages

These web pages signal to Google that a site is trustworthy.

No. 9 Website Load Speed

Remember, Google offers quality, relevant content to users when they search online. Google may believe that part of this offering should include a good user experience, which means NOT frustrating the hell out of the user by a slow loading website!

No. 10 Plug in your Meta Data

Metadata is simply a snapshot of data about other data. In the context we are writing about, it’s the content on your tourism website. This content includes pages, posts, images, videos, that Google can quickly search and index to help end-users find relevant content.

On each page, focus on these three pieces of information:

  1. Page Title / Title Tag / Meta Title (heading)
  2. URL (your web page)
  3. Meta Description

Decant Digital Metadata from Google
If you’ve built your website on a quality Content Management System (CMS), it will either have an SEO plugin or a built-in SEO area to help you with metadata.

FURTHER READING: Improve Your Tourism Website Search Rankings with these handy Meta Descriptions Tips

Wrapping it Up

Remember that you are first and foremost writing for your audience. And by making the readers that visit your website happy, you’ll also please the Google gods.

Need More Help?

We work with tourism businesses to increase their search rankings, grow website traffic and conversions. If you need help, reach out.

Tania Shirgwin

Tania Shirgwin

Founder + Head Consultant

Tania is a marketing strategist specialising in tourism, wine and hospitality marketing. As founder of Decant Digital (formerly bizeez communications), Tania’s unique role over the past 14 years has enabled her to follow her passions of travel and her marketing obsessions of strategic marketing planning, consumer-focused web development, search optimisation, and training. With over 80 customised websites built to date, successful event marketing campaigns and new business branding, Tania’s wealth of experience ensures businesses continually increase website traffic, direct bookings, and sales via proven marketing tactics.

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