SEO

Growing leads by 5x for travel company

Long-tail optimization grows travel company’s organic user base by 2,000% and leads by 474%.

Our client, a local business planning custom vacations for 30 years, had been relying heavily on traditional advertising mediums, word of mouth, and repeat business. Their many years of experience, industry knowledge, and outstanding reputation led the business to sustained success, but their web presence was beginning to fall behind an outcrop of web-based competitors.

They came to us with a site full of solid content, but concerns about how it was performing in organic search. Since our Optimize team began working with them in late 2015 the organic traffic has truly exploded, leading to a massive uptick in business stemming from their website.

Organic users up 2,008%

  • 2015: 46,657 users
  • 2016: 245,336 users
  • 2017: 634,777 users
  • 2018: 983,608 users

While some of this new traffic wasn’t yet ready to book, the massive influx of organic traffic managed to produce a nearly 5x increase in the amount of “Plan Your Trip” form completions via organic search over the 3 year span, proving that the traffic gained was qualified and highly valuable.

Planned trips from organic traffic up 474%

  • 2015: 455 conversions
  • 2016: 866 conversions
  • 2017: 2,500 conversions
  • 2018: 2,610 conversions

Problem

The client exists in a crowded online market, having to compete against:

  1. Large established competitors like TripAdvisor and Frommers with very high domain authorities, who inevitably rank highly for the prime short-tail keywords.
  2. Companies like them who specialize in planning trips to one specific target country, some of whom had a head start in the realm of organic search.
  3. The growing crop of travel writers and bloggers with plenty of unique content and images, who make their money serving ads to organic traffic.

They had plenty of unique content at their disposal, loads of original high-quality images, and a unique insight into the destination country coming from 30+ years of experience. The nature of the travel industry specifically rewards these types of content assets, but the issue was the content was not being properly leveraged for search.

Solution

The domain authority of some competitors’ websites meant that ranking for the highly competitive general searches—like “vacations in [country]” or “[country] vacations”—would be difficult at first. Instead, our team optimized the content for medium/long-tail keywords, where there was still plenty search volume and opportunity, and in many cases even greater purchase intent.

This SEO strategy was highly successful, sending hundreds of thousands of organic users to deeper areas of their site on a yearly basis. Over time, this traffic to their deeper pages helped to improve the authority of the entire domain. Three years later, the client is now ranking on the first page for the general search queries that seemed impossible to compete for at the outset of the campaign.

Here are a few of the other strategies we employed:

CTR optimization

Click-through-rate was an issue for the site, even for pages that ranked highly. We tested different title tag structures, playing with the wording, whether or not to include branding, mentioning specific locations, etc., in order to determine the best title tag structure for encouraging click-through.

Long form content

The client is highly knowledgeable on the destination country and was able to provide information users wanted to read. We were able to use this detailed information to write pages with sufficient long-form content on a wide range of topics related to the destination country. Using their high-quality image assets to ensure the content was visually stimulating as well contributed to a massive increase in average position.

Knowledge graphs

With high-quality images, properly organized information, and the correct structured data markup, much of the site was tailor-made to be shown in a Google Knowledge Graph. Sure enough, as Google began to show more and more rich search results, many of the client’s pages rendered a knowledge graph at position #1. These particular search results yielded astounding click-through-rates.

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