Matt Cook, of digital marketing agency Apollo Digital explains the dos and don’ts of SEO, PPC and Facebook for travel brands
With search engines becoming an ever more important factor in a business’ bottom line, influencing up to 88% of purchase decisions, and a consistent increase in searches for travel-related keywords; the value of owning a top position in Google cannot be overlooked.
With more than 85% of searches made on Google, an understanding of how to generate more bookings through SEO and PPC is important to businesses of all sizes.
The growth in search volume for travel keywords has spanned not only desktop searches, but mobile technologies. More than 50% of searches online are now initiated on a mobile device, so more and more people are using search engines to research their holidays whilst on the move.
If potential customers are not finding your business through search engines, they will be finding your competitors. It’s time to make sure search marketing has the focus it deserves.
By ranking well for relevant search queries, customers can find your business whenever they are looking, driving free traffic to your site that will convert. In addition, the brand recognition from owning strong positions makes your company more visible – and appealing – to current and potential customers.
With so many companies competing for those precious top spots on page 1, and 75% of search users not looking past the first page, investment in SEO should be part of any online marketing budget; even if this is managed in-house.
Most business owners find it very frustrating to see their rankings fluctuate, but SEO is an investment in the long-term. Once you have earned a position, it isn’t something anyone can take from you easily.
Effective SEO includes a combination of keyword research (aim for a balance between volume and competition), on-site optimisation (ensure each page is focused on a unique target keyword), content production (blog posts or landing pages), social media (engagement is key), improving indexability and crawlability (ensure your site has a logical URL structure and sitemap submitted to Google Search Console) and mobile responsiveness.
You should follow search engine best practice so your site is easy to use for both users and search engine robots (follow Google guidelines), generate contextually-relevant links and review your results.
At the same time, you should avoid un-related keywords and un-related content, but instead focus your website and your content on your niche. Avoid keyword repetition, hidden text, duplicate and multiple content, thin content and poor quality links.
Developing the authority of your website is the hard part. It’s a commitment to consistently creating good quality content both on your website and on those of third parties.
Pay-per-click through Google Adwords can sometimes feel like throwing your money down the drain. With a poorly optimised campaign, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
However, the Google AdWords platform matters to big brands, and drives revenue. Search for almost any keywords and you’ll find the vast majority of large businesses using it. And there’s no reason it won’t work for businesses of any size.
Google’s customer-centric approach has provided a lot of opportunity for businesses. When PPC is done the right way, you’re investing only in relevant terms. You are reaching only your target audience.
PPC takes strategy, a thorough understanding of the platform, a solid knowledge of rules and guidelines, and a little creativity.
You should be targeting the demographics of your ideal customers (geography, age, gender, profession, device usage etc), re-engaging potential customers who haven’t converted on their first visit to your website, focussing on conversions by reviewing data and KPIs and serving the right adverts to the right people.
Set separate bids for tablet, mobile, and desktop devices to work out which perform best and create ads with a longer, double headline and an 80-character description and add a price and brief description for each product.
Find the right budget and, if keywords perform well in Google AdWords you can expect them to perform well in organic search.
For many businesses, Facebook represents the most cost-effective form of prospect advertising online. Not even Google AdWords is able to rival Facebook in terms of sheer quantity of demographic targeting options.
Visually appealing adverts, exceptional targeting and low cost per clicks, Facebook Ads Manager is well worth checking out.