Generic terms dominate seat-only searches

Greenlight’s latest look at Google search patterns in the UK has found a massive increase in the number of people using “flight” and other generic words as their search term.


The digital agency’s Q3 Flight Sector Report found that in September the word ‘flight’ was used to generate 20.4m searches out of a total of 44m. In May, ‘flight’ accounted for only 2.7m searches from a total of 21m. Flight was used extensively in July and August as well.


Greenlight found that the top 3,200 flight-related keywords accounted for 139m searches during the third quarter, reflecting the fact that it is the peak period for travel.  In Q2 the top 3,200 keywords resulted in 77m searches.


This shift towards generic terms in Q3 led to a change in the visibility rankings of travel brands, with SkyScanner the major beneficiary.  It appeared on the first page of Google for 90% of the 44m searches carried out in September, way ahead of Cheapflights which came second with 68%.


Greenlight explained that Skyscanner’s ranking was boosted by its position one, page one ranking for 657 of the top 3200 keywords, including the important “flight” term. Cheapflights on the other hand came up top on page one for more than 1,700 of the key terms but fell down the rankings because of its relatively low exposure to flight.


Half of the searches carried out in September were based on generic terms. Short-haul specific terms accounted for 30%, long-haul for 8% and domestic for 12%.


The Q3 Flight Sector report  also looked at paid search “share of voice” by analysing brands’ positions in the sponsored links for the top 120 of the 3200 keywords. Ebookers topped the rankings in September with 77%, followed by opodo.co.uk with 73%. Ebookers bid on 112 of the 120 terms and achieved an average ad position of eight, while opodo.co.uk bid on 110 terms and managed an average position of sixth.


For specific terms within paid search, flybmi.com was the most visible for domestic terms, travelsupermarket.com for short-haul and Thomas Cook’s netflights.com for long-haul.


By combining the rankings for natural and paid search, the top brand overall was   cheapflights.co.uk, followed by ebookers and travelsupermarket.com.
To access the report, click here


Click here to read the report
 

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