SEO Strategy

Travel SEO: The Comprehensive Guide

Did you know that revenue in the travel and tourism industry is projected to reach $927.3 billion in 2024? Moreover, experts predict that 76% of travel and tourism revenue will be generated through online sales by 2028.

With this in mind, travel industry SEO (search engine optimization) is more important than ever. That’s because SEO plays a crucial role in ensuring prospective clients see, click on, and book with your travel company’s website.

Effective SEO can result in increased visibility, higher website traffic, and improved user experience. Above all, successful SEO can result in more bookings for your services. 

That said, it’s important to tailor your SEO strategies to the specific needs and challenges of your business. Read on to discover how tour operators, destination marketing organizations, business travel companies, and destination management companies can utilize SEO to boost visibility and sales.

Master the Map and Chart Your Course to Booking Bliss Through SEO

SEO involves optimizing your website content and structure to improve your visibility in search engine results and attract organic traffic. With two thirds of global travel and tourism revenue coming from online sales in 2022, a successful SEO strategy can be crucial in building your business’s success.

When it comes to SEO for travel agencies and other travel-related businesses, there are unique challenges and opportunities to keep in mind. These include seasonal trends and fluctuations, evolving traveler preferences and behavior, and competition from other businesses.

However, by utilizing the travel SEO strategies in this post, your business can rise above these challenges to harness the power and opportunities that come with a successful SEO campaign.

For inspiration, look to other successful travel websites that are excelling in their SEO strategies. A few examples include:

  • National Geographic Expeditions features a user-friendly interface with high-quality content. They’ve created unique landing pages dedicated to niche travel interests such as birdwatching, photography, and snorkeling, using niche keywords to draw in website visitors to these pages. Additionally, their “Get Inspired” section of their website shares engaging write-ups and helpful resource guides on a variety of travel topics
  • Lonely Planet is known for its informative travel guides that inform site visitors and help them plan trips. On Lonely Planet’s homepage, you’ll find a variety of resources for prospective travelers. You can browse activities by city and read travel stories from those who have made the trip already. Like National Geographic, Lonely Planet also allows website visitors to browse based on interests like festivals, sustainable travel, and romantic trips is the most-visited travel website in the world, and for good reason! This site helps travelers save money on flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, and more. Additionally, their informative travel articles provide value to visitors while establishing the site as an authority on world travel in the eyes of search engines.

Key SEO Tips for Travel Websites

Local Search Optimization

If your business has a physical location or outpost, be sure to claim and optimize your “Google Business Profile”. This can help ensure your travel agency or business is displayed when people search for travel and tourism services in your area.

  • Identify and use local keywords on your homepage and in your website content. These are keywords related to your business’s specific areas and the target audiences you hope to engage.
  • Create location-specific landing pages and content. For instance, if your business offers trips to ten different destinations, build a webpage for each destination. Additionally, you can create high-value content, such as travel guides or informative blog posts, for each destination. 

High-Quality Content Creation

  • Focus on creating informative and engaging website content that speaks directly to travelers’ interests, goals, and challenges. This might include blog posts, travel guides, packing lists, itineraries, local restaurant recommendations, etiquette guides, and more.
  • Create dedicated landing pages for each of your company’s unique destinations, tours, and experiences. Adding relevant targeted keywords to these pages can help search engines better connect prospective travelers with your offerings while also creating a more focused and easy-to-navigate user experience.
  • Utilize blog posts, videos, images, and other visual content to showcase your company’s offerings. In the era of TikTok, prospective travelers are eager to see short and engaging glimpses of your travel experiences. This can help build a sense of excitement and trust with would-be clients. In fact, one study found that users will retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared with 10% when reading it in text!

Leveraging Internal Links

  • Internal links refer to links from one page of your website to another page of your website. For instance, you might create an internal link from your website’s homepage to a destination-specific page. Strategically linking relevant pages within your website is another SEO best practice for improved website navigation and user experience. Internal links can also help search engines better understand your website’s structure, guiding search engine crawlers to discover and index your website’s content.
  • Distribute link equity amongst important pages on your site to boost SEO performance. In other words, make sure that you are adding internal links across your website that point toward the most important pages on your site. This will help search engines better recognize your website’s key pages.

Additional Tips

  • Mobile-friendliness and fast loading speeds are crucial. In addition to helping with your travel SEO efforts, mobile-friendliness and load times can greatly affect user experience and bookings. That’s because around half of all global web traffic happens on mobile devices. Additionally, B2C ecommerce sites that load within one second convert 2.5x more than sites that load in 5 seconds.
  • Utilize user-friendly search and filtering options on your website. This is another best practice that can boost both SEO efforts and user experience. Adding search and filtering options can help travelers easily locate and discover trips they may be interested in. Furthermore, search engines take user experience metrics (such as time spent on your website and bounce rates) into account when determining your website’s relevance and quality.
  • Set up secure payment gateways and ensure data privacy for bookings. Not only does this help build credibility and trust with travelers, but search engines also tend to view websites with secure payment gateways and strong data privacy measures more favorably.

Tailoring SEO for Different Travel Industry Segments

Tour Operators

  • Niche Keywords: Utilize targeted niche keywords and keyphrases related to your specific tour types, destinations, and traveler demographics. If you’re not sure where to begin, try a free tool like Google Trends to compare the popularity of various search terms related to your tours.
  • Content Marketing: Showcase itineraries, highlight unique experiences, feature testimonials, and publish expert guides to engage and inform visitors. With only 29% of marketers actively using content marketing, creating high-quality web content can be a key way to stand out in a competitive industry.
  • Technical SEO: This aspect of SEO can be easy to overlook, since it may not be immediately noticeable to visitors. However, prioritizing your technical SEO can have a dramatic effect on search engine rankings. A few key tips: aim to optimize your site for mobile booking, consider integrating booking engines with your website, and prioritize user-friendly search and filtering.
  • Link Building: While optimizing your own website is crucial, it’s also important to ensure that other reputable sites are linking to your website. Not only can this increase your website’s traffic - it can also boost your website’s authority and trust scores, helping it become more visible in search results. One popular strategy to build backlinks to your site is to partner with travel bloggers, influencers, and other relevant websites who can link to your website.
  • Local SEO: Build your local SEO efforts by optimizing your website for specific destinations you serve. This can include building individual pages for specific destinations and tours as well as adding local SEO keywords and phrases to your site. Additionally, be sure to claim your Google Business Profile for any physical tour locations.
  • Social Media Marketing: Take advantage of your company’s social media channels by showcasing stunning visuals and engaging with potential travelers through interactive content. The number of global social media users is expected to reach 5.1 billion in 2025, with social media having the greatest influence on travel destination choices. In fact, a whopping 48% of respondents said they travel to destinations for the purpose of showing them off on social media! Paid social media ads can also be an effective way to promote your travel business. 
  • Data Analysis: Don’t just guess which strategies are working. Instead, turn to your website’s data analytics for valuable insights. With data analytics, you can track booking conversions, analyze user behavior, and adjust your offerings based on measurable metrics. Google Analytics is a popular tool to get started with your website’s data analytics.

Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs)

  • Broad Keywords: When marketing your destination, use target keywords related to the specific location, attractions, events, and reasons to visit the area. You can find keywords using your own online research, hiring an expert, or using an online SEO service to find keywords related to your destination.
  • Content Marketing: When marketing your destination, aim to create high-value content that engages and informs readers while stoking a sense of excitement about visiting your area. This content may include comprehensive destination guides, highlights of local events and businesses, and blog posts about unique experiences. In addition to written content, remember that engaging images and videos can also be an important part of your content marketing strategy.
  • Technical SEO: As a DMO, you can enhance your website’s technical SEO in a few key ways. These include ensuring your website is mobile-friendly for a seamless user experience across devices, optimizing page speed to reduce load times, and adding a schema markup to help search engines better understand your site layout. Additionally, you can prioritize local SEO strategies by adding location-based keywords to your website.
  • Link Building: Collaborate with travel influencers, media outlets, airlines, and other partners relevant to your destination to secure high-quality backlinks to your site. After all, when search engines see that other reputable sites are linking to your site, it can boost your website’s credibility and trustworthiness, helping it to appear more prominently in search results.
  • Local SEO: Claim and optimize your Google Business Profile listings to help users more easily find you in search results. Another crucial tip is to build local citations by sharing your business’s name and contact information on various online platforms. These might include local business directories, tourism websites, and other online travel resources for your area. In this way, you can build trust and credibility for your business’s overall web presence. Acquiring high-quality backlinks (links to your website from other local businesses) can also improve your DMO’s search engine rankings.
  • Social Media Marketing: Partnering with local influencers to share stunning visuals and promote activities in your destination can be an extremely effective way to market your destination. In fact, one study found that 78% of Americans admit that social media influencers prompted them to explore new destinations, restaurants, or attractions. Furthermore, the study found that 35% of global consumers look to social media for travel inspiration.
  • Data Analysis: Ensure that your marketing strategies are based on data, not guesswork. Use a tool like Google Analytics to track your website traffic sources, analyze visitor behavior, and tailor content and marketing strategies. You can also set up Google Search Console to dig deeper into the keywords that visitors are using to find your website.

Business Travel Planning and Reservations

  • Transactional Keywords: When promoting business travel services, target transactional keywords related to corporate travel. These might include keywords on topics like business meetings, flights and hotels for business travelers, corporate travel discounts, conferences, and managing costs for corporate travel. 
  • Content Marketing: Provide business travel tips, offer case studies and industry reports, and partner with business travel publications to share business travel-related content with audiences. Additionally, you can create travel guides that include fun spots for business travelers to explore during breaks in meetings, or when the workday is finished. 
  • Technical SEO: To ensure a positive user experience and improve SEO results, prioritize your website’s technical SEO in addition to the other tips in this article. This may include optimizing your site for a fast booking process, integrating corporate booking tools, and ensuring data security and compliance throughout the booking process.
  • Link Building: Build relationships with corporate travel departments and associations in order to secure high-quality backlinks to your website. After all, when other sites that search engines deem as trustworthy link back to your website, it can help boost your website’s overall trustworthiness, resulting in improved search rankings. Aim to secure backlinks from other websites related to business travel, as well as local directories in your area.
  • Local SEO: There are a variety of ways that business travel companies can utilize local SEO to your advantage. To begin, claim your Google Business Profile to help corporate travelers more easily find your website. Additionally, it’s important to utilize location-specific business travel keywords throughout your website’s content, meta tags, and headings. Another tip: partner with local hotels and conference centers to secure a variety of high-quality backlinks to your website.
  • Social Media Marketing: Focus on social media platforms where business travelers spend time scrolling. For instance, you can share industry insights and engage with corporate decision-makers on LinkedIn. With more than 127 million people using LinkedIn on a daily basis in the U.S. alone, this platform offers access to a robust audience of corporate professionals.
  • Data Analysis: By analyzing your website’s data, you can track booking volumes, analyze travel patterns and client needs, and adapt your services based on key insights. Moreover, you can observe how data changes over time, helping to verify which SEO strategies are working to your business’s advantage.

Destination Management Companies (DMCs)

  • Local & Niche Keywords: Leverage and share your local knowledge while improving your company’s SEO by using local and niche keywords. Aim to target keywords related to destination-specific activities, services your DMC offers, VIP experiences, and related activities.
  • Content Marketing: As a DMC, travelers rely on you to provide destination-specific services, recommendations tailored to their interest, and logistical travel support. Demonstrate your company’s knowledge and expertise by sharing high-quality content on your homepage and throughout your website. This may include comprehensive destination guides with insider tips and recommendations, event planning checklists, travel itineraries, and testimonials highlighting unique experiences. Additionally, you can share blog posts featuring exclusive content, expert advice, destination stories, and visual content.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your website for mobile bookings by having a user-friendly and responsive website design, a seamless booking process with secure payment gateways, fast loading speeds, and easy navigation. Together, these elements of technical SEO can help your DMC improve SEO rankings while also providing a positive experience for website visitors.

Additional Tips:

  • Showcase high-quality visuals of activities, attractions, and landscapes relevant to your destinations and experiences. In fact, CRM platform HubSpot notes that short-form video offers the highest content ROI, with experts predicting it will see the most growth of any content format in 2024. Moreover, one study found that videos and images are the two most critical factors affecting global travelers’ decisions.
  • Consider offering easy online booking options for activities and services. According to one study, a whopping 83% of U.S. adults want to book their trips online, with 66% of online global travel and tourism sales made online.
  • Include clear calls to action throughout your website to encourage bookings. For instance, adding buttons throughout your website where appropriate with text like “Book your trip today!” can help visitors easily navigate to your company’s booking page.
  • Implement structured data markup on your website to improve how search engines interpret your business’s website content. Think of this markup as a guide that helps search engines navigate your site more effectively. By doing so, you’ll help search engines gain a clearer understanding of your website’s content and its relevance to different search terms.
  • Build strong relationships with local businesses and influencers. Not only can this help build your brand through word of mouth, but it can also help you acquire valuable backlinks for your website. Moreover, making connections in the travel industry can be helpful when it comes to sharing best practices and challenges. You can also team up to offer various promotions or special travel packages to clients. Whether your connections are organic or paid partnerships, we can all go further together.
  • Participate in tourism forums and communities relevant to your offerings, both in person and online. This is another best practice that can help your business grow through human interaction as well as helping to build your digital footprint. Through these forums and communities, you can make valuable connections while also working to gain backlinks, engage in cross-promotions, and increase your visibility in the industry.
  • Leverage social media marketing to showcase your destination and engage with potential clients. With 50% of consumers under the age of 40 using social media as a source for travel inspiration, this can be an impactful way to connect with audiences and pique interest in your travel offerings. For Gen Z (generally, those born between 1997-2012), social media is the number one most popular source of travel inspiration. In other words, a strong social media marketing presence is critical when it comes to reaching younger travelers.
  • Track your website analytics and adjust your SEO strategies based on data insights. By analyzing user behavior, identifying trends, and evaluating your keyword performance, you can enhance your user experience while staying competitive in search engine rankings. In an ever-changing online environment, adapting your SEO strategies based on real-time data insights is crucial for long-term success.

By mastering these SEO strategies, destination management companies can attract more travelers, promote unique experiences, and drive bookings.

Stamp Your Website Passport with SEO and Land in Your Dream Destination

In this post, we explored key tips related to SEO for travel websites - including tour operators, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), business travel service providers, and destination management companies (DMCs). 

Some essential best practices to keep in mind when working on your SEO efforts include: focusing on local search optimization, creating high-quality web content and visuals, prioritizing technical SEO, leveraging internal links and backlinks, and engaging with prospective clients on social media. 

By harnessing the power of SEO, your business or travel agency can take advantage of increased visibility in search engine results, higher web traffic, improved user experience, and increased bookings. Implement the tips and strategies shared in this post, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful SEO campaign!

If you’re unsure how to get started, consider hiring a travel SEO expert for guidance. Additionally, you can explore travel SEO resources online and subscribe to relevant travel marketing newsletters and podcasts. For instance, browse travel marketing reports from Expedia Group and listen to The Travel Marketing Podcast from Propellic.

With strategic SEO efforts, you can open your business to new opportunities, reach your target travel audience, and ultimately drive your company’s future success. As you embark on the journey of optimizing your travel website, remember that each improvement you make will contribute to a more impactful online presence, paving the way for business growth and life-changing client travel experiences. 

Embrace the possibilities, adapt to the ever-changing landscape, and let SEO be your compass as you move forward. Safe travels and unforgettable adventures await!


What is SEO and Why is it Crucial for Travel Websites?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the process of making improvements to your website and web content in order to increase its visibility and ranking in search engine results. 

In other words - improving your travel website’s SEO can lead to more prospective customers visiting your site, resulting in more paid travel bookings.

With the travel industry being highly competitive, prioritizing SEO is key when it comes to ensuring your business stands out.

What Are Some Effective SEO Strategies for Travel Websites?

Effective search engine optimization for travel websites involves a combination of best practices. Some specific strategies that can help improve your travel website SEO include:

  • Create high-quality web content: Create accurate, relevant website content that informs and entertains readers beyond just a sales pitch! These days, search engines prioritize content that provides meaningful value to readers.
  • Utilize local search optimization: Ensure that your web content includes keywords and phrases that are specific to your travel destinations. Building unique webpages for each travel destination can also help point prospective travelers in the right direction. 
  • Leverage internal links: An internal link is a link on your website that connects to another page on your website. Among other benefits, internal links can help search engines understand your site hierarchy, can distribute “link equity” (ranking power) across various pages of your site, and can help users more easily navigate your website.
  • Consider technical SEO strategies: “Technical SEO” refers to the behind-the-scenes elements of your website that are often unseen by visitors, but important to search engines. Read on to learn more about how technical SEO can affect your travel website’s rankings.

What Technical SEO Aspects Should I Consider for My Travel Website?

Technical website elements - such as your website structure, load speed, mobile optimization, SSL certificate, 404 error handling, secure payment gateways, and data privacy - are key factors in your SEO strategy. 

If the idea of working on your website’s technical SEO sounds daunting, consider hiring an expert to help. Technical SEO specialists can assist you in making sure that the back end of your website is optimized and following best practices.

What Kind of Content Should Travel Websites Focus On?

In general, aim to create content that answers prospective travelers’ questions and makes their trip planning easy and fun. 

While your specific content plan may vary depending on your audience, location, and services offered, the prompts below may spark your next brilliant content idea! 

Travel website content ideas to boost your SEO efforts can include:

  • Destination travel guides or sample travel itineraries.
  • Blog posts on specific cities and travel topics - i.e. “The Best Beach Destinations in 2024,” or “10 Can’t-Miss Destinations in Athens, Greece.”
  • Travel tips and packing lists to help clients prepare for and make the most of their vacations.
  • Reviews of local hotels, restaurants, and activities, including personal travel stories and experiences.
  • Visual content, such as images and video tours, to help travelers understand the experience they’ll embark on.

How Can I Tailor SEO Strategies for Niche Travel Markets?

A niche is a specialized segment of the market, aimed at selling a particular type of product or service. Some examples of travel niches include eco-tourism, solo travel, yoga retreats, vegetarian food tours, historical tourism, and more.

When your business is focused on a niche market, it’s important to use niche keywords, targeted content marketing, and technical SEO together for maximum impact. 

Niche SEO strategies can help tour operators, DMOs, and DMCs reach intended markets and connect with the types of travelers who are seeking the experiences you offer. 

How Do I Measure the Success of My SEO Strategies?

As the common marketing analytics saying goes - “if you didn’t measure it, it didn’t happen!” You can measure the success of your organic and paid SEO strategies through a variety of metrics. These include tracking booking conversions, analyzing user behavior, and using data analytics to refine your approach to SEO. 

Tracking analytics on a regular basis and comparing your results over time and within the industry can help ensure you’re on the right track with your SEO efforts. Setting up a Google Analytics account and monitoring it regularly is one popular way to keep track of your SEO metrics and results.

Written by

Share this blog

Reimagine what your business can achieve with performance strategies from Propellic.

Get a Marketing Audit