The Best Way for Tourism Businesses to Rank Better in Google
You can read everything and its contrary online about SEO. In fact, you SHOULD read everything and its contrary, as I’ve heard that getting your head spinning improves blood flow. But I’ve also heard that it may cause anxiety so who knows… But, yes, there are a ton of snake oil sellers that will promise you instant results, tons of link/SEO juice, and a guaranteed ranking on Google. It’s a tricky business. So once and for all, I will go over my take on SEO for tourism businesses in New Zealand right here in writing using examples of what we have done for some of our successful websites.
A Note About This Tourism Marketing Guide
If you are just stumbling upon this page randomly or through a search engine, good on you. But before you keep going, you should definitely read the introductory article to this series of tourism marketing guides so you get a bit of context about the tone and the content within it.
This article follows directly from Tourism Marketing #6: Have a Well-thought Social Media Presence.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and is basically how search engines such a Google determine how useful to a specific keyword your website page is. Although there is a lot of fluff online about SEO, in practice for a tourism website, things can be made quite simple. You can approach improving your website’s SEO in two ways:
OPTION 1: You can spend years creating a huge amount of content that answers people’s online queries within your niche.
OPTION 2: You can be linked to by other websites that have already spent years creating content that answers people’s online queries within your niche.
The main thing to know about ranking well on search engines is that Google takes months or years to build trust with your website and believe that your content is what people are looking for. Alternatively, Google will trust you quicker if sources that Google already trusts links to you. This is why “link-building” is such a big deal nowadays. Before we continue, however, here is a message from your friendly virtual neighbourhood hero: DO NOT PAY FOR BULK LINKS!!! Those are low-value and may even harm your website’s ranking as they will be seen as spam by Google and other search engines. So what can you do to improve your website’s ranking on Google?
So with that in mind, let’s keep going and explore the options further.
Creating Lots of Useful Content That Answers People’s Online Queries Within Your Niche
This is how we grew NZ Pocket Guide to the size it is now: 6.3 million unique readers and 22 million pages served in 2019. It took eight years to reach this kind of level and well over 3,000 articles written and updated regularly. That’s a lot of man-hours! But this turned us into a reference on the subject of travel in New Zealand and a trusted source by Google. As a result, when we publish new content, Google trusts us already and ranks quite well and quite fast. We don’t always look for the most popular keywords to rank on. “Travel New Zealand” is great for more generic and inspirational websites, however, “Things to do in Rotorua on a rainy day” – now we are talking! We answer actual travel-planning questions – this is our “know what you sell.”
But for tourism operators, I would not advise this time-consuming approach. Having a blog section on your website, which is the area which makes the most sense to create streams and streams of content, will create a lot of work and may even just be a deterrent when the last blog post is from 2016. Is this company still even operating?! If you decide to create a ton of content yourself, you’ll need to publish frequently. Another issue is making sure Google ranks you for the right keywords, which is achieved by focussing your content very specific to your niche. Can you or do you want to write a well-focused article on your niche every week for the life of your business? That’s why in recent years we’ve seen even massive companies such as TripAdvisor moving away from editorial type content, such as their Top 10 Things to Do in… to simply just creating a page with the same title that includes short snippets of each activity pages to show Google that this is what they are all about, rather than confuse it for an information website.
Be Linked to By Websites That Already Have Lots of Content That Answers People’s Online Queries Within Your Niche
So we come down to the second option: being linked to by other websites that have already spent years creating content that answers people’s online queries within your niche. The initial way to approach getting relevant links to your website is by searching your tourism business on Google, as well as your offering, your region and more. I’ll go over the logic behind it, then I’ll go over the method.
You will want to be linked to and mentioned on all the pages that travellers use to plan a trip to your region. This will help you do a couple of things. First, get known by travellers and get bookings. Second, it will tell Google that you are a respected business that may have something great to offer to people wanting to travel in the region. To achieve such a result, you will need to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. What would they be searching online when planning their trip? Start writing down all your ideas.
Let’s take the example of rafting trip near Westport wanting to attract families. Some ideas for keywords and phrases that they want to be found in could be:
- Things to do in Westport with kids
- Best things to do in Westport with children
- Adventure for family in Westport
- Family activity in Westport
- Travel Guide of Westport for family.
You can also include generic terms that do not include the word “family” or “kids”. And of course, include your competition there to see where they are mentioned too. Once you are done you should have a long list – like, a very long list. There are some tools to help with finding relevant keywords to your business, like Wordstream’s Free Keyword Tool, but I feel that the manual process of searching in Google yourself is quite helpful in understanding your own business.
Once your list of keywords and phrases is compiled, you need to run each of the searches and look at the first 10 results or so. Make sure you also use a VPN or a proxy site to run those searches from other countries too. Copy all the links in the search results. You will need to try to be featured on each of these pages.
Sure, there will be quite a lot of them that will be out of the question, such as your competitors and old news articles, but there will also be a bunch of websites that you can work with, such as a travel guide like ours, travel blogs, Tourism New Zealand or your Regional Tourism Organisation, etc. This is where you will need to roll up your sleeves and contact them all to ask what are their advertising options and/or page editorial needs. Getting linked on some of those pages will do wonders for your SEO – not immediately, of course, but at least starting a couple of months down the line. At the same time, linking in the right places will start to generate sales for you, as it will target people actively planning their trip.
In my opinion, getting your website linked to from relevant websites is the best way to approach SEO for a New Zealand tourism business. There is, of course, much more to it, and we spend a lot of time and effort perfecting what we are doing so you don’t have to. This is why some large companies in New Zealand hire us as SEO consultants to help them with their needs, but you’ve just got the main bulk of it for free.
How to Get Your Link on Other Websites
In the next step of this tourism marketing guide, we’ll discuss how to approach publishers and influencers so you are not one of the tens of emails that we delete each day.
Do You Want to be Featured on NZ Pocket Guide?
On NZ Pocket Guide we’ve got a ton of super useful content for travellers planning their trip to New Zealand and affordable options for you to reach them. If you want your business to be featured on New Zealand’s largest and most popular travel guide, we’re just a quick email away. Just head to our contact page. Plus, if you mention this article series, we’ll shout you 20% OFF your first year ad campaign – just like that!
Continue Reading the Tourism Marketing Guides…
To keep going with this article series, check out Tourism #8: Know How to Approach Influencers & Publishers or go back and start afresh with the 10 Tips to Promote Your New Zealand Tourism Business.