Ensuring your tour company website looks beautiful, functions flawlessly and is efficient at converting visitors into paying customers is only the first step when optimising your online presence.
It’s an important first step, and something we at The Travel Web Design Agency specialise in, but success then rests on a smart online marketing strategy to drive the potential customers onto your website in the first place.
A fundamental aspect of most online marketing plans will be Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and tour company SEO is something we have a lot of expertise in.
We have had many clients come to us looking for help with their SEO after suffering a sudden drop in position in search engines, being given Google penalties, or even in some cases being dropped out of the search engine index altogether! We only follow effective white-hat SEO techniques which search engines, such as Google, approve of, and indeed recommend. Websites usually perform badly in search engines because they are either not sufficiently optimised or their owners (or someone they hired) have followed black-hat SEO techniques which will often result in a penalty and drop in ranking, and therefore traffic.
With that in mind, make sure your tour company avoids these five common SEO mistakes.
1. Being impatient
An SEO strategy will only be successful if it has sufficient resources invested in it - including time.
It is important to be realistic from the outset and see SEO as a long term endeavour instead of something which will necessarily yield overnight results. In some ways it’s akin to dieting; some people go on an unhealthy and unsustainable crash diet looking to quickly lose weight (aggressive, black-hat SEO practices) but are ultimately setting themselves up to fail, whereas the successful dieters are usually those who make steady incremental steps to live a healthier life, including changes to their diet and lifestyle habits (effective white-hat SEO practices combined with great content).
While organic SEO may take some time to take root, we would always recommend to our clients other effective ways of getting targeted traffic to their website. Our specific recommendation would be tailored for the client, but it may entail PPC advertising, Google local listings and other online marketing channels.
With all that said, no amount of time will be enough if you fall for the next mistake…
2. Having no clear strategy
You can waste a lot of time, money and effort by trying to optimise your SEO without first sitting down, doing a small amount of research, and coming up with a clear yet simple strategy.
Typically the first port of call will be to determine what keywords and phrases your potential customers commonly use in search engines. Even small, specialist tour companies can have a big advantage over their larger counterparts as there will be niche keywords, with lower levels of competition, which can be successfully targeted, bringing in high-value potential customers.
Deploying your keywords will usually involve constructive collaboration between your web designers, content writers and SEO company. This is a major reason why it is generally wise to choose a highly rated company to do your Search Engine Optimisation which offers both high level web design and specialises in SEO.
3. Going on a link-building binge
Link building is an area where a small amount of knowledge has proven to be a very dangerous thing.
It has been known for some time that Google uses the quantity and quality of links pointing at a web page as an important factor when determining where to rank that page in its search results. The reason is simple and logical – if a lot of other websites, especially well regarded ones with a lot of authority, are linking to a web page then it’s pretty likely it contains content which people will find useful.
However, as is often the case with SEO, website owners and people offering SEO services picked up on this pretty quickly and began trying to cheat by obtaining lots of in-bound links to their site, regardless of their quality. Link farms began cropping up and some SEO companies even started making lots of spammy, low quality websites for the sole purpose of using them to link to their client’s website!
Thankfully Google and other search engines are not stupid. As you can imagine, they are pretty good at knowing if a link pointing at your website is truly organic and can easily spot when they are trying to be tricked by an unnatural link building campaign (which will often result in them issuing a penalty resulting in you plummeting in position).
If you think your website may have a penalty, or you have employed what may have been an unethical SEO company in the past, don’t worry – things are fixable. We have helped many clients in similar situations in the past and we can help you too.
As is the case with inbound links, search engines will always engineer their algorithm (how they determine how well you rank) so it displays the most useful web content higher. Only choose an SEO company which respects this fact and works with you to produce a truly great, optimised website which will perform over the long term.
4. Copying content from other websites
It’s important to remember that the primary goal for search engines is to point its searchers towards genuinely useful and helpful content, and ownership of that content is integral.
Websites which simply copy and paste from other websites will fall foul of “duplicated content” and will get their page ignored at best, or penalised at worse. Content which is slightly reworded, or is a mash of content copied from various different sources will also perform poorly. It is therefore paramount that all the content on your website is unique and of a high quality.
A related issue which website owners sometimes accidently fall victim to is duplicated content caused by having more than one domain serving the same website. For example, if you own both mytourcompany.co.uk and mytourcompany.com and they both point to the same website, you’d be best getting your web developer to implement a universal redirect so the same content isn’t accessible through different domains. A redirect will cause all traffic from one of the domains to be directed towards your primary domain so all your users can still visit either domains to find your website, but you avoid duplicate content and can concentrate SEO efforts.
There may be more complex cases in which you own more than one website and they share the same content but via different URLs, in which case any reputable SEO expert will advise on the best path forward, such as using canonical tags, redirects or creating new content.
5. Having a website which isn’t mobile-friendly
As was mentioned earlier in this guide, great web design and effective SEO are often integrated. This is because many of the most effective SEO techniques used to optimise a website involve on-site changes which will have to be deployed by the web designer. It will therefore pay dividends to choose a web design company which has reputable in-house SEO experts from the outset.
Mobile-friendly web design is a perfect example of this. As should be obvious by now, search engines like websites which serve the user great content, including users who are browsing the web using a tablet or Smartphone. Google has recently made the mobile-friendliness of a website a factor when deciding where to rank it within search results. This makes sense, if you’re performing a Google search on your Smartphone you’d want to be shown web pages which work well on that device!
At The Travel Web Design Agency we make tour company websites which are mobile-friendly as standard. Put simply, this means the design of the website is dynamic and will automatically adapt to the size of the screen being used to view it, whether it’s a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or Smartphone. Users will no longer have to annoyingly zoom in to view content or scroll back and forth across the page.
If you already have a website then you may find Google’s Mobile-friendly testing tool useful for checking how mobile-friendly your site is in Google’s eyes.
We are The Travel Web Design Agency and we provide bespoke website design and SEO for tour companies.
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