Monday, January 09, 2006

SEO to GO II. Travel Site Optimization continued

Most travel sites, especially official ones, are already in existence and therefore don't face the challenges that a new site has simply getting into the Google index. It's currently easier to get into MSN and Yahoo, but in general if you've come to the game this late with a travel site you may want to reconsider your options, associate with existing sites, or take over an old travel site.

* Official information, in my opinion, is valued more highly by search. Most SEOs think that pages from .edu domains are given preference, and I think there are algorithmic benefits to being an "official" travel site for a state, region, or country. This may be primarily due to more links and references out in the web.

* If you are an official travel site you should seek to have all members or other sites affiliated with you link to your site. One good approach, for example, is to create or use an existing "request for travel guide" page and send out linking code to your members or associates for their sites. They can thus offer a printed guide via your site and you obtain more leads and more links.

* Stop wasting so much on print, TV, and other offline advertising! The return on pay per click advertising is likely five to ten times what you consider acceptable ROI for your print campaigns. Most (all?) destinations would benefit from completely reversing their online and print advertising budgets. The caveat is that you should bid on a VERY high number of terms - as many as tens or even hundreds of thousands - to optimize the ROI of your PPC (pay per click) campaigns. More about this in future posts.

* An excellent ranking roundup from Randfish's blog SEOMOZ

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