By Blake Ng — 18 May 2020
For those who are still wondering, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It’s the process of optimizing your web-presence so that when a user searches for a service or product you provide, you appear before your competitors. If you’d like to have a clearer understanding of SEO and how search engines work, check out our SEO Masterclass here.(It’s also a buzzword marketing people use to make things sound complicated and over-charge you for their services)
They’re pretty much the same thing but Local SEO focuses on users searching from areas nearby to you.
Pandemic aside, local SEO has always been extremely important for tour operators. Here’s why. There are three kinds of queries a person can search for online:
Informational Queries are searches for more information. For example, “What is an escape room?”
Navigational Queries are searches for direction or geographical information. For example, “How do I get to Reactor Escape Room?” or “Escape rooms near me”.
Transactional Queries are searches a user makes for information regarding a transaction they’re about to make. For example, “Escape room prices Sydney.” or “Reactor Escape Room space escape package price”.
Of the 3 categories, which are the most valuable to your business? Bingo, navigational and transactional. This is because there is intent to purchase behind the search queries. When someone asks how to get to your business or how much you charge, it means they’re already considering purchasing your services.
And where does Local SEO apply most? Ding ding ding, navigational AND transactional. Local SEO is how you’ll improve your chances of appearing first when someone searches for those “Escape Rooms near me” And “Sydney Escape Room Prices”. The most valuable of search queries!
Furthermore, with the pandemic completely obliterating international travel, there is sure to be a rise in demand for local travel and activities, meaning local searches will skyrocket. Meaning, you guessed it! An increasing importance in local SEO.
We’ll skip over to the quick wins because let’s be honest, there’s a lot going on and nobody has the time to read 3000-word articles.
The first step is to figure out all the local keywords or phrases you could rank for and that people are searching for. The easiest way to do this is to consider the formula behind a typical query.
Navigational Query: [Descriptive Word] + [Product/ Service] + [Geographical Word]
Best + Escape Room + Sydney
Cheap + Escape Room + Near Me
Space themed + Escape Room + Sydney City
Transactional Query:[Product/ Service] + [ Transactional Word] + [Geographical Word]
[Your Company] + [Transactional Word]
Some Examples:Escape Room + Prices + SydneyEscape Room + Pricing + SydneyEscape Room + Group Pricing + SydneyReactor Escape Room + Adult Price
As long as you keep each element of the queries in mind, you’ll be able to easily brainstorm all your local keywords.
Quite frankly, the most powerful tool is common sense. You know your business and the areas in which you operate best. Sit down for 30 minutes and key into a spreadsheet, all the phrases you can think of. From there, you’ll definitely be able to pick out the most important ones. Consider all the areas nearby to you and all the modifiers people might search for that apply to you.
You could also use Google’s autofill feature. Just type half your phrase into Google Search and see what Google suggests. This is generally what most people are searching for, so it’ll give you some great ideas on what to focus on.
Doing this will probably get you 80% of the keywords you need, which is generally more than good enough when starting out.
If you did want to go the extra mile though, you could use tools like Answer The Public and Google Keyword Planner.
Great, you’ve got your keywords, now how does this help your local SEO as a tour operator? The key is placement: putting them in the right areas of your website. This increases the relevance of your website during local searches, boosting your search engine performance.
HeadersThe first place you should place your keywords is within your headers. These are your <h1> <h2> <h3>, etc. tags.
Page URLNext is your page URLs after the “.com/”.
For example: www.reactorescaperoom.com/sydney-escape-room-group-pricing-adults
Meta DescriptionThis is the blurb about your business users will see on the search engine results pages before they click into your website.
Try mentioning your keywords within the first sentence of your page and once every 100-150 words thereafter.
Image Alt TagIf you use images on your website, and I hope you do, you’ll be able to add some alt-text for each image. Use your local keywords here.
NAP stands for your name, address and phone number.
From everything we’ve spoken about so far, we can safely say that proximity is a huge factor that Google takes into account during local searches. Meaning your address needs to be accurate and widely available, so Google knows how close you are to the searcher. Same thing goes for your business name and phone number so you’re easily contactable.
So, where should you put your listings? EVERYWHERE!
Well, as many places as possible to be precise. The most important places are on the footer of your website and major listings such as Google My Business, Facebook Business Page, Bing Places & Tripadvisor.
Once you’ve got those sorted:
Look out for more local citations
Or more minor citations such as Yelp, Yellowpages, Yahoo Local.
It really isn’t! It should take you no more than a day to optimize your web-presence for local SEO. If nothing else, set up your Google My Business Listing with our guide here.
Local SEO is one of those quick wins every tour operator should do. And with the rise in importance of local travel, local SEO for tour operators has never been a bigger win than it is now.
And most importantly, remember, if you don’t do it, your competitors probably will!
Written By – Blake Ng– Acquisition & Content Marketing, Rezdy
Blake is a travel videographer with a love for storytelling. He has years of experience in sales and marketing from multiple travel startups and a cricket farm in Cambodia. He is currently a content marketer at Rezdy.