Published: November 17, 2012
Edited: December 24, 2013
The travel industry is among those most strongly affected by the algorithmic changes. Today, in late 2012, we've already gotten used to them. It's been almost two years since we've got used to Panda and roughly half a year since Penguin has been launched...
So, what can travel sites do in order to cope?
It's a particular segment of the online business environment. Specific threats, specific opportunities exist. Let's take a look, shall we?
Let's see 17 tips that can help you cope with your travel site...
Remove all on-page "SEO juice": this includes over-optimized articles, keyword-filled elements of any particular page (including page titles, headings, meta tags, alt texts etc.) - this helps you cope with Panda's penalties
Remove potentially harmful backlinks: Google Webmaster Tools can help you remove your backlinks, otherwise you too can contact the owners of the respective sites to remove your links - purging potentially Google system-abusing links can help you recover from Penguin's penalties
Increase presence on major travel blogs: buy ads on them (BuySellAds.com is a solution for attracting attention to your site and if you have a good looking banner, you might even achieve high CTRs), ask for rates in their newsletters - helps build awareness (this way you can target and attract new clients right where they roam: on their favorite travel blogs!)
Buy a few listings on major directories under relevant categories (if you haven't already done so): but make sure you focus on purchasing a small amount of these listings and only on very good quality pages (reflecting strong PageRank and AlexaRank and not too far away from the home page).
Some directories to check out: Yahoo Directory, Best of the Web, Ezilon, Business.com (presence on these is a must, even today, if you want to build a serious business)
Bring fresh content to your index page and your other main pages: at least once a week you should bring something substantially new forth - at least 50 % of your main pages should be new
Consider video blogging (vlogging): it's a new trend and helps improve newly trendy metrics, if placed on your pages plus, some people love hearing videos more than reading long articles
Create YouTube videos that draw visitors to your site - build brand awareness: just make sure you aren't posting commercial, poor quality or mere "dumb slideshow" videos (construct quality videos, such as travel guide videos presenting local attractions etc.)
Build lists: entice your viewers to sign up for memberships and for this, newsletter service is perhaps the best idea (sites, such as AWeber offer paid newsletter platforms for 194 $/year per 500 members)
Use Facebook advertising more wisely: post interesting articles from time to time, but don't overdo it, as people will feel annoyed; also try luring your "likers" (Facebook fans) to your newsletter service
Write quality articles and ask for reference links - you should aim at attracting links from sites like About.com, eHow and similar highly-valued sites (because they have credibility in Google)
Do blog posting, but don't abuse it: make sure you either use your site's name (brand name) or an obscure name and even this should be varied (keyword-aiming blog posts easily get hung up in spam filters and even Google can penalize you later)
Share travel coupons on your site: there are people who are hunting specifically for these discount coupons and, your already existing visitors or loyal fans would love to grab a bargain from time to time...
Build partnerships with fare and hotel rate comparison sites: BookingBuddy.com is one of these sites offering travel booking comparison engines, but you'll need to have hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors
Do several press releases, especially with the aim of attracting business partners - you could grab the attention of some good advertisers who might want to buy ad space on your site or in your newsletters, SM channels etc
Improve content readability: keep your articles short and your text columns narrow, use easy to read fonts - although this is common sense, a plethora of travel sites still don't build "readable" articles and that's among the key reasons why visitors leave
Differentiate your site as much as possible: there are loads of travel blogs, travel guide sites out there. yours will have to be very special for people to like it - what is unique and special about it?