Companies in the travel industry are finding it increasingly difficult to reap high rewards from their expenditures in search engine optimization (SEO), said Christian Schmidt, a managing partner at Digitaleffects, a consultancy for SEO.
That's because SEO has become more complicated thanks to changes Google introduced to its search engine algorithm in updates like "Panda" or "Penguin", said Schmidt at the ITB Conference in Berlin.
"Companies really need to concentrate on valuable texts if they want to be displayed high in rankings," said Schmidt. "They can no longer purchase links, or win clicks with easy, simple texts."
As a result, certain companies in the travel industry that haven't adjusted to their marketing strategy have slipped in rankings, even as they continue to invest more and more in SEO, he said.
"A solution is to develop a content strategy for certain destinations," said Schmidt. "Travel agencies could focus on familiar destinations in Turkey or Spain rather than someplace in Croatia users don't know."
Key words from those destinations would more easily show up in search results, he added.
At the same time, travel agencies need to put more effort into creating landing pages that contain more than just text or link, he said. Not only will they appear higher in search results, but pages with interactive graphics or video look better and can retain valuable traffic, he added.
Smaller companies in particular should focus on creating attractive webpages that will help them stand out in search rankings.
"Companies cannot rely on the fairy tale that content alone will win with SEO, especially smaller tour operators," said Schmidt. "They need to increase their visibility compared to larger players."
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