This is a guest post by Lindsay Young, founder and principal consultant of Stormfree Agency.
Last month, I hosted a webinar on tips for boosting web visits for more conversions. We had some great questions throughout the webinar, but we didn’t have time to get to all of them. The most common questions were around SEO and keyword research and strategy, so I decided to write a short post answering three of the questions we didn’t get to during the webinar.
"In your experience, do websites built on widely used platforms like WordPress or Drupal perform better in terms of ranking/SEO than websites built on tailor-made platforms?"
If you’re a coding wizard who is able to properly code your site on a tailor-made platform to ensure that a) search engines are picking up on all the right pieces of data, and b) your site is continually keeping up with search engine requirement updates (such as having a secure site), then a tailor-made platform shouldn’t be an issue in terms of your SEO rankings.
Otherwise, you’re much, much better off using a widely used platform because they take care of that business themselves. Additionally, there are easy-to-use tools and plugins available to help you enhance the baseline features of the platform, Yoast being the most popular one.
The advantage here is that you have a program / platform / plugin telling you what to do, and you simply have to fill in the blanks. It’s easier to understand and more time effective, and for those who aren’t coding wizards, it will ensure that your site ranks better than if you had a tailor-made platform that you didn’t know how to use properly.
"Travel keywords can be expensive to buy on AdWords search. Do you have any long tail keyword strategies?"
Yes, travel keywords can be super expensive on AdWords, especially for small businesses with modest budgets. I feel your frustration.
When it comes to long tail keyword strategies for AdWords, it’s important to note that they can be quite time consuming and challenging, since there’s a lower volume of data on long tail keywords. One of the most efficient approaches is to make use of Google’s auto-complete search function to see what phrases people are commonly searching for. You can then use these suggestions to help develop your long tail keyword list.
The second-last one in particular is really helpful – if you operate a tour that would make for a good birthday ‘party’ or celebration, that’s a really great keyword suggestion that you may not have already thought of.
This strategy can be time consuming, as it requires that you sit down at your computer and go through many permutations of many sentences, but it does help you get creative without feeling like you're completely in the dark.
Want to get more specific into AdWords strategy? Check out TrekkSoft’s ten tips for tour and activity companies to create a successful AdWords strategy.
"How do I find good keywords for my business?"
If you’re looking to find keywords for your tours and activities business, Google Trends is a great place to start. You can compare keywords (which helps you choose one keyword over another), interest by region (which helps you customize your campaigns based on where your audience is), receive similar suggested search queries, and monitor keyword usage over time.
TrekkSoft has a blog post on four ways to use Google Trends in your marketing content, and the same pieces of advice can be helpful for using Google Trends to marketing your products.
One of the most important pieces of advice that I give to people getting started with keywords is that you’re going to be most successful when you’re using keywords that truly match the intent of the searcher.
For example, if someone is searching for a day trip to Niagara Falls from Toronto (a very popular search query), you may be thinking that if you target them with an ad for your downtown Toronto walking tour, you may be able to convince them to change their mind, skip Niagara Falls, and book a tour with you instead.
Don’t think like this.
If someone wants to go to Niagara Falls, they want to go to Niagara Falls, not wander around the city. It’s a waste of your money to try to target an ad towards someone who is going to ignore it because it isn’t what they want.
If you went to the grocery store to pick up milk and when you asked where to find it, an employee shoved orange juice in your face, you wouldn’t be too pleased, now would you? Just because orange juice is also a beverage doesn’t mean you’re going to change your mind and abandon your milk plans.
By all means, get creative with the keywords you use, such as the birthday party example in the question above, but sticking within the confines of searcher intent will give you better value for your ad spend and ultimately be a more successful strategy.
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Written by Lindsay Young
Lindsay is the founder and principal consultant at Stormfree Agency, a digital marketing agency for small tourism businesses. Prior to Stormfree Agency, Lindsay was the Global Marketing Manager at Urban Adventures, a leading global city tour company. She also worked in food tourism strategy development with the Culinary Tourism Alliance. When she’s not working, you can find her travelling, reading, eating, running, and learning new languages.