I travel a lot. And to be honest: it usually is horrific to find what I am looking for. No matter if I use Google or go directly to a travel site, it always takes me way too long to find the hotel or flight which fits me best. Both travel sites and Google I think could do a much better job for those seeking travel information.
In the past few years travelsites and Google have developed a love – hate relationship. Travel sites depended on Google for much of their traffic, but at the same time saw Google take away that traffic when Google decided to launch some features which would bypass the travel sites. On the other side Google is very much interested in the reviews which appear wealthily on travel sites.
One thing I’m personally always missing on travel sites is the right imagery and the right videos. And with that I don’t mean the standard images of an hotel room or holiday house which never actually show what a place really look like. I always wanted to see imagery from people who were actually there. Now research from search marketing agency, Epiphany with use of Searchmetrics also shows that the imagery which is being used could be used a lot better for findability in Google.
Epiphany made a big study about search marketing in the travel sector. They analysed the most visible websites across google’s paid and organic search results when it comes to the UK travel sector.
Epiphany used Searchmetrics to distill an overview of overall visibility, both paid and organic, for the travel industry. Here are the top sites:
Some highlights of the report are:
- Customers are looking for travel companies to provide highly-personalised holidays tailored to them
- 50% of the most visible sites incorporate retargeting in their campaign
- 27% of the 30 most visible sites use Social Extensions
- TripAdvisor is the most visible brand as a result of strong organic activity
- Focus on improving keywords on page 2 could have a big impact for most sites
- 66% of the top 30 most visible sites are online only
- Only 33% of the 30 most visible websites in the travel sector are ranked in the top 30 for both organic and paid search.
- A focus on quality rather than quantity of link acquisition has enabled some sites to achieve excellent organic visibility
- All of the most organically-visible websites have a large number of keywords ranking on page two.
- Fourteen of the 30 sites most visible in paid search have a Google+ page.
Video and Images
Part of the study shows travel sites have a lot to win when it comes to being visible in search engines via video and images.
Epiphany used a variety of data sources and tools, including Searchmetrics to find out how effectively UK travel sites are using video and images in their organic search marketing. In the chart below you can see how visible different UK sites really are.
It shows that Tripadvisor is the best site when it comes to images being visible in search engines with over 20,000 being visible. The other sites are very very low compared to Tripadvisor.
When it comes to video visibility Tripadvisor stays behind to Monarch.co.uk who came top for Video Visibility (6,000). The only other one using video better than others is expedia, but in general travel sites are hardly using video to rank. Something which is a very big miss with Universal Search being oh so present these days.
Epiphany’s Director of Operations, Andy Heaps feels the same:
“Google often brings video and image results onto the first page of its search results and visual content such as this provides a natural way to attract the attention of people who are searching for holiday destinations, hotels, flights or other travel related information.”
Get the report
There is much more information to be found in the report, including stats about social visibility and number of keywords in the top 3 pages of Google. The entire report can be requested here