SEO for Travel: How to Compete with Big Brands on a Budget

Size doesn’t matter in travel SEO. Here are seven methods to take advantage of your tiny size to compete with big brands and win.

In today’s world, many small businesses have concluded that SEO is no longer possible.

They believe it is impossible to compete with Google preferring big brands and larger firms pouring vast sums of money into SEO initiatives.

However, if you know where to look, there is still a lot of room in the organic search results for you to succeed and use it to help your business grow, even on a shoestring budget.

We concentrate our efforts on SMEs for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it allows for a variety of tactics that aren’t practical or available at the enterprise level.

As a small business, you have a lot of potential to increase your audience and your business if you take advantage of that advantage.

This is especially true in the tourism business, where there is a large and consistent audience of people who want to go on vacation and see the world.

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When they schedule a trip, the process is complicated and filled with many locations where you might be located.

Because size isn’t everything, I’ve compiled a list of seven ways you can utilise your modest stature to your advantage and fight the behemoths and win.

As a smaller firm, it’s much easier for you to develop content with expert expertise in your area than it is for a giant corporation that outsources material to agencies or hires young writers in-house.

A different strategic strategy can also help you. Larger corporations will always prioritise the high-volume terms that people are looking for and assign ranking to their own teams or agencies.

However, there is so much longtail traffic in travel that you may gain traffic that the large brands are neglecting by developing content on the broader topical areas in your specialty.

You’re no longer competing with them because they’re not even trying to rank for it.

This boils down to two specific activities that, if taken, will yield considerable results.

1. Conduct keyword research.

You must go deep, where the major firms produce a few top-level sites for the high-volume phrases consumers are searching for.

Analyze the full user journey, from the time they begin researching their trip to the time they make a purchase, and make sure you cover all of the topics they may be looking for.

This could take the form of the following procedure:

  • best places to visit in april
  • Thailand  holidays
  • best cities in thailand for families
  • things to do in Singapore
  • things to do in Singapore with kids
  • Parl royale hotel
  • family friendly restaurants in singapore
  • luxury family hotels in Singapore city centre

Without ranking for “thailand holidays” and competing against the big boys, there are a lot of opportunities to get noticed in that process.

If the rest of your website is performing well, it may only take one of them to convert a visitor into a possible buyer.

However, the only way to discover this process and identify what tangents visitors might be on during their journey is to conduct thorough keyword research.

2. More topical content that is better targeted

After you’ve completed your keyword research, you must take action and generate world-class content in order to rank for the topics you’ve discovered.

Fortunately, as a specialist in your sector, you should be able to offer something unique that users will appreciate. If you write and structure it correctly, that extra understanding will be rewarded.

In some cases, simply establishing the page will be sufficient to achieve good rankings.

Given the high level of competition in travel, you’d be better off making sure the pages are well-structured to give yourself the best chance of seeing the reward.

Internal content menus, proper header structure, and extensive depth are just a few of the numerous components that go into this.

If you do this for the various types of information your audience is looking for, you’ll almost surely attract more visitors to your site.

This has the added benefit of demonstrating to readers that you are a true expert on your area, which boosts conversions because people believe you.

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3. SEO Barnacle

So, while your long-tail content is doing well and bringing in high traffic, you still want to be found using the major, competitive terms in your area. So, what exactly do you do?

Barnacle SEO might be the solution. If your own domain lacks the authority to rank for the industry’s most competitive terms, you’ll need to discover editorial sites that do and will allow you to contribute in some form.

A well-established travel blog is the most likely option in terms of travel. Choose one that is relevant to your target demographic (luxury, backpacker, etc.) that is already performing well for competitive terms.

Contact them to see if you can submit an in-depth, well-researched article that focuses on the phrase you want to rank for.

Follow all of the processes outlined in the previous points above, but instead of putting the content on your own site, put it on their blog.

Ideally, you’ll be able to include a prominent call to action within the piece, but even if you only receive an author box at the conclusion of the post, you’ll get good brand awareness and traffic.

Then all you have to do is keep an eye on the search results to see how well the post ranks. If it starts bringing people to you, that’s great! Start writing more for that site, focusing on different keywords!

If it doesn’t perform as well as you expected, consider testing it on a different blog.

Remember that part of the job depends on your material being good enough to rank, so don’t blame the host site if your own work isn’t up to par!

4. Make the most of all technical possibilities

Another disadvantage of huge firms’ SEO strategy is that they are far less likely to pay attention to specific search results for specific phrases.

Rather than specific phrases and their SERPs, they’ll usually look at reports with hundreds of phrases to gain a summary of patterns.

That opens up a lot of possibilities for you to dive into the weeds of specific phrases and see what Google is offering in terms of results you can react to.

If you search for ” hill stations in tamilnadu,” for example, you’ll find an answer box at the top of the page that says:

If you see results with an answer box, take advantage of it by writing in-depth material (as recommended above) and organising it precisely to provide you a chance to steal the existing slot.

Another advantage of working in travel is that you may learn from what works in other niches (there are many) and adapt it to your own.

If you have cottages in Yorkshire, you might see this piece for the Cotswolds and apply it to the same sentence, but with Yorkshire instead of the Cotswolds.

Big brands, for the most part, do not analyse at this level, so you may use that extra knowledge to your advantage.

Because large PR and advertising budgets frequently result in a lot of publicity and links on news sites and travel periodicals, you’ll always be playing catch-up with your off-site activity.

However, if you become inventive, you won’t need a significant budget to acquire that kind of coverage. You can raise your link profile in this way, allowing the content benefits mentioned above to grow.

Here are a few ways to find links that will help you improve your performance:

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5. Marketing that is more innovative

Enterprise-level firms have a lot of red tape to sort through, and decisions are frequently routed via three, four, or more departments before they are implemented.

Shareholders expect consistent outcomes, and managers don’t want to take chances.

As a result, creativity is often stifled, and ideas are moulded into safe (and ultimately ineffective) replicas of what was initially planned.

As a tiny, independent firm, the world is your oyster when it comes to experimenting with out-of-the-box concepts that could pay off big time.

These may not always work out, but you can pick yourself up fast and go on to the next concept without worrying about shareholder pressure.

6. Newsjacking 

Large corporations move slowly. You have the ability to react quickly. Utilize it to your benefit.

You may piggyback on popular topics to acquire press and links for your business if you keep an eye on the news agenda.

This may be applying for relevant interviews, having content published in Google News that boosts traffic, or having a side story that is related to the initial issue.

All of them can help you gain links on high-ranking websites, as well as significant brand exposure and new partnerships with influential journalists.

7. Personalize it

Anyone who has tried link building for a large company knows how difficult it is to get responses from individuals without them asking for money right away.

Receiving a different kind of response as a third-party agency or a junior member of staff is quite unlikely, as respondents see the brand name and quickly see the possibility for money.

If you’re a small business, however, your chances of building rapport are much higher. Third parties who are approached by senior members of the company (or who can see who those people are) are considerably more likely to be open to considering novel approaches and ways of collaborating.

Instead of an internal team being tasked with establishing 100 links per month no matter what, you have a lot more room to build long-term relationships with the proper people.

You should take advantage of this personal touch by identifying the major websites and influencers in your field.

After that, spend some time following them and learning where (digitally, of course!) they hang out and what they like.

Only once you have a genuine feel of what they like and how you could collaborate with them do you contact them.

One benefit that can arise from this is link building, but that is only the beginning. If you take the effort to cultivate relationships with the proper people, you will reap a slew of additional rewards.

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Don’t be discouraged if you’re a tiny travel company trying to compete in what appears to be an impossible environment!

There are numerous examples of tiny businesses prospering by being more strategic with their marketing and using their size.

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