Mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a powerful way to improve the quality and quantity of visitors to your website, and ultimately to your business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and content creation are intimately linked, not as durable as you might think, and so important to get right. Podcast guest Jim Robinson puts us on the right path by sharing this metaphor:
“Social media content is a lot like cut flowers – beautiful while promoted but fading quickly.”
A proper SEO strategy puts a framework around it, where you understand what people are searching for and then create the content THEY want. By smartly using tags, influencers, encouraging shares and doing the technical work necessary, you can significantly extend the reach and life of what might otherwise be “cut flowers.”
The Five Key Elements of SEO and Content Marketing
- Understand the audience. Develop visitor personas and make sure you understand how the prospective guest plans leisure travel, what devices they use, and what queries are associated with each stage of their planning, from looking for ideas to actually booking travel.
- Have a strong technical foundation. Before investing in content creation and social media promotion, perform an SEO audit of your attraction’s website to ensure you are able to maximize search engine exposure. Given Google’s emphasis on mobile-friendliness, security, and performance, ensure you are rock-solid from those standpoints and follow SEO best practices for site architecture and page-level optimization.
- Create a content strategy. Don’t just start writing blog posts talking about the latest happenings at your destination. That stuff is important but focus on the potential visitor rather than your organization.
- Generate topic ideas that align with what you know about each stage of the travel planning process and what people are searching for at each of those stages.
- Take seasonality into account and look at the keywords driving visits to similar websites around the country. For example, one post might be entitled “Best Memorial Day Weekend Getaways Every New Yorker Should Take.”
- Once you have your ideas, put them all into an editorial calendar and plan for the whole year ahead, ensuring that relevant content is published and promoted at optimal times.
- Make sure each topic is addressed in multiple engaging formats that perform well in a variety of channels, including blog posts, video, interactive tools, and lots of beautiful photos.
- Promote the content through social media and influencers. Social media plays a critical role in promoting your SEO-friendly, topic-focused content.
- Can you secured guest spots on travel-themed podcasts, or submit guest articles to popular leisure and entertainment related websites in a wider region?
- Link all external content to relevant pages on your website, which helps your search engine rankings.
- Use the Facebook tracking pixel to create a custom audience of people who have already visited your website. Whenever you publish a new blog post or video, do a paid promotion on FB to both your custom audience as well as a “look-alike audience.” All of that effort results in more people finding and linking to your center’s website, which not only helps with direct visits, but helps improve search engine rankings.
- Measure results and make adjustments. Measuring performance was critical to success, and nothing you do was set-and-forget.
- Analyze how your content ranked in search engines and how people interacted with it to make adjustments. Sometimes we rank for unexpected keywords, which is an opportunity to add more content to emphasize the related topic and improve your rankings even more.
- Change the featured image or tweaked the headline to create better engagement.
- Periodically re-promote evergreen content through your social channels.
- Don’t allow any dead wood to accumulate. Older content that isn’t performing well gets revamped, improved, or redirected. That kind of data-driven SEO work turns marginally successful content into hugely successful content.
“My absolute favorite thing about my work is having the opportunity to unlock a really lucrative channel for organizations that offer tremendous value in the product, service, or experience they provide, but who are having difficulty getting results on their own.
I say “unlock” because SEO is often seen as very technical and complicated, or worse, as some kind of voodoo tactic with little visibility into the cause and effect process that brings about results. I take pride in being able to quickly isolate and eliminate technical barriers, and laying out a go-forward strategy the consistently generates an outstanding return on investment. ” – Jim