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What is SEO, and how can it shape your airport’s destination marketing strategies?

11 Jan 2024
Sarah Marks

That recommendation from a friend who raved about their latest holiday destination. The photos and videos on social media enticing travellers to visit a place. Or how about that wonderful article in the travel magazine waxing eloquent about a location. These are all great sources to get ideas for and plan a trip, right?

While they sound promising, the reality of how travellers plan is different. According to Skift, online search is the most popular channel for planning a trip, with 46% of travellers using this method to plan their getaways. So how can you get these travellers from the search results page to your airport’s website? Search engine optimisation (SEO) is your answer.

What is search engine optimisation?

Search engine optimisation focuses on improving a website’s visibility in search engine results. It involves optimising different aspects of a website, such as the content, structure, and technical performance, to align with the interpretation and ranking criteria of search engines like Google.

For airports, this means creating content and designing web features that highlight the destinations your airport caters to. SEO’s strength lies in its ability to attract visitors who are actively seeking information or services related to these destinations. It has several benefits for airports.

  • Increased visibility: SEO boosts your airport website’s visibility in search results, making it easier for travellers to find information about your airport and its destinations.
  • Enhanced user experience: SEO encourages website optimisation, leading to a better user experience, which is vital for attracting and retaining travellers.
  • Brand perception: High search engine rankings are often associated with trust and credibility, instilling confidence in travellers that your airport can serve their needs.
  • Data-driven decision-making: SEO tools and analytics provide valuable data on user behaviour and website performance, helping you make informed marketing decisions and refine strategies.
  • Competitive advantage: Successful SEO can give your airport a competitive edge by outperforming rivals in search rankings and attracting more travellers.

3 ways to use SEO in your destination marketing campaigns

Use relevant keywords and phrases

Keyword research is the process of identifying and analysing the terms and phrases that people use in search engines when looking for information. For airports, this means finding out exactly what potential customers and travellers are typing into search engines when they’re planning trips or looking for airport services. It’s not just about the most popular search terms but also the specific language and queries related to travel and destinations that your airport serves. By knowing the exact search terms your target audience uses, your airport can tailor website pages and content to answer these searches.

Research and use keywords within your content that are relevant to the destinations your airport serves. For example, if your airport offers flights to Majorca, including phrases like ’flights to Majorca’ or ‘Majorca weekend breaks’ in the website content can help it appear higher in search results for these terms. This strategy involves:

  • Choosing keywords based on what travellers search for about the destination
  • Creating specific landing pages for each destination that use these keywords in the content
  • Writing meta descriptions and titles for web pages that include these keywords, helping to improve the page’s visibility and click-through rate
  • Adding these keywords to image alt tags, enhancing SEO for images and making the website more accessible to users who rely on screen readers

You should also include long-tail keywords in your page content. These keywords are often questions that travellers type into search engines. For example, rather than just using ‘flights to Majorca’, an airport could target ‘Which airport do you fly to to go to Majorca?’ This approach is less about competing for common, broad search terms and more about answering specific queries that potential travellers have.

Adding an FAQ section on the page for the destination is a smart move. Here, airports can answer common questions travellers have about different destinations, like ‘What is the best month to visit Majorca?’ or ‘What is the closest town to Majorca airport?’. By directly responding to these questions, the airport’s website becomes more likely to show up in search results when people look for this information. This improves the airport’s search rankings and helps potential travellers find exactly what they’re looking for, increasing the chances of them clicking through to the website.

Keyword research tools: Some popular keyword research tools to use include Semrush, Ahrefs, Google Trends, Google Search Console, and Keywords Everywhere. Tools like AlsoAsked and the ‘People Also Ask’ section in Google search results can help you find questions to answer directly in the page’s content.

Optimise your airport website for mobile search and checkout

Travellers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to research their trips. In 2022, 59% of online traffic for travel sites came through mobile device, but only 37.5% of travellers made travel bookings using a smartphone. There’s a missed opportunity here, and airports that optimise their websites for mobile users can tap into this growing market by improving the mobile booking experience and closing travel sales.

By addressing the factors that deter mobile bookings — such as complicated navigation, slow loading times, and cumbersome checkout processes — airports can increase the likelihood of converting mobile traffic into confirmed bookings.

Key aspects of mobile optimisation include:

  • A responsive design, ensuring the website adjusts effectively to different screen sizes
  • Mobile friendly navigation elements, including larger buttons and easily accessible menus
  • Fast loading times that help maintain user interest and prevent frustration caused by slow loading pages
  • Optimising images and videos for faster loading
  • Ensuring content is easy to read on a mobile device, using sections and short paragraphs
  • Delivering a smooth and hassle-free checkout experience on mobile devices.

Optimising your website for mobile devices is not just good for the user experience but also for SEO. Google has confirmed that it uses mobile-first indexing, meaning it looks at the mobile version of a website to determine indexing and ranking.

Track and analyse website performance

Once you’ve hit publish on your keyword-optimised website, it’s time to track how travellers respond to it.

Reviewing how your website performs tells you how effective your destination marketing SEO efforts are. It helps you understand which aspects of your marketing strategy are hitting the mark, and which aspects might need some changes. By regularly checking how well each destination page on your website is doing, you can make small adjustments to your website and your future marketing campaigns to better match what travellers are looking for. This ongoing observation helps you to quickly adapt to emerging trends and shifts in traveller preferences, keeping your SEO efforts up-to-date and relevant.

When deciding which SEO results to track, make sure they align these with your airport’s business goals. Take, for example, the goal of increasing bookings to a specific destination. To effectively measure this, focus on metrics like organic traffic to destination-specific pages, conversion rates for booking transactions, and click-through rates (CTR) from search engine results pages. By closely monitoring these metrics, you can determine how well your SEO efforts are contributing to your primary objective of boosting bookings.

Data and analytics tools: Rezcomm’s web analytics module works with GA4 to provide advanced tracking and reporting capabilities with tracking of conversions, revenue, and consumer behaviour. Its integration with Google Search Console enables you to gather a wealth of data, including what specific keywords drive organic traffic and CTR from Google search results, among other metrics.

Our analytics system also tracks booking cancellations and amendments, giving you a holistic view of bookings and more effective end-to-end tracking. This enriched tracking capability ensures a comprehensive understanding of customer interactions, booking trends, and revenue.

Reviewing SEO data offers insights into what travellers are looking for and how they interact with your website. By staying responsive to the data, you can ensure that your SEO efforts are not only aligned with current traveller trends and preferences but are also proactive in anticipating future shifts.

Level up your destination marketing SEO with Rezcomm

Making SEO a part of your airport’s destination marketing efforts is a smart choice. It helps your airport show up more in online searches, connecting you with potential customers who are planning trips to the places you serve, which could lead to more bookings.

Get in touch to learn how Rezcomm can help your airport’s website improve its SEO performance and help travellers find you at the top of the search results.