Travel websites must provide original, authoritative content and avoid repeating information available elsewhere on the web to attract more traffic, digital marketing experts said this week.
Sites can no longer rely on littering their content with keywords to lure visitors as the largest search engine Google has become so sophisticated it can weed out those that try so-called 'black hat' tactics.
Richard Brooks, director of search strategy at digital agency Fresh Egg, said recent changes to Google's algorithms had been designed to punish those sites that were overly-aggressive in optimising their sites for search engines.
The latest Google update, known as Penguin, caused those travel companies that relied heavily on key words to draw visitors to their sites to lose a large proportion of their search engine traffic.
Speaking at a Travel Babble SEO seminar organised by Fresh Egg, Brooks said it was now vital that travel sites made sure their content was relevant and authoritative to avoid falling foul of Google. "If you are not relevant to your audience, you don't get a second shot," he said.
"It is very important that you manage what you say, your voice must be authoritative."
Quality not quantity is now key, said Expedia inbound marketing director Martin Macdonald. "People are looking for content that is original, not brochure quality," he added.
Travel sites should be looking to add videos, he said, and make better use of tools such as Foursquare.
By Linsey McNeill
Friday, June 29, 2012