Slow Travel Webinar
Visiting 193+ Countries Without Flying  

Post icon

How do you optimise your blog for Google?

Tips for travel bloggers to improve search engine rankings
Comment Badges
Share
Recommend this?
โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…
1 Review 5/5
Founder, Editor, Blogger, The Travel Pocket Guide

Hey everyone,

I wanted to write about website article optimisation, to see how many people are making an effort to optimise their travel content, so that it's ranked by Google?

For those that don't know about Google SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), this might be the perfect starting point to improve your content and its reach. For those that already do, this will be a perfect opportunity to discuss tips and advice to help improve website rankings for you and and other readers of this post.

To kick things off, I wanted to share what we do when publishing content on our website www.thetravelpocketguide.com

First of all, we take care in choosing articles we write about. This level of care is to ensure the article is a new topic not previously featured, and to make sure it will appeal to our demographic target market (people who enjoy travelling typically 30+).

Once the content topic is decided we aim to write 1,000 words+. Now, I am not claiming to be a Google expert, and I can't necessarily backup any of the tactics we use because we do not know for sure what the Google algorithms are. But we believe, through research that long-form content is liked by Google. So, 1,000+ words is a good benchmark.

Next we make sure to select keywords, or keyword phrases that we optimise in our articles, this involves a few tips and tricks such as making sure keywords are mentioned in the first paragraph of the copy, in the header, the meta description, title and on a image Alt tag. To improve your keyword ranking chances even more, we make sure that keywords are mentioned enough within the article (not too much), and consistently (not crammed into one section).

There are also other tactics we use to boost the blog rankings, from manually submitting the page via Google Search Console (rather than waiting for Google to crawl your site), to also working on the article readability score to give the page an overall high rating SEO performance.

There are other factors which help a websites rankings which include frequency of content (it's good to be consistent), inbound links (ideally from higher authors websites), and generally publishing good content.

I've only skimmed the surfaces really but I'd be keen to learn what people think, what works best for your blogs, and maybe together we can help improve our content for the greater benefit to us all.

Thanks for reading - let's get discussing and improving :)

7 months ago (edited)
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

Hey Ben, thanks for sharing your tips.

Here's a few that I'll add:

1. WHY is SEO part of your blog strategy? Before getting into the tactical side of search engine optimisation for your blog, you should ask "Why do I want more traffic?" and "What kind of traffic do I want?".

If you can answer these two questions, then answer a third: "What will I DO with the traffic?". Traffic is nice, but conversion is better โ€” so have a plan for this. Will you run ads, or affiliate links? Do you want your visitors to follow your socials and subscribe to your newsletter? Or do you want to flip them as quickly as possible out the door to an affiliate booking? There's lots of questions here... but I'd try to have some answers to these before worrying about any kind of optimisation. In other words, what is the purpose of your blog.

2. What PART of the booking funnel are you optimising for? Keyword-driven traffic can be highly intent based, depending on the query you're optimising for. For example, the query "Best time to visit Sydney?" is higher up the funnel than "Places to stay near Bondi Beach". If you're optimising for revenue (see point 1) then you might want to focus on the latter query which is closer to the booking and therefore more likely to convert with a hotel affiliate widget (e.g. Travelpayouts or Stay22). The kind of traffic you're going after will determine the style of the content that you write.

3. Don't go with the crowd. Does the world need another "Top 10 Places To Stay Near Bondi Beach?" article? Probably not. Go looking for long-tail content that is under-served with less competition. Find a less-competetive place that you can be authority about (you live there, or have been there). If you live in a remote town or smaller city, then that's a great starting place for long-tail content. You'll see results quicker with less competition, and you can build your confidence up if you decide to tackle more competitive terms.

4. Obey PageSpeed. What am I talking about here? Google PageSpeed is a score handed out based on a number of metrics such as page loading time, accessibility, and other things. You can look up the score of any article on your blog over at pagespeed.web.dev. A score of 90+ is desirable. If you are below 50 then you need to do the work to improve it. Too often I see bloggers with great content FAIL at PageSpeed with cheap hosting. Do you really want to pay $5 a month for cheap hosting and get a PageSpeed score of 25, when you could have paid $20 a month for decent hosting on a faster server to get 70? You might pay $15 a month more for hosting but your traffic could be 5x with a simple upgrade.

Hope these tips help!

7 months ago (edited)
Founder, Editor, Blogger, The Travel Pocket Guide

Excellent tips, thank you for sharing :) Value right there!

7 months ago
Founder, Made to Wander

No. 3. I always assumed people recycled the same "top places" because it ranked them better? Now you are telling me there is no reason for so many of these unoriginal articles?!

7 months ago
Ian
Founder, Travel Massive

Listicles might get favoured because a) more people click them, and b) they can appear as rich snippets at very top of results. But if everyone makes the same listicle, you'll be competing for a finite number of search queries. So make a top 10 list about a lesser-known place.

7 months ago
Rod
Founder, JobBoardSearch

Excellent tips Ben and Ian, thanks for sharing :)

One of the top reasons for a slow website is large images, and google likes fast websites, so make sure to crop images to the correct size and also compress, you could do it manually of via API with TinyPNG. And of course lazyload them, nowadays you don't even need a JavaScrip lib you just need to add the loading="lazy" attribute to the <img> element

Actually, not only the page loading time matters but the whole "Core Web Vitals Metrics": Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) First Input Delay (FID) Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

At the startup I work for -which is a known British portal of quirky accommodations in the UK with 3M visitors per year - I spend a whole month working on CWV score as it really affects the SERP ranking and we don't do any paid ads so we must to rank on top. In order to assess you do it using Lighthouse and in order to optimize I learned by following the Google Developers guide at web.dev/learn-core-web-vitals/ ( and a lot of trial and error!)

It's important to note that to pass the Core Web Vitals Google assessment the data should be collected for a period of 28 days and for that you need to load the "web-vitals" library and run some JavaScript code, you can find all the details at github.com/GoogleChrome/web-vitals

Hope these tips help!

7 months ago
Travel Writer/Photographer, Have Glass, Will Travel

I have my console setup, but you mention that you can manually submit the page via Google Search Console. How?? I'm interested in trying that with my latest post.

7 months ago
Founder, Editor, Blogger, The Travel Pocket Guide

Thanks for commenting. When you login to Google Search Console, on the "Overview" section, at the top in the middle paste the URL in that you want to manually crawl faster. The box you paste the URL in should say in light grey "Inspect any URL...". Once the URL has been inspected, simply click "REQUEST INDEXING" on the right hand side. It can take a minute or two to finish. It's a great tool and I hope this helps :)

7 months ago
Content & Community Manager, Travel Massive

Here's a good webinar recording on the topic from yesterday:

SEO for travel bloggers - how to optimize old blog posts

7 months ago (edited)

To check your website backlinks in a proper way I can recommend ahrefs.com/de/backlink-checker or similar tools. Also quite good to keep an eye on the rating quality of each link.

6 months ago
Sales | Nomad | Photography, ahimsaimages

Hey Ben, thanks for sharing. This is such a relevant topic - especially for the Nomad community who are trying to build a brand around their professional services. SEO is without a doubt (IMO) the best way to generate traffic to your content. Amongst other things, for the simple reason that your content becomes searchable and findable on the most used URL in the world. Beat that.

When I first started blogging, I used a tool called Keysearch online. It took a few weeks to get the hang of but once I understood how it works and the level of input required, it was by far the most effective keyword tool I have used. I had a blog about being a Digital Nomad in San Pancho (Mexico) go to number 1 on Googles SERP in a matter of weeks.

5 months ago