SEO Explained and its Role in your Tourism Business

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a loose term that everybody has heard about but only a few understand. In the African tourism industry, SEO plays a vital role because your clients are from different parts of the world and so majority of the business rely on good SEO to have your potential clients find your business online.

On the other hand, there are plenty of SEO service providers who intend to meet this demand and promise to put you on the first page of Google search results.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds. The bigger problem here is what’s “In Between”, what work does it take between simply having a website and having your website appear on a search engine’s top results.

The question is how much of SEO do you understand to make a decision on why you need it, who should do it, and how it should be done?

What is SEO

SEO is the process of driving quality traffic to your website and increasing its online visibility through organic search results.

Why do you need SEO

Scenario:

You are a safari company in Kenya.

1) When people google the keywords “BEST KENYA SAFARI PACKAGES”, you want to be among the top ones appearing on the first page of Google.

2) When people click and enter your website, you want the website to load right away. You want your users to have an awesome experience, and navigate easily throughout your site across all devices.

3) You want your users to read and like your content. You want them to understand the packages you’re offering and convince them to book or make an inquiry.

In the ideal world, you want the above to be the case for your business. This scenario is an example of a website that is well-optimized for search engines and users, who are your potential target clients.

How good SEO affects your business

Simply put, if your website is Search Engine Optimized, then people searching for your type of business will find you online and have a good experience with your website. Both factors if met, will likely lead to an inquiry.

How bad SEO affects your business

On the other hand, if your website is not Search Engine Optimized, then people searching for your type of business will find your competitors instead of you.

Another scenario is that even if they managed to find you, but they are presented with a poorly designed website that is hard to use, then they are likely to leave the site and look for other companies listed on Google.

How to Search-Engine optimize your website

There are hundreds of factors that search engines like Google use to rank websites for each search query that users type in. Here are the top 3 factors that matter:

1) Credibility Factors

  • Has relevant backlinks
  • The higher the number of relevant links, the better. Relevant means websites like The African Tourism Board linking to you and not from gambling or clothing websites.
  • Reviews
  • Having actual reviews from consumers that people can read online and see that you are a legitimate company with a verified business address.
  • Google Verified Business
  • Google favors verified businesses. This can be done via Google Business listing and Search Console among others.

2. Website Health

  • Speed
  • Your website should load fast enough. Factors include size of images, coding scripts, server response time, etc.
  • Site structure
  • This refers to your site navigation. Users should be able to find your products easily and not be lost in your website. Relevant content should be linking to each other.
  • Mobile-friendly
  • With the rise of smartphones and tablets, an increasing number of users now access your website from mobile or other forms of devices other than laptop/ desktop
  • Indexing and working links
  • You need to ensure your pages are indexed online. It’s like being in a website directory. Also, all your links should be working (not directing to a Not Found/ 404 page)

3) Landing pages

  • Determine competitive keywords and use them properly
  • Your website pages should use well-researched keywords that you have a better chance of ranking. For example, “Kenya Safari” is a prime keyword and very difficult to rank for especially if you’re just starting out. Whereas, “best Kenya safari packages” still gets a lot of search volume but more realistic to compete with. The keywords should match your landing page and be used properly throughout the page. Hence, when people click your website, they should see only Kenya safari packages and not packages from Tanzania or all over Africa.
  • Original, well-written, and rich content
  • Copy-pasted content that are plagiarized elsewhere are frowned upon and can cause your website to rank even lower. It has to be original, well-written, and useful content, meaning your client will get something out of it. Produce content that your clients would want to read and not just for the sake of having something in there.
  • Professional design
  • Your website is like your office because most, if not all, of your clients interact with you online. A website with a terrible layout, uneven fonts, photo sizes, and overall design is just like having a messy office. Your website says a lot about the kind of supplier you are. After all, first impression lasts.

How to Hire a Good SEO Specialist

You should keep in mind that SEO is not a one man's job, it's a Team Effort!

A good SEO is a result of consistent efforts from your marketing team including the owner or the Marketing Manager. The SEO provider should, at the very least, ask you or your Marketing Manager some relevant questions about your business:

  • About your industry
  • Who are your top competitors
  • Your target market
  • Your prime products (If you’re a local company based in Kenya, you want to focus on your Kenya packages rather than Tanzania or Rwanda)
  • Your current/past marketing strategy
  • Access to website, Search Console, Analytics, Adwords, and other relevant accounts.

Warning

If you hire an SEO person who never even bother to ask about your business, industry, and your type of products, then that’s money down the drain. Worse, if that person never even asked for your website access, server access or coordinated with your IT/ web developer for anything at all, then that’s literally your hard-earned money handed to a thief.

There is no such thing as out-of-the-box SEO.

As explained above, one should be familiar about your industry and your business to proceed with the whole SEO process. Those who say otherwise will just  probably try to get you links from irrelevant websites or over-stuff your landing pages with a bunch of keywords. This is called black-hat SEO.

For an overview, here’s how your SEO team setup should look like and remember that on top of this is you, or your Marketing Manager:

Top SEO Factors

Credibility Factors

  • Has relevant backlinks
  • Reviews
  • Google Verified Business

Responsible: SEO Specialist, Writer

Website Health

  • Speed
  • Site structure
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Indexing and working links

Responsible: SEO Specialist, Website Developer, IT Personnel

Landing Pages

  • Determine competitive keywords and use them properly
  • Original, well-written, and rich content (static pages and blog articles)
  • Professional lay-out

Responsible: SEO Specialist, Writer, Web Designer

There is no shortcut to a well-optimized website. It takes several months and even years to build one and takes continuous effort to sustain it. SEO is part of the entire marketing process that you should be investing on. Find a supplier you can trust and work together to achieve a common goal – to strengthen your online presence that will ultimately, lead to more inquiries and bookings.

Want to know how we can help grow your business? Learn more about our SEO services, check out our marketing packages, or email us for inquiries. 

3 Comments
  • William
    Posted at 05:31h, 11 July Reply

    fair enough, well said and convincing….

  • Trading Africa
    Posted at 10:22h, 08 June Reply

    very post. Thanks for writing about this.

  • Bharat Taxi
    Posted at 09:33h, 24 June Reply

    This is great post, I like it. Thanks for sharing helpful information. Your writing is very good, I really use full this post. thank you very much for this post.

Post A Comment