In ContentGoogleSEO

The search environment is changing and consumer behavior is driving those changes, with Google increasingly ranking sites based on visitors' time on page and content which is able to fulfil user intent.

Firstly, what is user intent?  The main objective for today's search engines is to connect content with questions asked in search queries.  These questions reflect the intent of users and so content should be created which answers these questions. Understanding user intent is now the key to creating content that enhances the relevance of web pages and improves SEO.  

Google monitors this by measuring clicks to pages, seeing how long a visitor stays on that page and whether or not they abandon your page, return to the results page, and select different sites which cover the subject. Basically, those websites that fulfil user intent feature higher in the results. 

Once you capture the click, you then have to keep the visitor on your page.  Education or entertainment are the two most popular exchanges for time.  Much higher word counts, as well as images with appropriate alt text and video are essential for success.  

Also, exact match keywords such as the ones generally seen in menus are not sufficient in today’s online search landscape.  Long tail search (ie. a search using 3 or more keywords) is an inherently more specific search and Google will opt for a result that fulfils the users’ intent more closely. 

So what does that mean for our DMOs and how can they improve their rankings in the search results?  It's all about content, keeping it fresh and relevant and putting more effort into thinking about how it will fulfil user intent, capture clicks and keep visitors on your site.   

Here's few tips on how to achieve this:

1.  Consider different types of user intent

For our DMOs this will typically fall into two categories, ie. Informational (for those visitors who are researching a destination) and transactional (those that want to book a hotel or buy tickets for an attraction).  For example, at the research stage of the visitor journey, long form content with higher word counts is more effective so you need to review the pages of your site to see which category each falls into and whether the existing content supports user intent.

2.  Refine your content

Certain types of content are better for fulfilling user intent.  Media rich blogs and news articles (ideally linked to your product or menu pages to extend the visitors time on your site) are a great way to boost your site's ranking, as it is much easier to target long tail keywords and fulfil user intent in this form of copy.

Blog posts of 1500 words or 2500 words can be easily created by showcasing different types of products. Blog posts featuring top 10s/20s etc may not always be viable due to products requiring equal exposure but there are alternatives.  Many of our DMOs already aggregate content based around different themes to create a more level playing field for their providers. By covering a whole range of themes, providers will all have the potential to boost exposure for themselves and the destination.

This form of content creation helps boost your organic traffic on social media too. Tapping into your followers’ social networks with this kind of shareable content allows you to increase the brand reach of your destination.

Think quality over quantity - one single high quality blog could easily become a huge traffic generating landing page for your website.

3.  Work with your providers on product content

Product descriptions can be a great source of informative content for search engines and the bigger the word count, the better generally.  Our DMOs really need to work with their providers to ensure that product descriptions include an absolute minimum of 300 words in order for Google to recognise their product pages as high quality.

This strategy combined with multiple high quality images on product pages to show off what the product has to offer can really boost your site's presence in the rankings.  

For those areas of the site with lower word counts, content must be as comprehensive and informative as possible. 

So to summarise:

Those DMO’s who engage with their providers to create high quality, long form content will see an increase in organic traffic. Sites that stagnate and do not update the information on their websites will slowly decline as the information becomes dated. It’s important to think quality over quantity, as one high quality article can easily become a huge traffic generating landing page for your site.

If you put resources in place today your site will endure through what are increasingly competitive conditions. 

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