The travel blogging industry is more than saturated. There are hardly any original names available for the domains and they start to overlap one another. We have all thought of opening a blog, in a simple way and start writing about our adventures traveling anywhere in the world there. But what few of us do is guide the SEO of a travel blog from the first moment, and study its structure before starting to write about that beach with the dreamy sunset.
Today I take the witness of Javier Gosende myself, Pablo Aznar, SEO consultant, Digital Marketing professional, and above all founder of a travel blog that has earned + € 73,000 per year and has obtained +600,000 page views on average during its third year of existence.
Keep reading as here I tell you a little more about the web structure system, the SEO strategy, and the affiliation network of one of the travel blogs in Spanish that have grown the most in recent years.
The study, compare and analyze the sector
Before starting any project, be it a travel blog or a bakery in your neighborhood, sit back, and reflect. Think about the moment of opportunity, study if there is a demand for the product you want to offer, and analyze the competition. These steps are essential for the “cold” entry of any business into any sector.
If you want to start a travel blog, study the best, and understand why that specific blog works and not the other 99%. Do they have an overwhelming domain authority? Is their budget for marketing actions infinitely higher than yours? Do they write many more articles a week than you could write in a year?
This preliminary analysis is essential to understand if it is worth launching a project to which you are going to dedicate (many) hours of your life.
Define a strategy and establish an action plan
Of course, after the analysis is done and having found a hole in the niche where you can start putting your head in, it is time to take action. We assume that you have already made your website, you have your WordPress installed, and your favorite theme about to release.
But before clicking on the Tickets button and starting to write about that sunset, let’s stop a bit. You have to open another Excel sheet and start defining your publication strategy. Do a keyword analysis and think about what you can talk about extensively and forcefully. Use longtails first, remember that if you have just started you will not be able to position yourself for the most competitive keywords in the sector.
Start from less to more. First the visit to that church that left you with your mouth open. Then the route through that neighborhood where he was, within that far away city. Later the city guide and so you go “zooming out” while gaining perspective and fishing for visits from here and there.
Once you have your plan defined and your perfect structure in mind, once you are familiar with topics such as ” clusters “, ” SILO “, and a long list of terms that you have never heard before, the moment of writing begins.
Wait. Brake the car. It has not arrived yet, we still have to analyze a couple more sections, that there is no rush.
In a travel blog that takes the whole world into account, you will be able to “cluster” by country, as long as you internally link the articles that deal with the same country. If you go on a trip to Greece for a couple of weeks, you will want to write about Athens, Meteora, Santorini and a lot of other places. Perfect, each one intertwined with each other always in a natural way and at the same time linking to the superior category of Greece. That the user (and Google) can flow naturally through your articles.
Start creating content consistently
Speaking of content, it has always been said that this is the king, referring to its vital importance when ranking any keyword (we can calmly discuss this statement whenever you want). You need to establish a content plan, an editorial calendar, where you establish each article you want to publish. Usually, consistently, no boring you on the third day.
In Traveler Learning I started writing a couple of weekly articles and increased the publication rate until the daily article just before the arrival of the pandemic. If you have just started the blog and have a still very low authority, with little traffic, focus on the longtail keywords. «What to visit in Madrid on a Sunday with children». Take ya longtail. Having less competition will make it easier to rank keywords with more specific search intentions. You may have much less search volume, but you will compete against fewer giants in the industry and your chances of ranking at the top of Google will increase exponentially.
And of course, speaking of content, we have to mention one of the strategies that work the most in the travel blogging sector, the skyscraper technique. As in New York at the beginning of the last century, they began to build skyscrapers that were a few meters higher than the previous one, SEO we have to write content that improves the best. We have to overcome him with effort and desire.
A highly recommended technique is to search the first page of Google for pages with little authority that rank well for a keyword you want to attack. Surely your content is 10 and has a highly optimized on-page SEO, with a lot of H2s, infographics, and everything.
Very good, well, you write your article with a “lot + 1” of H2s, more infographics and on top you include a video that you made with a selfie stick where you give a couple of tips that only you know. And yes, speaking of on-page SEO we have to go to the next section:
Be careful with on-page SEO, the semantic field, and the keywords “under the rug”
Now that we know how to write optimized articles and who to look at when ranking, what better way than to talk about the semantic field, so important to Google in the post-keyword stuffing years.
Semantic SEO became really important after the Hummingbird update, however, it has been present since almost the beginning of the search engine. It analyzes the richness of the content, especially in the semantic field of the main keywords.
It is no longer so necessary to reiterate the keyword throughout the text, but rather to use terms that contextualize the keyword so that the user and Google can interpret the meaning of the content. It is very important to always think about search intent, so work on empathy and rake your brain.
Another tip I can give is to include the keywords “under the rug”.
-But Pablo (you might be thinking), first skyscrapers and now carpets… why don’t you speak like a «normal» SEO, with acronyms and words in English?
Well, the metaphor has come out for me like this, and I think it’s quite visual. Once you are writing your traveling articles and you already know what related keywords to include, your perfect longtail, and your words from the same ready semantic field you will have to include them in the text, of course.
But that is not always so simple, since the first thing they teach you in this SEO world is that you have to write for the user. Well, one more lie, but the main thing is that you do not repeat your keyword even in the soup. For this reason, it takes advantage of the places “hidden” in the eyes of the reader but visible to those of Google, such as the “alt” texts of the images. There you can include the keywords that you have not been able to put nature in the article.
Don’t forget to promote the article and off-page SEO
Once you have your articles written, published, and perfectly optimized, you will have to promote them. What better way to do it than by sharing your new article with the information from that Greek city on your personal (and professional, if you have) networks. Surely you will get several clicks, both from curious people and from followers who are really looking for solutions to a problem they may have.
Several of them may want a quick, simple, and carefree guide for their next trip, or even after reading you, they have been encouraged to travel to that destination. You will already have the first letters of the word “influencer”.
For SEO it is vital that an article receives traffic, but it is also important that it has links from other important sources in the sector that point to your website. The so-called link building. And in the travel sector, you will need all the strength you can get from the most important pages in the sector. I am not referring only to other travel blogs that talk about you, but to tourism companies, agencies, hotels, and a host of mediators within an industry that is growing as fast as it is fading (I will not talk today about how the Covid).
To finish this article, remember that you have to guide a travel blog as a long-term project, and you have to think about it from the beginning. Its structure by clusters, categorizing each section very well (and taking care of internal linking), studying the user’s search intentions, and analyzing the steps of the competition.
I would like to conclude by thanking Javier Gosende for lending me his house online for a moment so that I can share some ideas with you.
Do you want to know more?