7 Tips for Basic SEO for Travel Blogs
May 22, 2020
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.
This guide is going to cover the absolute basics that you need to know about SEO for travel blogs. Your first question might be, what the heck is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is means by which you format your blog posts that allows that be found on standard search engines, such as Google. The sooner that you nail the basics of SEO, the sooner that you’ll find success with your blog. Admittedly, I was quite late to the SEO game, so I have spent a lot of time rewriting and reformatting old posts. This guide will cover 7 tips on basic SEO for travel blogs.
- Write Longer Posts
- Use Headers Correctly
- Do Keyword Research
- Optimize Your Images
- Add a Meta Description
- Optimize Your Blog Post Title
- Add Links
Basic SEO for Travel Blogs
Write Longer Posts
Longer blog posts, typically those that are 2,000 words or longer, typically do better. However, it is crucial that these longer posts are high quality and information. Don’t just fill your posts with fluff in order to make them longer. Longer blog posts tend to be more informative. Additionally, longer content that is engaging and high quality often leads to people spending more time on your website. Longer read times signals to Google, and other search engines, that your posts are both showing.
Use Headers Correctly
This is a bit embarrassing to admit, although I’m sure there are plenty of other new bloggers in the same boat. When I first started blogging I had absolutely no idea what the different headers were for. What is the difference between an H2 and an H3? Can’t I just write everything as one long paragraph and bold my sections? The short answer, no!
Headers provide structure for your blog posts. Headers are super important because they allow for search engines to crawl your website, and quickly pull out the most important sections. This helps search engines like Google understand what your blog post is about, so that it can display it when appropriate. You should make sure to include your keywords within your main headers. A rule of thumb is to use an H2 header every 200-500 words.
Here are the basics:
- H1 is the main header, or title of your blog post. This tells readers what your post is about.
- H2 headers break your blog post into main sections. Think of these as similar to chapters in a book, which each section covering a slightly different variation of the main topic.
- H3 and H4 headers are used to further break up your main blog sections.
Do Keyword Research
When you write a blog post, you first need to understand what people are actually searching for. This includes both the topic and the exact phrases that are being used when users search. There are plenty of website that you can use to help you figure out just this. I have a yearly subscription to KeySearch, and it well worth the paid plan.
The two main things that you want to look at when deciding on a keyword is the Search Volume and the Difficulty. When you are first starting out, you’ll want to start with long tail keywords or super specific keywords that are easier to rank for. In many cases these easier keywords will only have a search volume of 20-50, however this is enough to get you started. Ranking for easy keywords is a good way to get yourself on the first page of Google search results.
Here is a good example:
Looking at these results, I see that “lago di braies italy” has a higher search volume than “how to get to lago di braies,” however it is considerably easier to rank for “how to get to lago is braies”. If you are just starting out then I would recommend trying to rank for this long-tail keyword instead.
Once you decide on the keyword that you’re trying to rank for, this keyword should be used in your blog title, headers, paragraph text, URL slug, alt text, and photo names. Ahrefs has an extensive guide on keyword research if you’re ready to dive into the topic.
Optimize Your Images
If you’re anything like me then your photo organization is a total mess. Good news, is that I recently purchased a Dropbox subscription so that I can find some sort of order for my hundreds of thousands of photos. However, most of these photos will automatically be titled, something along the lines of DSC_1983.jpg.
When you are writing a blog post, it is so important to rename these file images. Instead of DSC_1983, I would rename the above image something like Lago_di_Sorapis_hike.jpg. Not only does this describe the photo a heck of a lot better, but it also includes the keyword that I am trying to rank for. Especially for travel blogs, where users are often entranced by beautiful images on Google, naming your photos is key!
It is also important that you add in an alt description for your photos. Alt descriptions are automatically pulled from your Pinterest descriptions. Another option is the WP Tasty Pins for customizing your Pin description. It is a great option for adding Pinterest descriptions to your non-pin images, and one of the best ways to use Pinterest to grow your blog. WP Tasty Pins is paid plugin for WordPress that allows you to adds a “Pinterest description box” to your normal media functions on WordPress. What does this means? Rather than just pulling your alt text for Pinterest descriptions, you can now fill in a Pinterest Title and description in addition to your alt text. The plugin costs $29 USD and is so so worth it. You can purchase it here.
Add a Meta Description (super important for SEO for travel blogs)
One of the most important tips for seo for travel blogs is adding a meta description. Any blog post that you write should include a meta description, or meta tag. This is the snippet that appears under your blog title when it appears in search results. Meta descriptions should not exceed 160 characters. The descriptions should be informative, utilize your keywords, and include actionable text that entices readers to click through for more info.
Optimize Your Blog Post Title
Your blog post title is typically a reader’s first encounter with your page. It is super important that your title is catchy, informational, and SEO-friendly. Titles should be no more than 60 characters, including spaces. Titles should always include the keyword that you are trying to rank for.
Think about it, which of the following two options would you be more likely to read:
- How to Double Your Blog Traffic in One Month
- Thailand Guide
It is super important to add links to your post. These links should be a combination of links to your own blogs posts, and links to external websites that are highly relevant. If you are linking to your own blogs, make sure that the hyperlinked text includes the relevant keyword for the post that you are linking to. Below is a snippet from my Road Trips in the Dolomites post. Notice how i’m linking the phrase “Hiking Seceda,” which is the keyword that I am ranking for for that specific post.
If it also important to get links back to your posts for seo for travel blogs! This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including guest posts, link swaps, and just by chance! The better your content is, the more likely that others will want to reference and link back to it in their own posts.
Interested in traveling blogging? Here are some other helpful posts: