So you’ve started a travel blog and want to focus on gaining traffic, followers and recognition for the great site that you run. You may be familiar with some SEO basics and know a bit about using common keywords in your posts, but how do you really make your blog work for you and establish it as a long term, viable digital asset?
The suggestions below may be considered advanced by some. If you’ve never dealt with SEO before, please do yourself a favor and read these relevant posts before continuing.
There. Ready? Let’s go!
On Site SEO Strategy for Travel Bloggers
The first thing we’ll go through is on-site SEO strategy. Making sure that the site is set up in an architecturally sound way that lets both search engines and users navigate throughout.
Install SEO Plugins
Set Your Permalinks
WordPress defaults to a common post structure that includes the dates in the URL. There’s nothing inherently bad about having dates in the URL, however the more concise approach would be to choose the “Post Name” URL structure. This means that each post URL contains just the post name in the URL by default.
Now the concise URLs in your blog will send clear signals to search engines about what your page content is about.
Create an SEO Friendly Menu
One thing I see all the time with bloggers is they use their category listings as elements of their page navigation. Think about it, you have different sections and it makes sense to use different categories in your menu navigation.
But this is less than optimal. What sort of experience are you providing your user by just showing a list of posts? You would ideally have a page full of content about the topic at hand, then some posts underneath it that belong to that category. That way both search engines and useres have plenty of evergreen content on the page to support the ever-changing list of content beneath. Luckily there’s a plugin for that!
Download the Page Builder plugin. This lets you add pages to your WordPress blog along with very flexible widgets.
Let’s say you have a “Places I’ve Traveled” section and want an SEO optimized landing page for all of your posts in that category? Follow these steps.
- Install the Page Builder plugin.
- Create a new page
- Within the PageBuilder section of the new page click Add Row
- In the newly created row, add the SiteOrigin Editor widget to add content
- Add another widget to the same row, this time the Post Loop widget
- In the “Additional” field of the Post Loop widget enter cat=XYZ where XYZ is the category number of the posts you want
Now you have a dedicated landing page you can add that has an optimized URL, content and post loop!
Noindex Your Duplicate Content
After you’ve created SEO optimized landing pages for your posts to include in your travel blog, you are going to want to noindex the category landing pages so you don’t run into any duplicate content issues.
This is where the SEO plugin comes in! Both plugins I mentioned will give you the option to “noindex” certain portions of your site.
After doing this, Google will know to only use your main landing pages in their ranking equation.
If you’ve done your homework, you know that Google uses the text in hyperlinks to figure out what the page being linked to is about. For this reason, you should regularly link to relevant posts as the opportunity arises within your keywords. If you have an article about how to make a living traveling the world, and you find yourself typing out that keyword in another post, then link to that post! See what I did there? I practice what I preach. That link will now provide search engines with some contextual information and keyword associations with the page on the receiving end of that link.
Link Building for Travel Bloggers
If you’ve spent any time researching SEO, you know the value of link building. But what exactly can you do to attract links? You don’t want to just fire off submissions to low quality directories. You have to be strategic and tactical.
Create Linkable Content that Helps Other Bloggers/Travelers
You need to create interesting pieces of content that other travelers and bloggers will want to share. How do you do this?
Resources that combine one of your specialties with travel. Good at SEO? Write an SEO for Bloggers post and share away. Good at doing hair and makeup? Write about staying made up while on the go. The key with this is to make it an exhaustive resource. Not just another post someone would skim, but a definitive resource.
Guides that showcase an intimate knowledge of popular destination that take a unique perspective. Don’t just write about what to do in London. Write about the Top 10 Vegan Breakfast spots. That’s a unique article that hasn’t been done to death.
Awards that you can give to other bloggers along with a badge. Often times a little good will recognizing others in your industry will be rewarded with a link back.
Getting your Content Seen and Linked To
Once you’ve created that awesome piece of content, you’re going to want to put it in front of as many people as possible.
Pinterest is handy for this. Spend some time developing a Pinterest account then after you have a respectable page, reach out to admins of popular boards to see if they wouldn’t mind letting you be a contributor. Pinning your link to these boards can send a lot of traffic to your sites.
Using Hootsuite, you can create custom search streams of tweets by people who have questions relating to certain keywords. If your piece of content helps people with questions, then what a great time to swoop in to the recue!
This should provide you a solid foundation for SEO success with your travel blog. Have anything I missed? Let me know! If you have any SEO questions or would like any assistance, feel free to leave a comment or reach out!