This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on my affiliate link and purchase something (at no additional cost to you!), I may earn a small commission that helps me keep the blog running. Thank you so much for your support!
There is no way around it. Becoming a successful travel blogger is hard work, and you won’t be an overnight success (sorry!). The best way to be successful is focussing on SEO for travel bloggers.
SEO for travel bloggers is pretty much the same as SEO for any other niche with a few notable exceptions.
Travel blogging is one of the most saturated and difficult markets to break into, and the people who are most successful are the ones that prioritize SEO over anything and everything else.
It takes a little longer to grow your blog when SEO is your main priority, but your success is bound to last longer and be more reliable compared to people who go viral and don’t give a hoot about SEO for travel bloggers.
SEO helps Google (and other search engines) find your content and show it to people who are searching a particular query. There are certain things you need to do to make the Google gods happy and show your content to views, and that is where SEO comes in. The better you are at creating SEO-friendly content, the more likely your content is to be shown to the right audience by Google. And, thus, the more traffic you get to your site and the more successful you become.
A lot of people neglect SEO because it isn’t as easy as just writing whatever and however you want.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t write however or whatever you want, but you should make whatever you write as SEO-friendly as possible.
Google SEO also takes a long time to work, and people tend to get frustrated.
If you follow the system and have a solid understanding of SEO for travel bloggers, you will start seeing results.
It isn’t easy, but it is worth it!
Let’s Quickly Chat About What SEO Is
Before we get into the top SEO for travel blogger tips, we need to have a chit chat about what exactly SEO is.
I’m going to guess you’ve heard of the term before since you’ve most likely Googled SEO for travel bloggers or something similar, so I’m not going to go into too much depth on this topic.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization.
It essentially means you’re writing a blog post in a way the Google bots like, so you can rank your post on page one of Google.
This doesn’t mean you stop writing for your reader though!
The reader comes first and Google comes second.
Everything you write should flow and sound natural. You shouldn’t keyword stuff or force certain words into your blog posts in an awkward or unnatural way.
If you’re doing SEO right, your reader won’t even realize they are reading an optimized post.
It will read naturally and authentically, and only you and the Google bots will know you were optimizing it for search.
There is a lot more to it than that, but, again, I’m going to guess you have a general idea of what SEO is based on the fact that your Google search brought you here. You care more about SEO for travel bloggers than a description of what SEO is in general!
Focussing on finding the right keywords is what changed the game for me.
I stopped writing about whatever I thought was interesting and took the time to research what people actually wanted to read.
I even paid for an expensive SEO for travel bloggers course, learnt how important keyword research is, ignored it for a year, and then wished I had been smarter earlier.
It is super tempting to just write about whatever topic you want.
It is your blog, so you should write about what you want to right!
I’m not saying not to write about what you want, but you need to do some keyword research to figure out what people are searching for in relation to what you want to write about.
And what the competition is.
This is especially true for new travel bloggers. You’re not going to rank for much when you first start out, so you should be targeting keywords with lower competition.
I use Keysearch as my keyword research tool.
There are lots of tools out there, so choose whatever works best for you!
Let’s say you want to write about Brussels. Specially, you want to write about all the fun things to do in Brussels.
You pop “things to do in Brussels” into Keysearch and find:
Yikes! That’s a lot of competition!
It is super hard to rank for any keyword that has a yellow dot or above.
Even after blogging for years, I still stick to targeting keywords that have a competition score (the number in the coloured box at the end of the row) of under 40.
The lower the better in my eyes.
So, with such high competition, you probably shouldn’t target that key phrase.
That is where you start to play around and find a similar key phrase that has a lower competition.
Eventually you find:
That’s a much better competition score and something a lot of new bloggers will be able to compete for.
But, as I imagine you can already see, there number of searches (the number right after the key phrase) is significantly lower with the second key phrase.
A lot of SEO gurus will tell you that it isn’t worth targeting any keyword or key phrase that has fewer than 1,000 searches per month.
It simply isn’t worth your time to write the article.
I don’t agree with that at all!
Competition and Search Volume
There is a delicate balance between competition and search volume.
In most instances, the most competitive keywords also have the most searches.
People want to get a lot of eyes on their sight and target popular keywords, but that doesn’t matter if you never end up ranking for that keyword and nobody ends up on your blog.
My favourite metric to look at is competition.
No matter how high the search volume, I won’t target a keyword that is very competitive.
It just isn’t how I’m strategically focussing on my personal SEO for travel bloggers. I like to write articles I know I can rank for even without a single backlink rather than write posts I know I need to drum up a lot of backlinks to just to have a chance at ranking in Google.
The nice things about lower volume search terms is you can easily rank for a number of different related keywords that all have a lower search volume.
The fact that other people ignore these keywords can be a goldmine for you!
I have articles where I’ve targeted three or four similar low volume, low competition keywords and am ranking for all of them.
Each keyword has less than 350 searches per month, but when you combine all the different keywords, the volume ends up being closer to 1,000 searches per month.
So, I’m getting a fair number of visitors per month from a single article because I targeted a few related low volume, low competition keywords.
I don’t have to put in a lot of effort into building backlinks to these blog posts since the competition is so low. Google naturally picks up my blog posts and ranks them just because there is so little competition writing about those keywords.
I think doing solid keyword research and writing posts targeting low competition keywords is one of the best ways to become a successful travel blogger.
It is really the backbone of SEO for travel bloggers.
You need to target keywords you can realistically rank for. You will have a hard time being successful if you only target high volume, high competition keywords.
Even if you do everything else right when it comes to SEO for travel bloggers, you won’t see the success people who target low competition, low volume keywords see.
All the other SEO for travel bloggers tips on this list are very important and play a part in how well you rank on Google, but, in my mind, keyword research is one of the most important parts of SEO.
Internal Linking is Essential
A lot of bloggers only focus on external linking, but internal linking is just as important.
Interlinking a lot of articles throughout your site helps build your E-A-T and show Google you’re an expert in that subject.
I like to build webs of posts that all link back to one another.
Here is an example of my day trips from Paris post. I wrote a separate post about every day trip I talked about and internally linked it in the day trips from Paris post. This was my first ever post on this blog, and I haven’t updated it in a while. Don’t judge how poorly it is written and formatted.
Internal links are so underrated but have a huge impact on how Google views your site.
Even if you don’t have any external links to a post, having a lot of internal links within that post shows Google you know what you’re talking about.
You should also make sure to internally link that post within other older posts to really show Google you’re an expert.
It takes some time to go back and add internal links within old posts, but it is worth it.
I like to have a mix of internal links integrated naturally within a sentence and some stand alone internal links.
It doesn’t really matter though. As long as you have a few internal links on every blog post!
Building links is something SEO gurus preach about when talking about SEO for travel bloggers.
There is such an emphasis on building external links that it seems like the be all end all.
It is important, but it isn’t the only thing you should focus on. Nor do I think it is the most important part of SEO for travel bloggers.
Don’t get me wrong.
You should be working to build external links, but you don’t need to break your back and only focus on building links to be a successful travel blogger.
DA is often spoken about as the most important part of being a blogger. People are actually pretty snobby about their DAs.
From my experience, you start seeing results and ranking in Google when your DA is about 10. Work hard to get it to that, and then you can lay off the gas and have a more holistic approach to SEO.
External links help build your authority in the eyes of Google.
The more people that give a do-follow link back to your site, the more authority your blog has. In the eyes of Google anyways.
Your DA and backlinks have zero impact on what your readers think of you!
Guest posting is the most time intensive way to gain backlinks to your site. It is worth the effort though!
Guest posting is where you write a post to be hosted on a larger blogger’s website.
You normally get two or three links back to your website in return for writing content for that person’s site.
Not only do you get some serious link juice flowing to your site, but you are exposed to a whole new set of readers.
Larger blogs tend to have a bigger audience.
Their audience reads your guest posts, likes your work, and clicks over to your site.
Now you have some new backlinks and new readers!
Some people say guest posting is dead, but I still think it is one of the most effective ways to increase your DA and gain backlinks to your site.
The problem is that it is a lot of work, and you’re writing an entire article for another website.
It is important to only write guest posts for keywords you don’t want to rank for.
Write posts targeting keywords that are way more competitive than the average keyword you target.
For example, you could write a post about things to do in Brussels and link your free things to do in Brussels post within the guest post to gain a backlink to that article.
Collab posts are a quick and easy way to gain backlinks to your blog.
The problem is that you share the link juice with the other 20 or so people participating in the collab post.
It is a great way to get backlinks to your site, and I regularly participate in collab posts.
It takes less than 10 minutes to write up a small blurb about my topic, and I get a link in return.
There are tons of Facebook groups out there dedicated to collabs.
A fellow blogger posts the topic they’re preparing a post on and asks people to help build the post.
You normally write 150 to 250 words on whatever topic (e.g. things nobody tells you about solo travel) and get a link to your homepage or relevant blog post in return.
It is quick, easy, and effective!
Three-Way Link Swaps
The final way to build backlinks to your website is participating in three-way link swaps.
This means you have to find two other bloggers to swap links with, which can be a bit of a hassle.
But once you find other bloggers to swap with, it is an effective and easy way to gain backlinks to your site!
It is important to only do three-way swaps. Never participate in two-way swaps.
Google really frowns on two sites linking back and forth to one another. You may be penalized for having too many two-way swaps, and it isn’t worth the risk.
Add Videos to Your Blog
More and more people rely on videos to get the information they are searching for.
Integrating videos into your blog posts is a great way to boost your time on page.
Adding videos isn’t commonly talked about in relation to SEO for travel bloggers, but it is becoming more and more important!
Embedding videos into your blog posts makes it more engaging for the reader.
They spend more time on your page/site, and Google rewards you for that.
You can embed your own YouTube videos or embed someone else’s videos.
It doesn’t really matter as long as the video correlates to the topic you’re writing about.
More and more bloggers are adding videos to their blog posts, and they’re being rewarded for it.
Make sure you jump on the video train as well!
Everybody and anybody who talks about SEO for travel bloggers will emphasize the importance of having a fast site.
And I’m going to lecture you about that too!
Page speed can make or break your blog.
You can write amazing content, but if you have a slow site, Google will punish you for it.
The two main ways you can speed up your site are:
- Resizing your images to make them smaller and
- Using a caching plugin
I manually resize the height and width of my images on my laptop. I also have the ShortPixel Image Optimizer plugin installed in WordPress.
It is a free plugin, and it automatically compresses the images on your site.
You would be shocked at how much large images can slow down your blog. You need to resize and compress them if you want a fast site.
The caching plugin can be a bit more difficult.
The most popular one is WPRocket.
I’ve used it and enjoyed it, but it is a paid plugin.
I stopped using it when I transferred my site to Green Geeks.
They are my favourite hosting provider, and they provide a caching plugin to their users for free!
It is awesome and even faster that WPRocket.
In fact, Green Geeks in general is super fast and beats the competition in terms of speed.
If you haven’t launched your blog or are looking to switch hosting providers, I highly recommend you check them out!
But the main takeaway from this portion of the post is to make sure your site is fast.
You can (and should) run your site through GTmetrix.
It will show you have fast your site is and let you know what aspects of your site need improvement.
Holy smokes! I did not intend for this post to be so long when I started writing it!
There is a lot that goes into SEO for travel bloggers, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
There is a reason why so many people have hours long courses on SEO for travel bloggers. You can spend weeks researching SEO best practices and still not know everything.
And you will learn as you go and figure out what SEO techniques work best for you and your blog.
If you skimmed this post, I don’t blame you!
Here are a few key takeaways you need to know:
- Target low competition key phrases
- Get your site as quick as humanly possible
- Never participate in two-way link swaps
- Embed videos into your blog posts
I could go on and on and on about SEO for travel bloggers.
Actually, it is fair to say I’ve already gone on too long.
The tips and tricks in this post will get your started on your journey.
There is a lot more to learn, but this is the foundation you need to start building a successful, Google-friendly travel blog.
It is a lot of work, but it is worth it!
There is hardly a better feeling than waking up in the morning and seeing how much money your blog made while your slept!
And having a strong SEO game will get you to that point!