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Booking a holiday involves a huge amount of research finding the right destination, picking accommodation and flights, reading reviews, and finally making a booking.

Therefore search marketing in the travel industry is both incredibly competitive and complex.

A new report from Epiphany looks at which travel sites are the most visible websites across Google’s paid and organic search results, where visibility is defined by ‘paid visibility’ and ‘SEO visibility’ scores.

It shows that Tripadvisor is the most visible brand, with travel aggregator sites featuring prominently in the list.

The scores are based on

  • The number of times a domain appears in the search engine results.
  • Its prominence within those SERPs.
  • The competitiveness of the keyword.

Here’s a quick look at the results from the organic listings, and for more on this topic check out our blog posts looking at mobile search in the travel industry and common usability flaws on travel sites.

Organic visibility

Holidaymakers search using millions of different keywords so it’s important for travel providers to achieve an organic search presence at every stage of the customer journey to maximise their sales.

The report shows that Tripadvisor dominates in terms of overall visibility and the number of keywords it’s visible for, with TravelSupermarket the second most visible site despite only appearing for 86,000 keywords.

It is likely that sites that appear for a small number of keywords yet achieve high overall rankings are targeting more keywords with higher search volumes, have higher rankings overall, or both.

Specialist sites, such as Cheapflights and Skyscanner, target relatively small numbers of keywords yet are obviously ranking well for a lot of important search terms.

Domain authority

Domain authority (DA) is generally accepted as one of the best measures of a website’s ability to rank for its target keywords.

This graph shows the DA of the most visible sites in order of organic search visibility ranking and, as expected, the more visible sites have a higher DA.

Domain authority vs. organic visibility

There are obviously a few exceptions to the rule though, such as Low Cost Holidays and Teletext Holidays, which achieve high visibility despite relatively low domain authority.

The report suggests that as they are online-only companies they likely have a targeted SEO strategy built around specific web content and aim to rank primarily for competitive keywords that generate high volumes of traffic and conversions.

Link acquisition

Link building is obviously a key part of any SEO strategy, so the most visible sites will likely have spent time creating interesting and useful content that results in a high number of quality links.

The report investigates how many new links each site built over a 90-day period according to Majestic SEO.

As expected, there is a correlation between the DA of a website and the number of links it has and the number it has acquired in the previous 90 days.

TripAdvisor once again performs well in terms of link acquisition, while Booking.com has a particularly high number of links relative to other sites and visibility; it’s much the same for EasyJet, British Airways, Ryanair and Hotels.com.

David Moth

Published 31 July, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1684 more posts from this author

Comments (1)

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Michael Locker MD, Manager at Sanofi

Cool. Thanks.

Michael Locker, MD

over 2 years ago

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