As many as 80 percent of the top UK travel websites are losing out on potential traffic by not covering the most basic requirements search engines look for when ranking sites. According to research by search marketing specialists Spannerworks, many of the top travel websites are not taking advantage of the growing number of travel-related searches conducted daily on major search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.

The study looked at the commercial websites of the top 25 UK travel companies. The sites were graded against factors important to the search engines, such as whether search engines can access website content, whether that content relates to their key products and any evidence of techniques search engines recommend against – such as having text visible to search engines but not users.

Good relevant content is an important criterion used by search engines to decide who ranks top in natural search listings. Although 64% of the sites analysed can be accessed by search engines, over half do not have sufficient content focused on their key travel offerings.

Dean Harvey, client services director, at Spannerworks says "It is surprising how many major travel sites are not exploiting the potential of search. Many ingredients go into achieving top search engine rankings and travel companies should really be addressing their search strategies to ensure they tap in to their online customers effectively."

The volume of travel-related searches has increased 40% over the last 12 months. This growth looks set to continue, at least in the short term. As the number of internet users searching for travel products and services continues to grow, the need to ensure high rankings in the major search engines will become even more important.

An effective search marketing strategy can dramatically improve the performance of a travel website in generating new business. Jo Burman, E-Business Manager at Best Western Hotels, commented "From no visibility and extremely low traffic volumes, we have enjoyed over one million visitors from the major search engines within the last year."


Press enquiries to Charlotte McDougall on T: 01273 828137, M: 07799 671933 or

Notes for editors

About the research
Our in-house research team analysed the top 25 UK travel agents and tour operator websites as defined by their estimated group turnover in the Experian National Business Database. Overture UK provided the 40% increase in travel related searches statistic which is based on searches over the last 12 months. For more information about this research please contact Charlotte McDougall.

Spannerworks has vast experience of providing effective search marketing solutions for clients in the travel sector including Best Western Hotels, bmi, Flightcentre, James Villas Holidays, SN Brussels Airlines and Virgin Holidays.

About Spannerworks
Spannerworks enables businesses to attract new customers by increasing online visibility in Internet search engines including Google, MSN and Yahoo! Established in 1997, our Natural Search and Paid Search services combine proven and best practice search marketing techniques for clients across a range of industry sectors.

Spannerworks’ professional affiliations include membership of the IMRG, Interactive Advertising Bureau Search Council, and the CIM. We have also been announced as one of the UK’s fastest growing media companies (Media Momentum, 2004).

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Published on: 12:00AM on 3rd August 2005