The most important factors to consider when looking to improve organic search ranking for your travel blog (or any blog) are;
- Targeting relevant and rankable keywords
- Creating high quality valuable content
- Increasing your domain authority
- Consistently working to ensure your website speed, structure, internal linking and technical health is tip top!
If you focus on those key elements, with patience and consistency you’ll see your content efforts start to shine at the top of the google’s search results pages.
In this article we’ll explore these main ranking factors plus a few others you can easily put into action to improve the organic search ranking results for your travel blog.
The chances are if you’ve searched for how to improve your organic search ranking you already know what it is, but just to ensure we’re on the same page;
Organic Search, is a term used to describe the results a website receives when its pages appear in the search engine results page (SERP).
It refers to the unpaid, or ‘natural’, rankings a website gains, in contrast to rankings through paid search or advertising campaigns.
Organic Search is improved through careful optimization of your website and its content, such as including relevant keywords, a readable and user-friendly layout, proper title tags, an optimized URL structure, properly optimized meta descriptions and more.
All topics we’ll be discussing in more detail through this article.
There are multiple ways to drive traffic to your travel blog.
Social media, paid ads and email marketing are all proven routes to increasing the number of visitors to your site.
However, the advantages of achieving high rankings in the organic search results are immense.
Unlike other methods which require consistent investment of either time or money, organic rankings can be sustained over time by following the strategies as laid out below.
This makes organic search a great way to grow your blog without having to continually invest in costly advertising campaigns or tread the social media wheel 24/7.
Once you’ve created high ranking content once, it can stay in position for years, attracting more visitors and followers to your site.
Organic search is the single best way to give your travel blog the exposure it deserves. The more you know about search engine optimization and how to optimize your website’s content for organic results, the more successful you’ll be in driving more relevant and engaged visitors to your blog.
So let’s work through some excellent ways for you to improve your rankings and the search traffic to your blog!
Unless you’re planning to become an SEO master I wouldn’t get too much into the weeds with this one, however, understanding the basics is essential if you want to improve your organic search ranking.
Google’s algorithm takes into account a variety of factors, such as the website’s structure, content and backlinks to determine a website’s rank in organic search results.
While we’ll never truly know all of the Google ranking factors, it’s important to understand the most important elements which are widely discussed in SEO communities.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed, so I urge you to focus mainly on these key areas;
- Keyword research; to rank you need to target relevant and rankable keywords
- Content quality; create extremely valuable & high quality content solving the user’s search query
- Domain authority; to climb up the rankings for higher volume keywords the authority of your site is important.
Your journey as a blogger will take you down many more google algorithm rabbit holes, but as long as you make the above 3 a priority you won’t go far wrong.
If you want your travel blog’s organic search ranking to improve, you need to develop a strategy that focuses on leveraging relevant and rankable keywords.
It all starts with research and understanding the type of language used by your targeted audience when they’re looking for answers to their queries.
Whatever your audience searches for on Google is the ideal keyword or phrase that you want to be targeting with your content.
However, depending on what niche you’re in, there might be many other sites competing for those same keywords that have a lot more authority than your little website.
Therefore when researching keywords relevant to your niche, you need to ensure you can actually rank for the keywords you’d like to create content around.
A simple calculation for this is to look at your website’s domain authority score in a tool such as Semrush and the amount of average organic traffic your site is already getting on a daily basis.
Then when researching keywords, target volumes around or below your average daily traffic amount and ensure that there are at least 2 or 3 websites ranking in the top three results for your keyword with similar or lower domain authority.
For example, lets say your domain authority score is 25 and your daily average organic traffic is 2000 visits.
‘Best zoos in the world’ looks like a good keyword to go for as it has 1.9k monthly visits and there are two websites ranking in spots 1 & 2 with an authority score lower than yours.
‘Things to do in New York’, however, would be a far more difficult keyword to rank for and it’s unlikely google will show you much love until you’ve built your domain authority and organic traffic up to compete with other sites at that level.
Keyword research is probably one of the most important factors to consider when growing your website. Get this wrong and no matter how good your content, no-one will see it.
Stay in your lane, start small and create lots of content around low competition keywords to see your organic search ranking grow fast.
Another thing to consider when researching keywords is to ensure the content you create matches the intent of the search itself. In other words, the keywords you use should reflect what the searcher is looking for.
Search engine algorithms prioritize sites that provide relevant information to the user’s query, so targeting keyword phrases that match the user’s query is essential. For example, a keyword search phrase such as “best hotels in Tokyo” is much more targeted than “Tokyo hotels”.
The best way to determine search intent is to simply look at the results Google favors in the results page for the relevant query.
In our example of the ‘best zoos in the world’, Google is telling us that the searcher is looking for a list of the best zoos in the world, rather than, say, the results page displaying a list of local zoo websites all promoting their own establishment.
If you’re a local zoo, you’d target this keyword by creating a full list and putting yourself at the top, rather than simply writing a post about why you’re the best zoo in the world.
The Surfer Academy has great training videos and live sessions on search intent. It is a common mistake made by most bloggers and certainly worth the time investment to learn more.
Many blog owners are afraid of low or zero volume keywords as they believe if they create content around keywords that purportedly have no traffic, it’s a waste of time.
However, the tools we use to help us determine good keywords are only tools and don’t always accurately reflect what’s actually happening in google search.
Think about it, even for ‘best zoos in the world’, searchers could look for that same information with an unlimited variation on that sentence.
- The best zoos in the world
- What are the best zoos on the planet
- Best zoos 2022
- What is #1 zoo in the world
- What are the ten biggest zoos in the world
- Which are the most visited zoos in the world
Even if a tool such as SEMRush or Ahrefs says there’s no traffic for a specific keyword or phrase, there’s likely to be plenty of traffic for variations on the same.
Plus they’re far easier to rank and the more keywords you can achieve high organic search ranking for, the more your organic traffic will grow.
Building topical authority with clusters is a great way to achieve higher organic search rankings for your travel blog.
Google is looking for authority on a subject, so simply posting one or two posts about a topic doesn’t make you an authority. Instead go deep on your category and create a cluster of posts around a main article.
Think of it like a bicycle wheel with your main piece of content being the hub and all your subtopics being the spokes. With this strategy, you create several blog posts that are focused around a key topic and use that content as a central hub, which then links out to other blog posts that are related to that topic, creating a wheel-like structure of content.
This can help raise your keyword rankings and drive more organic traffic as search engines rank content with strong topical coverage more highly.
Creating valuable and high-quality content is essential for improving your organic search results, improving organic traffic and serving your readers.
Make sure the content you’re creating is original and fresh. Provide readers with a unique point of view, and make sure to include relevant keywords and phrases throughout your content.
Don’t write for writing’s sake and do away with any unnecessary fluff like long irrelevant introductions. Get to the point!
Ensure all content is well-structured. This includes optimizing page titles and headings, making sure your URLs are user-friendly, and taking advantage of subsections to make the content easier to read.
You should also include images, videos, or other media throughout your content to keep readers engaged.
Good readability is essential for SEO success. If your content isn’t easy to digest, then it won’t help you rank for relevant searches.
To ensure that your travel blog is readable, here are seven tips you should try:
1. Avoid jargon and industry buzzwords; stick to plain words instead.
2. Use shorter sentences. Longer sentences can get confusing and detract from your message.
3. Break up your content into smaller sections and subsections that allow readers to scan quickly.
4. Write in the active voice instead of the passive voice. (We increased our search rankings by …. vs search rankings were increased by ….)
5. Incorporate helpful visuals like diagrams, images, and videos.
6. Make sure to include lists, bullet points, and numbered points when appropriate.
7. Include relevant keywords in headings and subheadings, in a natural way. This will help your organic search rankings and make your content easier to read.
Remember, if users can’t easily understand your content, neither can Google and you’ll struggle to rank organically.
By making sure your content is readable, you’ll be more likely to rank well in organic search results while also providing an enjoyable user experience.
When creating content we tend to focus only on one keyword, which is the main keyword for our article. But once you start to rank the chances are you’ll get found for hundreds if not thousands of other variations on that main keyword.
When planning the outline of your article, include other target keywords in your content, or sub heads.
The best way to identify other keywords to target is to use a tool like SurferSEO which identifies all the main and semantic keywords other articles in the SERPS use.
You simply add in your keyword and the tool lists out all the keywords you should be including in your post, along with also giving page length suggestions and image count etc.
Once your page is ranking you can then use google search console to identify searches you’re being found for and adding even more relevant targeted keywords to your content.
I’ve mentioned a few times now the importance of structuring your content for readers and for Google.
Not only do header tags, (H1, H2, H3 etc,), break up long articles into smaller parts that are easier to read, they also classify your content into sections – providing an organized structure.
This helps search engine algorithms identify important key terms in your article and understand the context of your content to rank it accordingly.
It also makes it easier for Google to rank for multiple keywords and even for you to show up as a featured snippet.
When it comes to optimizing for search engine crawlers, you should use H1 for your page titles, H2 for subtitles, and go down from there for the rest of the subheadings.
For example, H1 should be your main topic, H2 could be subsections of the topic, and H3 could be subcategories of the subtitles – and so on.
Golden rule – only ever use 1 H1 tag in your page for your heading and nothing else. All content should be H2 and below.
By taking the time to ensure your titles and URLs are keyword optimized, you can give your pages an extra boost in the search results.
- Make sure your titles accurately describe the content of the page, and include your key search term, preferably as close to the beginning of your page title as possible.
- Keep the title to 45-60 characters or fewer, so search engines don’t truncate it in their results. (54 is ideal)
- Use numbers or parenthesis in headlines to increase click through rate
- Where possible use front end modifiers such as best, fast, easy, quick to increase CTR
- Make your URL the key search term and don’t use numbers or forward slashes
When you start to rank, keep an eye on your click through rate and test different headlines to see which works best.
Another way to increase the click through rate, which results in higher readership and therefore higher organic search ranking, is via your meta description tags.
To add a meta tag, your best bet is to install the Yoast SEO plugin which adds a handy tool box at the end of each post allowing you to see how well you’re optimizing for SEO and makes it easy to amend your page title, meta description, etc.
A good meta description tells readers what they can expect to find when they arrive on your site, and should encourage them to click through.
Many times Google will change your meta description, so take time to notice the changes they make and write relevant helpful descriptions that match intent.
Here are some tips on how to write meta descriptions that will help you improve your organic search ranking and get more clicks:
- Include your targeted keyword in the meta description.
- Stick to a character count of under 150 words: short and sweet will do the trick!
- Think like your reader and use persuasive language to entice a click. You don’t need to give away too much information, just a taste of what readers can expect when they land on your page.
- Make it informative and include a powerful call-to-action for readers.
Alt tags are an incredibly important yet often overlooked aspect of search engine optimization.
Using the right keywords and strategic alt tags can drastically improve your organic search ranking and increase your chance of appearing higher in search engine results pages.
Plus you can get found for the images on your page.
To optimize your alt tags, start by ensuring that each and every image on your website has an alt tag assigned to it. As you upload images, be sure to also include a keyword-rich, descriptive alt tag that reflects the topic of your post.
For travel blog posts, consider adding the destination and type of activities. Alt tags are picked up by search engines and can help improve your rankings, so don’t neglect this step!
To help both Google and your readers find their way around your site, you need a good internal linking strategy.
Many SEO’s talk about Silo’s when talking about internal linking, but although Silo’s form a good linking foundation, on their own they aren’t enough.
As John Mueller from Google says himself;
“The top down approach or pyramid structure helps us a lot more to understand the context of individual pages within the site.”
Here’s how to go about linking your site so it makes sense to you, to your readers and to Google.
- Create Silo’s (or topic clusters as discussed above) and ensure all relevant pages are linked correctly throughout that Silo. (Going back to the bicycle wheel example, all relevant pages would link from and to the hub page.) This shows which posts are relevant to which topic and distributes page rank juice nicely throughout the Silo.
- Once you have your Silo’s organized, pick relevant and contextual posts to link to and from all your Silo’s. Pay particular attention to ranking posts, making sure to link from them to other posts you want to rank. The higher your rank, the more juice you can pass to other posts. So focus on your important pages.
This way you’re starting with an organized structure that Google can easily crawl and see which posts are relevant to which topics.
Then you’re starting to link between the Silo’s identifying relevant and contextual content that makes sense to link to.
This keeps your site organized, makes it easy for you to see where you need more topical authority and helps both readers and Google find their way easily around your site.
By linking through to relevant posts with variations on targeted keywords, you can take your reader on a journey, help drive organic traffic and visibility, and improve your keyword rankings.
This keeps your content from becoming dull and repetitive and it makes it easier for search engines to determine which pages are related to what keywords.
For example, if you’re linking to a page about seeing penguins in Antarctica, use keywords like “visiting penguins in Antarctica” and “Antarctic penguin experiences” as the anchor text to make it clear to search engines which topic is being addressed.
Another important point to remember when using keywords as the anchor text is to make sure they are natural and don’t appear spammy. Use synonyms, related words and phrases, and other related topics and keywords to keep everything looking organic and avoid any potential penalties from Google.
Also, use a variety of internal linking techniques such as contextual links, footer links, sidebar or sitewide links, and use tools such as Google Search Console to monitor your keyword rankings.
Link Whisper is a fantastic tool to help make your internal link strategy easier!
Featured snippets are selections of text taken from webpages and are used to answer the searcher’s query as quickly and accurately as possible.
They normally appear at the very top of organic search results, so taking advantage of this opportunity could help to get your blog in front of a larger audience.
Optimizing for featured snippets isn’t difficult, however it does require strategic keyword usage, well-written and formatted content, and the right tools to measure your success.
Here are some tips for optimizing your posts for features snippets;
- Pick a ‘People Always Ask’ question relevant to your target keyword
- Create that questions as a subhead in your content and answer it with a 2-3 sentence answer
- Make it a stand alone sentence which works on its own without the header
Most hosts offer this as standard these days, so it’s likely you already have one and haven’t thought about it. If your site starts with https://, you’re all good. If you notice your site starts with http://, contact your host and ask about an SSL cert.
Securing your website with HTTPS ensures your website is safe, secure and performing at its peak in terms of organic search rankings.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure and ensures encrypted communication between your site’s server and the user’s browser.
Google has stated that HTTPS, is a ranking factor, and if you plan on ever becoming an ecommerce site and taking payment on your website, you’ll need this as standard.
In today’s world, it should come as no surprise that optimizing your travel blog website for mobile is essential for improving your organic search ranking.
In an effort to stay ahead of the competition, you must ensure that your website design is responsive and looks great no matter the type of device the user is on.
Make sure to utilize a mobile-friendly website design that is streamlined and easy to navigate, that provides a great user-experience and loads quickly.
Using Google Search Console, analyze your website’s mobile friendliness and performance. This handy tool will show you how your website looks and performs on mobile.
It also provides valuable insight into any errors or slow loading pages, ensuring that you can make the necessary changes for your users.
Adding videos to your travel blog is a great way to encourage higher organic search rankings and boost the overall authority of your website.
A well-placed and properly titled video will grab the attention of readers and keep them more engaged in the content.
As time on page is a ranking factor, the longer you can keep a reader engaged with your content, the better.
Videos also provide readers with a more accessible way to understand the content in a hands-on way.
In addition to the potential SEO benefits, videos are also easier for readers to consume. Instead of having to read through a lengthy post, people can simply watch the video instead and get the same information.
It also makes it easier for readers to share the content, as they can share the video on social media while including a link to the page or article.
By having an effective video content strategy, you can benefit from improved organic search rankings, increased organic traffic, and further exposure for your travel blog.
Link building is the process of creating backlinks from external websites and pages with the purpose of increasing the relevance of your content and ultimately your ranking in search engine results.
A consistent link building strategy can help to improve the quantity and quality of the backlinks to your blog in the eyes of major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Here are the main link building strategies you could start today;
- Guest posting; Reach out to other bloggers in your niche and offer a valuable guest post with a link back to your blog
- HARO; Help a reporter out offers opportunities for you to answer questions and queries for a link back to your content
- Outreach; Look for broken backlinks on other sites, or simply ask relevant bloggers to link to your latest (and greatest) valuable guide, report, stats post
- Create amazing stats and research posts that lend themselves to natural backlinks
Ultimately, your goal should be to create high-quality links that drive organic traffic and push your blog’s overall ranking in search engine results to gain maximum visibility.
Your site’s technical health includes things like broken links, 404 pages, meta descriptions, alt tags, orphan pages, indexibility and so on.
The easiest way to monitor your site’s technical health is to use a tool such as Semrush, which shows what your current health status is and what to do to fix it.
It’s also a good idea to look out for any errors or problems in Google Search Console and keep an eye on your core web vitals, page experience and mobile usability.
Set up a regular review process to check technical performance, test page speed, identify broken links, and make sure all images have appropriate ALT attributes.
When it comes to improving the organic search ranking for your travel blog, domain authority should be high on your list of priorities.
Domain authority, also known as DA, is a metric used to measure a website’s ability to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). A higher domain authority score means that a website is more likely to have its content appear on the first page or even the first spot of organic search results.
To keep increasing your domain authority focus on the most important elements as detailed throughout this article;
- Create high quality, valuable and shareable content
- Engage in a consistent backlinking strategy
- Target rankable keywords, the chances of you getting shared and linked to greatly increase if you’re at the top of the SERPS.
If your blog is a few years old, you may have repetitive posts that cover the same topics or target very similar keywords.
Consider consolidating older content pieces into one page targeting a main keyword or phrase.
The benefit of consolidating is that you’ll eradicate any potential duplicate content on your site and may, ironically, get found for more keyword terms from one article than multiple articles targeting the same keyword.
Use google search console to help you identify which pages are getting found for which keywords and where you can either merge topics or create new articles around topics that are in the same silo, but are substantially different, allowing you to target a new set of keywords.
Equally, old pages that aren’t ranking and therefore are not attracting visits or clicks, can drag your overall organic search ranking down.
When identifying pages you can consolidate, also look for pages you can remove altogether.
Removing low (or no) ranking pages that no longer provide value, can vastly improve your organic results and help maintain your keyword rankings.
Use Google Analytics to find pages with low traffic, higher bounce rates, and low engagement.
Analyze why these pages are not doing well. If it’s because the content is outdated or irrelevant to your travel blog, then consider removing or archiving the page altogether.
If you want to keep the content, consider updating it and making it more interesting for readers, or turning it into a new topic that fits into your pages better.
By keeping your website speed and user experience in mind, taking stock of the pages on your site and removing those that don’t provide value, you can greatly improve the organic search ranking for your travel blog.
You’ll also have a more professional site with content suited to your target audience, as well as gaining the trust of your readers and potential customers.
As a travel blogger, it’s important to regularly update your content to improve your organic search ranking. Fresh content signals to search engines that your website is relevant and up-to-date, resulting in better keyword rankings.
To give your blog posts a bigger boost, make sure to include your main keywords in the title, meta description, and in the body of the post.
Additionally, linking to other websites, either in the same niche or related topics, can also help improve your organic search results.
Use Google Search Console to look at the last 3 months results for a specific page and take note of the impressions, number of clicks, average position and CTR’s. Then make a note of the date you made the changes.
Give it a month or so after you’ve refreshed your content and see if it made a difference to your ranking position and CTR’s.
Alternatively use a tool like Semrush to track your ranking position.
Whether you’re updating or refreshing content, improving your internal links, engaging in a backlinking strategy or adding new articles you’ll want to keep an overview of your main keyword ranking positions.
The best way to track your ranking positions is to use an online tool like Semrush. With it, you can monitor your website’s organic search performance and track changes in keyword rankings.
It also allows you to see which keywords your website is ranking highest for and to what extent, so you can make the necessary adjustments to improve your organic search rankings even more.
You’ll be able to gain insight into your website’s performance, such as how many organic clicks are being generated for each page, and compare your organic ranking to that of your competitors.
By setting up a system that tracks your organic ranking, you’ll be able to stay on top of your progress and know when it’s time to tweak your search engine optimization strategies. This way, you can ensure the organic search ranking of your travel blog continues to climb in the SERPs.
Core Web Vitals are the metrics that measure the performance, loading time, and responsiveness of your site, and Google uses them to evaluate website experience for improving organic search results.
To make sure your travel blog gets the organic search rankings it deserves, you need to focus on ensuring your site is as speedy as possible.
As I write this, I just completely changed the theme of my site from Divi to GeneratePress to improve my overall speeds and core web vitals.
Core web vitals are such an important ranking factor Google’s Search Console has a section dedicated to measuring just these vita speed indicators for your site.
Here are a few steps to take to improve your Core Web Vitals;
- First, you’ll want to review your loading time. Keeping your page load time below 2.5 seconds is essential for providing an optimal experience for your visitors. If it takes too long for pages to load, visitors will likely abandon your site and look elsewhere. To reduce loading time, try lazy loading images and reduce redundant API calls.
- Second, you’ll want to maximize your site’s interactivity. As your visitor scrolls through a page, they should be able to engage with the content almost immediately. Track how long it takes for your web pages to become interactive and make adjustments to titles, descriptions, and images to make sure they’re interactive as soon as possible.
- Third, mobile optimization is key. Make sure your content is optimized for mobile devices. Make sure buttons and links are large enough to be tapped easily and that images are compressed for faster loading.
- Finally, you’ll want to run Google Search Console reports. Google Search Console can generate reports on everything from keyword rankings to crawl errors, and can provide helpful insights on how to improve your site’s performance.
By improving your Core Web Vitals, you can be sure your travel blog will get the organic search rankings it deserves.
With Google EEAT, (Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness), Google will assess the authority of your blog and its trustworthiness to determine its placement in organic search results.
To increase your search engine visibility, your travel blog must demonstrate experience and expertise in the travel sector, have trustworthy authors, and link to other established sources.
Here are some tips to ensure you meet Google’s EEAT requirements;
- Create a contact page that has a business address and phone number clearly visible
- Create an author page for your site author’s linking to their social media accounts (if it’s just you, that’s fine, still create an author page just for you)
- On your author page write about your experience or expertise on the subjects you’re writing about on your site.
- Link to your author pages from relevant posts
- Add affiliate disclosures if engaging in affiliate marketing
- Add an HTML sitemap to google search console as well as a general XML file
The best way to rank high on organic search is to ensure your website has high quality content. This means using strong keywords throughout your website that are relevant to your industry, while providing helpful and informative content to readers.
Additionally, regularly updating the content on your website with fresh, relevant articles and blog posts can help you maintain a high ranking over time. Engaging in back-linking, or having other influential websites link to yours, can also help you to rise in rankings.
Organic search is the unpaid section of search engine results, and is based on the relevance of website content to the searcher’s query. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is a disciplined approach to making website content highly relevant to search queries, in order to appear in organic search results when people search for certain terms and phrases.
SEO strategies involve keyword research, website design, content writing, link building and backlinking, as well as continuous tracking of results and optimization.
There are four main SEO rank factors that are essential to achieving a higher ranking; content quality, page speed, user experience and link building.
- Content quality will help ensure that your webpage is providing valuable information to visitors and that it is properly optimized for the targeted keyword phrases.
- Page speed is a major factor for search engine ranking as search engines want to ensure users are finding relevant information quickly and efficiently.
- User experience is also important as visitors will want to be able to navigate and explore the website without difficulty.
- Lastly, link building is a crucial SEO rank factor in that having relevant external links to your website can help to demonstrate its importance and relevance in the eyes of search engines.
You can check your organic search rankings in a variety of ways, such as using a keyword rank tracking tool like Semrush or monitoring your website’s analytics dashboard via Google Analytics.
Through keyword tracking, you can review the number of times a keyword you’re targeting appears on search engine query results, as well as the ranking of your website for those queries. This way, you can get an idea of your website’s visibility for specific keywords.
Through your website’s analytics, you can get an idea of your website’s overall visibility, traffic, and organic visits from search engines. Additionally, you can find out which pages of your website are most popular, and which are not performing as well.
Both of these approaches help you identify areas for improvement and maximize the effectiveness of your SEO tactics.
Improving the organic search ranking for your travel blog can seem daunting, but with the right steps and strategies, over time high rankings are achievable.
Utilize the tactics discussed here, from SEO and link-building to content optimization, and you’ll start to see your ranking improve.
The most important thing is to be consistent. Consistently add more high value, quality content. Consistently build backlinks and consistently look for ways you can increase your topical authority and answer user’s search queries on google.
If you want training on becoming more consistent, then I’d advise you to check out the SurferSEO Writing Course as this will help you become more productive.
Growing your organic search ranking won’t happen overnight, but with consistent focused action there’s no reason you can’t reach the dizzying heights of some of your current favorite travel bloggers!