How To Do Your Travel Keyword Research To Gain More Website Traction

December 11, 2018
Zaky Prabowo (he/him)
4 min read

As the head of a travel company, you have no doubt thought long and hard about what travelers are looking for so your business can address those needs.

Travel keyword research is in essence, identifying what travelers are searching for online. Once you know that, you devise the best way to fulfill their needs through your website content, effectively putting your business in a better position to convert search into sales.

In a highly competitive industry such as tourism, how do you get noticed online above your competitors though? Well, your SEO game needs to be strong to rank your business on Google. The content you post needs to be relevant to target humans and search engines alike.

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Elements Of Travel Keyword Research

By doing keyword research, you establish which words to target in your travel content with the purpose of ranking your pages and website on search engines. A high ranking means more visitors to your website, giving you a better chance to convert sales for your business.

There are three key terms to consider when doing keyword research, namely: volume, intent, and competition. Free or paid keyword explorer tools such as Moz Keyword Explorer, Long Tail Pro, SemRush or Ahrefs provide insights into these.

  1. Search Volume

Search volume refers to the number of unique monthly searches a keyword or keyphrase, also known as a long tail keyword, gets. Volume varies according to location and time of year as specific terms are more relevant in different places at different times.

Using Costa Rica yoga teacher training as a keyword example, you can see that it has the highest search volume in the United States followed by Canada, and then Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.

Keyword Research

This is likely due to the proximity of the United States to Costa Rica, making it a popular location for US residents to visit, and a subsequent relevant search term.

Similarly, keywords can also trend at certain times of the year. Searches for Greece beach holidays are likely to peak just before summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and Christmas holiday getaways will peak around October and November.

How does volume impact website traction then? Well, keywords with high search volumes imply that there is a high level of interest and potential to encourage traffic to your website with the right content.

  1. Intent Levels

Next to consider for keyword research is search intent. This is because it is true that travelers search online with different levels of intent.

For example, searching for information on a particular destination and searching for cheap flights portray different intentions. The former is for discovery, and the latter a money generator.

With this in mind, center your keyword research around the position in the sales funnel you want to capture your target audience. Do you want to target them in the travel planning phase, or in the purchasing phase?

Keywords with high intent tend to explain better what it is that travelers are looking for. Therefore, in order to capture website visits with your content, you need to target high intent keywords. For example, yoga retreats has less intent than yoga retreats Costa Rica.

Keyword Research

Travelers searching the terms yoga retreats are likely looking for very general information on what retreats entail, the sorts of places they are held, and a rough idea of the cost.

But by searching the longtail keyword yoga retreats Costa Rica the result information is going to be much more specific and targeted with a higher chance of sales conversion. This is because the traveler already has a specific idea in mind and is further along the sales funnel.

Keyword Research

Keep in mind then when doing keyword research for travel companies that as keywords become longer and more specific, so intent increases. With that though, search volume tends to decrease. This is, however, not necessarily a bad thing as it means that the level of competition is lower too.

  1. Keyword Competition

Keyword competition refers to how many websites or pages are competing to rank for a specific keyword. Generally speaking, the higher the search volume and commercial intent of specific keywords, the greater the competition to rank for it.

Take the keyword New York hotels as an example. It has a high monthly search volume and relays commercial intent, that is, to book a hotel in the city.

Ahrefs_New York hotels search

Bear in mind with that, unless you are a high authority site, or paying to advertise on Google, then ranking for keywords such as this one is nearly impossible as the competition is so high.

In this instance, it is easier to get traction for your website by doing travel keyword research within your specific niche or location. By targeting longtail keywords in your content, the intent is still there, but the competition is lower.

How Do You Go About Finding Keywords For Content Then?

Now that you know how volume, intent, and competition factor into research and ranking, it is time to find the keywords.

Use Social Media

Research the latest travel hashtags on Instagram and Twitter, and pay attention to the latest travel trends to see what travelers are talking about and interested in.

This will give you an idea of what they are exploring at the moment, and are therefore likely to buy. Incorporate your findings into your website content and market your offering accordingly.

Use The Keyword Explorer Tools

Aside from providing metrics on specific keywords you search, the explorer tools generally offer other ideas relevant to the one you entered. This way you can weigh up your options and target the keywords most likely to achieve your goals.

Ahrefs search wildlife safari

Google Autocomplete

Google autocomplete works by predicting your search query when you are typing in the search bar. The results that it fills into your text is based on the words you type, your browsing history, as well as the trending searches (not related to your own) made by other people on the search engine.

By offering you information not related to your own search, you gain insight into how travelers around the world are currently thinking.

Google Trends

Although Google Trends is not a keyword explorer, it does highlight search interest in a specific topic over a set amount of time. Essentially it is a handy tool for planning your content and keyword research against topics that are relevant at the right time.

Google Trends christmas holiday getaways


As we mentioned, travel keyword research is taking the time to figure out how travelers are using search engines to discover their next adventure.

By using keyword research to select the right keywords that target traveler intent, you will drive organic traffic to your website. The trick to research is to think like a traveler and address their search queries within your content.

Ultimately, you want your content to draw in traffic and then provide enough information to encourage queries to convert into sales for your travel business.