DestinationCore | Rising up the ranks

Rising up the ranks

SEO tips for your destination

Being visible on search results listings is vital for Destination Marketing Organisations, enabling the destination to be at the forefront when users have those ‘I want to get away’ moments.


Organic search is a more cost-effective and trust-worthy method of getting in front of prospective visitors online, and if done correctly, can become the main player in acquiring quality viewers who will ultimately drive forward the website’s business objectives.

So how do you make your destination website ‘Google-friendly’? As a destination that acquires 80% of website traffic from organic search, and has recently gone through the daunting, but rewarding task of a website migration, we share some of our top tips below...

The visitor experience begins before they’ve arrived at your destination

Half the fun of visiting a new place is the research, right? Then make the research process as user-friendly as possible to create a positive perception of your destination before visitors have even arrived at the train station.

Been faced with a slow loading page? Received a warning that the website your visiting isn’t secure? If you found these off-putting, then there’s no doubt Google will too. The main key questions to address when improving user experience are –

  1. Is it mobile-friendly?
  2. Does it load quickly?
  3. Does it run on HTTPS?
  4. Are there intrusive ads present?
  5. Does content jump around as the page is loading?

A new Google update is on its way in 2021 called Google Page Experience which will place even greater emphasis on user experience so it’s never been more important to get it right.

Allow your visitors to get lost when exploring your destination’s offering, not on your website

The more appealing your website is to users, the more it’ll be to Google, and metrics like a low bounce rate and a healthy time on page will showcase your website’s usefulness. This is where a logical site structure will come in. The better your site structure, the easier the crawlers can access and index the content. A strong internal linking structure will not only improve user navigation but also show search engines what pages are important and how to get there.

Going through a website migration? There’s never been a better time to get your site structure in order. Plan out your hierarchy and URL structure which follows suit. Try to map out a shallow navigation structure, where users can reach pages in less than three clicks, ensuring important content is not hidden away.

It’s understandable that it won’t be possible, or even in your best interests to transfer over all your existing content, so prioritise your content by identifying your hero listings, events, and categories in terms of traffic and visibility on Google. Ensure they are moved over first and are represented in your new hierarchy.

Make your content as unique as your destination

If you’re listing events and business listings on your website which might also appear elsewhere on the internet, it can be tempting to just duplicate the information, but try to differentiate your content where you can. For category content, always aim for at least 300 words of user-focused content, which provides interlinking opportunities to subcategories.

Don’t forget about your title tags, H1s, ALT tags, and meta descriptions too. These can be managed easily using a Craft plugin such as SEOMatic. Google is hugely intelligent and can understand the context of a page, but all these small elements will only help improve your online visibility.

Be there and be useful

Destination searches indicate that people are beginning to narrow down their travel ideas, even if they haven’t yet settled on the details. If your website is well optimised and offers useful content that answers questions visitors might have at each point of their travel journey, you’ll be able to help them decide on those details. This can be done via your blog, where you should aim to write at least two pieces of content per month answering longtail search queries about your destination. And if you have a handy tool like an Experience Finder, then it’ll be even easier to help then narrow down the experiences which meet their needs.

In the current climate addressing visitor concerns and pain points through content has never been more important as visitors may have reservations about travelling safely and understanding the local restrictions in place. Use Google Trends, Answer the Public, or your favourite keyword research tool to discover what people want to know about visiting your destination during these unprecedented times.

Build relationships, build links

As one of your key pillars of SEO, having a strong backlink portfolio is fundamental to getting your destination site ranking highly on search engines.

If you’re creating informative, useful content, you might find that you’re gaining links organically, but do always take time to build relationships with both local and international travel bloggers and press who may wish to visit and write about your destination.

Don’t forget that if you’re using a different domain when launching a new website you will lose your backlink portfolio, so ensure there is time allocated in your project plan to link building.

Review, report, revise

It’s important to monitor your website’s performance daily using Google Analytics, Search Console and Destination Core’s very own Insights platform, which will not only provide insight on website performance but bring together the performance data from all your digital marketing channels into a single location.

Use this information to educate your wider team and inform Partners about ROI. Identify your recurring hero events, listings and categories and keep them live all year round rather than disabling them to maintain a strong presence on Google, ensuring they’re regularly refreshed which may lead to more clicks and impressions. Similarly, if Search Console is showing up coverage errors or poor web vitals, it’s time to speak to your developers about making improvements.

View some case studies

Epsom BID

Epsom BID

Epsom is an historic market town nestled between London and The Surrey Hills. Epsom is more than just home to The Derby. It’s famous for Epsom Salts and has an abundance of history and heritage. The challenge was to showcase everything that Epsom has to offer without blowing the budget - enter DC One!

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Uxbridge BID

Uxbridge BID

The team at Uxbridge BID wanted to upgrade their website in order to offer greater value to their levy payers. DC One was the ideal solution to meet their needs as the automation offered through the combination of Business Login and Automated Subscriber Emails gave them incredible value on a tight budget.

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Midsummer Place

Midsummer Place

With the shopping centre having moved away from the ownership of the intu Group the client was looking for outstanding value for money and lots of built-in automation in order to stretch marketing budget as far as possible. They love the simplicity of DC One, with the structure making it easy for users to find what they are looking for.

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Merry Hill Centre

Merry Hill Centre

With the break-up of the intu Group, the client was looking for a website they could get up-and-running in a short space of time and as a temporary solution, so they had a web presence to give them time to build out the website of their dreams. DC One was the perfect solution – offering all the functionality they needed with a quick turnaround.

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NewcastleGateshead

NewcastleGateshead

The NewcastleGateshead Initiative is the DMO representing Newcastle, Gateshead and the surrounding areas. They came to us frustrated with their existing website solution – feeling that their current provider was offering poor value for money. Our solution has helped transform their online presence by improving the user experience and offering greater value for their members.

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Visit Southampton

Visit Southampton

Southampton BID had just gone through a brand refresh and were looking to help bring that brand to life with a powerful online experience. They wanted visitsouthampton.co.uk to be the go-to website for users to find out about what to do and what's on in Southampton. They chose the Pro core package and The List Events Feed module to power their website.

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All About Ipswich

All About Ipswich

All About Ipswich is a DMO for Ipswich and the surrounding area. The website showcases events and offers, and also includes a business directory. It provides easy access to a huge range of content, with the Journey Planner and Itinerary Builder modules enriching the user experience. The Campaign Section module provides a hub for the client's numerous marketing initiatives.

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Visit Clapham Junction

Visit Clapham Junction

As a BID in their first term The Junction BID needed to make an impact. Attracting visitors to Clapham Junction by showcasing what’s on offer and demonstrating value to the businesses they represent was essential. They chose the Offers and Events progressive web app alongside the Pro core package to encourage people who work within the BID area to spend more time at The Junction.

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In Colchester

In Colchester

In Colchester is the consumer website for the Colchester BID. We helped them create a new consumer facing brand, and then applied that brand to the DestinationCore platform to create a stunning looking website. Launched in August 2019 the feedback for this site has been superb.

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Visit Melchester

Visit Melchester

We’ve created a demo site for our fantasy town of Melchester. It’s an idyllic location by the sea, with an abundance of independent retailers and fair number of local characters too. Be sure to check out the blog about a true local hero - Admiral Standfast. Go on. Take a trip to Melchester!

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