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3 Steps to Choosing the Right Search Queries for SEO

By Paige Rowett
Published on August 4, 2018

It is without doubt that Search Engine Optimisation is one of the most important tactical marketing activities that a tourism brand can undertake.

With over 80% of people researching, and over 60% of people booking tourism product online, developing a search engine optimisation strategy should be at the top of every tourism business owners list of marketing priorities.

In this blog post we will take you through the foundation components of your SEO strategy, that is identifying what search queries to use throughout your website to get more qualified visitors, and hopefully more sales!

Step 1: Understanding your Ideal Customer

Before creating content for your blog or website, you need to be really clear on who your Ideal Customer is and what their Micro-Moments are. If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, then I’d encourage you to take a read of our blog post on Ideal Customer Profiling, and Customer Micromoments.

Intimately understanding your Ideal Customers, where they are online, and what search queries they are likely typing in throughout each micromoment, will help you to determine what content you create for your website, for it then to be accessed and engaged with in search engine results and social platforms.

Step 2: Search Query Brainstorm

Once you are clear on your Ideal Customer’s micromoments, then it is time to start brainstorming what they will be typing into search engines whilst they are in their travel dreaming and research phases.

Think about what they going to need to know when planning a holiday to your destination? If you are an accommodation provider, you should be writing about all of the amazing activities that your ideal customers can do in your destination, giving them more reason to stay longer with you.

You might also like to think about those questions your Ideal Customers have relating to fears – as this is often a reason why people choose to avoid certain destinations. For example, some people may not like the humidity, ticks, jelly fish, wet season etc that are all present in Tropical North Queensland.

Step 3: Search Query Research + Validation

A big question we get nowadays is whether there is still any merit in researching search queries to validate them prior to using them on our webpages.

Keyword Research, as it is commonly called in the industry, is the process of looking at 1-2 keywords and analysing their search volume (or how many times that keyword was searched in Google) and then looking at the competition.

Typically, a website owner may choose to optimise their webpages with keywords with low-medium competition and as high volume as possible. This process is more about verifying that the keywords that you want to optimise your webpage for are actually used by humans who use Google.

This practice, although I think its still relevant PPC campaigns, I don’t think it’s so relevant for SEO. And heres the reason why…

Increasingly Google is seeing more and more new searches everyday (15% of searches Google sees everyday are new). So as we’re typing in more specific sentences, that Google hasn’t seen before, therefore, if we were to research keywords like we used to, the accuracy would be pretty low anyway.

In saying that, there is a place however, for tools that help us to validate our search queries (or shine a light on new opportunities)…

There are a few very quick ways to validate your brainstormed search queries, or micromoments, and they include…

Popping your search query into Google Trends.

Trends is a great tool particularly to identify user trends when it comes to what content people are looking for at certain times of the year. Using this tool can therefore help when writing content on events or other time sensitive activities in your destination.

For example, if I worked for a DMO in the Barossa, I would look to publish content about the Barossa Gourmet Weekend about 3-4 months before the event happens, so that content is available in search engine results pages when people are searching for the query in Google.

Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing

Also, using Google’s Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) gives you some variations on what past users have typed in which relates to the search query that is currently being typed in, or was typed in in the past.

You’ll notice that as you start typing, various options start popping up, which are the most popular terms being searched. Also, down the bottom of the search result pages, you see the related search queries as well, which can be used to guide your search query selection for each of you webpages.


Ubersuggest is another tool that you can use, which gives you other ideas for your search query, and it also provides information on search volume, cost per click and competition data (which is helpful information only if you’re investing in a PPC campaign). Finally, it shows a bit of trend data, a bit like Google Trends – for the major keywords – but not necessarily for longer-tail search queries.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Another tool that is worth looking at is Moz Keyword Explorer… similar functionality to Ubesuggest, but it also has a search engine result page analysis – which looks at what URLs are positioned in the result pages… but again, this data needs to be taken as more food for thought, than accurate insights… as we know that all search engine results are different for everyone.

Don’t forget local context…

With 43% online searches having local intent, it is important that the search queries that you choose have some relevance to your physical location.

So when you are choosing keywords to use in your website, you may like to think about the following things:

  • What services are your customers looking to use?
  • What are the service areas your customers are looking to find the service in (these could be suburb, city, state, postcode, regions)
  • What are your competitor websites doing in the search rankings? (Look at what keywords they are using throughout their URLs, Page Titles, Headlines, URL Structure, Content – some of these that are ranking well already will have a number of keyword variations for services and services areas that you may not have thought of yet.)

Make sure your Search Queries are Real + Relevant

So, whilst you are in the planning stages of your content on your website, and are looking at possible topics, and potential headlines for blog posts, start your search query planning and research at that point, and look at what search queries will match your content topic ideas, as use that research as a guide for the optimisation of your web pages. It’s just a process of reverse engineering…. And this is why SEO plays such an influential role in your content marketing strategy.


What Next…

Optimising your Web Pages and content with Search Queries

Once you have validated your search queries, you can then craft sensational web copy (whether it is for a regular webpage, or a blog post) and optimise that page of content with one of your chose search queries.

Learn how to optimise your webpages by reading my blog post on content optimisation >


Paige Rowett

Paige is a tourism marketing specialist and co-director of Tourism eSchool. Paige is passionate about working with tourism destinations & operators to create sustainable marketing strategies, specialising in marketing strategy, customer advocacy, customer experience, content marketing, website strategy, search engine optimisation & blogging.
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