3 SEO Mistakes Negatively Impacting your Travel Blog

I have been working in SEO for several years and recently started working on a travel blog.

While looking at other travel blogging sites I noticed that many travel bloggers were making the same SEO mistakes that were holding back their blogs from receiving consistent traffic from search engines.

I decided to dive deeper and looked at 50 blogs that had a Domain Authority less than 45. They all have plenty of content and are past the beginning stages of starting a travel blog.

While some had unique problems, I noticed three main areas each blog was failing in. Addressing these issues should help these bloggers greatly increase their traffic gained from organic search.

SEO tips for travel bloggers. Are you making these 3 mistakes?
Travel blogging tips on SEO. Image by Shutterstock.com

3 travel blogging SEO mistakes

1. Not writing content people are searching for

The number one issue I see with travel blogs is that the content does not match what people are searching for.

When someone goes to Google and searches a query they want a specific answer. For example, the query, “free things in NYC” is going to send users to sites that answer the query and are optimized for it. Many bloggers do not approach their post as a response to a query people are searching for that they can provide an appropriate response to.

I recommend travel bloggers do some form of keyword research before writing any post. Both during ideation and when you already have a blog post idea in mind.

For example, lets use Lima Peru as an example. Think of a few ideas of what people might be searching for. Check the number of monthly searches to see if you are right on or if other search terms come up.

I did this using the Google Keyword planner, a free tool (once you sign up for Google Adwords). Quick Sprout has a good video to go over how to use the tool. I only use the keyword planner to get search volume, not to look at competition.

SEO tips for travel blogging

Once you have this list, search the term to see the competition level. By installing the Moz toolbar you will be able to see the Domain Authority of sites within search results.

3 SEO tips for travel bloggers

You will notice some queries are extremely competitive and the first page is ruled by sites like Time, Tripadvisor and other sites with high domain authorities.

Even so, there are plenty of keywords with decent traffic where you can find less established sites ranking.

For example, the results for “things to do in Lima” is full of sites with a domain authority in the 90s, while the search for “Lima day tours” has a site with a DA of 18 in the 3rd organic position!

Once you have selected a few keywords for a post, incorporate them in a natural way throughout the post using basic on page optimization.

I also think keyword research should not stop you from writing any post. There are tons of reasons to decide to post something based on other channels like Pinterest, as part of your branding or just because you want to.

In these cases, I would still encouraging using the keyword planner to see if a small tweek in the topic could make a difference in sending organic traffic.

yTravel has previously used the KeySearch Seo Tool. We find it gets us better results in a much faster and more accurate way.

If you want advanced SEO, use SEMRush. It is the most powerful SEO tool ever and has yielded incredible results, not just in optimizing our site, increasing our search engine visibility and keyword ranking, but also helping us look good to clients when showcasing the ROI we give to them. Yes this leads to more work for us!

Test it here:


2. Not building deep links

Most bloggers have links going to their website, but tons of bloggers only build links to their home page. Getting links that go to a specific, deeper page can have a huge effect in helping that page outrank other blogs with higher domain authority.

There are many ways to build links to specific pages of your website. Here are some great resources to get you started:

3. Basic technical mistakes

Many in the travel blogging niche are on WordPress and use the Yoast SEO plugin to target related keywords, but this is not enough.

There are several other things you can do to help Google understand and rank your site.

  • Internal linking – Just as you need links to content from outside your website, internal links within your content will also help. For example, if you have several posts about Australia, make sure the posts link to each other.
  • Proper Categorization – Make sure you have category pages for any topic you have a few posts for. A great way to do this is to publish a page that is linked in your navigation for each topic.
  • Improper use of tags – Whenever you use a new tag in WordPress it creates a new page. These new pages are often duplicate content of each other and add no value to your site. Instead of using multiple tags, focus on creating good category pages!
  • URL Structure – By default, WordPress makes your blog post URL the same as your title. A better way to do this is to have it reflect your categorization and site structure. For example, the URL for a post titled “Things To Do in Lima” would be www.domainname.com/peru/lima/things-to-do. This incorporates keywords into the URL and creates a site structure that makes sense.

Take it a step further by making a unique page that has the post with a description and additional context added that ties them all together. This way not only can your post improve in rank, but the category can gain traffic as well.

Lonely Planet does a great job at this. For example, their Rome page has more content than just a list of posts. Don’t be discouraged by their design, it does not need to look that pretty to be successful.

Having a site the search engines love involves many different factors. Optimizing just your posts is not enough. I recently did a site wide clean up using the Blog Fixer tool, which saved me 131 hours of time AND cleaned up over 10,000 errors!! Those errors are bad signals to google, which results in it ignoring your site!

While SEO can be complex and takes time, making these improvements should get your travel blogging efforts moving in the right direction to start getting you organic traffic.

Do what you can and keep in mind that SEO is a long-term strategy.

Social and other marketing techniques give results and should be a focus as well. SEO takes more time and does not show results for a while, but once they are earned the results last.

Do you have any SEO or travel blogging tips? Feel free to share or ask me any questions in the comments.

Pin this for later:

Travel blogging tips. 3 SEO mistakes to avoid.
image by Shutterstock.com

About the author

Dan Bagby is an avid traveler, majored in International Studies at the University of Utah and has a slight obsession with digital marketing. He currently works as the SEO Analyst for Whole Foods Market and has started to combine his love for digital marketing and travel on his blog, PackThePassport.com. You can connect with him on Twitter and follow the evolution of his blog on Instagram and Facebook.

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42 thoughts on “3 SEO Mistakes Negatively Impacting your Travel Blog”

  1. Solid advice here, thanks for the reminder of categorical pages. Given I haven’t used categories previously, is there any easy way to change this without having to create a million redirects?

  2. Hi Jub, I would just adopt it moving forward and test on a few existing post to see if you notice a difference to make it worth the effort.

    1. Great, I’ll give that a go. A/B testing is massive in SEO afterall, makes sense! Will report back here if I remember in a few montsh 🙂

  3. Great tips! After attending BlogHouse, I had to fix all my categories to reflect my niche better. I was ignoring categories for the longest time, which was a … very bad idea. I’ll definitely do more research on keywords in the future, too! 🙂

    1. Hey Rachel, looks like I might have to do this myself. Did you notice any SEO benefits you might be able to attribute to the change in categorising?

  4. I really like your idea about the URL structure. I hadn’t considered domainname/country/city/topic generally I would have just done domainname/topicincludinglocation.

  5. Wow Dan…Muah! Your article made my day and possibly year too ! I never focussed on the deep linking and checking DA of competition. Thanks a ton for sharing the knowledge !! God bless you.

      1. Great post Dan! I’m currently trying to put your url structure advice but when I type in the forward slashes they just disappear when I update the link. So domain/country/city/topic turns out like domain/countrycitytopic. Would you have any other articles that troubleshoot this issue?
        Thanks again, everyone keeps banging on about SEO this and that but most of it just goes over my head. This post suggests simple improvements in a language I can understand!

  6. This is great advice. I have been trying to build that URL Structure (www.domainname.com/peru/lima/things-to-do) you mentioned in my website, but haven’t found a clear answer. Do you happen to know how to it?


  7. Dan this is awesome. I have so much to learn about SEO and marketing techniques and this article looks like a great foundation! With regards to tags, are you suggesting to not use them?


    1. Hi Akid,

      I dont see the value in tags if you are using categorization. If you do use tags, use the same ones over and over instead of creating a bunch of new ones every time.

  8. It’s so refreshing to read some great new tips and advice on SEO, so thank you very much Dan! Is the Moz toolbar free to install? If so I shall definitely be using that! I previously used Long Tail Pro to find out keyword competitiveness but it was so expensive & often full of bugs so I recently ditched it and was looking for another simpler / cheaper solution so this could be it! Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura,

      The Moz toolbar is free! The Google Keyword Planner is also free, you just have to have an adwords account, but do not have to have any active campaigns. You can also look at answerthepublic.com for keyword ideas.

  9. Some of the basics seo tips! It’s always great to be remembered!
    I really like the deep linking, it usually a common mistake (and I’m one of those making the same mistake, lol)
    Thanks for this post.

    1. In general, no follow links are supposed to be ignored by Google. Some people say they do have some effect. My approach is to not create no follow links for the sake of SEO, do them for other reasons like driving traffic and then if they provide SEO value it is icing on the cake.

  10. Great article. I’d like to recommend SEO Post Content Links Plugin. It’s an automatic SEO for websites and fully supports internal linking for all languages.

  11. This is so great. I captured ideas on this about the travel blogging of seo, and I find it very interesting and informative. Thank you for this wonderful and brilliant ideas. I know now the different tips and techniques about seo. This is very helpful for me and for others too. Thanks a lot! You’re doing great.

  12. This was really helpful Dan. I’m currently trying to add some love to our category page and strucure for seo and the to improve a readers experience. Do you recommend just not using tags altogether then?

  13. Great article. Found it very helpful for someone like me who has started their own travel blog and is looking for the right next steps to take! Once you have a lot of content SEO is the next area to explore. Thanks for all your ideas!

  14. Yes Agree with the deep link building. Most of bloggers have around 2000+ backlinks on the home page but the internal main blogger does not have any links. This does not give them seo benefits. I’m going to work on it from today.

  15. I have a problem with images!
    I want to introduce places to go. For example: “Best 20 Destinations To Travel In 2020”
    Ok. I cannot take photos from all! It means I cannot travel to all destinations to take photo. So I cannot have unique images in my website.
    In this situation, what can I do with copyright? I won’t reach top positions because of this.
    What is the solution?

    1. There are places you can get free images. You’ll have to research and be sure to credit. You can also buy images but it could end up costly

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