The all-important html page “Title Tag” is often mentioned as one of the first SEO areas for tour, hotel and vacation package websites. It’s original purpose is to name each unique web page, similar to the subject line in an email message. The title tags get shown in the tabs of your web browser (hover over with your mouse if it is truncated) and often on the list of open windows (e.g. the status bar) for a minimized browser.
More importantly nowadays, it is a basic element to being discovered on search engines. Optimizing the booking-friendly title across a travel site takes only a minimum amount of effort to maximize your result. A second benefit that is often overlooked is for web browser bookmarking purposes. When people planning a trip online want to bookmark your site, the title tag is typically the default name of the bookmark.
Title Tag in Travel Search Results
The search engine results page (SERP) is where your website will appear when a user conducts a trip related search on Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and the other search engines. The title tag is the first and best indicator of the purpose and content of every page of your website. It typically appears word-for-word on the results page and therefore will influence people to click on your results listing to learn more. While you cannot fool the search engines by making false or misleading statements in your title tag, you can maximize it to your advantage.
Giving the search engine hints as to the content of each of your lodging, tour, or vacation activity pages is the first step towards a better ranking. Often web designers will paste the same name on every new page as a starting point and forget to customize them later. Or the name of the travel business or tourism brand name will be listed as the title with no descriptive details. The title is your first impression to set expectations of the type of travel bookings and trip possibilities contained on each page plus a visible reminder to open a hidden browser window.
Rules for Title Tag Optimization for Hotels, Tours, and Travel Agencies
Having a high search ranking signifies that your tourism business has a quality online reputation. Once a trip planner reaches your site, ensure that the title tag matches the content they are expecting to find. As it is very easy for consumers to click on your search results link, it is also very easy for them to click the back button if your title tag does not match up with your actual travel offer. Write effective and honest title tags to optimize your site for search engines and live visitor traffic. This will result in more organic hits, longer visits, and more bookings.
Regardless of which web design and hosting platform your booking site employs, every page will have a <title> element in the <head> section and every browser will leverage it accordingly. The best practices to adhere to are:
- Never leave your title tag blank (a rookie mistake that damages trust)
- Make each page’s title tag unique (to match each traveler’s search query with your offering)
- Repeat your brand or company name (to build your reputation for direct bookings)
- Include your targeted travel search keywords (for search engine optimization)
- Give visitors a reason to visit your site (while viewing a search results page)
- Optimize for memorable bookmark names (so visitors know why to click to return to book later)
Bookmarking Travel Site Title Tag
To gain a better understanding of the web browser bookmarking process, try it out for yourself in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, the Safari browser plus their mobile equivalents. Visit a room details page for your hotel or a detailed tour itinerary or activity page that offers a “Book Now” button. Click the bookmark button or menu item in your browser to pretend that you just found a wonderful travel opportunity and want to continue planning your trip at a later date.
Does the default name of the bookmark clearly and succinctly describe your site and the current page? How fast is it for the consumer to edit the bookmark name to exclude extraneous information? Just like the subject line for an email message, the customer may only be able to see the first few words. Are they enough to remind your visitor about your hotel, tour, or activity site and why they are considering booking later?
As you verify that each page has a unique and descriptive title tag, think about ways to compromise on SEO and travel bookmarking optimization goals. SEO is more important as without getting found your site cannot get bookmarked. Take both best practices into account and your visitors will find your site, bookmark it, and remember to come back to book later.
External Title Tag Resources
So much excellent material has already been written about optimizing the title tag for general SEO improvements. The following articles are excellent introductions to the title tag as it relates to any website, not just travel and tourism industry sites. Whether your knowledge of the title tag is minimal or you are looking for advance and up to date tips, review the expertise offered below.
BookingCounts Lesson Summary
As it has been said, the title tag is a simple and effective way to improve your search ranking and get more quality travel search traffic. Many visitors will choose to bookmark your site to visit later since it is highly unlikely they will click “Book Now” on their first visit. Since the title is also used as the default name of a browser bookmark, make sure it includes instant cues to remind visitors to return. Use the title tag to get found and make it as easy as possible for people to return and book when they are ready.
For more ideas on how to encourage more repeat traffic and direct bookings later, read about Social Media Bookmarking Widgets for Travel Remarketing.