Travel Blog SEO: Title
The first thing a user sees on the Google search result is the title of your blog post. An SEO title is a part of SEO title tag. It should be easy enough so that search engines and a human can easily understand it.
Here are some of the tips what not to do in your SEO title tag when you title your blog post for travel blog SEO:
- For SEO page title, the character limit of the title should not exceed 50-60 characters including the white spaces.
- A title SEO should not be misleading. You might write over a topic which is searched very less but still, you should still stick with the same title which describes the overall idea of your blog post.
- A misleading title will pull down your google ranking.
Let’s say you give a misleading title to a blog post. It might go up in the Google search result leading to many visitors coming to your site. But they find the title misleading, they will quickly close the page.
- This signal by the users will increase the bounce rate of your travel blog and also decrease the time spent on a travel blog by users. Since these two parameters are one of the most important parameters in deciding the SEO for a blog, a bad scoring on Google, thus, will pull down your blog ranking.
In travel blogging, there are mostly three things that we travellers answer.
Try to answer one or all of these answers in your blog post. Like What answers am I going to provide in this travel blog post to a user?
- It could be about the entry timings (When?), entry fee (What?), how to reach (How?) or the history of the place (What?) etc. Because most of the users want a quick and specific answer.
Here is an example of how I chose a title for ‘Ramoji city, Hyderabad’ blog post:
When I decided to write a blog over ‘Ramoji film city, Hyderabad’. I saw that there were already hundreds of blog posts about this place. I cannot simply write over this place again. That would be more like adding a drop of water into the sea and getting lost.
So, I tried to be specific and looked out for the questions mentioned above: ‘How?’ ‘When?’ and ‘What?’ and then I decided that I would answer only ‘when?’ and ‘what’ questions of the users.
So, I gave the title as ‘Ramoji film city, Hyderabad: entry fee, tour, timings & photos‘. I answered the very specific question about the entry fee and timings of this place. And this blog post has been performing better and better since then.
Had I not answered the specific questions about entry fee or timings to this place, I might not have been able to rank better in Google.
Similarly, you should look out for what specific answers you are giving to your readers as a traveller. Do some related keyword research as well and then give a title.
SEO Title length:
Google search engine displays first 50-60 characters of your blog title. So, ideally, the maximum SEO title length should be around 55 characters. On the other hand, the minimum SEO title length should be 40 characters. Both of these lengths are including white spaces.
Travel Blog SEO: Permalink
When you start writing a post in the WordPress, there are two things to look out for: Blog post title and permalink of the blog. Remember that Blog post title can be changed if you find some better title for your blog post but you should not change the permalink of your blog post at any cost.
What is the difference between the Title of a blog post and Permalink?
The Title of a blog post is something like giving a name to a blog post. This name can be changed later and it does not affect your Google ranking so much. On the Other hand, permalink of a blog post, as the name suggests, is a permanent link to blog post. A permanent link is a URL which Google shows up in the search result.
Here is an example showing difference between permalink and title:
I have a blog over Nalanda University. It talks about the history of Nalanda University, its ruins, ancient classroom system, its library and how was it destroyed.
So when I wrote this post I titled it as “Ancient Nalanda University Bihar: History, Ruins & Images” because I had a lot of photographs of this place and I thought I would put the images in the blog post and titled the blog post accordingly.
When I published the post for the first time, the permalink of the blog post thus was: “http://trekkerpedia.com/2014/05/ancient-nalanda-university-bihar-history-ruins-images/”, as shown in the picture below.
Later, I realised that people searching over the Google about Nalanda University were more interested in ‘Library ruins’ than just ‘ruins’. So, I changed my blog post title from “Ancient Nalanda University Bihar: History, Ruins & Images” to “Ancient Nalanda University: History, Library Ruins & Images”.
Even though I have changed the title of my published blog post, the permalink of this blog post would remain the same.
Why should you avoid changing the permalink of a blog post?
I could have also edited the permalink but I decided to avoid that for the following reasons:
- Once Google has indexed your site then changing permalink will give you a ‘404- content not found’ on your site which is a bad sign. Below is the explanation.
Once we publish a blog post for the first time, a permalink is automatically generated by the WordPress settings. This permalink is then included in the sitemap of your blog.
A sitemap is an XML file which contains the URLs of all of your posts. This sitemap is used by Google bots or Google programs to index these URLs of blog posts on Google search engine.
Now imagine that you published a blog post, a permalink was generated, it was further indexed on the Google search through your sitemap and then, finally you decide to change the URL of your blog and you change it.
But on the other side, Google has your old URL now and it is directing users to the old URL for search results. Since that URL will not be found so it will give an HTML-404, page not found error. For which Google will penalize you.
Use of Header for SEO in a travel blog post:
When I thought of writing a post about Babadham story, a story about a Hindu pilgrimage in India. I had many things to write about but I did not know how to begin.
So, I decided to cover the whole topic in different sections and name each section with a relevant heading which will enable the readers to read whatever they want. These headings also worked as a header for SEO for Google ranking.
If you think your blog post as a short story book, then, the title of the blog post is the name of the book and each chapter’s name is the heading of your blog post.
Giving a heading does not only build up the interest but also, it makes the whole content looks more presentable and readable to a user with more of white spaces into the blog post.
Proper use of header for Seo:
There is a total of 6 types of headers: from H1 to H6. Each header denotes decreasing importance making H1 the most important and H6 the least.
- You think like this about proper use of header for SEO in WordPress. Your title is in H1. H2 will be any subtitle or main headings. H3 will be sub-headings.
- Beyond H3, other headings are highly unlikely to be used in a blog post.
- Best SEO practices say to use only one H1 heading in your blog postwWhich is the blog post title in WordPress.
- Headings and subtitles should be in H2. These headings should cover the other related keywords for a post.
- Sub-subtitles or sub-headings should be in H3 if at all they are needed.
- Never jump over to H3 directly from H1. It decreases the importance that we try to emphasize on the headings of a blog post.
- Do not stuff the same keyword in all the headings. This is a bad practice.
Anchor texts, internal links, and pagination are a great way to engage visitors on a blog post, especially on a travel blog post because they are one of the greatest navigational factors of a blog post.
How to use Anchor text in a blog post?
Anchor texts are kind of internal links to another post of a blog. Here is an example of using an anchor text wisely:
Let’s say you are writing a blog over best places to see in Chennai. At some point of time, you realize that you have another blog over beaches in Chennai and you want to give an internal link over to that blog post. So, here is how it should be given:
If you want to use anchor text for a link within a page like they do in Wikipedia, here is a good site which explains the link within a page. Following the industry standard also makes a better impact on our blog.
Best practices of pagination in a blog:
Pagination is a way to divide your single posts into different posts. It ensures easy navigation through the post and all makes the blog look clean.However, it should be preferred for the longer posts. I usually paginate a page which is over 1000 words of length and divided into sections with headings.
An example of a paginated post is 10 best places along ECR, Chennai. This is a pretty long post, talking about almost 25 places along the East Coast Road in Chennai. So I have divided this post into 5 pages. There is just a small piece of code which is needed to paginate a post.
How to paginate a post/ simple code for pagination?
In other words, How to make your readers navigate through your post.Let’s say you list out 20 places to visit in Berlin. And you want to paginate this post into 4 pages where each paginated page will have exactly 4 places. Then next page will have 4 places and so on until the last page. Here is the code for that:
<h2><span style=”color: #ff0000;”><!–nextpage–></span></h2>
This code should not be used in the Visual editor of the WordPress rather it should be used in the Text editor. So you put this code at the end of the fifth place, tenth place, and the fifteenth place. This code thus will generate text something like this at the bottom of the page with the clickable link to the next page as shown below.
Note that the above links are in H2 headings as obvious from the code. You can also change the color and style of the fonts to paginate a page. If you want some stylish pagination, there are many WordPress plugins available for pagination.
Benefits and Impact of pagination (Navigation)?
Let’s say you write about 20 places around Berlin to see. You paginate this page into 4 pages. That means a user will see the same ad which you have put to generate revenue to your website, four times.
So, the impact is four times here. One top of that, if you want to give anchor text link to some of the places, you can places them on the first page and chances are higher that user is going to click those links.
Travel Blog SEO: Image optimization
Images are one of the easiest and greatest parts of the content to make a greater impact on a blog SEO. Reducing image size and keeping optimum image dimension can help improve the user experience and also make an impact on the travel blog SOE.
Unlike other genres of blogs, readers like to see more images on a travel blog. Images are a great source of SEO, user interaction and making your blog post look more readable and presentable with a good photograph.
Image optimization & SEO:
Most of the travel bloggers are travellers too. And we travellers use DSLR or even normal camera to take pictures of the places we go. The size of these photos is in MBs.
Let’s say you have 5 pictures on the average in your blog post. That means to load your blog post, much data will be needed to load the entire post. On a slower connection, a user might get frustrated with slow image loading because of its size and close your site. Thus closing the site without reading or scrolling much will signal the user’s behaviour to Google.
Hundreds of such users’ behaviour might land you in getting penalised by the Google in ranking. Thus, the size of an image is something which is making a greater impact on your blog SEO.
On a slower connection, a user might get frustrated with slow image loading because of its size and close your site. Thus closing the site without reading or scrolling much will signal the user’s behaviour to Google. And hundreds of such users’ behaviour might land you in getting penalised by the Google in ranking.
Thus, the size of an image is something which is making a greater impact on your blog SEO. So here are some useful steps in managing your images for your blog post.
- Reduce the size of your image before uploading that in a blog post. You can use tools like GIMP or online web interface like Kraken.io to reduce the size of your image.
- You can also use plugins like WP Smush to reduce image file sizes without losing quality. Moreover, it reduces the size of images while uploading the images. You can also bulk reduce the previously uploaded images at once. This plugin is free.
- I have also noticed that images once uploaded on Facebook get much reduced in the size. So create a private album, upload and then download your photos from that album for reduced image sizes.
Optimum number of photos per blog for SEO:
- I prefer to insert one image per 125 words or around per 10 lines in my blog post. This maintains a good ratio of image versus content in a blog post. Also, the inserted images are relevant to the content of the post.
- I, as a travel blogger, prefer to put images which might help a user in giving visuals to the place. For example, in some of the blogs, I have put pictures about the particular camping locations in the middle of the forest or a particular spot which might be of help to my readers.
- This helps in visualising the place and users prefer to return to the same site again because of the hints given through the pictures.
About best Image dimension inside a post for SEO:
Certainly, we can put images of larger dimension but they cover the most of the web page area. They make users scroll more if they want to read the content. So, instead of putting an image of the size of 1024 by 768 pixels dimension or 800 by 600 pixels dimension, I prefer to put 500 by 375 pixels dimension.
As you can see in the picture above, how a big image is covering a larger area of my web page. On the other hand, if I use a little smaller image, along with the picture, a user can read the related content of the post also. As shown in the picture below.
Also, forget not to set featured image in a post. Featured images are shown on other web pages or at places where out blog post is shown along with the pictures.
When we upload an image inside a blog post in WordPress. These images are stored inside a folder named ‘wp-content/uploads/<Image title>’. In the case of my travel blog, it will look like ‘http://trekkerpedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/<Image title>’.
Thus, the image title is used to create a unique permanent link to an image uploaded to a blog post. If you want to test this feature, right click on any image of my website and then click on ‘Copy link address’ or ‘copy image address’. It will copy the URL of the image. Then paste the same in a new tab of a browser and you will see the whole image coming up there.
An Image caption is one of the most impacting factors which helps a blog reader easily relate to the content of the post and easily navigate their readings throughout the blog. Image caption enables us to display some text along with the image on our web page. You can also play around with the font type of the caption using simple HTML.
For example, you want your caption to be shown in italics, you should use HTML like <i> Sample text </i> or if you want the caption to be bold use <strong> Sample text </strong>. The same way, you can also include a URL in the caption.
Alt text is one of the most important factors which impact your Google search ranking in Google image searches. When you search for some of the Peppy images on Google, Alt text is the underlying feature which tells the Google bots or crawler about what the text is all about.
So, an Alt Text is kind of a replacement for an image in the form of a text. Alt text is the most used feature for SEO.
If you want to use the description feature of the image, you can also use it. The Description field is mostly used in news channel and real time things where people need the description of an image like where the image was taken, whose image is that, what different circumstances the image is all about.
Travel Blog SEO: Keywords
Figuring out a keyword is another typical challenge that a blogger faces before beginning with a post. So here are some of the rules on defining a keyword which can give you a greater impact on Google search result :
- Use a keyword which matches the intent of your entire blog. In a travel blog, the keywords that you use should match the traveling domain.
- Try to be as specific as you can. Being specific while targeting the niche of your blog could be much beneficial for you.
For example: If you are going to write about a place, try to be specific about its peculiarity and specialty. Let’s say if I have to write about the Buda castle in Budapest, I will try to cover the history of this castle, how to reach Buda castle, its architecture, entry fee, entry timings and special things to see inside.
So, in this case, keyword might be Buda castle travel guide or traveling guide on Buda castle. But you have to make sure that your travel guide, in this case, covers the entire aspect of the place.
If you ask why not just ‘Buda castle’ be a keyword? Well, it can be as well. But think, if you had been the reader, what features of Buda castle you might have been interested into. It could be its history, places to see inside the castle or just the image of the Buda castle at night.
Using keywords in a travel blog post could be trickier than we think. Because we have so many aspects to cover. That’s why, I am asking you to be precise in what are you going to write upon.
Unlike technical blogs where keywords are defined in forms of an operating system, how to steps, device name etc, in a travel blog post, the case is not the same. However, uses of the keywords in a travel blog post almost follow the same rule as for other blog posts. Here are some of the rules on-
- Include a keyword in the title of your blog post
- Also, include the same keyword in headings and sub-headings
- Try to include the keyword in the first paragraph of your article.
- Also, use the related keywords according to the blog post.
- Also, use the keyword in the ‘alt text’ of the blog images.
- If you are giving any external link or any internal link in a blog that should also be related to the blog post.
Sometimes, people also ask how many keywords can be included in a blog post? Well, I prefer using one keyword per 100 words. So, if an article is going to be around of the length of 800 words then, I will use the keyword around 7-8 times in the blog including the keywords used in the heading.
Using just a keyword is not sufficient for the Google SEO. Along with the keywords, you should also use related keywords in your blog post. However, this part becomes easier for a travel blogger and also helps in bringing more impact on your blog.
For example, if you are writing about traveling places around Bangalore, you can also use related keywords like ‘Weekend gateways from Bangalore’, ‘places to see around Bangalore’, ‘Places to visit around Bangalore’, ‘Long drives around Bangalore’ etc within the sentences. With these related keywords, a user can relate himself better with the post.
Travel Blog SEO: Category & Tags
Many travel bloggers want to know about the categories and tags for a WordPress blog. I consider Categories and Tags as a Fantastico pair. How many categories should be there? How many tags on an average a post should have?
Well, everything depends on the type of post. I have well over 25o blogs until now. But, the number of categories are around 10 to 12 for me. If you ask me to define categories on a travel blog, they will mostly be influenced by travel guide, region name, kind of travels etc. In short, all the Fantastico things you can imagine about traveling.
For example, categories based on kind of travel you do could be wildlife, adventure, road trips, history, monuments, culture, exquisite stays etc. You cannot use all these categories all at once but you can use some based on your knowledge of what kind of traveling you have mostly done.
In the same manner, based on the region name, your categories could be traveling Europe, Traveling South-East Asia etc. Suppose, you have done many hikes in the alps then you can also make a category like ‘Hiking in alps’ if you know that around 10 percent of your blog would fit there. So as a thumb of rule, categories should encompass most of your travel stories.
The reason behind using lesser number of categories that when you index your sitemap to Google and your sitemap also includes categories then a category which has significant numbers of posts might be shown in the Google result when someone searches for your site by name. Is not that awesome?
For example, I write most of my blog posts and articles over trekking. Obviously, trekking is one of my main categories. So, if you search for ‘Trekkerpedia’, you might see ‘Trekking’ in the search results.
Because most of my articles are over trekking. As shown below in the Fantastico Google Search result image.
How to use Tags for SEO in a blog post?
If Categories are the Fantastico parents then tags are the children and siblings. If categories would be the name of the chapters of your entire blog book then tags will be the name of the sub-headings inside a chapter.
For example, I write a travel blog over Tiger monastery in Bhutan. And I write my experience along with the trekking distance to the monastery, opening timings to the monastery, entry fee, opening season, the best time to visit etc. then, these should most probably be the tags of this blog post.
In short, tags should answer the most of the queries people look out for. You can use Tags as a navigational guide about the place.
You can also follow the strategies of using some common tags in a few blog posts. For example, if I try to write about the treks in Himalaya and let’s say, I write over 20 treks in the Himalayas then, one of the common tags I can use throughout these articles is ‘treks in the Himalayas’.
In the same image shown above, you can also see ‘Pondicherry’. Pondicherry is a tag which I have used throughout the blog posts because again many of my articles revolve around Pondicherry. So now Google is considering that too.