Written By
Kelsey Miller

With the right approach and some strategic planning, blogging can be a powerful tool for attracting potential guests to your destination. A successful blog can help you increase traffic to your website, establish your personality and brand, build trust and loyalty, attract qualified leads (who will ultimately become guests), and reduce marketing costs.

A critical part of creating an effective blog is the planning and research that must take place before you even begin writing. If you are new to this form of marketing, this may seem like a daunting task, but, there are tons of free and easy tools to help you get started.

With this beginners’ guide to keyword research and search engine optimization, you will learn how to choose the most valuable topics and keywords to use when marketing your tourism destination.

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How to research possible topics for blog posts about your destination

A little bit of research can go a long way when deciding what to blog about. There are plenty of free tools to help you through the planning process so that you can make the most effective use of your time and get the results you desire.

Below, we discuss some of the steps that you should always take before you begin to write your blog content, so that you can be sure that it will be content that your guests actually want to read.

1. Understand your ideal guest

To begin the process, you should first understand who your ideal guest is. What is it that they are looking for and how can you help them find it? It is helpful to create a semi-fictional profile that represents your ideal guest, called a buyer persona, which you can refer back to and use to align your goals realistically. If you need help getting started, check out our buyer persona template for more information.

Some things you should know about your ideal guest include demographics such as age, location, income, and other factors. If possible, try to learn more about their personality traits and habits well to better understand what makes them unique.

To collect information for your buyer persona, consider interviewing current and previous guests to learn what they liked best about their experience and what they think could be improved. You can also look through your records of guest information to identify trends and read reviews people have left on the internet.

2. Research keywords relevant to your destination

In order to blog successfully, you will need to write about topics that are important to your buyer persona.

For example, let’s say you own a bed and breakfast in Mystic, CT and you want to use your blog as a marketing tool to attract more guests to your destination. So, what is your ideal guest looking for? Place yourself in their shoes and begin with a simple Google search that you might try if you were looking to visit Mystic, CT. Try starting with the search “things to do in [your location]”.

The first result in this Google search is a featured snippet that shows a list of popular attractions in the area, followed by a number of similar articles. Browse a few of the top-ranked results to see what places or attractions are most popular or find areas in which these articles are lacking.

If you scroll to the bottom of the search page, you will find a list of related searches suggested by Google. This list is compiled based on the searches that people often pair with the initial search. These ideas can be particularly helpful in brainstorming topics for potential blog posts.  

Google Related Searches

In fact, some of these searches can even function as working titles for blog posts. From this information, we know that people are interested in learning about free things to do in Mystic, things to do in Mystic in the winter, Mystic hotels, and more.

Now that we know what questions people are asking, we can use blogging as a way to answer them. The biggest takeaway from this exercise should be a list of keywords that your buyer persona is likely to be searching for. However, in order to use this list effectively, you will need to understand the basics of search engine optimization, or SEO for short.

To go a step further, you can use free tools such as trends.google.com or moz.com to evaluate the strength of the keywords in this list.

Using Google Trends, you can get an idea of how many people search for a particular keyword, when and where most searches occur, and again, more related keywords. The free subscription to moz.com offers similar data.  

Googel trends search console google trends related topics

Search engine optimization is the process of tailoring your content specifically so that it ranks high in the results for search engines like Google, maximizing the number of visitors to your webpage. This strategy is at the core of inbound marketing as it focuses on bringing your content in front of people who are already looking for it rather than targeting people who are otherwise uninterested.

3. Choose a targeted keyword

After using tools to evaluate the popularity and strength of the keywords you have compiled and you have a general idea of what you would like to blog about, you can decide on a targeted keyword for the post. This keyword should reflect the core idea of your blog post and be used in the title. Ideally, your goal for this post should be to rank number one in the search results for this targeted search phrase.

Keep in mind that this keyword should have a reasonable amount of search volume as you can gather from the tools mentioned earlier. Too few searches and not many people will see it, too many searches and the harder it will be to rank in the top results.

4. Choose secondary keywords

You should also choose a few secondary keywords that are closely related to the targeted keyword to help search engines to further understand your content. For instance, if your targeted keyword phrase is “mystic seaport museum”, some secondary keywords to touch upon in your post might include “mystic seaport aquarium”, “things to do in mystic”, and “mystic seaport village” based on the research you have done.

Search engines have sophisticated algorithms in place to determine the ranking of web pages in the results page for a particular search. On a basic level, pages are rewarded based on their ability to answer the question being asked.

By including the additional phrases you have chosen as targeted secondary keywords in your blog post, search engines will be much more likely to recognize your content as an authoritative source of information on the topic at hand.  

Putting It All Together

Now that you have done your research, you can begin to plan your blog post and the SEO strategy you will use. Based on your findings you should now have a topic for your blog post, a targeted keyword, and several secondary keywords that all help to answer the question your ideal guest is asking. It’s time to put it all together!

So, you have all of these important words to include in your blog, but where do they go? Placement of keywords is just as important to SEO as finding the right keywords. In order to fully optimize your web page, pay close attention to a few key areas.

The title of your blog post should include your targeted keyword to show search engines exactly what the content is about and help the page rank for queries related to that phrase.

Using the Mystic, CT bed and breakfast example, a possible title could be “10 of The Best Restaurants to Visit in Mystic” where the targeted keyword phrase is “restaurants in Mystic”.

Another place to pay attention to when writing your post is section headings within the piece. For instance, you might choose to categorize the best restaurants in Mystic by the type of food they offer. The section headings will then include secondary keywords like “Italian food in Mystic”.

Don’t forget to include your keywords in important places like the page’s meta description, the URL, image tags and captions as well!

By using this process of research and optimization every time you write a post for your tourism destination’s blog, you can exponentially increase the amount of traffic to your website and reap the benefits in the form of attracting new guests.

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