SEO Tips & Tricks: Insights from Reliqus’ Expedia Case Study

Reliqus Marketing

10 July 2023

SEO

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Expedia Group is a U.S.-based provider of travel technology. It owns and runs a number of travel metasearch engines and pricing aggregators, including Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Vrbo, Travelocity, Hotwire.com, Orbitz, Ebookers, CheapTickets, CarRentals.com, Expedia Cruises, Wotif, and Trivago.

Through its travel brands, the company offers a wide range of services, including the reservation of hotel rooms, airline seats, vehicle rentals, and destination services.

Expedia.com is an online travel agency owned by the Seattle-based Expedia Group that allows customers to reserve cruises, hotels, cars, plane tickets, and vacation packages. Expedia Group works with the world’s leading travel suppliers to put exceptional experiences at travelers’ fingertips. The company’s goal is to help with international travel and open up new possibilities for building stronger connections, expanding perspectives, and bridging gaps.

The company has been in operation for over 20 years and has built a two-sided marketplace that allows it to filter through millions of different possibilities for travelers and partners worldwide. Expedia Group is one of the world’s largest travel platforms, powered by more than 70+ petabytes of data and 20+ years of tech innovation.

The company focuses on developing cutting-edge services that use technology to connect partners and customers in fresh, valuable ways.  Expedia Group became Expedia Group in 2018, recognizing the 20+ year journey to a vast two-sided platform, home to a multitude of travel brands and technology solutions

One of the many travel pricing aggregators and travel metasearch engines owned and run by Expedia Group is in the travel technology sector. The company provides a wide array of services through various travel brands, including, including reserving hotel rooms, airline seats, rental cars, and destination services. Expedia.com is an online travel agency owned by the Seattle-based Expedia Group that allows customers to reserve cruises, hotels, cars, plane tickets, and vacation packages. The company’s goal is to facilitate international travel and open up new possibilities for forging closer ties, expanding perspectives, and bridging gaps.

Importance of SEO in the Online Travel Industry

Importance of SEO

Online marketing for the travel sector must include search engine optimization (SEO). Here are some reasons why SEO is important for the online travel industry:

  1. Aid promotion: SEO helps to promote travel services by improving the visibility of travel websites on search engine result pages (SERPs). 

This can lead to increased traffic to the website, which can translate into more bookings and revenue for travel businesses.

  1. Provide value: SEO helps to provide value to travel consumers by ensuring that the content on travel websites is relevant and informative. This can help to build trust and credibility with potential customers, which can lead to increased bookings and revenue.
  2. Increase brand visibility: SEO helps to increase the visibility of travel brands by improving their rankings. This can help to build brand awareness and recognition, which can lead to increased bookings and revenue.
  3. Improve user experience: SEO can help to improve the user experience of travel websites by optimizing them for quality and user experience. This can lead to increased engagement and conversions, which can translate into more bookings and revenue.
  4. Cost-effective: SEO is a cost-effective method of marketing for the travel industry. It is cheaper, simpler, and more effective than traditional marketing methods such as print advertising or TV commercials.

SEO is important for the online travel industry because it can aid promotion, provide value, increase brand visibility, improve user experience, and is cost-effective. By optimizing their websites for search engines, travel businesses can attract more traffic, bookings, and revenue.

The market size of the global online travel industry alone was estimated at over 470 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. This number was expected to increase even further in 2023.

 [Resource: Statista

Initial Challenges Faced by Expedia 

Initial Challenges Faced by Expedia

1. Competitive landscape in the travel industry

  • The travel industry is highly competitive, with numerous players vying for market share. According to Statista, the global online travel market revenue was estimated to be $755.94 billion in 2020.
  • Expedia faced competition from other prominent online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Booking.com, Airbnb, and Priceline, which had established brands and loyal customer bases.
  • Traditional brick-and-mortar travel agencies were also transitioning to online platforms, intensifying the competition in the digital space.
  • Startups and disruptors in the travel industry, such as Hipmunk and Kayak, were gaining traction by offering innovative solutions and challenging established players.
  • Search engines like Google and their travel offerings, such as Google Flights and Google Hotel Search, presented additional competition by providing direct booking options.

2. Limited online presence and visibility

  • Expedia initially faced challenges in establishing a strong online presence. According to SimilarWeb, as of September 2021, Expedia.com ranked as the 6th most visited travel website globally, with approximately 136 million monthly visits.
  • Compared to established competitors, such as Booking.com and Airbnb, Expedia had relatively lower brand recognition and visibility.
  • Limited online visibility resulted in difficulties in reaching the target audience and acquiring new customers.
  • Expedia’s organic search rankings on relevant keywords were not as prominent as desired, hindering its ability to attract organic traffic and potential customers.

3. Need for effective marketing strategies

  •  Expedia recognized the importance of implementing effective marketing strategies to drive traffic and conversions. The company allocated a significant portion of its budget to marketing efforts.
  • Traditional advertising channels, such as TV commercials and print ads, proved to be expensive and had limited reach compared to online marketing channels.
  • Expedia needed to develop strategies that would provide a competitive edge in the market and effectively target specific customer segments.
  • The company sought innovative and cost-effective marketing approaches to optimize its return on investment (ROI) and maximize its reach and impact in the highly competitive travel industry.

Implementation of SEO Strategies

1. Website Optimization

Expedia Organic Research

a. Keyword research and optimization

  • Expedia conducted extensive keyword research to identify relevant search terms and phrases used by its target audience.
  • Data from tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush helped identify high-volume and low-competition keywords.
  • By strategically incorporating these keywords into website content, Expedia aimed to improve its organic search rankings and visibility.

b. On-page optimization (meta tags, URLs, content, etc.)

On-page optimization (meta tags, URLs, content, etc.)

  • Expedia optimized meta tags, including title tags and meta descriptions, to accurately reflect the content and keywords of each webpage.
  • URLs were optimized to be user-friendly and keyword-rich, enhancing search engine crawlers’ understanding of page content.
  • Content optimization involves creating unique, informative, and engaging content that targets relevant keywords and satisfies user search intent.
  •  Heading tags (H1, H2, etc.) were optimized to structure the content logically and improve readability for both users and search engines.

c. Site structure and navigation improvements

Site structure and navigation improvements

  • Expedia focused on improving the overall site structure to ensure easy navigation for users and search engines.
  •  The website’s hierarchy was organized logically, with clear categorization and subcategories, allowing for intuitive browsing.
  • Internal linking strategies were implemented to establish a strong interlinking network, enabling search engines to discover and index content effectively.
  •  XML sitemaps were created to provide search engines with a comprehensive overview of the website’s structure and facilitate crawling and indexing.

2. Content Marketing

a. Creation of high-quality, relevant content

Creation of high-quality, relevant content

  • Expedia invested in creating high-quality content that aligned with user search intent and provided value.
  • The content was crafted to be informative, engaging, and shareable, catering to the interests and needs of the target audience.
  • This content included articles, destination guides, travel tips, and other resources that appealed to travelers and provided valuable information.

[Resource: SEMRush Content Marketing]

b. Utilization of blog posts, travel guides, and destination information

Utilization of blog posts, travel guides, and destination information

  • Expedia leveraged blog posts, travel guides, and destination information to engage users and establish its authority in the travel industry.
  • Blog posts covered various topics, including travel tips, destination highlights, and unique experiences, to inspire and educate travelers.
  • Detailed travel guides were created for popular destinations, providing comprehensive information on attractions, accommodations, transportation, and more.
  • Destination information pages were optimized to rank well for relevant search queries, ensuring users found relevant information when researching specific locations.

c. Link building and outreach for content promotion

Link building and outreach for content promotion

  • Expedia actively pursued link-building strategies to enhance its website’s authority and visibility in search engine rankings.
  • Outreach efforts targeted relevant websites, travel bloggers, and influencers, aiming to secure backlinks to Expedia’s content.
  • Guest posting on reputable travel websites and collaborating with influencers allowed Expedia to expand its reach and attract new audiences.
  • Social media platforms were utilized to promote content, encouraging user engagement, sharing, and amplification.

3. Local SEO 

a. Optimization of local listings and directories

  • Expedia focused on optimizing its presence in local listings and directories, such as Google My Business, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
  • Accurate and consistent information, including business name, address, phone number (NAP), and website URL, was provided across all platforms.
  • Expedia ensured that its listings were fully completed and enriched with relevant details, such as business hours, photos, and descriptions.
  • This optimization helped improve Expedia’s visibility in local search results and enhanced its credibility among local users.

b. Implementation of location-specific landing pages

Implementation of location-specific landing pages

  • Expedia created dedicated landing pages for specific locations or regions to cater to local search queries.
  • These pages provided comprehensive information about local attractions, accommodations, transportation options, and other relevant details.
  • Location-specific keywords and phrases were strategically incorporated into the content to improve search engine rankings for local searches.
  • Expedia aimed to capture users’ attention and direct them to relevant travel options within the specific location.

c. Integration of user-generated reviews and ratings

Integration of user-generated reviews and ratings

  • Expedia encouraged and integrated user-generated reviews and ratings into its website.
  • Genuine customer reviews and ratings provided social proof and helped build trust among potential travelers.
  • Expedia actively managed and responded to user reviews, addressing any concerns and providing a positive customer experience.
  • Reviews and ratings were displayed prominently on Expedia’s website, increasing visibility and influencing user decision-making.

46% of all searches on Google are for a local business or local service [Resouce: Search Engine Roundtable]

4. Technical SEO

a. Website speed and performance optimization 

Website speed and performance optimization

  • Expedia prioritized optimizing its website’s speed and performance to enhance user experience and search engine rankings.
  • This involved implementing techniques such as caching, minification of code, and reducing server response time.
  • Image compression and optimization were employed to minimize page load times.
  • Expedia also monitored and fixed any technical issues that could negatively impact website speed and performance.

b. Mobile optimization and responsive design

Mobile optimization and responsive design

Mobile optimization and responsive design

  • Expedia recognized the increasing importance of mobile devices in travel bookings and prioritized mobile optimization.
  • The website was designed with a responsive layout that adapted to different screen sizes and resolutions.
  • Mobile-friendly features such as click-to-call buttons and easy navigation were implemented to improve the mobile user experience.
  • Expedia ensured that its mobile version was fully optimized for search engines, including mobile-specific metatags and structured data.

c. URL structure and canonicalization

URL structure and canonicalization

  • Expedia paid attention to URL structure and canonicalization to improve website crawl ability and avoid duplicate content issues.
  • URLs were optimized to be descriptive, user-friendly, and keyword-rich.
  • Canonical tags were implemented to specify the preferred version of duplicate content and consolidate ranking signals to the preferred URL.
  • Redirects, such as 301 redirects, were utilized when necessary to ensure proper URL redirection and prevent broken links.

E. Backlink Building

Backlink Building

Backlink Building

a. Outreach to authoritative travel websites and blogs

  • Expedia conducted outreach campaigns to establish partnerships and secure backlinks from authoritative travel websites and blogs.
  • The company identified relevant websites and blogs with high domain authority and engaged in personalized outreach to propose collaborations or content contributions.
  • Expedia aimed to acquire backlinks from reputable sources to enhance its website’s authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines.

b. Guest posting and partnerships

  • Expedia engaged in guest posting opportunities on relevant travel websites and blogs.
  • Through guest posts, Expedia provided valuable content to the target audience while gaining exposure and earning backlinks to its website.
  • Collaborative partnerships with travel influencers and content creators were also pursued, leveraging their platforms to promote Expedia’s offerings and secure backlinks.

c. Social media promotion and influencer collaborations

Social media promotion and influencer collaborations

  • Expedia utilized social media platforms to promote its content, engage with users, and amplify its reach.
  • The company actively collaborated with travel influencers and bloggers who had a significant following and influence in the travel industry.
  • Influencers featured Expedia’s offerings, shared their travel experiences, and linked back to Expedia’s website, generating backlinks and driving traffic.

A study published on Backlinko found that the number of domains linking to a page was the factor that had the highest correlation to rankings in Google [Resource: Backlinko]

Impact and Growth Achieved

1. Increase in organic search visibility

Increase in organic search visibility

  • Through the implementation of SEO strategies, Expedia experienced a significant increase in its organic search visibility.
  • The optimization efforts, including keyword research, on-page optimization, and technical SEO, helped Expedia’s website rank higher in search engine result pages (SERPs) for relevant travel-related queries.
  • Expedia’s improved search visibility resulted in increased exposure to potential customers actively searching for travel-related information and services.

2. Higher rankings on relevant keywords

Higher rankings on relevant keywords

  • By targeting and optimizing for relevant keywords, Expedia achieved higher rankings on search engine results pages.
  • Expedia’s website appeared prominently for search queries related to travel destinations, accommodations, flights, and other relevant travel-related topics.
  • Higher rankings on relevant keywords helped drive organic traffic to Expedia’s website and increased its chances of attracting potential customers.

Over 29% of keywords with over 10K+ monthly searches consist of 3+ words [Resouce: Ahrefs]

3. Growth in organic traffic and conversions

Growth in organic traffic and conversions

  • The combined efforts of SEO strategies resulted in a substantial growth in organic traffic to Expedia’s website.
  • Expedia’s improved search visibility and higher rankings on relevant keywords contributed to increased organic traffic from users actively searching for travel information and booking options.
  • The increase in organic traffic also translated into higher conversions, with more users booking travel accommodations, flights, and other services through Expedia’s platform.

4. Expansion into new markets and regions

  • As a result of its SEO efforts, Expedia was able to expand its presence into new markets and regions.
  • Targeted SEO strategies, including localized content, location-specific landing pages, and optimization for local search, helped Expedia reach and engage with audiences in different geographic locations.
  • Expanding into new markets and regions allowed Expedia to tap into new customer bases and increase its market share.

5. Improved brand recognition and trust

Improved brand recognition and trust

Resource: Expedia

  •  The implementation of SEO strategies and the resulting increase in organic visibility and rankings contributed to improved brand recognition for Expedia.
  • Expedia’s website appearing prominently in search results and its content being shared and linked to from authoritative sources helped establish its credibility and trustworthiness.
  •  Improved brand recognition and trust led to increased user confidence in Expedia’s services, resulting in higher conversion rates and customer loyalty.

Additional Strategies and Innovations

1. Integration of AI and machine learning in SEO efforts

  • Expedia embraced the use of AI and machine learning technologies to enhance its SEO strategies.
  • AI algorithms were utilized to analyze large volumes of data, identify patterns, and gain insights into user behavior and search trends.
  • Machine learning models helped optimize content, improve keyword targeting, and refine SEO strategies based on real-time data and performance analysis.
  • By leveraging AI and machine learning, Expedia aimed to achieve better search engine rankings, enhance user experience, and drive targeted organic traffic.

2. Voice search optimization

  • Expedia recognized the growing importance of voice search and optimized its SEO strategies accordingly.
  • The content was structured to align with natural language queries and conversational search patterns.
  • Long-tail keywords and phrases that reflect how users speak rather than type were incorporated into the content.
  •  Expedia also focused on optimizing its website for featured snippets, as voice assistants often rely on these concise, informative snippets to provide answers to voice queries.

After analyzing 10,000 Google Home search results, Brian Dean found that 40.7% of all answers from voice searches are pulled from a Featured Snippet (Backlinko)

3. Personalization and user experience enhancements

  • Expedia aimed to provide a personalized and seamless user experience through its SEO efforts.
  • User behavior data, such as search history, browsing patterns, and preferences, were utilized to deliver personalized recommendations and tailored content.
  • Dynamic website elements and targeted landing pages were created to cater to specific user segments and their unique needs.
  • User experience enhancements, such as intuitive navigation, clear calls to action, and streamlined booking processes, were implemented to improve customer satisfaction and encourage conversions.

4. Adoption of schema markup and structured data

  • Expedia implemented schema markup and structured data to enhance its search engine listings.
  • Structured data markup, such as JSON-LD, was used to provide search engines with specific information about Expedia’s content, such as product details, prices, and ratings.
  • This enriched data allowed search engines to display enhanced snippets, such as star ratings, reviews, and event information, in search results, attracting more attention and improving click-through rates.
  • By adopting schema markup and structured data, Expedia aimed to stand out in search results and provide users with more comprehensive and relevant information.

The Expedia SEO case study sheds light on the importance of search engine optimization as a powerful tool for driving organic traffic and achieving online success. Through its strategic approach to SEO, Expedia was able to enhance its visibility in search engine results, improve website rankings, and ultimately attract a larger audience of potential customers. 

The results speak for themselves, as Expedia experienced a substantial increase in organic search traffic, resulting in higher conversions and revenue. This success demonstrates the immense potential of SEO when executed effectively and underscores the importance of investing time, effort, and resources into optimizing a website for search engines.

I’m sharing you more case studies because I think it’s really inspiring. It’s about SEO, and it’s sure to motivate you.

1. SEO Case Study: How Expedia Increased Visitors And Sales With Organic SEO

2. TripAdvisor SEO Case Study: From Hidden To Top Travel Destination

3. B2B SEO Case Study: How Amerilist Increased Its Organic Traffic By 4x Via SEO

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