The Importance of Search Engine Optimization for Tourism Websites
Agisilaos Konidaris, Erato Koustoumpardi
The 4th International Conference on “Innovative Approaches to Tourism and Leisure: Culture, Places and Narratives in a Sustainability Context”, Athens, Greece, May 25-27, 2017
Publication year: 2017

In this paper we initially present the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) for tourism Websites. We present the most important metrics that affect SEO such as display speed, quality and quantity of content, mobile responsiveness, inbound links and the technologies that they use. All these metrics greatly affect search engine rankings and consequently online bookings. To assess how SEO is implemented on a tourism related domain we examine a sample of almost 400 Tourism business websites on the island of Kefalonia in Greece. We provide cumulative results for more than 20 important SEO metrics for these Websites. Our case study shows that SEO metrics have been optimized for about 25% of these Websites and need extensive optimization for the rest.
Τhe basic idea in this paper is to study and evaluate the state of SEO on a specific tourism destination (Kefalonia) and provide insights for the next steps that need to be implemented in order to improve search engine rankings. We also correlate SEO optimization to search engine position. This has been done by introducing a general SEO grade as a combination of all important SEO metrics for every Website taking into account their relative significance. This correlation proves that more optimized websites rank better for generic queries in their category.
SEO is very important in Tourism since it helps search engines figure out what each page is about, and how it may be useful to users. This paper proves that SEO plays a significant role for tourism website rankings and that there is a lot of room for improvement for a large number of tourism websites.