May 14, 2007：Online travel agencies significantly outpaced traditional hotel/resort companies in natural search visibility, according to a new study. Of the top 100 highest ranking sites, 63% were online travel agencies, demonstrating their importance and prominence in the overall travel industry.
Digital marketing agency iCrossing announced the results of the “Search 500 Index: Travel.” The “Search 500 Index” is a study series measuring the visibility of Fortune 500 companies among people who search online.
The “Search 500 Index: Travel” finds that Fortune 500 travel companies in general have adequate natural search visibility on the major search engines, based on 110 travel-related keywords that iCrossing has determined online searchers are most likely to use. However, the study did find that there is room for improvement within certain segments of the travel industry.
“Natural search visibility” refers to the non-sponsored (non-paid advertisement) position of a company’s brand, products and services resulting from a user searching with a keyword relevant to that company’s brand, products and services on an Internet search engine such as Google, Yahoo!, MSN, Ask.com or AOL. Beyond driving direct sales, high natural search visibility can be critical to building awareness, positioning, and protection of a company’s brand both online and offline.
KEY FINDINGS OF SEARCH INDEX: TRAVEL
- In general, Fortune 500 travel companies are doing an adequate job of achieving natural search visibility. Airline companies have been more effective to date at gaining natural search visibility than hotel/resort companies.
- There is room for improvement for Fortune 500 travel companies, as most did not rank well in the overall search visibility list for this keyword set.
- Online travel agencies significantly outpaced traditional hotel/resort companies in natural search visibility. Of the top 100 highest ranking sites in this industry, 63% were online travel agencies, demonstrating their importance and prominence in the overall travel industry.
- Fortune 500 travel companies with a large Web presence (many distinct domains) did not necessarily do better than those with fewer domains for this keyword set, underscoring the importance of the quality – not the quantity – of websites.
Based on the results of the analysis, iCrossing has identified several opportunities for Fortune 500 travel companies to improve their natural search visibility, including:
- Re-evaluating the competitive set based on the accessibility of information available through natural search and come to recognize highly visible companies as direct competitors in their space.
- When considering a partnership with or buying media on the sites of relevant online companies, making sure those companies have an effective natural search visibility strategy.
- Focusing efforts on primary and well designed Web sites as they may work more effectively than multiple scattered websites.
- Conducting in-depth, search-based competitive analyses to derive as many insights as possible from the strategies and tactics of industry leaders.