Tour operators

Guest Post: How to manage large websites and booking systems

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Guest Post: How to manage large websites and booking systems

By Keith Hodges, account manager at POLARIS

Large scale travel websites have a unique challenge within the SEO world. How do you make a site unique, interesting, secure and conversion driven across each and every location offered?

Quite simply, managing a large scale travel site is a beast to be fought on an ongoing basis, but some simple tips and considered approach will allow for great results.

Speed

 

Speed is essential in running a large scale website. Searcher spiders and users of the website do not like to wait for load times. On mobile in particular, all forms, images and content should load within 1.5 seconds if possible – users waiting over 2 seconds for elements of a page to load will often just leave look somewhere else.

Where possible, consider sending in images from a Content Delivery Network, this allows for faster load speeds on your own server. Also, cache all headers and merge javascript/CSS where possible. Use tools such as Pingdom speed testing to ensure servers and all page elements are working correctly, keep a log of any changes and amend all errors.

Website Structure

 

Having a simple and effective website structure will make a huge amount of difference to indexing of the website and site navigation. Split the site in what makes business sense, this could be either through continents, countries or cities, for example.

Beyond this, consider how products are structured – do they fall under a country/city page, or will the product area of the website sit separately?

All key pages should be within the top two levels of the website. Ensure this is the case by creating a tree map of target pages and website sections.

Meta Data Management

 

With a strong structure, management of meta data will be simple. For example, a ski company could have Ski Holidays France | Brand as a simple starting point with an override in a CMS.

Beyond this, it is possible to auto generate page titles sitewide based on what sits in the CMS, or actual page title (such as Ski Chalets in Val D’Isere). This approach can also be used when targeted flights, different flight times/dates and even package deals.

As a default a structure should always be used, with any additional work on pages being able to be overridden as well.
Consider something like:

[Location] [service] [differentiator] | [brand]
Barcelona Flights September 2016 | EasyJet
Security

Largescale sites, particularly transactional or storing user data, are targets for cyber-attacks. Carry out regularly security checks and ensure the website is protected at all times.

Using SSL.HTTPS certificates will also protect user data further and from a branding point of view is something users now understand as being a sign of their data remaining secure on a website.

Auditing

 

Simply audit all of the above within a business schedule and SEO strategy.

Consider any changes which need to be made, those which have naturally come about and any which may have an influence on a website in the future.

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