Thomson tops May search charts with focus on specific terms

Thomson has stepped up its natural search efforts during May, with rival Thomas Cook also performing strongly in the key shoulder season month, according to research from Greenlight.

The search agency’s latest look at natural and paid Google results for the travel vertical found that 10.8m searches were carried out in May, up from 8.6m in April.

Brands are ranked for natural search according to how often they appear on the first page of Google. The top five, by percentage of returned results on which they appear, are:

 >> – 70%
 >> – 55%
 >> – 53%
 >> – 47%
 >>First Choice – 46%

The analysis is based on results from the most popular 3200 keywords and is broken down further into generic, short and long haul rankings.

Travelsupermarket is the most visible for generic search terms, of which “holidays” is the most common, accounting for 2.2m searches alone.

Thomson and Thomas Cook have above 60% visibility in natural search, but Thomson in particular appears more focused on specific terms.

More than 3.8m searches were carried out for short-haul destinations, with Thomson appearing on the first page of Google 86% of the time, compared with Thomas Cook’s 43% and First Choice’s 45%.

“Turkey holidays” was the most popular short haul term, accounting for 673,000 searches. For long haul, “Sharm El Sheikh holidays”, “holidays Egypt” and “Egypt holidays” combined accounted for more than one in five of the 2.3m long haul searches. Again, Thomson is the most visible at 62%.

The report also looks at paid search visibility, concentrating on the top 90 keywords. It reveals that First Choice’s “share of voice” has declined significantly since the last report in February, losing 30% visibility in the overall findings.

By category, it was 30% down for generic terms, 36% down for short haul and at least 25% down for long-haul.

The brand with the biggest visibility in paid search is with 46%, followed by (39%) and lowcostholidays (39%). Greenlight points out that in terms of buying traffic, seven of the top ten are aggregators. is the most visible OTA brand in the natural search chart, with leading the way for paid search, although both brands’ rankings – 30% and 9% – are significantly behind the top ranked brands.

Elsewhere, the report looks at the copy used in the paid adverts, and found that price- and savings-led messaging was prevalent. Thomas Cook incorporates its “Don’t Just Book It, Thomas Cook it” strapline.

Despite its ongoing battle with the CAA,’s creative refers to its membership of ABTA.

 >>Download the Holidays Sector Report Issue 6 May 2010

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