topped paid search chart in December 2010 was the most visible flight advertiser in paid search in December 2010, according to Greenlight’s latest report on the sector.

The airline commanded a 76% share of voice, with second on 68%.

‘Cheap flights’ was the most common natural search term in the flight sector, accounting for 21% of the 2.5 million searches studied. The term ‘flights’ was a distant second at just 6%.

Of the sites that were ranked for natural search, came in at number one, reaching 86% of the total searches. and came in second and third respectively.

Greenlight found that the top ranked sites for natural search all had strong original content and link equity.

According to the study: “Many of the leading sites contain rich content on all the topics that surround the popular keywords and have made this content accessible to search engine spiders.”

Greenlight stressed that paid search rankings can be improved by enhancing the breadth and depth of keywords and writing unique ad copy, and by employing savvy bidding strategies.

The consultancy found that most travel related searches are conducted on a Tuesday with slightly fewer searches on other weekdays and the fewest searches made on the weekend.

Greenlight found two peaks in travel search, occurring between noon and 2pm and between 6pm and 8pm.

Finally, Greenlight analysed how effective travel brands were at using social media. According to the report, had the best social media strategy, with came in a close second.

Both companies tweeted and used Facebook but British Airways had the largest number of fans/followers and engaged in a very aggressive tweeting strategy.

Greenlight did not make recommendations for improving social media strategies, but did note that many brands offer special promotions and offers on their social media accounts. This could help drive return customers to the sites and even help improve engagement.

 > Download the full report from Greenlight’s flight sector page

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