You spend thousands of Euros/Dollars to a trendy (and hopefully) creative Digital Agency to design the optimal website. You have worked with a bunch of developers on a hyper fast & responsive UX, with a seductive imagery in full width... in order to calm down the Google gods and comply with Mobilegeddon standards. You think your job is done and now you can relax, and simply start promoting your new website to the operators who display their brand new aircraft on EBACE or MEBA static displays? Sorry... we all wish that this were the case, but if you really want to earn the full value of your investment, your job is not done yet.
First, we have provided some overview information about website design and search. After that, we've crash tested the SEO of 5 Flight Support companies (let's call them FlightSupporx, EuroFlightSupport, FSupportex, UASupport, and HaFlight) which are all very known in the market place.
The aim of this competitive study is to see why SEO and Web Design should be considered equally? How can a productive and regular content policy help to boost traffic from web search? Why monitoring your competitors weekly (if not daily) can increase your ability to generate traffic?
Design really matters...
... and it is more so than ever, super important from a UX point of view. Whenever we talk to a potential future client, we cite former Virgin CEO, Fred Reid: " ...never ever, ever ever start an airline without a full time Design Director from day one...". It is so crucial that a new trend of "Web brutalism" (as featured in this Washington Post article by Katherine Arcement) has recently emerged in reaction to minimalist interfaces. No doubt that we clearly prefer for our Aviation Industry, but neat and clean does not mean stark and barren. For example, here are a few cool inspirations from Web Design Trends.
No ranking means no traffic... no traffic means no leads.
For any Flight Support company keeping up with search engine optimization is a complex job. This is mostly because the Google guys rarely gives details* on which parameter is ranked higher in the algorithm... If you're a Moz blog reader, you probably have these details already in hand. But what about the rest of you, dear loyal readers?
Before, we go deeper into the analysis on what Flight Support Companies are missing, watch this hilarious short movie from Google (itself) which illustrates perfectly how a bot crawling your website will react without serious search engine optimization.
For beginners, the "focus keyword" (item 3 in the sample below) is the word or phrase that your audience will likely use in their search engine. No matter what your website design looks like, if you do not give enough information about your core business (a meaningful content), while the Google search engine may know what's going on in your website (he is smart !), it most probably will not be able to match your website to the search query of your target/prospect with your content.
If you correctly configuring correctly your Titles (1), Descriptions (2), Keywords (3**) and Prefix Description (4) it will help the algorithm to work (which means, will deliver more traffic to your website).
- Sample of SERP with correct optimization for fictive FlightSupportex -
For WordPress users, we suggest that you invest in Yoast Seo Plugin which will help you to select the winning keywords to optimize the four above categories (and much more features such as multiple focus keywords or social previews). Branding pass provides its customers with support on how to choose focus keywords wisely depending on the highest organic search (SEO) and paid search rankings (PPC).
"SEO is a race, not a sprint".
(Quiksprout, Kissmetrics, Crazzy Egg co-founder, one of the top 10 Online marketers)
SEO Pillars for 2016.
Content is THE king.
SEO expert studies revealed a clear correlation between content length, shares and Google rankings. An average of 1,890 words is perfect if you want to show up on the first page when a potential client does a search.
Backlinks remain an integral part of SEO.
The number of different links pointing to your site from unique domains are still a huge component of the mysterious Google algorithm.
Schema or not Schema?
Google, Bing and Yahoo! joined forces to set up a structured data (Schema.org). Recent studies are reluctant in indicating that Schema a huge impact on SEO.
Beware of keywords stuffing!
Creating artificial lists of keywords won't help you. Semantic Search allow the robots to have a clear understanding of your content page, which will prevent you from cheating by just listing words. (** Focus Keywords on title sounds not so important anymore).
Site speed still matter.
Check your site loading using Pagespeed or GTmetrix. If your page loads slowly, fix it (or allow Branding pass to fix it for you).
There is one fairly new parameter. What Google engineers call "User Experience Signals" such as bounce rates, click through or time on site are now clearly correlated with Google rankings.
And now the crash test...
We have created five major rankings for Flight Support domains, and ran the study on an annual basis. In this chart, we clearly see a correlation between Google organic search and the number of ranking keywords.
- Traffic per month from May 2015 to May 2016 -
- Volume of keywords from May 2015 to May 2016 -
UASupport (in red) invested in developing its content. We can see clearly that UASupport is winning this battle. If you are a competitor of UASupport (like every one featured here) in your outreaching efforts, this may be very interesting to follow. Moreover, EuroFlightSupport (in orange) also worked hard to provide interesting operational content (3,581 keywords), but unfortunately a navigational problem appears to have occurred on its website (630 vs 8K visits).
Invisible Flight Support Companies.
If correctly monitored, Visibility percentages should exceed 70%. It means to receive a visibility percentage of 100, you would need to rank in the first position for all of the keywords entered on your website. These two charts provide you ranking data within the top 100 results for each keyword for a given location (here USA) and device (Desktop only) for almost all the Flight Support companies in the market (players from Middle East, USA, Europe).
These two diagrams show that even top performer FlightSupport1 (in blue) has a very low visibility due to un-engaging keywords.
- Top 5 Converting Keywords -
As a former Sales and Marketing manager for a Flight Support company, I know that key events in the season are one way to track traffic, customers and leads. Let me list a few: LFMN parking shortage, LSGG slots, LIEO supervision... In this chart, top performer UASupport is doing not so well on a keyword such as "NOTAM" with a volume of 18,100 searches, it ranked on 38th position, on the 4th page.
But really, who keeps on looking past the 1st page?
In conclusion, none of these five Flight Support companies have optimized keywords to boost the traffic of their website. Maybe they assume BtoB searches are different from BtoC queries? They may have a nice website that works perfectly working on mobile devices... but these good looking sites are really just pretty faces.... they have nothing behind them and are most probably considered by mainstream crawling bots as an empty shell. A few years ago, SEO was a science of titles tags, keywords and backlinks. Today, a successful SEO campaign must deal with branding, user experience, relevant content and semantic search. If you need help and want a website that truly brings your targeted customer to your door, let's talk.
What are your thoughts? We invite you to share your opinion so please leave a comment or contact us directly. As always, feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues!
* According to Search Engine Land, Google perform at least 2 changes in the algorithm per day. :-)
The opinions and analyses expressed on this blog/website are based on our research and are for the sole purpose of providing general information about our agency and our practices. See more at brandingpass.net.
Pics all right reserved, Creative Common.
Data Acknowledgement SEMrush.
Special thanks also to Alan Gluck from consulting firm AEC2 for his remarkable support on these blogs. He can be reached at AirportECC@gmail.com
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