What is Google Travel Guide?
Personally, I love traveling. Most of the time I’m doing it on my bicycle, loaded with panniers and stuff. I’ve already crossed 19 countries (counting one not officially recognized as a country!) and I’m still planning to go even further. And just as you can expect from a person traveling this way, I always plan my trips on my own.
I must admit that in the age of digital information, it’s a fairly easy thing to do. Most of the necessary information concerning the places I plan to visit is already there, available on the Internet, just waiting to be found. There are plenty of articles, blog posts, and YouTube videos where you can find trip ideas, maps, travel tips, and practical information. The only problem is that crawling through all of that data takes an awful lot of time. And sooner or later, you will eventually end up by searching for things to see in… If only someone could gather all of these resources in one place. You know what? Google did exactly that. The Travel Guide is, in fact, a huge interactive database, containing all basic information about the destination you wish to visit, gathered from a number of sources around the Internet.
How to Trigger the Feature?
There are several ways to trigger this feature. You can just search in Google for the place you wish to visit. Let’s try Estonia, and see what happens:
The results page shows a few links to the Travel Guide. For sure you will find it in the rich snippet on the right side of the screen. This applies not only to countries, but to all destination-related queries (cities, interesting places, etc.) that trigger the rich snippet. Another snippet called Things to do in Estonia appears sometimes under the first search result. Here you can find a few links, highlighting the most popular destinations within the country. If you click any of the links presented, you will be redirected straight to the guide page, dedicated to this specific place. If you wish to see the general guide for Estonia, you can hit the Estonia travel guide button.
Things look a little bit different on mobile devices, though. On top of the search results there is a chart containing the essential information about Estonia, and the next tab will take you to the Travel Guide section. An additional link is present:
But didn’t I mentioned that it always ends up by searching for things to see in…? If you type phrases such as things to see in Estonia, what to see in Estonia? etc. you will get similar results. The only exception is that the links on top of the search results will point you directly to the Things to do page, which is a part of Google Travel Guide.
Big surprise: you can also access the feature by typing directly: “Estonia travel guide.”
What you Can Find in Google Travel Guide
Okay, now that we know how to enter the guide, let’s follow the link and see what we find there. The page contains several sections. On top you will see a short description of the given place, taken straight from the Wikipedia article:
This serves as a short introduction and isn’t very useful by itself, but all of the following features are the real deal.
Things to Do
This one is pretty awesome. The Things to do section should be actually called Things to see as it mostly presents you a set of interesting places to visit. If you follow the see all link to this section, you will be redirected to a page containing a huge interactive map. All the interesting places that you might consider visiting during your trip are marked here. It’s fully integrated with Google Maps, so you can scroll through the map, zoom in and out, and use features such as Street or Satellite View.
After you select a specific place, a window pops up containing all the necessary information:
- Short description from Wikipedia;
- Basic information, such as address, opening hours, contact, ticket prices;
- Outgoing link to the official website;
- Link to driving directions on Google Map;
- Questions and answers section;
- Popular times section, which shows you when you should expect the place to be crowded;
- Google reviews section, where you can evaluate if the place really seems worth visiting;
- List of related search results from the web.
As you can see, the amount of available resources is overwhelming, and every single section will feed you information that can really make your life easier.
Additionally, on the left side of the screen you can see a list of places from the map, a short description, and an attached photo. If you select one from the list, you will get the same pop-up window and the place will be highlighted on the map.
The Destinations section is actually the predecessor of the Travel Guide. It was introduced on its own and initially was available only on mobile devices. The Destinations feature presents you a list of interesting places within the area of your interest. Let’s investigate the destinations page within Estonia travel guide:
On the top of the screen, right under the Top Destinations in Estonia heading, you can see a number of filters that can restrict your results to places related to the activity of your choosing. The list will differ depending on whether you choose National Parks or Museums. Another important observation is that the filter menu is contextual, and its content depends on the variety of options available in the given area. For example, a different set of filters will appear for Estonia and for Poland:
After clicking on the selected destination, you will be redirected to a page dedicated to the given destination. This chain will guide you from the more general query (e.g. things to see in Poland) to the most specific one. For example: Poland > Krakow > Wawel Castle
Inside the Travel Guide, you can also find suggestions for day trips that will cover the most popular destinations within your search area. And if you’ve decided to visit a given place, Google offers an integration with its other travel-oriented features: Google Flights and Hotels, which means that you can easily book airplane tickets, as well as find a place to spend the night, without even switching to outside sources. Isn’t it nice?
If you’re interested in learning more about the destination you wish to visit, Google Travel Guide presents you with even more interesting features that you can check:
- Travel Articles – here you can find a collection of articles from external sources that will give you a fair insight look into the place of your interest;
- Travel Videos – similar to the articles, this feature will present you a number of informative, travel-oriented videos, related to the given place.
- Popular Trips and Daily Plans can provide you quick ideas for short trips, as well as longer journeys around the area.
How can Google Travel Guide Benefit SEO?
Without the shadow of a doubt, the Travel Guide can be very helpful for the average user. However, can an SEO utilize it in their work? Is there any hidden potential for Search Engine Optimization that you can discover? If you’re perceptive enough, you have probably already spotted a few SEO opportunities. In the following section, I will give you an overview of what we SEO specialists can extract from Travel Guide.
Who Can Take Advantage of the Feature?
Obviously, the market areas that can benefit the most from the Travel Guide are oriented around tourism, travel, marketing of the region, etc. And if the business profile of your website does cover one of these areas, then you might consider yourself lucky, because now you can start collecting.
Via Travel Guide and Destinations Google just shared a huge keyword database that you can easily access just by utilizing the standard functionality of the future. Let’s imagine that you are running a travel agency operating in north-west Africa. You are currently planning to open a new branch of your services, offering trips to Morocco. Inevitably, your website’s Information Architecture will need a huge update. And just by visiting the Travel Guide you can discover:
- Location-related keywords – as the whole area of your interest is covered by locations found in Destinations and Things to do pages, you can easily base your location-based landings on this data.
- Activity-related keywords – filters found on Destination pages can help you determine which kind of activities are in demand in the given area. Then you can optimize another set of landing pages around keywords such as Hiking trips in Morocco or Surfing in Morocco.
- Keywords and ideas for your trip offer – just check popular trip section to find great ideas for trips you can sell: 6 days in Casablanca, Marrakesh, Fes & Chefchaouen seems tempting.
Build Great Content by Utilizing Google Travel Guide
Another set of opportunities appear when you try to search for nice content ideas for your company’s internal blog. Without a doubt, great content can be useful for your clients, but it’s also a valuable tool to increase the Authority of your website by gaining valuable links. Google Travel Guide can help you find:
- Topics for new articles – remember that weather chart? How about creating a post titled When is the best time to visit Morocco? and use it as a basis for a more comprehensive article that you can complement by using data for more specific locations found on Destination pages. Investigate the Q&A sections to find more topics that you can address.
- Data and information for your content – Give your clients all range of both interesting and practical information about all places to visit: opening hours, directions, daily plans etc.
- Aggregation of sources – Google Travel Guide presents you a collection of content related to your topic, such as articles, videos, and trip plans. You can compare this with your own content and check if it lacks any information. You can also find opportunities for external linking to articles that comprehend your own, making your content even more useful for the users.
I hope you enjoyed the short trip through the Google Travel Guide. I’m sure that you will find it useful while planning your next trip. And whether you’re working in an SEO agency, running a Travel company, or just own a personal Travel Blog, now you should be able to utilize the full potential of Google Travel Guide, to help your website rank in Google.