Every industry has its challenges with improving their website to attract the right visitors. Aviation SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is no different. The challenge with the aviation industry is searches tend to be rather specific from potential clients. There are several methods to ensure your site is up to speed and getting shown to the right potential clients at the right time and we'll detail a few to get you started.
We all know how cool the glass cockpits are. As the transition from steam to glass started, we were all inundated with learning curves, but at the same time really enjoying the advanced features these brought to us like NEXRAD weather radar. I know as a helicopter pilot, I relied on this extensively to ensure not only mission completion but a SAFE flight environment.
The same holds true to SEO for the aviation industry. As times change, technology improves and search engine algorithms change, we must adapt to these changes and ensure our company is visible to the world. After all, without the website visibility, are you going to have enough customers to keep those aircraft flying?
The website should follow some basic practices for visibility. We'll cover two here, site META and Website Design. These are also referred to as "On-Page SEO".
Site META consists of your title, description and keywords to name a few that are important. As of September 2009 Google Announced that META keywords and Descriptions do NOT impact search engine performance. While this is true, remember, this is what your visitors see, so indirectly it affects whether they click on your results! An example of why this is important is below.
- Title - Should include the page specific keyword that you are targeting and tell the viewer who you are and what they're looking at in a few words (55 Characters). This is the important one for search engines!
- Description - Self explanatory, but essential! This is what is displayed below the results and tells the viewer more about the page. Keep this to about 170 characters, the rest will be cut off. Also, it should be noted that the character counts are approximations, as the display will be affected by size. So, for example, use of all CAPS, will allow less characters.
- Keyword(s): Keywords are specific to the page. The main reason for this is to help the search engines identify what your page is about. Use of keywords that are not relevant to your page won't do you any good as search engine indexing becomes more advanced. So just stuffing your keyword META isn't going to help.
As you can see above, this is our result from Bing. The same holds true for other search engines as well.
A site without these declarations in their structure will result in the search engines determining what they think is best for showing.
To easily manage these entries, we recommend the site be constructed in a CMS (Content Management System). For example, Wordpress allows, and has plugins, that allow the website owner to easily modify and manage META.
While not SEO specific, I wanted to address this as well. Design is probably one of the most important aspects of an aviation website. Aviation SEO isn't simply accomplished by updating your META as indicated above. Think of that as a piece of the puzzle. Without the complete puzzle, it's not solved.
A website design (the look and feel) shows what your company is about, what you do and who you are. Most of your clients are affluent. They are looking for a professional company that caters to their travel needs and do so with safe equipment, crews and records. Make sure your website translates what you do and how you do it for the client. A customer that visits your website and perceives a trustworthy, safe operating environment is more likely going to trust your company to provide their travel services. We all know, in aviation, a customer has to TRUST their provider.
Clean and crisp colors, ease of use and most importantly now, RESPONSIVE DESIGNS are important. If you don't know already, responsive designs allow your site to be displayed on mobile devices, tablets, etc. This is extremely important as the shift in mobile use of the internet continues to rapidly explode.
A good example of the usage of a responsive design is here.
Accomplishing the task of SEO for Aviation is really not as hard as you might think. The best way to do it is by creating a checklist. Following that checklist ensuring each item is completed and then enjoying the benefits. Sound familiar? Something you, as an aviation professional, are already comfortable with and do time after time. We'll be publishing updates and tips that go more in depth as you progress through your SEO plan.