The other day, I was in zoom meeting SEO for Travel and Trekking websites of Nepal organized by TAAN and decided to join them. It was a great idea to share knowledge while everyone home quarantine because of the Coronavirus luck down. SEO is not just something we can learn in 2 hours, but its experience itself takes long many years to becomes an expert. After I joint, this call, I decided to write my opinion and overall weakness toward the organization. From a lot of perspectives, I must admit it was such a waste of time how promotional it was of an SEO company and their work, instead of how productive this 2-hour course would it be.
A lot of you might be thinking who the hell is this guy giving such a bossy comment. Well, I’m just a person like you all, the founder of NEST Adventure, who has a basic knowledge of SEO and internet marketing. I started my SEO journey back in 2009, mostly try and errors. I had an excellent opportunity to learn and study different tools after I left Nepal and moved to the UK. At the moment, home quarantine in the United States and doing my home base marketing job. I hope that permits me to comment on this SEO session.
There were roughly 80 participants all related to the Travel and Trekking business. If you haven’t watched this training session, here you go! TAAN Facebook page has uploaded the full video. My intention is not to offend anyone, but the comment is mostly what happens during this session, and the mistakes base on my knowledge.
Google algorithm updates and COVID-19 Decline Rate
Although the session was titled to discuss the effect on tourism industries, how much has caused the decline rate, the team never mention a word. Google algorithm changes almost every day, but the one updated in November 2019 has the major impacts on Travel industries. I truly believe the travel trekking owner deserved to know the fact and its solution.
Based on the report by search engine journal, 25% impact has been dictated, causing a negative impact on travel booking websites. That wasn’t the only disaster in travel industries, but the effect of COVID-19 brought a significant disaster, creating a negative 50% decline rate, according to Niel Patel market research.
The whole session was completly outdated as the team didn’t include a word about new Google algorithm updates, and it impacts on Travel websites. It’s a big hit in history and would have been a bonus If this part was included in the discussion.
Link Building Strategies
The frustrating part was outdated link building strategies from back in 2005. For example, the host clearly showcased the link building strategies as one of the main gateways to create a link for the website by blog commenting. Nither they mention the type of the link sends SEO value as most of the blog comments are quoted with “no follow” link attribution means google don’t care about those types of link, but in the meantime, this will be nothing but just a bunch of spam. Isn’t a too old fashion in SEO industries, from back in the time of 2000? This trick might have worked back in the time, but in the present trendings, it’s a massive spamming and zero SEO value, especially if you don’t get the Follow link from a relevant site.
One other massive misleading I found from the meetings is “meta keywords.” Google webmaster Matt Cutts announced in 2009 Google doesn’t use Meta tag at all. While meta keyword is extremely important but not as a tag in the header section. In 2019/20, Moz says meta tags need to accompany high-quality content that focuses on user satisfaction, not as a header tag. But in the host showcase, it was a clear infographic lined up.
One of the most popular SEO plugins in the market, “Yoast” doesn’t even bother having one of those sections.
lack of knowledge
About 15 minutes was a total waste of time for listening to the word size count for the title tag, meta description length, etc. Especially, there are a lot of WordPress sites in the market, and the tools plugin makes this really easy. I don’t think I have to remember all the counts while updating new articles in my blog. A title tag should be 60 letters, and meta description should be less than 160 characters, etc. Instead of explaining old school theory, the presenter should have mentation those tools to make everything perfect.
The proper way of internal link building is probably the easiest but the best practice to improve SEO ranking. However, the presenter has given zero ideas on how to do so. And there is really not a significant explanation for an SEO expert as long as it’s within keyword target and the anchor text relevant internal linking, which is less than 5 seconds to explain.
Missing an important part
While spending a tremendous amount of time explaining outdated topics, some essential but particularly important SEO topic was missing, such as “Schema Mark-Up.” Based on recent market research done by search engine journal, relevant search engine schema marks up will increase 30% CTR (Click through rate) in your website. A lot of us, as a business owner, we know what is schema mark up as most of us have implemented as well. But it seems such topics which became so popular in the past few years and the trending issue wasn’t documented as part of this training.
Was it an SEO company’s promotion or mean to be training?
If you listen to the whole training session, you will realize whether it was a training mean to train travel and trekking intrapreneur or the marketings of SEO companies. In my opinion, it was more commercial training to promote SEO company’s work than to educate people. It’s because
- The training was mostly focused on pointing out how difficult SEO is rather than encouraging intrapreneur to involve themself.
- Using terms, especially what SEO company would do and makes it easy or often repeating SEO company terms, was likely commercial.
- There wasn’t any statement about how to do it yourself (DIY), but it was basically these are the general things, you should hire an SEO company in order to the job done.
Should we hire an SEO Company
During the session, few companies samples were shown as a reference of doing a great job, such as Magical Nepal and Nepal Hiking Team. In my opinion, they have done a great job with on-page/ off-page SEO and especially relevant link building. But all the auspicious work wasn’t done by an SEO company. A trusted friend of mine Mr. Saugat Adhikhari, also a co-founder of Magical Nepal, has a long history of doing an SEO. With the help of content outsourcing, he does all the major jobs by himself. For him, the essential part is to control the quality and not to spam his work. As much as he wants to outsources but he knows how to quality control works with SEO companies.
A personal phone call with Mr. Balaram from Nepal Hiking Team also admitted all the work had been done under his supervision by teaming up with an outsourcing company. In summary, the result they have been credited is that they not only know what SEO is but also good in quality control by mitigating the spam work. Those people know what they are doing, also have a judgemental idea while outsourcing. What if you don’t have a judgemental knowledge to give critical questions to your SEO company? Well, you might still get the result, but just until you paid them. After a while, It all goes back to where you started—or sometimes penalized by google If you failed to stop spamming.
Indian, Bangladeshi SEO companies in Nepal Travel Industries
I wasn’t probably the only one who would receive an SEO offer from an Indian and Bangladeshi tec company. But I believe most of the travel and trekking companies would receive the same email. They would not only approach you via email but also via Facebook messenger or any other possible social media. I simply used to refuse them by not responding until one guy emailed me with reference proof that he is working with one of the local companies in Nepal.
It clearly got my attention and decided to exchange a few emails with him. His price was fairly low; he managed to rank some competitive keyword, his article was excellent to read but his content quality and link building strategy was a disaster. He doesn’t know at all how trekking and travel business works in Nepal. `He is just a ghostwriter. And I believe the company doesn’t bother at all to proofread them. A link has been created all in high domain authority (DA), do-follow link type, but none of them are relevant. Base on my own try and error, do-follow link from higher DA will help brings ranking higher in no time, but until google finds out, it’s spam and non-related. In a lot of cases, your site might get penalized or lost the rankings in the long run.
I wasn’t the only person who noticed errors in yesterday’s zoom meetings, and I know there were some other SEO expert participants as well. Maybe TAAN should recognize those experts and get their voice as well to balance those training next time. I know this type of training is not the first in TAAN. While bringing commercial people, TAAN should maintain and control the quality and not miss leadings the entrepreneur.
If you simply type any major keyword on google, you will see the first two pages are all international companies. Now our competition is no longer with a local company. All the foreign companies have taken over the first spot in Google; It’s all because we don’t follow proper SEO guidance. What we are up to is to bring down others not to go higher yourself. We are good at stealing others creations. If one company brought a new fresh article, this would be re-written by 100 other companies. We are dying to get listed in third party company, Tourreader, Bookmundi, GetYourGuide, Viator, etc. We are begging for business by paying 10 up to 25% commission. What is actually our future as a tour operator?
The future of the Travel business in Nepal is by SEO but not by those creepy set of mind but to be broad. Until the person who has responsibility in the company doesn’t know what SEO means, they are not going to improve the business. Nepal travel and trekking business will always depend on the third party website, and we all have to rely on them to give us business.