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Skyscanner tops air travel searches on Google UK says new research from Searchmetrics

…and Thomas Cook is most prominent on social media according to new online air travel sector study by leading global provider of digital marketing software and services

London, 3rd September, 2013 - Comparison site, Skyscanner.net, is the most visible web site in Google UK organic search results for air travel related searches, while travel deals site, Travelzoo, is most visible in Google's UK paid search results according to a new study. Content from the Thomas Cook web site is most prominent on social sites including Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

And while airlines such as British Airways, Ryanair and easyJet appear in the list of most visible sites in UK organic and paid results for air travel searches, the majority of top positions are taken by broader travel portals and comparison sites.

The findings come from an analysis of the search and social media performance of sites offering air travel tickets conducted by digital marketing software and services provider, Searchmetrics. The study is Part 1 of a detailed three part report on the travel sector (with the parts 2 and 3 focusing on hotels and auto rentals respectively) in the US, UK, Germany and France.

Searchmetrics analysed which sites rank in the top 15 positions in Google's organic and paid search results for a list of the 1,439 most popular search terms related to "flights" (including words in UK and US English and French and German). It used this data to calculate the SEO Visibility and Paid Visibility scores[1] - index scores developed by the company to measure how visible and prominent sites are within organic and paid search results, respectively - for each site.

The table underneath shows the top 15 sites that are most visible in UK organic search for the flight related search terms on Google.co.uk (based on SEO Visibility scores). Skyscanner.net is the clear leader, dominating visibility with an SEO Visibility index value of 73,801 points. Cheapflights.co.uk (66,736) is second and Travelsupermarket.com, with a significantly lower score (35,292), is in third place.

"Search engine optimisation seems to have been a high priority at Skyscanner over the last twelve months, since our analysis indicates its organic visibility has doubled over this period," explains Marcus Tober, CTO and founder of Searchmetrics.

By contrast, many airlines do not seem to be performing well in organic search against the search terms included in the study with only Easyjet.com (19,964 points), Ryanair.com (19,705 points) and BritishAirways.com (8,854 points) appearing in the top 15.

Tops sites for air travel searches in Google UK organic search

Site

SEO Visibility

1. skyscanner.net

73,801

2. cheapflights.co.uk

66,801

3. travelsupermarket.com

35,292

4. tripadvisor.co.uk

26,746

5. lastminute.co.uk

21,818

6. easyjet.co.uk

19,964

7. ryanair.com

19,705

8. expedia.co.uk

18,690

9. ebookers.com

13,530

10. opodo.co.uk

13,340

11. justtheflight.co.uk

10,633

11. britishairways.com

8,854

12. kayak.co.uk

7,182

13. travelzoo.com

6,968

14. farecompare.com

6,051

"Compared with the online travel portals, many airlines could benefit by better optimising their sites for organic search," said Tober. "Perhaps search engine optimisation is not considered as high a priority among airlines as it is among travel portals, whose business is purely online. In fairness, it should also be said that online travel agencies and price comparison sites offer a broader range of flights than individual airlines. So as a result, they rank with more keywords, which will have a positive effect on the SEO Visibility scores."

In paid search the best performing site for air travel searches is Travelzoo.com, with a Paid Visibility score of 9,661 points (see table underneath). BritishAirways.com is also very visible, coming in at a very respectable third place with 4,643 points, behind Opodo.co.uk (8,098 points).

Tops sites for air travel searches in Google UK paid search

Site

Paid Visibility

1. travelzoo.com

9,661

2. opodo.co.uk

8,098

3. britishairways.com

4,643

4. ebookers.com

4,360

5. kayak.co.uk

4,120

6. cheapflights.co.uk

3,451

7. travelsupermarket.com

2,826

8. lastminute.com

2,500

9. skyscanner.net

479

10. easyjet.com

341

11. expedia.co.uk

311

12. lufthansa.com

213

13. justtheflight.co.uk

44

14. lowcostholidays.com

16

15. tripadvisor.co.uk

6

To measure visibility on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest) Searchmetrics uses a Social Visibility score[2] based on how often content from a web site is shared, liked, tweeted etc on the social sites. On this basis, the travel portals also appear to be dominating what happens on the social networks; Thomascook.com, Kayak.co.uk and Tripadvisor.co.uk are the top three sites with Lufthansa.com the only established airline site among the first five (see table underneath).

Top UK air travel related sites on social media

Site

Social Visibility

1. thomascook.com

89,522,187

2. kayak.co.uk

27,506,612

3. tripadvisor.co.uk

11,655,007

4. lowcostholidays.com

4,541,062

5. lufthansa.com

4,249,002

6. travelzoo.com

3,649,531

7. easyjet.com

2,167,175

8. lastminute.com

1,050,697

9. ebookers.com

793,519

10. expedia.co.uk

689,509

11. cheapflights.co.uk

557,008

12. skyscanner.net

492,518

13. farecompare.com

285,062

14. travelsupermarket.com

81,098

15. opodo.co.uk

32,363

"Too often success on social networks is measured purely on the number of followers and fans a brand has. But social media is primarily about interaction, which is generally initiated by the users themselves. Our Social Visibility score takes into account all mentions of the company ‒ regardless of whether the recommending user follows the company page or not. Although having more fans and followers can help drive social visibility, it is not the only factor," explained Tober.

The most frequently shared content on social media included new offers, unusual promotions and interesting flights and travel destinations as well as information on arrivals and departures.

The data for the study was taken in June 2013 from the global search and social media database which Searchmetrics operates to power its online software tools. This is a regularly updated store of millions of data points related to web sites and their visibility in search engines and social networks.

The full study can be downloaded at www.searchmetrics.com/en/white-paper/travel-industry-flights/

-Ends-

Charts illustrating the tables in the press release above can be found at:

Tops sites for air travel searches in Google UK organic search
http://www.searchmetrics.com/media/documents/whitepaper/searchmetrics-travel-study-flights-seo-visib-uk.jpg

Tops sites for air travel searches in Google UK paid search
http://www.searchmetrics.com/media/documents/whitepaper/searchmetrics-travel-study-flights-paid-uk.jpg

Top UK air travel related sites on social media
http://www.searchmetrics.com/media/documents/whitepaper/searchmetrics-travel-study-flights-social-uk.jpg

[1] How Paid and Organic search visibility is measured
The study analyses the most visible websites across Google.co.uk's paid and organic search results, where visibility is defined by Searchmetrics' 'Paid Visibility' and 'SEO Visibility' scores.

Searchmetrics tracks the paid and organic ranking of millions of keywords every week. For this analysis it calculated the 'Paid Visibility' and 'SEO Visibility' scores based on:

The number of times a domain appears in the search engine results pages (SERPs) across the keyword set of 1,439 search terms related to Flights/air travel

Its prominence within those SERPs (a higher ranking equates to a higher visibility score)

The competitiveness of the keyword (higher search volumes equate to a higher visibility score)

While SEO Visibility and Paid Visibility can relate to a website's real traffic, it is important to remember that traffic can come from many different places online. Therefore SEO Visibility and Paid Visibility are only indicators of visibility that comes from a website's organic and paid search channels.

[2] How social visibility is measured
The Social Visibility score is based on the total number of social links (shares, likes, tweets, pins, plus ones etc) of pages from a web site by users of social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. So in the case of the air travel sector it is based on the number of links to the sites that are shared by people through social networks (the Social Visibility score is not dependent on the links the air travel sites themselves share on their own official social pages on Facebook, Twitter etc).

About Searchmetrics
Searchmetrics is the pioneer and leading global provider of digital marketing software and services. It operates the Searchmetrics SuiteTM, an innovative, interactive online marketing platform for companies and online agencies. With its "Analyze ‒ Optimize ‒ Succeed" philosophy for online marketing, the company offers a holistic consulting approach to helping companies and online agencies develop and execute, intelligent, long term digital marketing strategies.

The company's flagship Searchmetrics SuiteTM platform helps customers to define their individual business goals ‒ such as increased ROI ‒ and achieve them by delivering customized insights, forecasts, and recommendations. It provides detailed analysis and data in SEO, social media and mobile to create a solid foundation for cross-channel digital marketing campaigns. The Searchmetrics SuiteTM allows users to shape the own online visibility and differentiate themselves from, potential competitors. Through individually scalable traffic and revenue forecasts and simulations, customers can identify how and where they need to develop their online presence, take appropriate action and track their performance against their goals.

The company has offices in Berlin, London, Paris and New York and operates its SaaS software through a network of partners and an online shop. The fast-growing company currently has more than 100 employees. It is backed by the renowned venture capitalist companies Neuhaus Partners and Iris Capital. Many respected brands, such as T-Online, eBay, Siemens and TUI rely on Searchmetrics to ensure they have excellent visibility through intelligent online marketing strategies.

Media Contact
Uday Radia
CloudNine PR Agency
[email protected]
+44(0)7940 584161

Source: RealWire

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