Inspiration Tips & Thoughts

Why Google is Failing at Travel (and How We Are Going to Fight It)

May 6, 2017
Setting Google's Travel Recommendations on Fire

“You have to define your niche and then stick to that”. We’ve heard it again and again… and again.  It will help you to rank better in Google.” SEO. Niche. Targeted. Google. GOOGLE.

Sure, these things work in theory. But what about when your subject matter is by its nature pretty diverse and eclectic. Take umm, travel, for instance. Exploring the world. Enjoying it and hopefully encouraging other people to do the same.

Get out and discover the world

This photo illustrates that you can get out and discover the world and yes, it’s cheesy AF.

Who else is tired of seeing a destination – complete with its myriad complexities, experiences and colours, reduced to yet another listicle. We’re not judging: a quick glance at our recently published articles features pieces such as “Top 11 Things to do in Essaouira” and “20 Cool Places in Singapore”. Exactly.

When you go to a new destination, do you set out with the task of having as niche an experience as possible? “Oh, today’s task is visiting the best wallet shops in London , tomorrow is hat-makers and Thursday is nail technicians”. Possibly, but probably not.

We want to attract new readers and provide you with useful information. That’s why we exist (along with the fact that we need to do something to justify our never-ending wanderlust and writing is our soul*).

What we don’t want to do is rename our website nicheymcnicheniche.com and write about that one niche from now until eternity in the hope that Google rewards us for being a super good doggy and feeds us some good doggy visitor treats in reward. Nor do we only want to write super-targeted listicles entitled “The 9 Coolest Toenail Fungi You’ll Find in London” until it feels like the world is going to end**.

Google is a great thing. I (enter Julianna, writer of this measured thought-piece) remember back to the dark old days when trying to find answers to something things was sometimes so very hard. Rewind 15 years to a dark day when I stayed in a B&B in Valencia so dirty that my travelling buddy and I decided to walk around the city all night rather than sleep on the bed (I am not fussy, it really was that bad). It would have been really handy to have read a few reviews before we booked as I’m fairly sure all of them would have read along the lines of STAY AWAY.

Travelling used to be much more of a gamble – sometimes you just had to turn up and hope for the best. We’re not looking back to some glorious heyday: it wasn’t always good, it wasn’t always bad.

What it was, however, was varied. Rather than information being churned out by the same small clutch of big corporate websites that increasingly dominate the front page for so many travel-related search queries, information came from recommendations, guidebooks (note: plural – not just the one brand that seems to have made it through and come up trumps), tourist offices, people on the train, on the plane, in the hostel – there were even more that my old addled brain doesn’t even remember anymore. God that was a long sentence.

Go forth and discover

Go forth and discover

So what can we do about it? Well, it’s up to you. On our side we’re going to carry on writing about the things that we’re genuinely interested in. Fewer listicles, more travelogues, more comment, more recommendations and more community. We want to know more about our readers and to help you to explore your next favourite place. Have questions? Want help? Drop me an email on julianna@thediscoveriesof.com and I’ll do my best to lend a hand.

There. That wasn’t so fighty after all.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Meg May 12, 2017 at 10:17 pm

    I just want you to know that someone else out here in cyber-world is giving you a big old ***STANDING OVATION*** and huge cyber-hug!! Thank you! nicheymcnicheniche.com made me honestly LOL. I am so very tired of reading articles about increasing your SEO that want me to pigeon-hole myself so extremely, and write about that for the REST OF MY LIFE. No! My life is not pigeon-holed, my blog won’t be either. I’m a family-traveler, and a half-of-a-couple traveler, and a solo-mom-traveler. I get to write about all of those experiences! Yes, I will occasionally write a ‘top 10 things to do’ in a city I’ve explored, but I will also write about the hilarity of trying to schedule my next trip, and my husbands commentary on a foreign menu. And that’s all a good thing. I really hope Google catches up one day.

    • Reply Julianna Barnaby May 13, 2017 at 2:28 pm

      That’s so awesome to hear Meg, thank you so much! A huge cyber-hug back to you 😀 . SO good to hear I’m not the only one. As you said, life isn’t pigeon-holed and travel isn’t a subject that lends itself that well to that single-focus website advice. It’s sucking the interest out of travel writing by reducing it to a series of checklists and niche subjects. Keep writing your wonderful words and lets hope Google catches up.

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