Before marketers undertake a campaign to push their website up search engine results pages (Serps), it is essential that they first gauge the level of competition in their particular market, as well as the breadth of audience they are trying to reach, it has been claimed.

Eric Enge of Search Engine Watch said that travel is a "hellishly competitive" area for search engine marketing.

The top ten Google results for ‘travel’ are all large websites, although one smaller agency sneaks in because of Query Deserves Diversity (QDD), the idea that Serps should not contain basically the same type of pages.

However, Mr Enge noted that being picked up by QDD is "like winning the lottery" and in order to regularly compete on a term like ‘travel’, firms would have to invest in optimisation on a "massive scale".

Nevertheless, smaller firms can still boost their online profile by gearing their sites towards more niche queries, such as ‘Orlando travel agent’.

"Deciding on an SEO strategy starts with understanding the business you’re in and what it will take to succeed in that business space from an SEO perspective," he said.

According to comScore, US internet users carried out 14.5 billion web searches in February.

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