Promotion of tourism websites by optimal use of images and video

Promotion of Tourism Websites using Photography and Video

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Bring Attention to Your Travel Website With Stunning Photography.

More than any other kind of website, travel websites lend themselves to the incorporation of stunning photography. Attractive images of destinations, people, animals, architecture and food will help to ensure your page gets chosen when it’s seen on a Google image search or on a roll-over preview of the website.

Great photos cause visitors to stay longer and click more pages on your site, and photos are among the top forms of data shared on social media websites. Incorporation of great photography into your tourism website is an essential part of promotion and on-site optimisation, especially with regard to social media. Here we discuss a few ways to use photos and videos to optimise your website’s appeal and increase conversion of traffic into customers.

Certaldo street theatre

Certaldo street theatre

Optimise your website with eyecatching photography

Which photos are most appealing?

National Geographic magazine’s ‘top covers of the last fifty years’ makes an interesting point. The majority of their most popular covers of the last half-century feature people somewhere in the photo. Some are of animals doing cute or interesting things. And a few are of natural disasters or events such as a volcano erupting. What are they not? Landscape photos.

Destination shots are wonderful, but commercial success in publishing is largely built on human interest, not on concrete and masonry (architectural journalism aside). Photos with faces are particularly advantageous due to their memorability. Recently, MIT researchers found after conducting a study on the memorablility of different groups of images that photos of people stayed much longer in memory than any other kinds of photos. Places where people were likely to be seen, such as an empty library or supermarket aisle, were remembered adequately. The losers of the memorability test were landscapes.

Though landscapes may be beautiful they are the least remembered form of photography, so it is important to incorpaorate human figures or, if possible, human faces. Warm colors were slightly better remembered than cool colors. Look at the banner advertisment above and ask yourself which unit catches your attention first. Similarly in the photograph below - the human figure gives the picture movement and focus

Search engine optimisation and tourism website photography

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So when you are asking for photographs, be specific in what kind of photographs you want. Ask for a shot with a person or people somewhere in the scene. If photos are shot in a public place and used for editorial purposes, the photographer is usually fine. Other rules apply for commercial purposes, however, so check the local guidelines for photo usage of strangers if you or your photographer are sourcing the image yourselves.

How do I source the right image for my travel website?

If you’re publishing a travel website, you should be able to ask your content creators to send images along with their articles. If you’re sending a writer on a cruise, for example, he should be able to get some pictures of the cruise destinations. However, it cannot be assumed that writers and editors make good photographers. Some of them do not want to carry the gear required or they have never learned about the composition of a photograph and how to adjust for different light settings.

Another good source of photographs is PR firms and local organisations that promote travel. They often have images on hand that they can share with websites, with the aim of drumming up interest in the area. As such, they may be willing to share with you provided the photos are attributed appropriately. However, if a PR company provides photographs of low quality, i.e. poor resolution, do not use them. Posting a blurry, poorly-composed photograph is worse than no photograph at all.

SEO for tourism websites by optimal use of images and photography

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How do photos relate to search engine optimisation (SEO)?

It’s important to remember that the "alt tag" text should be present for every photo and keywords should be included in that text. Choose two or three keywords but keep the context natural. Google now has very sophisticated methods to detect keyword stuffing of content, especially in alt tags, and will penalise a page or even a whole site if this is detected. If you add a caption with a link in it, the link anchor text must be relevant to both the content of the page hosting the image as well as to the landing page. This applies equally to the alt tag if the image itself is linked to another page. The writer or content manager needs to be aware of homonyms, which share the same spelling but have vastly different meanings,e.g. if the word ‘bank’ appears in the article after the word ‘river’, clicking on it shouldn’t take the visitor to a page about savings accounts. Descriptive captions help to organise your photos, and to keep your visitors clicking from page to page as they explore a certain destination or theme. Make good use of synonyms and veriant spellings - Google loves them.

Why are quality photos a good marketing strategy?

Social media sites are abuzz with photography. Sites like Flickr and Pinterest make sharing easy, but Twitter also has file-sharing capabilities through Twitpic. On Pinterest, members keep photo boards and travel junkies can collect favorite destination shots.

On Twitter, there are also growing numbers of hash-tag chats involving photography and travel photography in particular. The best or most interesting photos are retweeted then by participants, and if your photos are among those retweeted then the exposure gained on one if these discussions is worth the time invested in planning and sending.

Using photographs to your advantage may mean online success for you and your company, so start building up your gallery.

Value of images for website promotion

The Val d'Orcia - sometimes landscape photos without human figures ARE good for website promotion!

Video and website promotion

A 2-3 minute video clip is a valuable addition to the features making your website attractive to viewers. In addition, by placing it on portals such as Facebook and Vimeo, you make your video available to a huge potential audience, some of whom will click through to your website. We maintain our own dedicated site where videos made for our customers are re-published:

A top quality video usually can't be made cheaply. However, there are applications around that will allow you to create quite a convincing video from still photographs and you can also simply place your video camera on a box and perform in front of it - see Sergio Ceccherini's video below. In addition, even a very amateur video that is "authentic" has value, sometime more value than an over-slick professional effort. Some of our customers have greatly enhanced their conversion rates simply by posting videos send in by happy tourists on their websites.

Click this link to learn more about Sergio's scenic wine tours in Tuscany

A professional video created from video footage and still shots for Podere Felceto near Panzano.

Who is the model, who is the photographer?

Fashion shot

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