Did you know that 72% of Americans book travel arrangements online?
If you’re in the business of travel and accommodations, this couldn’t be better news. An eager audience awaits at your digital doorstep, prime to convert.
But there’s a catch: with a vast customer base comes steep competition.
Thousands of travel sites and booking platforms vie for your audience’s attention. It’s up to you to get them on your website.
In this SEO case study, we’ll look at how one travel site found a way to do just that.
Join us as we explore lovethemaldives.com and its incredible growth story to 3.3 million monthly visits.
We’ll share how they did it, reveal the risk behind some of their moves, and include tips for future-proofing their techniques on your website.
Let’s dive in.
In This Article
- About Love the Maldives
- Historical Performance
- The Catalyst: How Love the Maldives Achieved 67,604% Growth in 3 Months
- Standout SEO Wins
- Steal Our SEO Winning Strategy: A Checklist for Your Website
- Dominate the SERP & Win More Organic Traffic With AIOSEO
About Love the Maldives
Love the Maldives is a travel guide and accommodation directory for the Maldives Islands.
They cover various topics, from Maldivian weather and wildlife to culture and transportation.
The website has a twofold focus:
- Becoming the go-to source for all Maldives travel-related questions.
- Connecting travelers with accommodations on the islands.
Regarding the latter, Love the Maldives does not offer its own accommodations. Nor is it a booking service.
Instead, this website is part of an affiliate program at booking.com.
By showcasing the available accommodations, Love the Maldives earns a commission with each reservation made through booking.com.
The site also earns revenue through ad generation.
These monetization models will be important as we look at its growth strategies.
For now, let’s take a quick peek back at Love the Maldives’ historical performance.
According to Semrush, lovethemaldives.com started getting traffic in January 2021. Traffic was lackluster the first year, with only 2,545 total visits by year’s end.
This number grew to 12,830 in 2022.
And now, in 2023, Love the Maldives has acquired 4.8 million organic visits. And there’s still 2 months left in the year.
This growth is even more impressive in the past 3 months.
August marks the beginning of dramatic growth, with organic traffic skyrocketing through the end of October.
So, what exactly happened in this time to catapult Love the Maldives to new heights?
We’re going to reveal these answers next.
The Catalyst: How Love the Maldives Achieved 67,604% Growth in 3 Months
Lovethemaldives.com grew organic traffic by performing the following:
- Automating content production
- Publishing FAQ pages to win People Also Ask results
- Acquiring high-authority backlinks
Let’s look at each of these items in detail to understand their significance and how they contributed to Love the Maldives’ success.
1. Automating Content Production
For most of its lifetime, Love the Maldives featured under 200 pages on its website.
This changed in the latter half of 2023 when they decided to ramp up content production.
The chart below demonstrates how many pages were live on the site per month and the corresponding organic traffic.
July to August showcases the first spike in pages and traffic. In a few weeks, Love the Maldives added almost 10K new pages to its website, and traffic increased tenfold.
The following months reveal a similar story, with October being the most drastic increase yet.
From September to October, Love the Maldives added over 110K new pages and tripled its traffic into the multi-millions.
Realistically, this type of content production isn’t feasible with human efforts alone.
Love the Maldives leverages automation to churn out this level of content. This process is referred to as programmatic SEO.
Programmatic SEO creates and publishes landing pages at scale. You use a template, database, and automation tools to generate content that follows the same format.
In the case of Love the Maldives, they use an FAQ template to create these pages. Here’s an example of what this template looks like as an FAQ landing page:
And here we see how another FAQ page follows the same format:
(We’ll talk more about these FAQs in our next section, but we’re currently focusing on the output level for these new pages.)
Why this matters:
With new content comes new opportunities to rank.
And in October 2023, Love the Maldives saw the fruits of their efforts with 2.4 million ranking keywords.
July’s 1.4K ranking keywords don’t even register as a blip compared to this month.
This is important because it allows the website to cast a wider net, putting more eyes on your content.
And for sites focused on bookings, affiliates sales, or ad revenue, like Love the Maldives, more traffic equals more money.
Here’s the thing, though: AI-generated content isn’t a guaranteed solution.
In fact, it comes with a certain level of risk.
Google is constantly updating algorithms to weed out low-quality content. And if your automated content isn’t up to par, quick results can backfire in the future.
That’s why it’s critical to approach this type of content carefully.
Love the Maldives is also upping the gamble by pulling its content (the answers) from other websites.
They cite the original website via a link, but each FAQ also includes a takedown request—a clear signal that the author may not appreciate Love the Maldives’ approach.
The website also features a Disclaimer addressing its liability (or lack thereof) for content and links.
How to leverage content automation on your site:
You don’t have to take content automation to the extreme like Love the Maldives.
Some aspects can benefit from automated workflows while maintaining hand-written content.
Here are some good ways of doing this:
- Leverage AI to write meta titles and meta descriptions
- Set image alt text and title tags to generate automatically with image smart tags
- Automatically redirect 404 pages to your homepage (or any custom page)
- Use an SEO plugin to get internal linking suggestions directly in WordPress
And if you still feel like programmatic SEO makes sense for your website, this article explains how to do it.
Tools for content automation:
AIOSEO can help you automate SEO processes to streamline your content optimizations.
We have a tool for each task in the above bullet point list:
- For writing metadata: AI Title/Description Generator crafts unique and compelling meta titles and descriptions in a single click.
- For image SEO: Turn on Image SEO and customize smart tags to generate image attributes automatically.
- For 404 redirects: Redirection Manager makes it easy for users and search engines to navigate your site and avoid dead ends.
- For linking: Link Assistant generates internal linking suggestions directly in the WordPress editor. Find linking opportunities without scouring your site and add them easily to your content.
Next, let’s revisit the FAQ pages to see how and why Love the Maldives chose this type of content.
2. Publishing FAQ Pages to Dominate People Also Ask
In September and October 2023, Love the Maldives added 226,387 FAQ pages to its website. That’s 83.7% of the site’s total pages.
As for traffic, these new pages account for an astonishing 99.9% of the site’s total traffic. This new category of pages has effectively become the driving source of Love the Maldives’ explosive growth.
But how exactly are these FAQs getting so much traffic?
That’s because of Google’s People Also Ask (PAA).
The PAA section of Google presents relevant questions to a user’s original search.
Here is what one looks like on the SERP:
And in October 2023, Love the Maldives is getting a lot of these PAA rich results.
They rank for 249,519 keywords in the PAA section, to be exact.
Why this matters:
The PAA section of Google presents valuable opportunities for driving traffic to your site.
Due to its prominent positioning on the SERP, these rich results garner significant user attention and improve key performance metrics, like clickthrough rate and traffic.
This reinforces Love the Maldives’ attempt to get more eyes on their content, which can lead to more affiliate sales and ad revenue.
The PAA section is also great for websites looking to boost brand awareness and your site’s credibility.
How to optimize for PAA on your site:
Let’s use a Love the Maldives FAQ page to demonstrate how to optimize for PAA results on your site.
Here, we have one of the many FAQs listed on a page about visiting Miami:
- Locate a question-based keyword.
- Use this keyword in your H2 (In the above example, this is “How long should I stay in Miami for vacation?”)
- Answer the question in the copy immediately following your subheading. Keep your answer concise and to the point. Search engines prefer shorter answers because space is limited in the PAA section.
- Implement FAQ schema.
For a more thorough tutorial, visit this article on how to optimize for PAA. We’ll take you through each step in greater detail and share how to win these rich results for your website.
Tools for winning PAA results:
All in One SEO (AIOSEO) is your ally for winning PAA rich results.
Our Schema Generator implements FAQ schema for you with a click of a button.
We can also help you ensure you position your keyword in the right areas, including your subheadings.
Here’s an example of how TruSEO analyzes your content optimizations and tells you exactly where and how to make improvements.
Next, we’ll look at the final contributing factor to Love the Maldives’ growth: backlinks.
3. Acquiring High-Authority Backlinks
Historically, lovethemaldives.com never broke a thousand backlinks until November 2022.
However, October 2023 has hit its all-time high with 10,713 backlinks.
Many new backlinks have an Authority Score (AS) above 65.
Note: Authority Score is a Semrush metric for measuring a domain’s overall quality and performance. You may also see this metric as Domain Authority (DA).
Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, the backlinks don’t appear credible. Many seem to be coming from link schemes.
A link scheme, or link spam, is the use of unnatural links in an attempt to manipulate rankings.
And while we can’t confirm whether Love the Maldives uses a link scheme, the individual links do raise the question.
Why this matters:
Backlinks are considered one of the top two Google ranking factors, making them a powerful driver of traffic and rankings.
However, quality over quantity reigns supreme for backlinks to work as a long-term solution.
How to do link building on your site:
This backlinking guide explains how to identify and acquire good backlinks. It uses a quality-over-quantity approach and emphasizes the importance of relevancy.
It’s also important to note that an effective linking strategy doesn’t stop at backlinks.
You should also optimize for the following:
- Internal links (from one page on your site to another page on your site)
- Outbound links (from your site to another external site)
This link-building guide has everything you need to know to optimize for each.
Tools for link building:
AIOSEO’s Link Assistant can help you find internal linking opportunities quickly. With linking suggestions that populate directly in the WordPress editor, it’s as simple as clicking Add Link.
Standout SEO Wins
Before we conclude, there’s an additional SEO technique worth highlighting at lovethemaldives.com:
1. They use descriptive image alt text.
Image alt text is included in the HTML code of your web page. It describes an image so search engines can understand its content.
Image alt text also plays an important role in accessibility. Screen readers can use this information to read the alt text and describe the image to visually impaired users.
Love the Maldives does an excellent job optimizing its alt text for users and bots. They include keywords and use descriptive language to explain the image.
These steps create a seamless navigation experience and help images rank in Google image search.
Tool: AIOSEO’s Image SEO module makes optimizing image alt text easy. Simply navigate to the Alt Tag tab and choose smart tags to customize their creation. That’s it!
In our analysis of lovethemaldives.com, we’ve discovered the main factors contributing to its extraordinary organic growth. We’ve also learned how to tweak some strategies for long-term success.
Now, let’s recap which strategies you can confidently implement on your site and which to reconsider.
Top 3 Strategies to Emulate
What is this website doing well that contributes to its explosive growth?
- Leverage automation to streamline content creation. Love the Maldives excels at using data-driven processes and automation tools to scale their content efforts. For your site, you can automate specific SEO tasks to improve your content while maintaining its quality and uniqueness.
- Optimize for Google’s People Also Ask section. By adding thousands of new FAQ pages and optimizing for PAA, Love the Maldives exploded its organic traffic. FAQs can be a powerful way to reach a wider audience and create a comprehensive user experience. Winning PAA results is also a great way to improve metrics like CTR and organic traffic.
- Grow your backlink profile. Backlinks are a critical ranking factor. Aim for high-quality links from credible websites instead of focusing on the number of them. Quality over quantity wins when it comes to backlinks.
Bottom 3 Strategies to Reconsider
- They’re not using FAQ schema. Love the Maldives does not use schema markup on its new FAQ pages. This oversight is significant. FAQ schema helps win PAA results, so they’re missing out on more rankings and traffic without it. AIOSEO’s Schema Generator can implement FAQ schema for you.
- They’re not setting canonical tags on their FAQ pages. While the original landing pages have canonical tags, the new FAQ pages do not. Canonical tags are essential to letting search engines know which page to index and serve in search results. Every page should have a canonical URL, even if it is self-referencing. AIOSEO can help you customize and manage them.
- Many meta titles and meta descriptions do not meet character limits. Some of Love the Maldives’ metadata is too long for the SERP. This can lead to truncation, an unsightly experience for users. Run your metadata through a SERP snippet tool before publishing to avoid this issue.
Steal Our SEO Winning Strategy: A Checklist for Your Website
Do you want to join the millionaire’s traffic club like Love the Maldives?
We’ve got you covered with the steps to success.
Our SEO Checklist has 50 items to boost your rankings and help you drive more traffic.
Download A Free SEO Checklist
Access our comprehensive SEO Checklist with a single click. We’ll deliver it straight to you, putting actionable items with SEO tools and tutorials right at your fingertips.
Enter your name and email to download a free SEO checklist.
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