Holidify is one of the leading travel platforms that dominate the SERP across thousands of local holiday destinations in India.
As of February 2023, the website gets over 12M monthly organic visits, that’s a traffic value of about $2.6M, according to Ahrefs.
In fact, Holidify has quadrupled its monthly organic traffic from 3.2M to 12M in just two years without compromising content efficiency.
That means their content strategy has focused on achieving more organic traffic with as few organic pages as possible.
Here’s the chart comparing the ‘Avg. monthly organic traffic per page’ of Holidify and its top 5 competitors in India.
Simply put, the higher the ‘Average traffic per page’ number of a site, the more efficient its content strategy is.
In this guide, I’ll break down the SEO strategy of Holidify that helped them become an SEO giant in the travel industry of India.
Also, you’ll find actionable takeaways from this breakdown that you can implement in your SEO strategy immediately.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
1. Building content hubs at scale
Content hubs in SEO refer to a set of content published around a specific topic and a pillar page or central page that ties them all together via hyperlinks.
Three elements of a content hub are:
- Central page
- Strategic internal linking
Building content hubs around a specific topic help in building topical authority as Google considers your site authoritative on that topic – which helps in overall rankings.
This is where Holodify has rocked the SEO strategy by building thousands of content hubs optimized with central hubs, sub-pages and hyperlinks.
Holidify’s destination content hubs (holidify.com/places/) are getting more than 4M monthly organic visits, spread across 22,254 pages.
1.1 Teardown of the central hub pages of Holidify
Since Holidify provides resources to plan holiday destinations primarily in India, it has created a central hub page for almost every city and town in India.
The central hub page for places looks like this:
Each central hub page has around 500-1,000 words of unique content covering important sub-topics such as:
- Languages of the place
- Shopping places
- Tourist attractions and everything that a tourist may reasonably expect while planning the trip
Also, Holidify has optimized its central hub pages with FAQs inspired by the ‘People Also Ask’ boxes.
Here’s the PAA box showing for the search term “Bangalore tourism”:
And when you look at the FAQs on the central hub page for Bangalore, you’ll see similar questions covered on the page as well.
Here’s the screenshot:
This helps Holidify to:
- Rank in the ‘PAA’ boxes by covering popular questions on the page.
- Improve the content depth and quality as users are likely to learn about these questions while planning a tour.
Now, let’s understand how each central hub is optimized with relevant sub-pages:
1.2 Teardown of Sub-pages
Holidify’s hub and spoke structure is a great example of organizing content hubs logically.
Each central hub page of destinations has the following sub-pages:
- Places to visit
- How to reach
- Best time to visit
- Food/ restaurants
Here’s the visual illustration of Holidify’s logical content hubs:
Holidify has chosen these sub-topics (places to visit, hotels, etc.) because of users’ needs.
All of these topics and questions every researcher expects to learn about before confirming a tour. Also, these sub-pages target long-tail keywords that are comparatively easy to rank.
For example, Holidify ranks in the top 10 positions for 5,635 keywords targeting the ‘places to visit in’ type of queries.
Likewise, Holidify is ranking for thousands of keywords, such as:
- Things to do in [destination name]
- Best time to visit in [destination name]
- [Destination name] package tour, etc.
Not only the logical hubs but also quality user experience and fulfilling the user intent with sub-pages are responsible for Holidify’s SEO growth.
If you search for the query “places to visit in Bangalore,” you’ll find that most pages in the top 10 results are listicle blog posts.
Here’s the screenshot of one of the pages targeting the above keyword:
There’s nothing wrong with this approach. However, when you compare the same result with Holidify’s page, you’ll notice the difference in user experience and ‘time to value’.
If you’re aware of what the ‘time to value’ of a web page is, here’s a quick overview:
It refers to the time users require to find the desired outcome from the page.
Let’s first see Holidify’s page targeting the same keyword, and then I’ll explain the time to value (TTV) concept with an example.
As you can see from the above example, the page shows the list of locations in a product listing format which then links to dedicated pages for each location.
So, users can read more about any of the places by clicking on the ‘read more’ button. Also, the filtering system takes this approach one step ahead of most competitors.
Users can sort the entire list of places by categories, such as:
- Art gallery
- Forts and palaces, and many more
This significantly reduces the ‘time to value’ as users can quickly find the type of places they want to explore in the destinations by using the filter.
Another reason why these sub-pages rank well for long-tail queries is content depth.
If you take the same search query (‘best places to visit in Bangalore’), for instance, Holidify has listed 52 popular places, whereas other competitors have around 15-35 listings.
This may seem a small difference at first glance, but this adds a lot of value when you consider thousands of sub-pages.
The last element of a successful content hub is hyperlinks that tie the central hub and cluster pages together.
Ideally, your hub page and subpages should be connected with internal linking.
Holidify does this by using secondary navigation that improves the user experience and passes PageRank from one page to another.
In addition, they use FAQ sections to link relevant sub-pages.
Here’s an example:
This strategy can also help win additional clicks from the SERP because of the FAQ schema.
However, one thing Holidify could improve here is the anchor text. Instead of generic link text like read more, click here, they could’ve used descriptive link text to link to relevant cluster pages.
This will improve the readability and help Google understand the page’s context and links.
“Write unique, descriptive link text that makes sense without the surrounding text. Don’t use phrases such as this document, this article, or click here.” – Google’s documentation on the link text.
The most important takeaway from Holidify’s SEO growth is building and organizing content hubs at scale.
Irrespective of your site’s niche, building content hubs with related cluster pages and hyperlinks can make a huge difference in building topical authority and increasing traffic.
While building content hubs, ensure that you’re
- Targeting broad keywords for your central hub pages
- Connecting cluster pages and central or pillar pages via hyperlinks
- Not relying solely on the sidebar, navigation, and footer links. Otherwise, you’ll miss the opportunity to pass maximum PageRank from one page to another.
Here’s a tip on how to find 100+ keyword opportunities using a keyword template:
One of Holdify’s content strategies is around targeting search queries with the following patterns:
- Best places to visit in [destination]
- Things to do in [destination]
- Best time to visit [destination], etc.
Now, if you Google any of the above keyword patterns and wait for Google autocomplete, you’ll see many topic ideas like this:
Many SEO folks call this ‘wildcard keyword strategy’.
In simple words, wildcard keyword strategy refers to the process of finding hundreds of keyword opportunities using a single keyword template.
Keyword templates for CRM software could be:
- CRM software for ___
To take one step further, I’d recommend using Ahrefs to find keywords with:
- Low KD keywords
- Medium to high search volume
First, type the keyword template related to your niche in Ahrefs keyword explorer. For instance, I am using ‘productivity tools for’ for example.
As you can see, in an instance, I got 362 keyword ideas with a single keyword template.
Second, add filters or sort the keyword list by KD and traffic potential to prioritize the list.
2. Internal linking strategy
Generally, large sites with thousands of pages often struggle to maintain a flat site structure and keep important category pages three or fewer clicks away from the homepage.
But not in the case of Holidify.
Here’s the crawl depth chart of 465 pages (starting from the home page) of Holidify:
The above screenshot shows that Holidify maintains a crawl depth of 2 or less for all the crawled pages. It only takes two or fewer clicks to reach a specific webpage.
Here are some of the strategies behind Holidify’s flat site structure:
2.1 Adding nearby places
Holidify follows the eCommerce linking strategy, which is to optimize primary category pages by adding links to relevant categories, sub-category pages, and product pages.
In this case, replace category and sub-category pages with central hubs and cluster pages, respectively.
Let me show you the internal link format of a central hub page.
Here’s the sidebar of a hub page optimized with links to nearby places (hub pages) and ‘places to visit’ pages (cluster pages):
This approach of linking to nearby places helps in information hierarchy and allows users to navigate the site better.
2.2 Listing hotel collection pages by category
Also, hotel collection pages are important for Holidify as these collection pages will rank for the bottom of the funnel keywords such as:
- Best hotels in Goal
- 5-star hotels in Goa, etc.
This is why every central hub page includes links to hotel collection pages like this:
2.3 Internal links within main content with descriptive anchor text
According to the reasonable surfer patent model, links within the main content will pass more PageRank than links from sidebars, footers, or navigation menus.
I’d recommend reading Bill Slwaski’s article on the ‘reasonable surfer model’ to understand the concept. In simple English, the PageRank passed from a link will depend on the placement of the link.
In simple English, the PageRank passed from a link will depend on various factors such as colour, font, size, anchor text of the link, etc.
To get the most out of the internal links, Holidify focuses on adding links within the page’s main content with descriptive anchor text.
2.4 Passing PageRank from blog posts
Apart from content hubs, Holidify also invests heavily in creating blog posts.
Here, the goal of blog content strategy is not only to bring traffic and conversion but also to pass PageRank to related collection pages.
Their blog pages have 141k backlinks from 5.58k unique referring domains.
Now, let’s break down how their blog pages help rank content hubs better.
To analyze, I have chosen blog pages related to the destination topic of ‘Goa.’
According to the Ahrefs report, these blog posts have 274 backlinks.
Now, if you look at the navigation of any of these pages related to Goa, you’ll notice that the navigation is optimized for the content hub of ‘Goa.’
- Passing PageRank from blog articles to content hubs and cluster pages
- Generally, informative blog posts are likely to get more backlinks organically than a promotional page (say hotel collection page)
Internal linking for a site with a few hundred pages is different and easier to manage than for sites with thousands of pages.
Here, you should take inspiration from Holidify’s internal linking strategy. Especially adding links from the page’s main content with descriptive anchor text.
3. Targeting ‘hotels near me’ keywords
One of the key SEO drivers for Holidify is their ‘hotel collections’ subfolder, which drives around 1.1M monthly organic visits.
This subfolder helps to tap a whole new level of opportunity by targeting keywords like:
- Hotels/resorts near me
- Hotels/resorts near [destination]
They’re ranking in the top 10 positions for almost 400 ‘near me’ keywords.
Holidify does this by optimizing its collection pages by displaying hotels and resorts based on the user’s location.
More than 10k dedicated hotel pages (across India) are indexed in Google.
One of their hotel collections pages ranks for the search query ‘5-star hotels in Kolkata’, which displays 30+ hotels based in Kolkata.
One of the reasons behind Holidify’s success in ‘near me’ keywords is the large database of hotels across India. This helps in adding more relevance to their hotel collections pages for specific locations.
Marketplace aggregators can scale their SEO growth by increasing inventory size. In this case, Holidify leverages the inventory of hotels and resorts across different destinations to target ‘near me’ keywords.
The key takeaway for marketplace aggregators is growing the inventory size so you can tap more categories at different locations. The bigger the inventory size, the more chance to rank for new keywords.
A marketplace aggregator with access to a large inventory of garment manufacturers across India can categorize their inventory by location, product type, etc.
This way, the site can target keywords like:
- Garment manufacturers in [location] (e.g. Garment manufacturers in Delhi)
- [Product type] manufacturers in [location] (e.g. T Shirt manufacturers in Delhi)
4. Dedicated page for sightseeing locations
Similar to hotel collections, their large database of sightseeing places is one of the reasons why it is hard for other competitors to copy the strategy.
Holidify has created a dedicated page covering popular sightseeing places across different states and cities.
In fact, they have around 21.7k pages targeting sightseeing locations indexed in Google.
Here’s an example of a sightseeing page for the Taj Mahal:
As the screenshot above shows, each page has around 500-1000 words of unique content with useful information like weather, entry fee, timings, and others.
The goal of these dedicated sightseeing locations is not just to drive traffic but also to improve internal linkings with descriptive anchor text.
For instance, from the page, Holidify links to other sightseeing locations, nearby hotel collections, central hub pages, and related blog pages.
This might seem nothing special on a page level, but when you consider the same amount of effort (unique content, hyperlinks, local listings) for more than 20k+ pages, it makes a significant difference in traffic and the number of ranking keywords.
As a result, Holidify is ranking for 40k+ keywords using their sightseeing listings.
Replicating Holidify’s SEO strategy in the travel industry is difficult for competitors because of structured content hubs and their personalized pages for 20k+ sightseeing locations.
Take any state or city, and Holidify has a dedicated page for most of its popular sightseeing locations.
It will take a lot of effort to create unique content (500-800+ words) for thousands of locations and organize them in content hubs with hyperlinks.
So, if you want to play the long-term SEO game, always think of building a content moat that is hard to replicate for your competitors. Your moat can be around data-driven content, tools, content hubs, original research, etc.
5. Above-the-fold section (ATF) optimized for conversion
The above-the-fold section is the first thing a user will notice when they land on your webpage.
For a site like Holidify that earns via affiliate commissions, it is important to focus on driving conversion to earn affiliate commissions.
And to get the most out of their traffic, Holidify utilizes its above-the-fold section, which is the first thing a user will notice when they land on the page.
Here’s an above-the-fold section maintained across all the pages of Holidify (excluding blog posts):
The above-the-fold section has the following elements:
- Primary lead magnet
- Social proof (user ratings and number of reviews)
- Hyperlinks to hotel collection pages
This might seem normal for central hub and cluster pages. But Holidify goes one step further by creating a similar above-the-fold experience for blog posts.
Here’s an example:
On the other hand, competitors like traveltriangle.com, treebo.com, and others are using traditional listicle blog post templates like this:
From an SEO standpoint, there is not much difference between Holidify blog posts and competitors’ posts. But the ATF section will make a difference in the number of clicks to hotel collection pages.
The above-the-fold section (ATF) is one of the underutilized areas for many sites. Holidify nails the ATF section by using a product-led approach.
Instead of using a generic featured image and lengthy (200+ words) introduction, Holidify focuses on driving clicks to their affiliate pages.
This doesn’t seem much promotional because their page topic, intent, and CTA align together.
So, if you’re also monetizing your sites with product signups and affiliate commissions, consider how you can optimize the ATF section by matching search intent and making it personalized to the page topic.
Holidify is one of the giants in the travel industry of India that is known for creating SEO-optimized and user-friendly content hubs at scale.
This case study can be a great starting point for SEOs struggling to build content hubs, optimize internal linking, and match user intent for sites with thousands of pages.
If you’re operating in the travel industry, no matter which country you focus on, these 5 points will shape your SEO strategy.
So start your journey now, and in the next 2-3 years, you can make a lot of difference, just like Holidify did in SEO.
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