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SEO: a major missed opportunity for attractions marketing

Speak Creative’s State of Digital Marketing report suggests that visitor attractions are not best leveraging SEO to reach their goals

visitor attraction SEO speak creative state of digital marketing

by Matt Roberts, Speak Creative

Is your visitor attraction best-leveraging SEO to impact search rankings and reach your goals of ticket sales and visibility? The data points to no.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative that visitor attractions are investing in efforts to grow and target their audience. Today, the best way to do this is by investing in and applying a digital marketing strategy that works. But exactly what do attractions’ digital marketing efforts look like going into 2022? And, is your attraction correctly identifying the tactics that yield the most success in bringing in visitors, selling tickets, and growing awareness for your cause?

State of digital marketing speak creative visitor attraction SEO

Speak Creative recently created a robust, data-driven State of Digital Marketing Report specifically focused on the attractions industry. The report combines survey responses compiled from a national cross-section of attractions about their marketing plan, projections, and goals for 2021 and looking ahead into 2022, and live website data aggregated from dozens of visitor attractions across the country.

Visitor attractions & SEO

The final report shows that most attractions are well aware of the importance of having a strong marketing strategy. These attractions are taking the right first step by allocating time and resources to grow their online presence.

However, we also found that the data suggests there is a discrepancy between what many attractions perceive to be their most valuable marketing channels and what actually does the heavy lifting: what drives the most traffic to an organization’s website, generates the most ticket sales, and promotes important events.

family on roller coaster

In fact, there are several marketing channels that yield consistently great results. Yet the report demonstrates these are only utilized by small percentages of attraction organizations in their marketing plans.

Survey respondents reported that they perceived the most important channel in their marketing efforts to be social media. Digging further into the data, though, social media actually ranks significantly lower than other marketing tactics at bringing visibility to attractions and driving traffic to their websites. These are imperative factors in accomplishing what survey respondents overwhelmingly saw as their most important marketing goal: ticket sales.

Where is website traffic coming from for attractions?

On average, 52% of attractions’ web traffic in 2021 came from organic search. Organic search refers to your site traffic that comes from unpaid search results on Google and other search engines. This percentage is even greater than the non-industry-specific average of 40%. This makes sense, given a few other major factors:

On any given day, 34% of consumers use the internet to look for a local business. 93% of all consumers reported doing so within the last year.

For attractions, being high in search rankings is vital. 62% of local and out-of-town visitors go online first to find inspiration for travel and weekend plans. Furthermore, 14% of all travel-related searches centre around booking entertainment-based activities. For instance, looking up what to do for fun, or at an affordable price in a particular area and purchasing tickets.

Friends-using-phone-at-theme-park visitor attraction SEO

Clearly one of the best ways to drive website traffic and convert that traffic into ticket sales is by being easily searchable and ranking highly on Google. It is entirely possible to impact your search results and ensure that your organization remains at the top of the first page of relevant keyword searches. But the only way to do so is by investing in search engine optimization (SEO).

Speak’s report suggests that strategically leveraging organic search through SEO is one of the most successful means of targeting the right audience to your site and then to your visitor attraction.

Significantly less web traffic comes from social media and other channels. Our report found only 4% of attractions’ traffic comes from socials. Yes, social media is imperative for brand awareness and shouldn’t be abandoned by any means. But if you are prioritizing allocating budget to social media over SEO and paid media this year, this may be a place to reconsider.

Search engine optimisation

If SEO (search engine optimization) is the only way to influence the most important means of bringing traffic to your site, it’s surprising that so few organizations are taking advantage of it.

In fact, only 40% of visitor attractions that responded to our survey said that they invested in SEO in 2021. When asked what respondents consider to be most important to their marketing efforts, SEO ranked 5th out of 6 marketing tactics.

Clearly, though, there is efficacy to it. Of the 40% investing in SEO currently, ALL said they plan to invest in SEO again in 2022. Organizations that are prioritizing SEO are seeing a great return on investment.


If you’re unclear on how to best utilize SEO because you’re not sure what you should be optimizing for, the marketing experts at Speak Creative are here to help. Truly optimizing your attraction’s SEO strategy can be really simple. You can implement or improve upon a few easy factors to drastically increase your search ranking and visibility.

Interested in learning more about elevating your SEO and overall digital marketing strategy in 2022? Download Speak’s full State of Digital Marketing Report for Visitor Attractions.

Our hope is that this report will help you make the most of your marketing efforts this year. Compare the data to your own plan. Does it line up, or are there areas for improvement?

Work with experts on visitor attractions SEO

Are you not sure where to start with marketing? Working with an agency that knows your industry and has seen excellent results in helping attractions meet their goals can be a great place to start.

Speak Creative has got an expert in every seat from content marketing to SEO. We have worked with all kinds of attractions to help them stand out from the competition and bring in more visitors. Find out how to get in touch here.

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Matt Roberts Speak Creative

Matt Roberts

Matt Roberts has served Speak Creative as the VP of Marketing and Sales for over 15 years. He’s known as an expert relationship-builder, helping organizations chart a path to reach their digital goals. As a leading digital partner for attractions, Speak understands the complex needs of attractions and is uniquely positioned to make an impact in every aspect of your organization: marketing, education, conservation, membership engagement, donor relations, and more.

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