’s Search Strategy Deserves 5 Stars

Hotel Sign

Image from: Hotel Image / Shutterstock

Very few sites can boast the enviable curves, and pitch-deck-esque trend lines of’s traffic.

UVs to

With more than quintuple the amount of traffic from June 2 years ago, Booking seems to have the online traffic acquisition game pinned down.  This should come as no surprise considering falls under the umbrella, another perennial powerhouse in the Online Travel Agency category.  As long as consumers continue to love a good deal (I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon!), there will always be a place for companies willing to help them, and has just the recipe, with more than 200,000 hotels to choose from, worldwide.

Let’s take a look in Compete PRO, and see where Booking is getting all this traffic:

Search Referrals to

Another enviable trend line, we can see Booking is doing a great job in the search game, and as their search traffic has grown, the chasm between paid & natural search has widened.  While it’s always nice to have a great paid search strategy in place, seems to have a good handle on how to grow organically, as well.

Daily Search Referrals to

A quick peek at their top 5 keywords reveals some interesting insight into’s online power.  Unlike many other online brands, which rely heavily on branding to drive traffic, 3 of Booking’s top 5 keywords are fairly generic, non-branded terms.  Those of us who work in the search marketing field know this is no small feat, especially considering keywords like “cheap hotels” are extremely competitive online.  To put this in perspective, I took a look where else you can expect to land if you do a search on “cheap hotels.”

Daily Keyword Destinations for cheap hotels

Here, I’m looking at a broad match search for any keywords containing “cheap hotels,” and we see similar results. sits firmly atop the field, with almost 10% of the searches taking shoppers to their site…a nice position to occupy against sites like Kayak &

This is quite interesting, as it seems has chosen to rely much less heavily on branding than other sites in the space, yet still manages to crush it in search.  In fact, a quick search on shows 0 results for display advertising for online.  I would guess they’ve got some display tucked away somewhere, but it certainly doesn’t appear to be a top priority.  All that said, we do see some very nice traffic coming from their brand terms.

This begs the question “could grow even faster if they decided to build their online brand presence further with some advertising campaigns outside of search & affiliate programs?”  They’ve obviously assembled an all-star team for their search department.  Would a similar strategy with more traditional advertising avenues translate into more exponential growth?

What do you think?  Is this an “if ain’t broke” situation, or should be looking for more ways to keep that trend line looking like a ski slope?  Hit me on Twitter @tkeene6, or shoot me an email at