Improve Google Page Rank With These Tips

Social media is key to driving traffic to your travel blog, but search engines are another incredible tool for generating visitors. Google is the largest search engine on the internet, receiving more than three billion search queries every single day. Everyone wants to be on the first page of Google search results (or at least that should be your goal), but they’re not always sure how to improve their Google page rank.

Improve Google Page RankI’m guessing that’s exactly why you’re here right now — you want help. Well, I have some simple tips that will help improve your Google page rank.

Google will never share their secret formula (and it apparently changes all the time), but they’re more than willing to give you a few clues. If you’re looking to improve your page rank you need to know a little bit about search engine optimization (SEO), and this is a great place to start. I ran into this video a while back and thought it would be good to share it with you. This is Google’s Matt Cutts sharing five basic, common sense SEO tips that can get you on the first page of Google search results:

Here is a quick recap with some helpful links and other tools that can help improve your Google ranking:

–  Think about what people are going to type to find your travel blog, and then make sure those keywords are all over your page. If you want to appear in a search result for “Costa Rica beach vacation,” make sure those exact words are utilized on your pages. You can actually find out exactly what people are searching for by using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. We use this tool all the time (click here to learn how to use it), because it’s free and it really works!

Improve Google Page Rank

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Title and meta description tags

–  Title tags matter! That’s the very first impression people have of your travel blog in a Google search. Don’t waste your time with keywords tag (Google hasn’t used those in years), but you should definitely utilize meta tags. You want to pay special attention to the description tag (a short summary of what your site is all about), because it’s the first thing people will read when they find you on a Google search.

– Links are important to improving your Google page rank. The more people who link to your travel blog, the higher you’re going to be ranked in search results. The easiest place to begin is simply starting a blog (especially if you have a static website). That will help with keywords and it should also generate links from other websites. There are other great social bookmarking websites that you can use to post your links. Delicious and StumbleUpon are great places to start.

– One of the biggest misconceptions is that you can pay to improve Google page rank. There is no truth to that. You don’t have to pay Google a penny to appear on the first page of their search results. Buying advertising on Google doesn’t help either. You’ll be ranked the same if you advertise with Google or not. In other words, don’t waste your money.

– Google refreshes its index every month, so your site will be found quickly. There are ways to hurry the process though. The first step you can take is inserting your URLs here –> http://google.com/addurl.html. It’s really important to share your root URL (e.g. catchthewinds.com) once your travel website or blog goes “live.” You should also check out the Google Webmaster tool. This allows you to submit a sitemap (basically a list of all the URLs, images, etc., on your site) to Google. You should start to appear in search results in days — not months — if you use these tools.

I really hope this gives you a better understanding of how to improve your Google page rank. Once you grasp these simple concepts, you can start to dig deeper into search engine optimization. You have to do some extra work to make sure you appear in search results, but it’s totally worth it if you want extra visitors. It’s amazing how much organic traffic we get from search engines.

Do you have any simple tips to help improve Google page rank? The more we share — the more likely we can all reach our blogging goals. Please feel free to leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. You can also find us on Pinterest and YouTube. Don’t forget to also check out http://catchthewinds.com for more social media and travel tips!

Improve Google Page Rank

The Best Travel Tip of All Time

The Best Travel Tip of All Time

I stopped in the middle of Venice just to scribble down a few thoughts.

There are millions of travel tips out there — pack light, plan ahead, bring a map, don’t forget your camera, read this book, stay at that hotel — the list goes on and on and on. But there’s one travel tip that you should remember over all the others, and I highly recommend it to everyone. In my opinion, it is the best travel tip of all time. Are you ready for it? Write it down.

Write what down? Everything! We all wish we could travel all the time (as least, that’s what we wish at Catch the Winds). However, reality is different. We can’t travel all the time. You plan a trip, go on it, have the time of your life, and when you get home, you always intend on planning another trip soon. Instead, you settle into your daily life. Weeks turn into months and months sometimes turn into years. All of the sudden, you look back at your last adventure and the memories are a little fuzzy. The details slip through the cracks. But, if you follow the best travel tip of all time and write it down, you can easily go back and re-live your trip anytime you want to. I promise in 20 years (even in six months) you will be grateful you took the time to document your trip.

When I say everyone should write it down, I mean everyone. I don’t care if you’re a seasoned traveler or on your first trip, or if you have an unlimited budget or you’re traveling on a shoestring. Whether you are young, old, male or female, I want you to write it down. I know it can be a little extra work at times, but in the end the reward is well worth it.

The Best Travel Tip of All Time

Taking a moment to write it down at the Colosseum in Rome.

There are a few different ways to execute the best travel tip of all time. I like to bring a regular old paper journal with me. Each trip gets a different journal.  The journal is typically slim and small so it is easy to pack. I like to write a few times a day. Sometimes I write long posts at night or when I’m on a plane or train and have more time. But often times, I just write a few sentences, describing what I just did, what I’m about to do or what I am doing at that very moment. Sometimes I’ll write about a stranger I met, a new food I tried or something I saw. When I visited the Coliseum in Rome, I took a few moments to write in my journal so I could capture what I felt at that exact moment. When I was in Venice, I didn’t want to forget anything about the trip, but I left my journal at the hostel. I tracked down a pen and a scratch piece of paper and quickly jotted everything down so I could transfer it back into my journal later.

If you aren’t big on writing, try bullet points. It can be as simple as listing the date, location, a line about what you did in the morning, afternoon and night. If you are the ultimate packer and don’t like to carry extra stuff with you, try buying post cards in every location you visit. Write down a few sentences about what you did in that place and mail it to yourself. When you get home, you’ll receive your one of a kind journal in the mail.

The Best Travel Tip of All Time

Journaling in Corniglia, Italy.

If you’re traveling on a budget and don’t want to spend the extra money on postcards and stamps, write yourself emails (or maybe write a loved one emails).  Often times, if you email a loved one, they will ask you questions about your trip or an experience that you may not have thought to write about. That will bring out even more memories to document. Of course, this will only work if you have access to internet.  If you like going the tech route, try taking notes on an iPad or on your cell phone.  That’s what Tim did when he traveled through Europe. If all else fails, there are always small 90-cent notebooks you can pick up at the local drug store on your way out of town.

My final word of advice about the best travel tip of all time is to keep whatever it is you use to document your trip very close to you. On my way home from Tanzania, I lost my journal. I gave the journal to someone else to look at and they accidentally left it on the airplane. I was devastated. I wrote in it multiple times a day on that trip. I cried and cried and cried (I know, a bit dramatic). I called the airline multiple times the following weeks, hoping it would pop up somewhere. It never did. Eventually those tears dried and I frantically tried to write down every moment I could remember on that trip in a new journal before it all slipped my mind. I’m glad I did that, although I really wish I had my original. So, always, always, always keep a very close eye on your journal.

How do you write it down and document your trips? What is your best travel tip of all time? We’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment below, or you can connect with us on TwitterFacebook and Google+. You can also find us on InstagramPinterest and YouTube. Don’t forget to also check out more of our adventures right now on http://catchthewinds.com. — TT


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Unconventional Places to Sleep While Traveling

It’s inevitable that you’ll find unconventional places to sleep if you plan on traveling. While traveling is extremely exciting and fun, it can also be very exhausting. I like to getting up early, spending the entire day seeing everything and staying up late to see everything again at night (unless I’m visiting a beach, then I like to just relax and swim). Since I am constantly on the move when I travel, I’ve learned how to fall asleep in nearly every situation. Whether it is a bench in a train station, an actual train, an airport floor or a moving bus, I’ve managed to doze off for a few anywhere and everywhere. Enjoy the evidence below.

Sleeping in the Copenhagen Train Station

This is me sleeping in the Copenhagen train station. To save money, I skipped reserving a bed at the hostel the last night I was in town. Instead, I stayed out late at the bars and arrived at the train station extremely early for my train out of town. This was taken probably around 5 or 6 in the morning. You can see, I used my scarf as a blanket and my purse as a pillow.

Sleeping on the Train from Copenhagen to Oslo

This is actually later that same day. Since I stayed up all night, I slept  nearly the entire train ride from Copenhagen to Oslo. One downside of sleeping on the train is not seeing the scenery. Luckily, I had taken this same train before and had already experienced the trip.

Sleeping on the train from Oslo to Bergen, Norway.

This is another picture of me sleeping on a different train. However, this was a much shorter nap. I spent the weekend on the coast of Norway in Bergen. This was taken on the way back to Hamar, Norway (where I was living at the time). Here, I blocked out the loud sound of the train and people talking around me with music and used my jacket as a pillow.

Sleeping in Milan Airport

This picture was taken of my friends and me sleeping on the ground at the airport in Milan, Italy. We arrived in Milan via train very late that night. Our flight out was in the morning, so to save money we decided to skip the hostel and crash at the airport. We actually were not the only ones who had this idea. The guards at the airport shuffled us into a huge room packed with tourists sleeping on the ground for the night. Again, you’ll notice we put down scarves to sleep on and used our coats as blankets.

Sleeping in Bus in Tanzania

This picture was taken on a bus traveling on a dirt road through Tanzania. I was on a safari through the Serengeti for a week. We’d wake up very early in the morning to go look for animals, which resulted in a couple of afternoon naps on the way back to camp. My head is leaning on my friend’s arm. This is another great way of using what you have to help you doze off for a few. However, I would suggest only using this trick with someone you know, and not a stranger. :)

Where is most unconventional place you’ve ever fallen asleep? Do you have any tricks to help you fall asleep? We would love to hear all about it! You can leave a comment below, or you can connect with us on TwitterFacebook and Google+. You can also find us on InstagramPinterest and YouTube. Don’t forget to also check out more of our adventures right now on http://catchthewinds.com. — TT

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Top 5 Holiday Travel Tips

Top 5 Holiday Travel TipsTim and I both have a lot of experience traveling around the holidays. Whether it’s a last-minute trip home or a planned vacation, we think every traveler should know our top 5 holiday travel tips before they head to the airport (we think it’s good to keep these tips in your back pocket anytime during the year too).

Top 5 Holiday Travel Tips

1. Pack Light: The last thing you want to do while traveling during the busy holidays is to haul around a lot of stuff. Check the weather of your destination so you know what to pack. Think about what you will wear, so you don’t over pack. Bring layers so you can mix and match your outfits. If you are staying in a hotel, call ahead and ask what type of complimentary services they provide (such as hair blow dryer, razor or shampoo). It will be one less thing for you to pack. If you are staying with friends or family, don’t hesitate to ask if you can borrow things while you are visiting.

2. Be Early: With so many people heading home for the holidays, it is important to remember the airport will be busier than it normally is. The lines will be longer and it will take more time to get from one end of the airport to other. Give yourself plenty of time to check into your flight and get to your gate. The holidays are supposed to be fun. Don’t ruin it by feeling stressed about catching your flight.

3. Come Prepared: Double (if not triple) check when your flight takes off. We recommend checking online before you get to the airport. This will give you one less thing to do before you get on the plane. If you aren’t a frequent flyer, look over TSA’s guidelines so you aren’t surprised by anything. It is also a good idea to keep your Christmas gifts unwrapped. Even though wrapped Christmas gifts are allowed, some TSA security check points may end up having to open the gifts to ensure nothing dangerous is inside. Also, don’t forget to bring a snack (or in Tim’s case — lots of snacks). Traveling can make for long days and any extra boost will help keep you going.

4. Stay ConnectedLike I mentioned before, check your flight status before you leave for the airport. Follow your airline on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates. If the airline has an app for your mobile device, download it and use it. Being from the Pacific Northwest, we travel on Alaska Airlines a lot. They have a great app for the iPhone. You can check into your flight on your cell phone in less than 45 seconds. There is no need to print off a boarding pass as the app will give you a bar code you can scan when you are at the airport. I love having the boarding pass on my cell phone because it is one less thing to keep track of. Also, don’t forget to bring a cell phone charger.

5. Remain Calm:  Don’t let traveling around the holidays be stressful. Understand that something will most likely not go as planned. When we travel, we like to remain positive. Remember everyone else is trying to get someplace, too. Don’t become that obnoxious traveler who thinks they deserve special privileges because their flight was delayed. Stuff happens and its best to not let the small things get to you. Also, be kind to those airline employees. They’re dealing with a lot as well.

Do you have any holiday travel tips of your own? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to leave your tips in the comment section below. You can also connect with us on FacebookTwitter, Google+PinterestInstagram and YouTube. Happy holidays!!! — TT