SEO important for outback towns

Diesel (Georgia Goodall)

SEO important for outback towns

- so travellers can google where they're going

Posted on 06.03.2020

When Georgia Goodall moved to Normanton a year ago, she knew there was a shop and a big crocodile statue in the main street. That was all that came up in the top search engine hits for the town.

She said it was not until arriving and making local friends that she realised there was fishing, four-wheel driving, plenty of camping spots, and a lot more on offer than the crocodile photo opportunity.

“I arrived 12 months ago, I drove my little Mazda 2 from the Gold Coast to Normanton,” Ms Goodall laughed, recounting the 2,122-kilometre journey.

“When you google Normanton … you’ll find that the only thing you see is a huge crocodile in the main street, and the [grocery] store.

“It fails to mention that there’s a gym, a bowling club, tennis courts, footy fields, gold, the rodeo, numerous fishing locations, and heaps of camping locations.”

While a quick search of Normanton now also shows attractions in nearby Karumba, including the Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre, Ms Goodall said she believed the top online hits for Normanton could be a lot more enticing.

Ms Goodall loves the region, has met her partner there, and has no plans to leave.

But she said for regions to attract more skilled professionals, like herself, they needed to step up their online presence and have their region’s highlights showing in the top five search results for the town’s name.

Search engine optimisation

To appear high in search engine results, backend operators of websites must have a good understanding and be effectively using an online tool referred to as SEO — search engine optimisation.

SEO is what draws traffic to a website, news article, or blog post, and are set by the person either writing the content, or the webpage designer.

As an example, an outback town named Jonesville might use SEO keywords such as Jonesville, outback, tourism, to do, or attractions. So if someone typed into a search engine “Jonesville to do” the page would be more likely to appear in the top search results.

The most valuable outcome from successfully using SEO is the organic (free) traffic that can be gained from being higher on a search result list.

SEO can be complex and take a lot of time to get right, but the benefits cannot be understated.


Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind agreed and said digital marketing education about SEO was a main focus for QTIC this year.

“They [councils and tourism operators] are perhaps remote, but they’re certainly not detached from the reality of the business and they certainly engage every time we offer an opportunity through workshops and online resources that we make available,”


Key points:

  • One young professional was surprised to learn Normanton had more to offer than was evident in her initial google search
  • Queensland’s tourism boss says SEO — search engine optimisation — was a main focus this year for remote councils and tourism operators
  • SEO is the use of keywords to attract online searches organically — without paying a cent


Kelly Butterworth

ABC News





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