I’m a firm believer that a link building strategy can be developed for every industry. The luxury travel industry is no different. Sure, it’s not as easy as some… Mass marketing doesn’t work in the luxury market. Niche marketing is key, and understanding your demographic to hone in on the right opportunities is a must.
Link building is an essential part of online marketing. Not only can links improve your SEO, they can drive traffic and conversions as well. I try not to think about link building for the sole purpose of helping keyword rankings. I ask myself the question Eric Ward often does, “if Google didn’t exist would I still want this link?” The following 12 tactics when done with skill, tenacity and vigor can create great links that even without search engines your luxury travel business would still want.
Find unlinked positive mentions of your brand name on sites that currently do not link to you, but should because they are talking about you.
Our team at Vertical Measures has been pretty successful with this tactic. EDU links have been achieved, authoritative DA 90s links and even some GOV links. It’s amazing the types of opportunities you can uncover simply by understanding this tactic. Search for sites that talk about you, mention you in regular news, blog posts or articles. Maybe your CEO was quoted in a recent travel article, but no link. Maybe someone stayed at your hotel but didn’t mention your website. Maybe an area college or University recommends using your travel service but without a link. Reach out and thank them for their mention, commend them on their write up and see if they’d be interested in mentioning your website – you know, in case their visitors want to learn more about your brand. Never hurts to ask and if it happens to be on an EDU with a PR of 7 and DA of 87… all the better!
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If you’re not familiar with advanced search commands, watch our advanced search command webinar and then try out a few of these listed below (insert your brand name where appropriate).
- “employee name” “brand name” –site:yourwebsite.com
- “brand name” –site:yourwebsite.com blog OR post
- Site:edu “brand name”
- Site:gov “brand name”
- “quoted” “brand name” –site:yourwebsite.com
Pull the backlinks of your competitors using Open Site Explorer or equivalent tool. Search the backlinks trying to find their strategy and “low hanging fruit” you can obtain too.
Pick out a few competitors that you just KNOW do well online. Maybe they’re a couple steps up from your luxury business, but shooting for the stars is okay with this tactic. You never know when you’ll find an opportunity that ends up with a link. Pull their backlinks and start examining them, clicking on the most authoritative links and understanding their strategy. This exercise can uncover opportunities you never thought possible for your luxury travel brand.
Find travel and luxury related associations that might have lists for members, lists of resources or recommended businesses with links.
The U.S. Travel Association and The Global Business Travel Association are two large travel associations. Additionally there are associations for niche groups. Think about the type of niche association your luxury traveler might be a member of. Start using advanced search commands to search these associations out and discover link opportunities. By using the inurl command you may run across links pages, list pages or resource pages – a tactic I discuss below as well.
- “association” “member list” site:org luxury travel
- “become a member” “association” luxury travel
- inurl:resource “travel” association
- inurl:list “travel” association
Recommendations, resources and pages with lists of related sites are out there on the web just waiting to be updated. Find authoritative resource and list pages your luxury brand should be on.
Before search engines, sites would often direct their users to other websites by listing them on helpful resource pages. That concept hasn’t changed with the advent of the modern search engine. Top 10 lists, recommended sites, and resource pages are still published on a regular basis. There’s a high likelihood that within your niche of the luxury travel industry, a page exists that you should be listed on.
Advanced search commands can help you uncover these pages if you think about what the words on that page might be. “Recommendation”, “list of”, “resources” and “links” are often on the page sometimes even in the URL of the page. What would a webmaster call the page, how would they describe it? These are words you would then seek out in your query. Try out these commands:
- inurl:links “recommended” “hotels” “five star” (hotels & five star can be switched out with keywords related to your niche)
- inurl:recommended ”list of” “websites” “travel”
- “resource” “websites” “travel”
- Site:edu “recommend” “places to stay” “website” (places to stay can be switched out with keywords related to your niche)
Earning a link by evaluating current content assets such as free guides, videos, infographics and resources and sending to influential bloggers or webmasters.
“Build it and they will come” is sometimes the mantra of website owners and content marketers. Fact is, some content needs a bit of manual effort in order to have it be discovered. With this tactic a content inventory is needed and then a strategy to promote and distribute existing content for link building purposes.
In the past the Vertical Measures team did this when developing “The Authority Building Machine” infographic. We developed 7 substantive stand alone guest blog posts relating to tactics that build website authority (the central theme of the infographic). Pitching the blog posts, we secured great placements that also allowed us to embed the infographic on their site. Try this out with some of the content you’ve already published. What kind of leverage opportunities can you discover with your content catered to the luxury buyer? Maybe a guide you’ve developed on a luxury location will work well with a personal recount of the experience on that vacation. Guest blog to tell that story on an influential travel blog, with a link to the free guide.
Use advanced search commands to find content placement opportunities that other influential travel bloggers have secured.
If you’re knee deep in the luxury travel space, know it like the back of your hand, then you’re probably aware of the influential bloggers in the space. These bloggers can guide your link building way if you capitalize one some advanced search commands. Discover sites that allow them to regularly contribute, pick out the most authoritative ones and submit your own proposals for contribution. Additionally you might just discover other link building opportunities such as list and resource pages.
- “influential bloggers name” “regular contributor” “write for us”
- “influential bloggers name” “guest blogger”
- “influential bloggers name” “write for us”
- “influential bloggers name” “submit your article” (article could be interchanged with “blog”)
Experience marketing in the luxury market can be used to attract links from other travel bloggers by inviting an influential blogger to stay at your hotel, in your city, or experience your luxury travel goods/services.
Not a new tactic, but still worthwhile, is the thought of inviting someone for a free stay. Whether you’re marketing for a hotel, city, airline, luxury service industry or the like, do a bit of research and find an influential blogger. Invite them to write about their experience after traveling to your location. Showcasing a luxury experience for prospective travelers to read can garner attention of not only customers but also garner a few links in the process. The press that some travel industry businesses receive after giving away trips can be priceless.
Host an event for individuals you know will write about their experience, utilize social media and already freely promote the events they attend.
While many tout the disadvantages of social media due to it’s lack of privacy, for marketers it can become a boon for our research abilities. Search out local travel bloggers in your area that attend events and do free promotion. They might tweet about their experiences, blog about it and tell their friends. Throw an event for these folks, host a tweetup or charity event. The type of publicity and links that you can achieve provide great marketing opportunities.
Get listed on sites that list scholarship opportunities for students by offering a niche specific scholarship.
Here at Vertical Measures we had an “Ode to SEO” poetry contest for students and gave away a scholarship. These types of scholarships can get your site listed on scholarship websites, which are in abundance these days. A specific scholarship for your luxury travel brand in the hospitality industry is a worthwhile marketing initiative. Garner links from hospitality sites, even colleges or Universities offering hospitality courses.
Research link building opportunities via social networks or reach out to contacts via social media to garner links.
Our link builders are great at using social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook for link building. Did you know that Twitter gives you the ability to use advanced search commands, or that on LinkedIn you can search for people’s interests? Besides finding opportunities, our link builders use social media to reach out to webmasters and build relationships as well.
LinkedIn – search for interests of individuals on the site. The luxury traveler may also be a business traveler, seek out groups that cater to their interest of travel or simply do a search for this interest in their profile. While we don’t recommend reaching out with a pitch for your business, you can take the soft approach and build a relationship through a group they might be in or questions they may ask.
Twitter – search for bloggers in the travel industry or influential travelers using advanced search commands for Twitter. Find twitter users near a certain zip code or even tweeting keywords with positive or negative sentiment (use :) or :( for positive or negative sentiment).
Pinterest – public boards on the site are searchable. Look for travel experience inspiration boards and pins, find content that luxury travelers like and conduct research for possible bloggers using the platform.
Facebook – groups and pages are a great way to find your audience, see what they are talking about and discover new link building opportunities. You have to get creative with your search but often will end up finding awesome ideas.
The process of redirecting broken links or unoptimized links to the appropriate pages for better spread of authority.
I’m always surprised at the number of clients I find have optimized links or links pointing to broken pages. Unoptimized links to me are links that point to the wrong pages when they would be better utilized if they were pointing to the correct ones. An example of this might be a link pointing to your homepage, but talking about a service you offer with more information on an internal page. Asking a webmaster to change that link very well could have positive impact to the ranking of that internal page. I do want to note here that only SEOs with experience are best to make these decisions. Don’t go out and request all the links to your homepage be changed to internal pages. It should be done in a well thought out and tactical way.
The other part of this tactic is to find links pointing to broken pages, such as 404 pages. One large brand I’ve worked with had over 100 404 “Not Found” pages with a combined 400 unique links pointing to them. Some of these links were on .edu sites, .gov and even some .com’s with DA’s in the 80s. Talk about lost opportunity! Follow these steps:
- Pull the “Top Pages” report in Open Site Explorer
- Export the list and sort by 404 HTTP Status Code pages
- Pull the backlinks of each of the 404 HTTP Status Code pages
- Export the list and sort by highest DA
- Determine what the correct page the link should go to is
- Reach out to all the sites with the highest DA and ask them to link to the proper page
Research relevant and authoritative luxury travel industry directories where your brand should be listed & linked to.
You might be asking yourself, wait aren’t directories bad? Well remember Eric Ward’s insightful words: “if Google didn’t exist would I still want this link?” The premise is true for directories. If you end up finding a highly targeted and niche directory that is authoritative and your luxury brand should be listed on, then go for it! In my opinion this even goes for paid directory listings. Try out these search commands with your industry phrases and see what you come up with.
- “directory of” “submit your site”
- “directory” “sites” “travel industry”
- “submit your site” “list of” travel directory
Many of the tactics we’ve outlined here can be repurposed for just about any industry. It’s all about how you target your research, which keyword phrases you use with advanced search operators and thinking outside-the-box. Need help thinking outside-the-box? Ask us how we can help with our link building services by requesting more information.
What are some successful link building tactics you’ve utilized in your niche?