Online Link Building for the Tourism Industry
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Owning a tourism consultancy in Cairns, Queensland places me in the middle of Australian’s travel landscape. Google’s algorithms are always evolving but the importance of website keywords and backlinks has remained constant to drive tourism visitors to your website. While keywords are discussed at length on web marketing platforms, it’s the unspoken backlink that forms the other key ingredient for your company’s SEO strategy.
In this article I’ll explain what backlinks are, why they matter and how you can build the best links for your tourism business.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks are created when another website links to yours. Google and other search engines count each ‘quality’ link as a ‘vote’ or referral for your site. The more ‘quality votes’ your website has, the higher its search engine ranking. While quantity is important, quality is critical. When a highly authoritative website links to yours, such as your local tourism association website, this gives you a lot more ‘juice’ than a backlink from a less respected site. Websites are ranked by Google according to their Domain Authority (DA). Scores range from zero to one hundred. You can also research the Alexa Rank of different sites. The lower a website’s Alexa score the more beneficial the backlink. Links from authoritative sites are valued more highly because these ‘votes’ come from experts, signalling that your website is a source of quality information. Google also looks at the relevance of backlinks to your brand, so it’s vital to get referrals from authorities in the travel and tourism industry.
Why Do Links Matter?
To put it simply, if you’re not ranking on the first page of Google, you’re chances of being found by customers fall dramatically. Three out ever four clicks go to links on page one of Google’s search results. 33 percent of clicks go to the first URL on the page. Backlinks help Google determine how your site will rank for keywords. To make the most of your links you need to ensure your target keywords appear in some of the anchor text linking to your website. For example, you can target the keyword phrase ‘Queensland road trip’ by using this as your anchor text. Google uses anchor text to gauge what your page is about. The more backlinks you have for keywords, the greater its confidence that it’s ranking your page accurately. While anchor text is important, exact-match keywords should be used with caution. Google’s earliest algorithm relied heavily on anchor text until it became obvious how open this approach was to manipulation. To counter this, Google introduced its Penguin algorithm to penalise those who were gaming the system.
In place of exact-match keywords, you can also use:
Phrases: Includes your keyword phrase combined with other words as anchor text. Example: ‘Take a Queensland road trip.’
Partial match. Includes some keywords. Example: ‘Queensland adventure trip.’
Random phrases. When generic words or phrases are used as anchor text. Example: ‘Click here.’
Long-tail anchors. Use of longer, less searched-for keyword phrases. Example: ‘Queensland road trip itinerary.’
Branded anchor text. Use of a brand name as the anchor text.
Naked URLs. When the linked page’s raw URL is pasted directly into the post.
Image alt-text. The alt-text for images is important as search engines use this as the anchor text.
Google’s algorithm has become increasingly sophisticated at analysing surrounding text which is why your anchor text needs to be organic and relevant.
Building Quality Backlinks
You can build quality backlinks to your website in the following ways:
Write Guest Posts
Guest blogging is still an effective way of gaining backlinks with authoritative sites. At the end of each post include an author bio linking to your site.
Find Broken Links
Another great approach is to use one of the many tools available online to find broken links on quality websites in your niche. You can then offer your link as a replacement.
Share a Press Releases
A press release about your business or a related event, distributed through online channels such as prwire.com.au or prweb.com, can be found and picked up by journalists and other interested parties.
Cultivate Industry Connections
Tourism industry connections allow you to exchange links with related businesses, benefiting you both. It’s a good idea to become involved with your local business community and join online forums.
Join Business Directories
There are many online directors with high search engine rankings which tourism operators can list their website on. These include TripAdvisor, TrueLocal, Google My Business and Australian Tourism Data Warehouse.
Promote Your Content
Google rewards every click which comes through social media because this is considered an authentic and natural connection. Engaging content which is easy to share is essential for SEO.
Provide Related Testimonials
Writing testimonials or reviews for other brands in your field is a simple way to get backlinks to your website. Make sure the site is relevant and authoritative and include your name and website link at the bottom of the testimonial.
Find Unlinked Mentions
Unlinked brand mentions offer a great opportunity for well-established companies to gain some backlinks. You can find these using a tool to scan for brand mentions then contact the site explaining how they will benefit by adding a link.
Monitor Your Competitors
Check your competitors backlinks to find out what’s working for them. There are a range of tools available that allow you to identify backlinks on a rival’s website so you can emulate their successful SEO strategy.
Link building takes time, effort and patience but the results will pay off.