The following is a post from Hart Van Santvoord, TIG Global Search Manager.
I frequently receive questions about the strategy behind solid link building campaigns, and the value that this practice provides. Simply put, the quantity of quality inbound links to your site is the most important ranking factor for organic search. When viewing this process through the eyes of a search engine, each inbound link counts as a “vote” for your site, and every “vote” is not equal. Logically, the higher the quality of the site, the more credible and relevant the content, and the more value that will be passed to your site through an inbound link.
So how do we go about solidifying more of these quality inbound links? Over time this process has become increasingly difficult. The traditional, manual process of individually soliciting relavent sites for links is time consuming and can sometimes provide lackluster results. While a reciprocal link with a local attraction website still maintains some value, this practice carries less weight with the search engines than it used to. Don’t get me wrong, this element of link building will always be necessary and is very important, but it should be complimented by more creative, outside the box ideas.
This brings us to the idea of “link bait.” Link bait refers to the strategy of creating buzz-worthy content, implementing useful online tools, providing content-rich downloads, or anything else that might be compelling enough for another website to link to it, thus increasing the number of quality inbound links to your site. Take Facebook or Yelp, for example. They have perfected the use of embeddable content to increase the number of inbound links to their sites. Any business, through a very simple piece of code, can link users from their site to their Facebook Fan Page which lives within Facebook.com. Yelp offers a similar badge to approved local businesses to post on their individual business sites which, you guessed it, link directly back to the business’s profile on Yelp.com. These badges have created thousands upon thousands of inbound links for these two sites.
While this example may be difficult to replicate in the hotel industry, it serves as a perfect example of how to leverage the interest in your site’s content to create an easy way for users to link to it. What might work for your specific hotel? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- ‘Buy One, Get One’ offers just don’t quite cut it. Think about something unique and eye-catching, such as running a 72 Hour Sale, pushing rates from 1972.
- Have your hotel’s concierge write a guide on the ‘Top 10 Things to Do During Your Stay.’
- Launch a monthly ‘Ask the GM video series,’ addressing questions, comments or concerns of previous or future guests.
The options are pretty much limitless, but remember, it must be buzz worthy enough for someone to want to link back to it.
Once you’ve nailed down your idea, develop a comprehensive launch strategy, including distribution amongst all relevant online channels. Build a landing page, housing the buzz worthy content about the offer or competition. Develop and optimize a press release, announcing the start of your promotion. Sprinkle promotional content throughout your paid search campaigns. Develop creative to run across relevant display ad networks and be sure to use all available social media outlets, scheduling tweets and Facebook updates to keep users up-to-date on how the promotion is progressing. By using these diverse channels, you are much more likely to spark interest and drive users to your buzz-worthy content in order to convert these credible sources into quality inbound links.
These are just a few of many examples of methods for building your inbound links. Giving your users, local newspapers, industry publications or bloggers something to talk, and write about, is an innovative method for increasing your quality inbound links which will lead to increased exposure in the search engines and higher levels of qualified traffic.
Concerned about the quantity and quality of your inbound links and want to try something new? Have you dabbled in a link bait campain of your own? Feel free to start some dialogue below about your experiences.
Interested in ramping up your online strategy? TIG Global offers a full suite of interactive tools to get your site noticed. Click here to learn more, send us an email, or give us a call at 301-841-4700.