Step 2: explore what their competitors have under their SEO hood
To gain further insight into what your link building strategy should look like, you need to do a bit of sleuthing and explore which tactics your client’s most successful competitors are deploying.
This type of
should cover the following aspects:
content pieces have generated most organic traffic
and have been most successful in terms of engagement, shares, links, likes, etc. Once you’ve figured out which aspects of their travel blog are making their content successful, you will be able to make an educated guess on the direction your client’s SEO strategy should take.
During the competitor content audit phase, explore any content gaps they might have. These untapped topics can make a huge difference in your strategy later on.
Keywords and anchors
Perform a thorough research of competitors’ keywords (some should be in focus, some disregarded altogether) and anchors so you can develop a potent yet realistic strategy to improve your client’s rankings. Pay attention to their incoming link anchors as well as internal link anchors.
Don't forget to include the following keyword types in this stage: prominent figures and influencers from the travel niche, relevant brands and company names from the industry, names of important events, etc.
Quality backlinks are often pivotal in any off-site SEO strategy. Explore the
websites linking to your client’s competitors
and try contacting them to do the same for your client’s content.
It is a good idea to have columns in your link building spreadsheet allocated to domain, the page with the link, and other pages specific to travel related websites.
For example: The following data is worth saving can be useful for travel blogs:
- the page containing the competitor's link
- Email address belonging to the blogger
- Their "write for us" page (if they have one, of course)
Be sure to log any broken links you encounter during this phase (more on why this may be useful later in this post).
Step 3: target audience research
It is important to figure out who your client’s ideal customer is, but in order to get the most out of the
target audience research stage,
you should also pay close attention to their online behavior, including:
- Which travel-related blog posts works best for them
- What aspects of successful blog posts work as share triggers
- What tone of voice works best for them
- Which social media networks do they use the most
- How are they formulating their queries when searching for travel-related blog posts
- Which brands and influencers they look up to and trust the most, and what made them so influential
Track and record the behavior of your client’s target audience through an SEO tool like Google Analytics and read their comments on prominent travel blogs, forums and social media platforms.
Link building tactics for travel related websites
The more attention you paid during the research phase, the easier it will be for you to find relevant prospects. We already mentioned some of them, but, while outlining the most popular and
effective methods of link building
for sites in the travel niche, we’ll be sure to make a note of the items that you have to keep an eye out for before actually engaging in prospecting or outreach.
Not surprisingly, one of the most popular link building methods in this niche is:
Guest posting on travel blogs
While there are a number of other
ways to find relevant blogs,
we'll cover most of them in the Influencer outreach section, which makes this a perfect opportunity to illustrate how to best use Dibz if you are looking for blogs that accept guest posts in the travel niche. Naturally, the keyword and parameter combinations we will provide would also work in a Google search, you’d just need much more time to try them out and evaluate the results.
To make them Dibz-friendly, we need to divide queries into two segments - keywords and, what we call, advanced parameters (common footprints for different types of pages, often, but not always modified by an advanced operator). The beauty of
is that it combines each keyword with each parameter and checks the results for all the combinations, which means that if you make sure that all of the keywords you enter
combine into valid queries with the advanced parameters you provided,
you can run a huge search, which is at the same time very precise and very broad.
There are three basic approaches to looking for travel blogs that might publish your post:
‘Write for us’ pages.
While they don’t always lead to sites of the highest quality, looking for these pages specifically at least means that they should be open to guest posting propositions.
If you are to use parameters describing this kind of a page, your keywords need to be limited to those likely to be found on a ‘write for us’ page of a travel blog. This includes description of who the site is for, what audience you would be writing for, popular locations or topics, etc. You can see some of our parameter and keyword suggestions below.
intitle:“Submit an Article” OR intitle:“Guest Post Guidelines” OR intitle:“Contribute to our site”
intext:“Your article will be published” OR intext:"Your post must be original"
inurl:/submit-article/ OR inurl:/contribute/ OR inurl:/guest-blogging-guidelines OR inurl:/write-for-us/
places to go
reasons to visit
what to pack
travel the world
things to do in
sights to see in
plan a trip
Naturally, in Dibz or in Google, you can also string keyphrases with the OR operator, but you’d need to enclose them in quotation marks, so they are treated as a single element.
“hotel reviews” OR “travel guide”
Published guest posts.
This method is based on using parameters that will look for blogs that already have published posts by guest authors. All of the keywords we already listed can be used, along with popular destinations, agencies, events, niche authors, etc. Some of the parameters that would work with those keywords include:
“guest contributor” OR “guest blogger” OR “contributing writer”
“community post, written by one of our” OR “guest post was written by” OR “guest post courtesy of”
guest AND post OR article OR contribution OR journal
Travel blogs in general.
A lot of high-quality, popular blogs can’t afford to openly invite guest blogging submissions, but might still be willing to hear you out if you really offer them something special. Again, the keywords are the same, you just have more freedom with the parameters, and can experiment with anything along the lines of:
inurl:/blog/ AND inurl:/2019/
intext:”this blog is meant” OR intext:“write about travel”AND inurl:about
inurl:category/travel intext:blog OR intitle:blog
Link building in the travel niche is all about people. Influencers play a large role in both getting you to the right audiences and in being a great starting point for further prospecting. Here are some of the ways to find influencers in the travel niche who you can contact directly for a link, or who you might want to research further. If you want a more detailed post on the subject, we recommend you take a look at our in-depth
Influencer Marketing Guide.
- Travel blogs we’ve been discussing in the previous section are a real treasure trove of influencers and that’s not counting the bloggers themselves and the contributing outside authors. Aside from noting them down, along with contact information - including social networks profiles, you should also be looking at the comments section of those blogs, and see who shares their posts. Do the same with blogs you’ll come across, run some of them through a backlink checker like Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer, and rinse and repeat as long as you feel the need to.
- Not only the place to find influencers, but sometimes also the best place to make initial contact with them. Searching by hashtags like #travelblogger, #travelblog, #backpackingblog on Twitter, using their advanced search to specify phrases you’re interested in, or using the Twitter Search research type in Dibz, is often a good start, but isn’t where your search should end. Aside from general social network sites which are particularly popular in this niche, like Instagram and YouTube, you should also research
specialized community sites and platforms.
Local citation directories
While not every type of website in the travel niche will need
local citation links,
most of those with any kind of commercial purpose will.
You should never try to fill your link portfolio chock-full of directory links, but you should definitely consider submitting your site to the most reputable ones. So, if you have a registered address that you would like Google to pick up on or if you are offering services in a particular region, you should definitely invest in this approach.
If you have analyzed enough competitors, chances are you have already found most of the highest-quality directories in the travel niche, but you shouldn’t stop at them, and instead use them to note down the footprints that can help you find directories which may be more specific and suit you better in terms of location or categories covered.
You simply need to base the keywords you’ll use on those specifics, or list some of the competitors you haven’t analyzed, and combine this with some of the typical parameters used to focus the search on directories:
intext:"review your listing" AND directory
"free business directory"
intitle:directory OR inurl:directory
In the media pages
You’ll find a lot of high-profile organizations and businesses in the travel industry that are listing online sources writing about them. Pages with lists of mentions of their website or organization on outside publications are most often titled ‘in the media’ or ‘in the press’, which is almost all that you need to quickly find a very decent amount of them. Aside from including them in the parameter, you just need to specify what kind of an organization you are looking for. For example, one of the possible queries you could use could go something like:
inurl:in-the-media OR inurl:in-the press AND intext:hotel OR intext:resort