SEO Strategy, Link Building for the Travel Industry – Everything You Need to KnowOctober 17, 2019Magdalena AndreevaReading time: Have a great product or service that perfectly fits travel enthusiasts’ needs? Тravel bloggers are ready to promote your business to their readers by publishing a do-follow link.Keep on reading to find out the opportunities, challenges, and best practices you need to make this industry work for you. Travel Blogger Collaboration OpportunitiesTravel bloggers are well-educated in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and digital marketing, funding their adventures by collaborating with brands. They often have media kits which can help you improve your strategy by proposing more effective ways to promote your brand throughout their websites or social channels. In a nutshell, collaboration opportunities are endless.Travel Bloggers are ResponsiveIt’s not hard to reach out to a travel blogger. Since they funding their trips by collaborating with brands, the contact information on websites and social media are readily available. They want you to take advantage, and the pros should reply to your email(s) within a few hours.They Understand the SEO WorldWhile some bloggers have concerns that too many do-follow links published on their blog can hurt their website, most are happy to publish do-follow links to reputable sites.A direct approach makes things easier for everyone involved, so write your emails clearly without making readers wonder about your needs and offers. Use a conversational and polite tone, and always include a sentence that shows the blogger you’re willing to negotiate (just in case).We’ve created a comprehensive guide on prospecting if you’re looking to send the perfect outreach emails to the right bloggers.They’re Master NegotiatorsIf they don’t like your initial offer, most bloggers will send you their media kits or do-follow link prices. If you think they’re trying to overcharge – or you’d rather exchange a product or service – don’t be afraid to talk things out.Remember: a do-follow in fresh content costs more than one placed in an old piece of a blog without exposure. Ask if they’re willing to find a relevant spot in an article published within the last few months. Not only is the SEO value the same, but the price will be significantly lower.Make Things Even Easier for ThemTravel bloggers are busy people and receive countless collaboration requests every day. Speed things along by finding a relevant do-follow link spot and suggest it.If you want them to include a paragraph/short sentence in an article about your product, write it down for them. They’ll obviously edit this excerpt to fit their voice, but this will cut their time and accurately represent your site.Bloggers Like to Collaborate with a Brand Multiple TimesBuilding relationships with travel bloggers is easy: Once you’ve already collaborated with them and build trust, they might propose ongoing collaborations or something in addition to the do-follow link. For example, social media posts and mentions, product review articles, banners, and even email giveaway campaigns.They Love Affiliate ProgramsWith sleek websites and quality traffic that’s related to your brand’s main buying persona, travel bloggers have the perfect opportunity to sell your product or service while making an easy, sustainable profit.If you don’t have an affiliate program yet, consider building one. The channels for promoting your business aren’t just related to Google and social media: Hundreds of travel websites are ripe for the picking. Here’s an example of how to build and execute an affiliate marketing program. Challenges in the Travel IndustrySince travel bloggers are popular – and all kinds of brands want to collaborate with them – there are countless fake travel blogs. Learn how to identify and avoid collaborating with low-quality sites that provide zero SEO value.While Google ignores spammy backlinks, don’t waste your time and resources on such partnerships.How to Identify Spammy Travel BlogsFake travel blogs are usually easy to spot. Most have a similar design template and are use stock photos throughout the site. It can be tricky, however, to recognize a bad website.Using the Moz bar tool not only helps you check a website’s DA quickly, but it allows you to view their spam score. A high spam score for a site doesn’t necessarily mean this site should be disregarded, but if the score is above 10%, that’s a sign that you need to do some additional research. A quick glance at their organic monthly traffic should be able to identify whether the website is reputable or has been penalized from Google.Getting on Their Email ListsAfter you start outreaching to travel bloggers, you’ll likely end up on the email lists of various fake blogs’ link networks. They’ll start contacting you with some great offers for do-follow links, banner ads, or other advertising opportunities.Quickly check to see if these websites are part of a network for links. Their spam score is usually above 50% and their organic monthly traffic should be close to zero. Don’t fall for their sweet offers: Ignore (or block) their emails.Overpriced CollaborationsThousands of travel bloggers collaborate with big brands or get featured in huge publications, so it’s easy to see how that will increase their fees. The SEO value you’ll receive from their do-follow link, however, will stay the same as any other blog with a similar domain authority rate.For example, the blogger below was clear that their do-follow link rate was $1000. We initially offered them a free service for travelers to test and publish a review, or the option to include a short paragraph with a link in one of their upcoming blog posts. Their website DA was below 30 and their monthly traffic was low. It was clearly an overpriced collaboration we had to turn down.When considering a proposal, it’s important to check the website’s DA as well as its blog pages PA (page authority) and monthly traffic. Also, consider whether the link placement provides more brand exposure – and more traffic – on top of the link juice.Can I Trust Travel Bloggers?You might be disappointed with bloggers who agree to collaborate and don’t hold up their end of the bargain.Take a deeper look into their blog posts. Do they generally publish do-follow links? If so, how often and what type are they (e.g. do-follow, no-follow)? Use the MozBar tool to check these, as well as external or internal links.Though it’s impossible to guarantee you won’t be taken advantage of by travel bloggers, you can take steps to limit such instances. Save Time Building Partnerships with Travel BloggersAs with any link building campaign, you’ve got quite a few steps in front of you. First, you’ll determine a strategy. Next, you’ll need to research high-quality blogs, then prospect and outreach them. Communication comes next, which involves the initial outreach, negotiating, and closing the deal.If you don’t have an established link-building workflow, these efforts can suck up a lot of unnecessary time.Choose Your ToolsNothing in the digital marketing world happens without the help of tools, and this includes link-building tools, too. Buzzstream – along with their Buzzmarker browser extension – can help you prospect and outreach way faster while effortlessly keeping you organized.Outreach Email TemplatesImagine you have a list of 50 qualified prospects and you start outreaching one by one. Doesn’t sound fun and smooth, does it?Building outreach email templates is essential for every link building project. Of course, you’ll need to customize your emails (and even A/B test them) but make sure you don’t start from scratch each time.Stay OrganizedWith hundreds of outreaches, replies, follow-ups, and prospects at different stages of negotiation, your link-building project can quickly become confusing and overwhelming.1. Use a SpreadsheetTracking important pieces of information with a simple spreadsheet can help you improve – and streamline – productivity. We’ve prepared a simple spreadsheet template that can be customized to better suit your needs.2. Prepare FAQs and Other Templates for Quick ResponsesWhen you offer your product or service in exchange for a link (or another kind of collaboration), don’t expect bloggers to open your website and read about your brand. Even if they do their research, they’ll still probably have specific questions.Your website probably has a FAQ section, but if your service is customizable (such as international prepaid SIM cards), your prospects will have specific questions. In this case, it’s best to provide a document with quick answers that can be copied/pasted, personalized, and sent out right away. How to Measure Your Link Building EffortsAs with any marketing campaign, it’s important to measure success while simultaneously improving your strategy. Obviously, you can always count newly-acquired links, but that’s not enough to justify the time spent on a project.Domain Authority (DA)The main goal of link building is to increase your site’s DA rank in order to land higher on search engine result pages (SERPs).Though increasing your DA may take some time (a handful of links won’t do the trick), the most authoritative websites (.org, .gov, etc.) bring the most SEO value and can increase your DA faster.Organic Search TrafficOnce you start receiving qualified backlinks, your organic search traffic should increase. Of course, if link building isn’t the only SEO you’re doing, there are other factors that play a part.When measuring traffic growth, be sure to note when your link building success began (first links published) and focus on the percentage change of improvement over an extended period of time.Other Important KPIsDepending on your link building strategy and campaigns, you might want to take a look at other KPIs (like referral traffic and page authority on target pages). This is especially important if you’re not only building backlinks to your homepage.Discover Professional Link Building StrategiesIf you’re new to the link-building world, you might be unsure where to start – and that’s okay! Learn how to nail your link building approach to execute the best strategies for your business.