I run a few small web sites in the travel niche simply because I like writing and hill walking. It is fairly easy to get a link from one of my sites, the site asking for the link just has to show something in return and be part of the target group for that niche.
Often this “in return” is having my site listed on their website. However if I come across something that is different in the travel sector I will link to them without any further incentive. When thinking about this post I was wondering “what is the something different”.
One small example:
The support infrastructure on walking routes in Ireland is fairly low compared to other European countries. I don’t think I have ever come across a drinking tap or fountain on any route while walking. You can walk for fairly long distances on the Wicklow Way without having access to water – meanwhile you walk past many B&B’s.
Imagine being the first B&B to offer water to anyone who walks by. Perhaps just a tap at the edge of your property allowing hill walkers to fill their bottles as they pass: I know if I came across this I would link to the B&B and add at least one photo, and try and show it on a map.
Taking this example further and sticking with the Wicklow Way: if you added a water tap these would be the next steps:
- Take a few photos of where the tap was, hopefully getting your property in the photo
- Search on Google for all the websites, pages, and blog posts that return for Wicklow Way
- Write to all of them
The last part is where there seems to be lots of opportunity to really mess up the whole plan. I receive lots of emails every day asking me for links, delete.
NEVER write to anyone asking for a link. Write asking to be referenced or listed on the person’s site.
In the above example I would start out by finding the name and email address of the person who owns the site – have a look at the about page or contact page. Use their name when sending the email, include one or two photos. Let them know you have this water tap and you think it would be great if they could let their readers know. Thank them in advance.
I don’t know what the cost would be to run a pipe and add a tap to the end of it, maybe two or three hundred Euro? If that is the case the return on investment is fairly large considering I price links at about €350 for 10.
Small family businesses can get a lot more traffic from the web by thinking a little about it. Google places should be setup and collect email addresses from those booking, asking customers to add a review on Google Places, make it easy for people to add your details to Facebook by having the name of your place in all the rooms along with your web address, and of course free internet access.
I stayed in a beautiful four star hotel from Ireland’s Blue Book recently and I would have written something about it on my blog while I was there, it was good and the food was great – but guess what, only internet access in the foyer – after the weekend I was back at work and neck deep in everything as usual, and they just get forgotten.
I think every business has to find something different about itself and then point it out – gently. SEO for travel sites is not easy, you are competing with all the enthusiast sites – however you can help them help you.