A very important tactic for optimizing your website actually takes place off-site. Link building is on-going and a time-consuming task of connecting with other relevant, quality websites to add a link back to your website.
The benefit is twofold: not only can you tap into new traffic sources from these link partners, but increasing your link equity actually has a great impact on your site's ranking in the search engines. Every good link increases your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) relevance, causing higher rankings on organic results in search engines. Web optimizers refer to it as "link juice." It signals to engines like Google and Bing that your site is a credible, valuable and useful page for searchers. As you learn to link build you will be better able to determine which sites are more valuable link partners and which sites can actually detract from your SEO power.
One of the first steps you will want to take is to research the different industries relevant to your hotel that you would want to link back to your hotel website. Think about what services your hotel offers and what current industries already drive business to your hotel. Then begin searching for these types of sites that can link back to your website and ultimately drive these searchers to book their stay with you.
Suggestions for relevant link partners in other industries related to your hotel:
- Attractions– Start by contacting larger local attractions like museums, zoos, theme parks and sports teams that attract the most visitors to your hotel’s local area. Then think on a smaller scale of the local businesses that bring out-of-towners to the area. It can be beneficial to team up with attractions such as a local golf course, shopping mall, garden, winery or state park and request to have a link to your site added on their website.
- Schools- Top level domains such as .edu are some of the most valuable sites in terms of link juice. That is because .edu, much like .gov, .mil and to some extent, .org, are usually domains reserved for well-known, established institutions. To connect with .edu sites, search local universities for accommodation pages for campus visitors, parents and alumni. Special events like homecoming, parents’ weekend or graduation often have their own landing page and can be a great place to add your hotel as a nearby lodging option.
- Local Events– Nothing brings people to an area quite like a popular event. Know an annual event that happens in your area? Find the event website and request to have your hotel added as a nearby place to stay for people travelling into town for the big event. Think beyond events happening directly in your town. Often times events taking place in the second town over will have an overflow of visitors needing to find a hotel outside of the event’s immediate location.
- Restaurant– Building links to promote other products and services your hotel offers is a great strategy to bring in additional revenue at the hotel beyond room nights. If your hotel has an on-site restaurant, look for websites supporting local area restaurants and request to have your hotel restaurant added. Follow these restaurant link building tips to get started for your hotel.
- Event Space– Similar to link building for the hotel restaurant, you can establish links that feature the hotel’s event space. Search for websites about local meeting rooms, banquet halls and conference space as appropriate to have your hotel facilities included. Start with wedding sites to add a listing for your hotel. Also connect with Convention and Visitors Bureau websites to ensure your hotel is not only mentioned as nearby lodging, but also lists the hotel event space available for business conferences and conventions.
- Pet-Friendly– Are pets welcome at your hotel? Be in front of people searching for pet-friendly hotels. Ranking organically for pet-friendly hotel keywords may be difficult, but being present on pet-friendly hotel directories is an excellent plan to be found for pet owners looking for hotels where their furry friends are welcome.
- Blogs– Another smart way to build links is to connect with local bloggers and travel bloggers. Reach out to bloggers who write about the local area and ask to have an article written about the hotel. There are many bloggers who write about travel experiences, who will offer to write about your hotel and the nearby things to do. Being featured in a blog is great exposure and can even go viral when shared across social media channels.
Pursuing these industries is a great starting point for your hotel’s link building efforts. Acquiring new links to your hotel website is a never-ending task, and searching for industry-relevant sites is just one tactic you can take. Create a strategic link building plan for your hotel and see your hard work pay off in the form of higher search rankings and increased site traffic.