Quality backlinks can build your site’s credibility and help you rank on search engine results pages (SERP).
But what are backlinks? Backlinks are incoming links that serve as a vote of confidence for your content. It’s like others endorsing your content as credible.
Research shows that websites ranking at the top of Google’s first SERP actually have more than triple the number of backlinks than those below them.
When other websites link to yours, it shows Google that your website contains valuable information and therefore is worth ranking on SERPs. This is the power of building quality backlinks.
In this article, I’m going to take you through the reasons why backlinks are so important for search engine optimization (SEO) and give you tips on how to generate high-quality backlinks for your tours or activities website.
One of the building blocks of effective search engine optimization is creating valuable content that answers readers’ queries and offers solutions. For this reason, having backlinks to your website plays a vital role in SEO because it serves as a signal that other websites are vouching for your content.
This form the basis of why backlinks are important for SEO:
1. Ranking on SERPs
As we’ve seen so far, the more websites link to your webpage, the more votes of confidence you get. These pages are therefore more likely to rank on SERPs as Google infers that your content is valuable for certain search queries.
An Ahrefs study carried out in 2020 on about one billion web pages revealed a strong correlation between the number of backlinks from referring domains and average monthly organic search traffic.
Search engines like Google routinely crawl websites and go through the links therein to discover other web pages. This gives those web pages an opportunity to be discovered by Google and get ranked.
3. Raises brand awareness
When readers find links to your website on high-quality sites, that tells the readers your brand is a worthy source of valuable information. Once they land on your website and actually find valuable content, that’s an opportunity for them to browse through your site and get to know more about your brand.
This brand awareness further creates an opportunity for your tour or activities company to gather new followers and drive sales in the long run.
4. Increased Referral Traffic
When searchers get on different websites and find a link to your tour or activities website, they can click on the link and get directed to your page. This is a great source of referral traffic.
There are various ways to get more backlinks, but all of them fall into three broad categories. You can:
This is an organic process of getting backlinks. With this method, your main concern is creating high-quality content such that when people discover your site via a simple Google search, word of mouth referral, or on social media, they can choose to link to your page.
Creating backlinks requires you to manually head out to other websites and add your site’s link there. You can do this by leaving blog comments with a link to your website, posting your links on social media, answering questions on forums, or submitting your link to business directories.
Building backlinks involves a lot of networking with other businesses that complement your company. After connecting with these other companies, you can approach either the owners or their editors and ask them to add your webpage link to their website. You’ll need to present an enticing value proposition for them to see how they will also benefit from the arrangement.
Out of these three categories of ways to generate backlinks, building backlinks is the most effective. With this method, you can control the links you get since you choose the websites that link out to you.
Here are some tips and tactics on how to build quality backlinks for your tourism website:
1. Use HARO to contact reporters
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) is a website that connects journalists searching for information for their press articles with sources.
You can register as a source, select your industry, and offer answers to the journalists’ queries. If a journalist likes your pitch, they’ll include your answer in their article and you’ll have the opportunity to get a backlink from them.
Backlinks from here are high quality especially if you get featured on a top media house’s press post.
2. Guest posting
This strategy involves approaching other websites and proposing to write a one-off post for them, in return for a backlink to your website within that post. For your pitching process to bear fruit, show that business how valuable your content would be on their website.
But note that, you may need to pitch a number of companies before getting a positive response. That’s why guest posting can be a slow, energy-consuming, and time-consuming process, but, if successfully done, very rewarding.
When looking for guest posting opportunities, don’t pitch your competitors because they definitely wouldn’t want to promote their competition.
You can go for companies in your industry that lie either above or below you on the supply chain. For example, if you are a tour company offering walking city tours, find out which businesses serve your customers before you. Perhaps airlines, hotels, and resorts.
Alternatively, think of businesses that lie horizontal to yours, that are similar to yours but serve a different market. For example, adventure travel agencies, and corporate travel agencies can be a good fit.
Create a list of all these businesses and begin pitching them.
Something else to keep in mind, if you choose to guest post on a travel blogger’s website, most of them will ask you to pay them for the guest post. If you think it will be worth the exposure, then go ahead. If not, continue your search because you can still find free guest posting opportunities out there.
3. Get on listicles
Here, we mean list-form posts in the travel and tourism industry. For example, articles on “top places to visit in France” or “things to do in Rome.”
So where do you find these listicles?
Tourism-related listicles can be found on personal travel bloggers’ websites, or even government or local authorities’ websites that are promoting tourism in their area.
Once you’ve identified these websites that write listicles, send them an email or give them a call and ask them to include your business in their list together with a link out to your website.
Remember the value proposition. For this strategy to be successful, you have to highlight how the website will benefit from linking to your page.
For example, a travel blogger could already have other listicles on their website but doesn’t have any that’s listing things to do or places to visit in your area. You can show them how rich your locale is with tourist attraction sites. That can be reason enough for them to create a listicle post on things to do in your region and if they like the services you offer, they can agree to include your business therein.
Another idea is finding any broken links in already existing listicles on different travel-related websites. Armed with this information, reach out to the site owner, alert them about the broken link, then suggest your link as the ideal replacement. You can use a broken link checker to fish for these relevant “dead” links.
4. Partner with travel influencers
Partnering with travel influencers is one of the popular ways tourism brands generate inbound links. According to a recent (2021) survey on influencer marketing, most brands actually report that this strategy is quite effective.
An ideal influencer to partner with is not only one with a big following but also a following that’s active and engaged. One way of landing such a partnership involves offering freebies in exchange for a review on the influencer’s website.
To begin with, look for different influencers under your niche on social media. Do a search on Twitter e.g [location] + travel blog. This will give you the most recent Twitter posts about your area by travel bloggers.
Next, identify the best influencer you can partner with. As we’ve already mentioned, don’t only look for a big following but one that’s highly engaged.
Then head over to their website to see if they have any contact form for businesses like yours that would want a partnership. Contact them and offer your freebie in exchange for an honest review with backlinks to your website.
When using this strategy, remember that it’s also a numbers game. The more outreach emails you send, the higher your chances of getting a great result.
5. Partner with travel publications
Just like with travel influencers, tour and activities companies can partner with travel publications and obtain backlinks to boost their visibility.
You will first need to identify travel publications that cover topics related to your business and approach them for an opportunity to write a guest post for free on their website. This will be in exchange for a backlink to your tour website.
Alternatively, you can write press release posts for your website. These articles are for general release such that journalists are free to use the information you give in the content. This strategy can be especially effective for local travel publications that may want to get frequent updates on what’s happening in the local travel scene.
You can post the press release posts on free press release platforms. The only shortcoming with free press release platforms is the lack of sufficient visibility. That’s why it’s a good idea to pay for a quality press release service like Cision’s PR Newswire or ResponseSource.
6. Create link-worthy content
As we mentioned above, the best way to earn organic backlinks is through creating value-packed, high-quality content on your website. These are the link-worthy posts that other websites or publications would want to link to because of the value they add to their own content.
One of the best link-worthy content for your tours or activities website would be travel statistics posts. These are posts that are optimized for statistic keywords or that focus on giving up-to-date industry data on various topics.
For example, you can create a post titled “How much do travelers spend on a vacation in Paris?” In such a post, you would give valuable statistical information on travel costs. Other websites would gladly link to such content because it can help them back up their own arguments. This will also portray you as an authority site.
7. Find unlinked mentions
Unlinked mentions, as the name suggests, are any online mentions of your website or brand that do not link back to your website.
These are great opportunities to generate backlinks to your site and boost your ranking.
So how do you change the unlinked mentions into backlinks? Well, begin by locating those mentions of your brand. This is an easy process thanks to the many tools available to do the work in a few clicks. Some of these unlinked mention finder tools are:
- Free SEO Grader
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider
- The BrandMentions App
- Free Link Checker Tool (by Scrapebox)
Once you’ve found the mentions, check who the author of the article is. You can then contact them, appreciate them for the mention, and politely request them to add a link to your relevant webpage.
To make the deal sweet for them and increase the chances of them accepting to add a backlink, offer something in return or explain the value they would get out of including your link.
Backlinks are a vital ingredient for off-page SEO and ranking on search engine results pages. The approaches we’ve discussed on how to generate these backlinks are:
- Contacting reporters using HARO
- Guest blogging
- Getting on listicles
- Partnering with travel influencers
- Partnering with travel publications
- Creating quality posts
- Finding your unlinked brand mentions
Implement some of these strategies and observe as your traffic starts increasing steadily.