Link Building Case Study – Building Links to a Travel Site (2018)

By | August 10, 2019


When it comes to link building, travel sites
are among the most of the notorious ones out there. I came across this cool article from David
McSweeney. It’s published on Ahrefs. I will have a link for it in the description
section of the video. I think it was published in around 2016. David there, he conducted a small fairly nonscientific
study where he went out and contacted a bunch of websites in different niches and asked
them whether they would be willing to sell a link to him. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, the vast
majority of all the link sellers are located in the travel niche. You can imagine there is a lot of like things
that you can buy and sell when it comes to travel. There is loads of companies doing business
within that niche. Given that there is a lot of demand or a lot
of supply, it depends on how you view economics, there is link this buying and selling nonsense
going a lot. Given that I’m a 100% white hat SEO link builder,
I never, never bought any links and I will never buy them because Google’s algorithm
is getting better. They’re finding different ways to track, find
quality stuff and link buying is not going to survive in the long run. With all this in mind, I’m going to present
you my way of doing link building for travel sites and it’s based on a real thing that
I did, a real project that I did for a client, which I got through Upwork. It’s actually my first client and I’m super
happy I can talk about them now to present this case because I consider it to be a fairly
successful one given the limited budget and limited time we had for this. Without further ado, let’s get into this. Here is a small overview. The website is called InnIran.com and it’s
an Airbnb-like niche travel website that makes money from accommodation reservations. Basically if you decide to go to Iran and
look for an accommodation, you are likely to find this guys. If you book through them, they’re going to
get their cut from the price. Basically the price you pay. They currently used and currently use PPC
campaigns. They drag traffic using PPC and AdWords primarily. This thing, even though it does give results,
it’s fairly expensive and it’s likely to get more expensive and so on. That’s why if you’re in any type of long-term
travel business, you must invest time, efforts and all that multiplied by a factor of two
if you are looking to get real traffic in the long run, get known in the community,
build your brand and brand awareness. With this site, given that I had to kind of
capture both, I had to build links to it, but also I wanted to accomplish this … This
was kind of a hybrid strategy that I had. I had to build links to the website. On top of this I wanted to capture some potential
clients. Somebody that is almost ready to go to Iran
and maybe they’re like one step away from booking and accommodation. I had this mind and here is the actual goals. Based on this I decided I need to do two things. First of all, I needed to create a linkable
asset. In the Upwork work description, sorry for
this conundrum or whatever that’s called. In the Upwork job description, they were saying
that they do have a blog and that it had really like … That it had some content in it, like
good content, and so on and so forth. When I actually checked out the website and
I’m going to show you the website later on, I couldn’t find any …
I mean you could certainly find some articles that are worth linking to, but the appearance
wasn’t nice. Something was missing. Something of value was missing. That’s why if you want to build links, you
need to have something of value. Something to worth mention. This is what we call the linkable asset in
the community. Something that somebody is willing to connect
to because it’s so good or it’s so valuable or whatever. This needed to be created. This next step is then build white hat links
to it. This were my two goal for the project. Fairly basic. Fairly simple. Nothing really crazy about it. Here’s what I did. With these two in mind, I came with this idea
of creating the Iran Travel Guide 2018. It was the end of 2017. Older guides that were there for the 2017
were almost irrelevant. Technically they are still relevant, but we
all know that Google prefers recent articles. Whatever is most recent and most complete,
they are likely to give this an advantage in search. That’s why it’s 2018 and I thought it’s a
brilliant idea. I was like, “Yeah, man. I’m so smart.” My client was always like they triple check
with me. We are about to post this guide, but it says
2018 and we’re still like in December 2017. Hey, guys, it’s cool. In some other niches you already have guides
being published like six months before the end of the year targeting the following year. Like say they’re published in July in 2017. They already target 2018. They’re giving enough time for Google to get
the article indexed and go up in the search positions. My Iran Travel Guide had to be something pretty
amazing. It had to be an ultimate guide. An ultimate guide means that there is a lot
of topics that it covers. Yes, it was basically one place, one stop
for everything you need to know about Iran. The beaut of that is that it targets long-tail
keywords and with Google’s algorithm updates like Hummingbird and the recent Fred updates,
all of that, it gives an immense advantage if you have everything on the same page because
Google … It starts ranking this same page for all the search terms you have if it’s
pretty strong. You make it strong by building links to this. The last and probably very important thing
about this ultimate travel guide that I thought of creating is that it would capture both
potential clients and links. Potential clients like before you book an
accommodation, you kind of look for what you actually need to go to Iran. Unless you travel on a business trip, then
that is a different beast. You check out where you’re going. Once you kind of realize, “All right. What would make sense? Okay. Time to book an accommodation,” of course,
you could argue that some people actually book their accommodation first and then they
look for traveling guide or whatever, but I’d say the majority actually go this way
first. I’m going to quickly jump into the outcome
section. I just want to summarize it here and then
I’m actually going to go to the client’s website. I’m going to show you exactly what we did,
how it looks like and what it looks like before it was published, and so on and so forth,
so we have this thorough idea about what I’m talking about. The outcomes were this. I had a limited budget, so I had $300. If you are curious about my hourly rate at
the time with Upwork, it was 30 bucks. I had this 300 and I’m supposed to give 10
hours of work, which was kind of crazy. I don’t know. It was all for reviews on Upwork, but that’s
a different story because it’s really hard to deliver cool great value with this price
point. You need to go higher than this, but anyway,
that’s also a different subject. I ended up emailing 59 prospects. I secured three white hat backlinks from them,
which was pretty cool. It’s a 5% conversion rate. It’s considered to be a fairly good conversion
rate for this type of work. You can go further than this, but it requires
different kind of resources and everything, but it’s a really cool thing. Anyway, I’m just going to jump into it and
I’m going to show you exactly what the client is. There we go. InnIran.com. This website is real. You could go check it out and it’s out there. I know some people are doing their reviews
or strategies for websites that are no longer there. Here’s a real website, real business. Basically that’s how it works. You choose the place you go to and then you
pick up the arrival date. You pick up the departure date and then you
pick the number of guests and then it gives you … Spits out the search outcomes. While that’s pretty good, you still need traffic. I already mentioned this. We created this Iran Travel Guide and that’s
what it looks like. You could find it here in the blog/Iran-trave-guide
and it’s here. You can spot it right away. The article is super long. It actually comprises a bunch of other resources
we came across. I’ll show you how I planned the article because
it’s really … If you are in the link building business or
you want to be build links for your own website, you need to plan the articles before … You
need to plan those guides before you write them. This requires heavy keyword research and looking
at your competitors and then thinking of how you can make your article better. By better, I mean it does need to be … It
must be different. Different is a better word than better. It must be different. There must be something about the article. Let’s go ahead and check out the actual document
here that we created. This was me doing this table of contents. I did these. I went online and I found some keywords out
there. I googled everything. I looked for Google’s …
I’m not going to go into the keyword research right now. There is a bunch of tools out there. I don’t recommend any of them except for Keywords
Everywhere tool. I have this. It’s a really cool tool. I really recommend. It’s a free one. It gives a quick idea of what’s up and you
can really use it to your advantage really fast. This is what the article looks like. With all this keyword research and everything,
we have it all put together. Then the article got published. I’m going to quickly talk about why it’s important
to make the article stand out, make it beautiful. See, it’s like here we were limited also by
the CMS because it didn’t give out really pretty titles. Like I would make these bigger. I’d make many things different, but with the
limited resources that I had, I think we did pretty good. When you publish the article, look at the
bold points. Make them standout. Create bullet points. Like all these things, they capture people’s
attention because people scroll and skim through the article. It’s important to capture them with some keywords. You scroll down and then you see this Iran
Visa on the arrival tips. It’s pretty cool. It stands out. Also, I would change the art. I would change some images here, but again,
I would add illustrations instead to maintain the theme of the entire article and not to
spread it around. These are really important points because
when people decide whether they want to link to your article or not from those that agree
to check out your article, they look at the appearance. It’s the first thing to look at. Of course, the content matters. Of course, but it’s like if you have both,
it’s really cool. If you have the appearance and the content,
it’s a no brainer for them to link to your article. It’s really simple. The article got published and then I started
doing the outreach. As I said, there were a bunch of … By the
way, I have this exact case study and written with a lot more details, so exactly which
competitors I had a look at before doing this whole thing and so on and so forth. Basically I just wanted to show you the links
that I secured. Here they are. The first one is here. I’m just going to show you. This one is a really powerful website and
it’s got the domain authority of 62. It’s pretty good for an outreach type of thing. Let’s see if that loads. Last time there were some issues with this
one. Anyway, yeah, it does. The link is right here, Travel Guide for Iran. Yeah, there we go. It’s InnIran and it’s our website. Here’s the link and it’s right beside Lonely
Planet, which is not shabby at all. Given this, what do you think how good the
article performed? The article got published in November. Yeah, 22nd of November. We are right now, what? In January? It’s been a full month of December and a bit
of … It’s a month and a half basically, right? The article right now, I’m looking at it here,
it’s ranking 22, 35, 36, 35, 32, depending on where you look at it. We are targeting English speakers, but not
all of them are located in the UK for example. It’s pretty, pretty good like the way it took
off, the way the article took off. As I said to my client, I said, “You know,
I don’t think it’s going to hit the top 10 position without further link building because
the domain itself is fairly weak as well. We need to build more links to you either
the … Like definitely to the root domain to make the branding standout and everything,
but also to this exact page because the top three competitors are fairly impossible to
reach in a way, but number four you can manage.” I talk more about it in the written case study
that I published on my blog, linkshero.com, and you can check it out there. I wanted to show you not as a success story
or anything, but as a story that you can learn from and is a work in progress story. You can go out there still do a lot of link
building and get a lot of this links pointing to this guide because the initial response
was fairly good. Like 5% is pretty good and then the article
is going to grow and rank in as well. That’s pretty much it for this case study
and I’m going to put this for my self-promotion. If you have any questions about link building,
get in touch. Linkshero.com. I’m Artem and I’m super happy to help you.

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