Link Building is a Necessary Four Letter Word for Positioning on the Internet
By Cindy Woudenberg Founder, LuCorp Marketing | May 13, 2012
Establishing a powerful online presence is a must for every business today, especially in the hotel industry. Whether you know it or not, major competitions are waged every minute in prospective guest's living rooms, offices and even on their smart phones as they travel. They are searching online for their next hotel reservation, and those websites with top search engine rankings are the key players. Most searchers click on the first few links in their search if the site seems to match their search criteria. A prospective guest can't consider a hotel property that they don't have any information about, so it's imperative that your property's website grabs one of those high ranking spots in web searches. You can have the most eye-popping and informative site out there, but if your potential customers never find it as they search the web, it's worthless.
If your site uses effective key words to describe your property, you may think that you've done everything you can to compete in search engine rankings. However, keyword optimized content is just one weapon in your arsenal. Another way to boost a site's ranking and make it easier for search engines to find it is by using link building. Backlinks from other sites is one of the most important factors that search engines look for when deciding where a web page will rank when someone does a search. Link building requires securing hyperlinks on third party websites that point back to your site. The larger number of links to your site from other sites indicates to search engines that your website is popular and/or valuable. However, the focus should be on quality and relevancy, and then quantity. Relevant links will help your search rankings more than any other factor.
Additionally, searchers can also follow the links from third party sites right to your site, generating more traffic. Increased traffic can obviously lead to increased business, and if your site relies on advertising, the increased traffic can lead to more advertising revenues. From a searcher's perspective, links on directory sites, local listing sites, informative article sites and other third party sites can also add credibility to your business.
There are a number of ways to put link building to work for your website and generate more traffic and increased business. One of the first steps in your online marketing strategy should be using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Foursquare. People enjoy "checking in" on these sites, and are increasingly looking to "follow" their favorite establishments to keep up on news, events, special offers and other information. Be sure to have informative profiles developed on each of these sites, and post updates regularly to attract more followers. Every social media posting can include a link back to your main website, and when posts are shared or re-tweeted you generate even more links.
Blogging is another important component of social media. Generate informative and entertaining blog content that can be submitted for popular votes and rankings on sites such as Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit, driving more readers back to your site. You should also post a link to each of your blog posts on Facebook and Twitter. On the other side of blogging, you can comment on other blogs as part of an active discussion and a way to develop relationships with other businesses. Include a link to your site as a part of your signature when you leave comments for others. This not only builds links back to your site on various strategically chosen blog pages, but also starts to build your industry presence and expertise through your insightful comments.
Blogs are one way to generate informative content about your property and events, and taking it a step further by creating original content in the form of articles that can be syndicated online is another component of a successful link building strategy. Create articles that highlight your niche, special services, restaurants, events or even your community as a destination. These articles should be consistent with your messaging and help to build your online identity. By submitting these articles to niche industry sites, such as travel sites, not only shares your hotel's pertinent, targeted information, but your articles will reach customers and create links back to your site.