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Search Engine Optimization for Travel Agents – Link Popularity

One of the criteria used by search engines to determine page rankings for your travel agency centers on the number of links inbound to the travel site from other quality sites. Sometimes called “back links”, inbound links to your site give the search engine spiders more avenues to your site and act as a key indicator of the importance of your site to others. A link from a site that is a high quality site in and of itself is more important that a link from a “low quality” site.

The single best way to create high quality links inbound to your site is by populating it with quality content about travel. If your site becomes the “go-to” resource for a given topic, for example “travel for the disabled”, then other sites discussing these matters more generally will link to yours as a resource. These links increase your site’s link popularity and thus improves your page rankings in the search engines.
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The importance of link popularity to search engine optimization early on gave rise to “black hat” techniques like link farms – contrivances to create links from arbitrary sites to a target site. Most of the search engines now discount such ruses. However, there are very legitimate ways to build up your site’s inbound links. For example, when you post on a forum and use a signature with a link to your website, you have just left a trail back to your site. If that post is then posted on Digg or other social media sharing sites, the effect is greatly enhanced. Indeed, the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter creates multiple links to your own site that are picked up by the process of search engine indexing.

Writing guest posts on blogs is one of the best ways to enhance the visibility of your own site for both humans and search engines. Most articles you write will include a link back to your own site. Likewise, press releases that are picked up by media and interviews with a link back to your own site are valuable. Commenting intelligently on other’s blogs will also create link backs to your own site and might even obtain notice from the original author.

Link exchanges are of overestimated. benefit. If the site with which you exchange is in your general topic area it may have some impact. In general, however, large numbers of arbitrary links off a site are not favored by most site owners as it dilutes their own more legitimate link popularity. Likewise, submitting your URL to directories is somewhat time consuming and of dubious efficacy. Pages full of links are not counted as quality links by search engine algorithms.

Some website owners will create multiple sites and cross-link between them. For travel agents with multiple niche markets, this is a good strategy. Most SEO strategists will suggest placing the individual sites on different hosts, however. It is generally speculated that search engines will not rank links from a website on a given host to another site on the same host as highly as one on an unrelated host.

If you follow the techniques we have discussed here this week, your website’s search engine rankings will almost certainly increase substantially. The best advice of all, however, is to keep foremost in your intent and minds to be useful to your readers. If human readers find your materials useful and important, the organic popularity of your site will be reflected by a higher page ranking with the search engines.

  4 thoughts on “Search Engine Optimization for Travel Agents – Link Popularity

  1. Trey says:

    Thanks for the insight. I think it’s critical moving forward to have legitimate guest bloggers– as SEO is important, so is fresh and quality content. I read another helpful post on search trends I thought I’d share. Thanks again!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I would like to also see if you can explore an issue of how to reduce visibility for a site that may complain or have something negative to say. For example some person may be a competitor who writes a negative review to give a company unnecessarily a bad name. Is there a way to try to minimize that visibility on the web so when one searches for the company they don’t keep seeing that entry as a top one? Interesting opposite question to write about.

  3. John Frenaye says:

    I will chime in here and say that there is not too much you can do about it. I would look to his page source code and make sure he is not using any trademarked or copyrighted phrases that you may own (ie: your business name) and if so, you may have a case. The question is how much is it worth.

    While it tends to tick us off (and also when content is copied), take a look and see what the reach of the offending site is. It may not be anything. Alexa.com and Quantcast.com are two free tools that will give you an idea of the traffic the site pulls. If there are 100 people a year on it–I would not sweat it.

    Another option is to bury his page that is offending you. Just work on your SEO so you organically rate higher than the offending page. Studies show that most people will not go beyond the first ten results in any search. And it is the rare person that goes beyond the first page.

  4. Steph Lee says:

    Fantastic post Richard, thanks for sharing! Simply step but they can make all the difference.

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