Why Backlinks Are Important for Hotel SEO | By Trish Leighton
Backlinks are incoming links to your website from other websites. These links to your website are viewed as votes of confidence to search engines. It means your property's website is important and relevant enough for other websites to link to and associate themselves with.
Quality vs. Quantity of Backlinks:
In the past, backlinks were a major factor for how well a website ranked. It was more of a numbers game: the more backlinks a site had, the better the search rankings were. As Google got smarter and updated their algorithms, it became more about the quality of backlinks over the quantity. Rather than rewarding sites that paid for a few thousand links from irrelevant, low-quality sites, Google started paying attention to the quality of sites linking back to your site.
For example, say you want your property's website to rank for the convention center located down the street. Does the convention center have a list of nearby hotels? Is your property mentioned on that list with a link back to the website? If the convention center thinks you're important, then Google thinks your property is important for people looking for hotels near the convention center. This carries much more weight than 30 backlinks from sites that have nothing to do with travel or the property's location.
Acquiring More Backlinks:
Finding quality link targets takes a lot of time and research. Reaching out to quality targets and asking for inclusion doesn't always yield a link, but it's important to ask and reach out to make connections. If your property does get quality links from a nearby business, it's good practice to reciprocate and link to their site from yours as well if relevant.
It's important not to get hung up on the number of links as a measure of a good backlink profile. A small bed and breakfast in Iowa won't have as many backlinks as a resort hotel in a big city. No backlink profile will look the same, it's unique to the business or property. There is no measurable quantity that equals success.
Protecting Your Backlink Profile:
Link management is more than just acquiring links from local businesses and travel directories. Unfortunately, you can't help who links to you, which means you could get useless low-quality backlinks.
With clients in the past, we've seen shady tactics from their competitors who hired an SEO agency to send bad links to the client's website in hopes they'd get penalized or de-ranked. For reasons such as this, it's important to protect your backlink profile. If you notice poor quality or spammy links, disavow them and let Google know you do not want to be associated with those sites linking to you.
Monitoring Quality Links:
Along with monitoring unwanted links, it's also important to make sure the links that you do want are still working and making a difference. If you change a page's URL that other sites were linking to, all those links would be broken. If the page is redirected, majority of links will still carry over but it's best if the link goes directly to the intended destination page without sending the search engine through a redirect. Stay on top of your well-earned links to make sure they remain live and accurate.
High-quality links will help the property's site domain authority. Think of the saying, 'you are judged by the company you keep'. The same applies with a site's backlink profile. If a website that search engines consider important and reputable links to the property's website, it passes some of that authority over to your site. The higher your domain authority, the better your rankings will be.
For more tips on how to rank higher on Google, download our Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals Guide here.