In my first post on hotel SEO, I explained how big hotels with conference facilities have an advantage over small hotels. But small hotels need not despair, because they have ample link building opportunities too.
In the interest of keeping things short, here are some link sources I’ve seen in the hotel SEO scene, which sources are accessible to small hotels. I’m [mostly] skipping the commentary.
1. Local universities and colleges – If out of town students have friends or family helping them move in to dorms, where do those friends or family stay? Local hotels that are affordably-priced, naturally. Not those mega-chains with mega-prices!
2. Music, film, food and other cultural festivals – Festivals usually are ongoing for a few weeks, which means that they’re not tied to a single hotel. The organizers can and do mention places they’ve stayed at before or hotels in the vicinity.
Bonus tip: You or your SEO can find these by Googling keywords like ‘festival’ + ‘city name’ + date in the future. I emphasize the date in the future point because you’ll usually find a lot of past festivals crowding the top rankings, since they’ve had more time to accumulate links. A quick google on ‘Montreal cheese festival’ confirms that Google has yet to realize that these queries deserve freshness – that is, more recent results should be ranked ahead of more frequently cited (linked to) pages.
3. Startpages – These are pages that feature a collection of links a particular user happens to find useful. In other words, they’re pretty strong editorial votes by users as to sites they care about – exactly the kind of link Google loves.
Ironically, hotel SEO specialists obsessed with Pagerank will often find these links useless because
(i) Startpages usually have dozens and dozens of links, such that each link would just get a little bit of Pagerank.
(ii) Other times, all these links are nofollowed. So none of them pass any Pagerank at all.
However, there’s an element of trust to links, too – Startpages are hubs, and Google trusts hubs according to various patents they’ve filed. (Find out more about hub finders here – and especially how to fake them out.) So it’s worth testing whether nofollow links from carefully curated startpages can still help other pages rank, or whether they’re useless.
4. Escort reviews – Yes, reviews have gotten so widespread online as to include prostitutes. People talk about their favourite escort agencies and experiences with various ladies (I’ve yet to see it for male prostitutes, but it probably exists too). Unsurprisingly, a fair number of these encounters take place in hotels, which enables you to have your small hotel mentioned and linked to.
(Perhaps you could integrate a Groupon deal here? Siesta special: 30% off for you and your hired lady friend, if we get 50 people take up this deal. Imagine the scene in the lobby haha!)
Liked this post? You’ll likely enjoy a free chapter from my SEO book for experienced pros, too.
p.s. FYI: Back when I worked with a small Montreal hotel, these links propelled them ahead of giants like Hilton and Marriott, to rank #3 on core keywords like Montreal hotel and similar rankings on other terms. The marketing director for that hotel told me that I tripled year-over-year online sales, which brought total sales numbers up 15%. That’s why I say guys like Eric Ward, who focus on these sorts of hub links, can charge $500 – $1000 link…
photo credit: Umberto Fistarol