Breaking down your links – Who’s linking to you and what you can do to gain more!

Attracting quality traffic is the ultimate goal for every hotelier and industry entrepreneur. SEO strategies change with every new release of a Google search algorithm, but getting high quality, relevant links to your site remains an indispensable way of driving web traffic.

Knowing who is linking to you and understanding how to build a quality link network can improve overall web traffic. Even more importantly, it can help you target the people most likely to purchase your services.

Collect the facts

Referral traffic designates any traffic that comes from users clicking on a link from another site, including your social media posts, any ad campaigns you participate in, and hotel search sites like Trivago and Hotels.com. Examining your referral traffic with Google Analytics helps you determine which links and sites provide high-quality referrals, i.e., traffic that converts.

Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are links from another site to your website. Examining your backlinks can help you determine where traffic is coming from and what other people are saying about your business. It’s good practice to conduct an occasional backlink audit to see who is linking to your site, especially if:

• You are kicking off a link building campaign to boost your SEO
• You’ve seen a decrease in traffic and suspect a search engine algorithm issue
• You’ve received a warning from Google of an unnatural link profile

There are many tools on the market to help you find and analyze backlinks. Majestic SEO’s Site Explorer tool is free for verified domains and helps you determine who is linking to you. Google Webmaster Tools also lets you view your backlinks, and Bing Webmaster Tools’ Link Explorer shows backlinks for any website. This can be useful for looking at who is linking to your competitors.

Searching Google for your website URL will also display links to your site. You can use the Show Search Tools bar to narrow down a time frame. This method doesn’t require an account but may not be as thorough as other options. Check out this article for more information on researching backlinks.

Don’t forget to check your site for broken links while you’re at it. A broken link means that customers cannot find the information they are searching for, and too many broken links can hurt your site’s credibility. Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a free app that will check your links and report any issues.

Capitalize on what you already have

Now that you’ve done some research to find out where your referral traffic is coming from and who is linking to you, how can you use this information to increase high-quality web traffic? Once you’ve found out who is linking to your site, there are a few things you can do with the information.

If a high-quality site relevant to your business has linked to you, take advantage by promoting the connection on your social media channels. Double check to make sure the link they’ve included on their page is working and directs to the page you want visitors to see. If there is a more relevant area of your site you want to direct people to, reach out to the author or site owners and ask if they will make an update.

You should also be on the lookout for low-value spam links, as backlinks from questionable sources can hurt your SEO rankings. If you found spammy links or undesirable connections during your link audit, you can take steps to remove them.

Now how to get more of those ‘gun’ links

Once you’ve cleaned up existing links and have a bunch of high quality links directing traffic to your hotel site, be proactive about getting more referrals and backlinks. IceRocket lets you search blogs, Facebook and Twitter for specific terms and can help you identify potential sources for backlinks. Another tool for identifying potential influencers is the Twitter search tool Topsy. Tools like Topsy and Social Mention also provide sentiment analysis to let you know what people are saying about your industry and your company specifically.

Of course the best way to get traffic is to have great content that people want to share. Create high-quality posts that are helpful to your audience and then make it easy to pass the information along. Quality is more important than quantity, but make sure you update your site consistently to keep content fresh.

Network, Network, Network

Once you’ve identified sites you want to target, you can reach out to them directly to start creating a relationship. Participating on industry discussion boards and places like LinkedIn can also help you reach influencers and build relationships. But make sure you are adding valuable content and contributing to the discussion, not just promoting your product.

Conclusion

Understanding who’s linking to you and why is crucial for building high-quality traffic and attracting the customers you want. The research involved may seem time-consuming, but there are hundreds of free and paid tools that can help. Once you establish a process of regular link checkups and start taking steps to cultivate new links, your business will reap the benefits.

About Natalie Athanasiadis

Natalie Athanasiadis is a business analyst and digital marketing guru at our hotel website design company. When she is not scouring for the newest digital marketing trends you can find her playing with her dog Devito or feeding her online shopping addiction. Get social with her on Twitter @natalieathana
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