HomeResourcesBlogHow a Travel Client Cost-effectively Secured 10 Relevant, Authoritative Backlinks

How a Travel Client Cost-effectively Secured 10 Relevant, Authoritative Backlinks

In the face of surging travel costs, travelers are increasingly turning to membership-based travel websites and newsletter services. These platforms have carved out a vital niche by promising economical flight options to combat escalating fares. 

To secure an edge in this fiercely contested arena, these service providers must deliver exceptional value, curate exclusive deals, and provide impeccable customer experiences. And of course, they need an online presence that facilitates the value they bring to the table.

Seeing as backlinks are a key ranking factor and 66% of pages have zero backlinks, many brands have to proactively prioritize getting linked to.

This case study dives into one such campaign where Shortlist launched a link-building outreach campaign on behalf of a travel client.

The Client

Our client is widely known for dishing out the crème de la crème of travel advice and nifty alerts to score cheap flights. 

They have established themselves as the “backstage pass” to beating the system and flying on relatively cheap flights to exotic destinations. However, they felt that more established and tenured competitors had the upper hand on them and that they needed to push their SEO efforts, while simultaneously working within their budget. 

To summarize, their goal was:

  • Acquire as many quality, relevant backlinks for as low a price as possible. 

Choosing Link Insertion vs. Guest Posting

Shortlist offers a number of services for acquiring backlinks. 

Guest posting is a tried and true method for generating backlinks, however, it offers very little flexibility on price. As we write the content ourselves in-house and compensate the bloggers, among other things, the prices are relatively fixed. 

Link insertion, on the other hand, involves dedicated outreach to a list of targeted opportunities. Results are more varied, as we don’t know what the response rate will be. Additionally, we typically do not create fresh content, instead, the link is inserted in an existing post. The benefit of this is that the client gets to see the page the link will be on, and choose if it suits them based on relevance and traffic.

Because link insertion offers the opportunity of lower prices and allows the client to pick and choose which blogs they want to work with based on their prices, we felt it better aligned with the client’s goals.

The Strategy

To start, we conducted a competitor’s backlink profile analysis via Ahrefs. From there, we mapped out the most promising guest posts based on a mix of relevance, authority, and winnability. Typically an article that is focused on listing resources similar to our client makes for a great fit. The full list was around 350 bloggers.

To maximize response rate we always email from the client’s domain from which we can leverage the brand’s reputation. Every email sent is uniquely crafted and designed to pique interest and stimulate engagement from bloggers. For all sent emails, we plan 3-5 follow-ups to ensure we never miss a publication opportunity.

Here’s an example of an opening email sequence

Most bloggers come back with a response either asking for a link exchange or a fee.

The Results

We sent 350 emails. The reply rate was 25% (89). From these, 89% (78) were positive. 

The list of opportunities was provided to the client, from which they chose the ones that suited them best based on relevancy, authority, and price. 

The result was 10 DA45+ insertions at a cost of $204 per link (taking into consideration the service cost and the blogger fee).

What this means for the client:

  • Cost Effectiveness: The client managed to secure high-quality backlinks with an average Domain Authority (DA) of 45 at a cost-effective rate. For each of these 10 backlinks, the client paid $204, making the total expenditure $2040. This cost includes both the service fee and the publication expense. If the client had opted for guest posting instead, each link would have cost $260 due to the additional costs of creating new in-house content. 
  • Flexibility: The positive response rate was very high, allowing the client a lot of flexibility to choose which sites suited them best based on relevancy, authority, and cost. Ultimately they only chose 10 out of the 78 opportunities presented to them, but can at any time go back and revisit the other opportunities.
  • Scalability: Because only 350 websites were contacted in total (a small fraction of the total sites in this niche), we have established a scalable and dependable methodology for getting quality backlinks at a price that is not likely to vary significantly. The client can now use this data to compare other link-building strategies to determine which are the most cost-effective for them.

Ownership: Because emailing is done from the client’s domain, they effectively own the conversation/relationship with the bloggers. They can revisit the ones they have worked with, or didn’t, to continue their link-building efforts when and if they have additional budget and need.

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