We were collaborating on a short-term project with a rising adventure tourism platform – 57hours – that offers a variety of guided outdoor trips to various countries worldwide, including hiking, rock climbing, skiing, and mountain biking trips. Adventure tourism has seen some high growth in the past couple of years, thanks to the increase in interest during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. 57hours helps guides scale their local businesses by listing their trips on the platform and connecting them with ideal clients for their trips.
They decided to connect with us and discuss a potential collaboration. Their idea was to boost one of their top-selling tours on organic channels and see how much revenue could it bring if we boosted its transactional intent keywords to the top three positions on Google’s page 1. After the initial audit, we determined that there is a big opportunity to rank if we just build relevant links through targeted link building.
We got in touch with 57hours in June 2022, and after the initial meeting, they shared the following goals:
- Increase the search visibility of target keywords (5 keywords) to positions 1-3 on Google
- Get at least 300 monthly organic traffic for the target tour page
We cannot disclose what specific keyword we targeted, but we can share their search intent and some key metrics:
- Mixed Intent Keyword 1 – Volume US: 1,500 | Difficulty: 11
- Mixed Intent Keyword 2 – Volume US: 350 | Difficulty: 13
- Transactional Intent Keyword 1 – Volume US: 10 | Difficulty: 2
- Transactional Intent Keyword 2 – Volume US: 10 | Difficulty: 1
- Mixed Intent Keyword 3 – Volume US: 10 | Difficulty: 13
57hours had a visually rich, well-optimized landing page for their tour page, both for users and search engines. The problem was that it was aggressively pushed on Google Ads, and wasn’t ranking on Google SERP page 1. They also didn’t invest any resources into link-building, a thing most of their SERP competitors did. To keep up with the competitors, we needed to establish a proper link-building strategy in place.
Check out the best strategies to implement when performing link building for a travel brand!
The goal was to perform a competitive analysis for the given set of keywords based on the SERP competition for each keyword. Based on this analysis (and doing lots of redundant domain filtering on Ahrefs), we determined that building 10 – 15 links would be enough to rank in positions 1-3 on Google Search in the three months after the campaign was initiated.
Here are the rest of the steps of our link-building strategy:
- Prospecting & finding the key decision-makers that write about travel in a specific target location (mostly head of content/head of marketing roles)
- Writing a hyper-personalized email copy (we started with three different versions of copy and subject lines to be able to perform A/B testing)
- Create an email outreach sequence (basically automating our outreach and follow-ups)
- Negotiating about the links and guest post topics
In 2 months, we managed to build 13 industry-related backlinks from DR50+ websites through different methods including:
- Guest posts & utilizing our travel blogger network (our primary method)
- Link insertions through hyper-personalized skyscraper outreach
- Link swaps with other travel bloggers
Since our client didn’t build any links to the target page, they had a couple of natural links and that was it. That was a big gap that could be improved by building hyper-relevant links to the target page.
By November, we managed to build 13 industry-relevant backlinks on DR50+ websites pointing to the target page. At that time, our client had 26 referring domains for that target page, which means that by increasing the target positions to the coveted positions, there was a case of passive growth in backlinks.
Organic Traffic & Keywords
Our client struggled with driving organic traffic to the target page due to a lack of high-quality backlinks needed for competitive, transactional intent keywords to rank.
As you can see from the above screenshot, building high-authority backlinks had a nice impact on the overall organic traffic and keyword rankings of the client’s target page by November. We managed to rank 16 keywords (including the 5 target keywords) to #1-3 on Google, compared to 0 at the beginning of our collaboration.
The very interesting thing is the sharply correlated growth of organic traffic with the growth of referring domains number. As we mentioned before, our client didn’t have any link-building campaigns set up for this target page before our collaboration. We started with a couple of backlinks per month, and it is evident that organic traffic and organic keywords correlate with the amount of authority and relevant backlinks.
We also managed to rank better for mixed-intent keywords with a transactional page, which you can see in the two screenshots below.
You can see that it took around 7 – 9 weeks to rank the target keywords at the desired positions.
Based on the results, it is highly evident that a consistent link-building strategy correlates with constantly growing organic traffic that comes with higher rankings of relevant keywords. We’ve expanded upon our existing travel blogger network to be able to execute a hyper-targeted and relevant link-building campaign to boost the client’s target tour page.
Here are the key takeaways of our link-building collaboration with 57hours during 3 months in numbers:
- 13 industry-relevant backlinks built
- Organic traffic for the target tour page grew by 162.70%
- Organic keywords for the target tour page grew by 118.18%