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I took a little time out recently to recharge my batteries and explore a bit of the world by venturing across to East Asia. During my time out there I thought it would be a great idea for me (and a few friends) to set up a travel blog that would share some of our travel experiences and offer a useful resource for fellow travellers.
Due to the fact that this project was purely focused around pleasure, I didn’t put too much work in at the start but I soon realised that there was a good potential to make a bit of cash that could supplement my travel costs. With this in mind I decided to use my background in SEO to bring in some good levels of traffic to the website. Six months on and my blog traffic is growing exponentially month-on-month – I decided that it would only be fair to share some of my strategies with the community so that they can also benefit from this.
The content Strategy
The one major advantage that I had as a travel blogger was the ability to write about all of the amazing experiences that I was having on a daily basis. I pretty much had a free reign on the creation of creative content and quickly decided that this would be a major contributor towards my link building strategy. With my flexibility on content, it was then important that I carried out some solid keyword analysis to understand what search terms had potential to bring good levels of traffic to my blog.
Stage 1: Identifying My Subject Matter
I had a pretty big travel itinerary that was full to the brim with incredible life experience. This included spending a day with elephants, experiences the infamous Thai Full Moon Party and getting into an enclosure with fully grown tigers – as you can imagine, finding things to write about was pretty easy!
The first thing that I did was to write down a list of all the activities that we were going to be doing over our time in East Asia and then did extensive keyword analysis for each of the activities to find ranking opportunities.
Step 2: Identifying Key Traffic Sources
Due to the fact that my blog had only been running for a few weeks, it wasn’t very likely that I was going to be able to start ranking for many of the search terms that I found. The last thing that I wanted was to slave over an awesome piece of content for it to just fall on deaf ears. I made the decision that my best route to my readership was to actually post on other travel blogs that were well established in order to gain exposure for my own travel blog, gain a valuable link and drive traffic through the my blog in the process.
I then set out to build a list of around 50 different travel blogs that had a large readership, gained several social shares on most of their posts and also talked about topics related to the content that I was preparing. Alongside the list I noted down their contact details, social media profile URLs and any personal notes related to the blog owner. This then let me assign targets for each of my content pieces and put an action plan in place for the next 3 months.
Step 3: Reaching out to my Targets
The first step that I took before contacting my targets was to build an initial rapport with them. I regularly commented on their posts and engaged with them on social media in order to get my name under their radar. Once I felt that I had developed an initial relationship with them I then dropped them a quick email that explained who I was, what my travel plans were and that I was looking for blogs to post my good quality content onto.
Of the 50 blogs that I reached out to I actually managed to gain around 30 different guest post opportunities – which was a fantastic result! I then spent any free time when I was travelling on trains, buses, boats and planes simply writing up content. This was great because it worked almost like my own personal travel journal and doubled up as a marketing activity for my blog.
Over the space of five months I managed to build just fewer than 4,000 high quality, related backlinks to the blog which has helped me see enormous growth in unique visitors. From February 2013, when I initially launched the blog through to June 2013, I have went from getting around 10-30 unique visitors a day (most of which from social media) to now getting a minimum of 250 unique visitors every day (80% coming from the search engines).
Now that I have even more time to focus on the blog I can start carrying out other online marketing activities that will boost traffic even further. This short case study of my initial success shows how organic SEO work can really pay of through developing a solid content marketing approach. If you own a blog within a niche like travel then I’d definitely recommend you follow the same route that I took because the initial results that I’ve seen have been awesome!
Image Credit : Takeflyte
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