“Newspapers are tomorrow’s fish-n-chips wrappers,” the owner of an outdoor tour company told me recently. True, not a day goes by without someone decrying the death of print media. But was he right? Or are they still valuable places to seek media exposure for adventure travel operators and destinations?
Link juice is a term in the SEO world that refers to the power or equity passed to a site via links from other websites. This power is interpreted as a vote of confidence for your site and is one of the most important factors in determining your site’s search engine ranking.
In the old days, you could hire a hacker in Mumbai or Moscow to set up a link farm, where zillions of bogus web links would direct back to your site and boost your tourism SEO. This and other ‘black hat’ tricks are now obsolete with Google’s latest algorithms. If you try going down this route, you’ll pay a hefty price. What counts now is the influence of those sites with links back to yours. Quality over quantity. And despite what you may think, newspapers are still highly influential.
The habits of readers have indeed changed. While fewer are subscribing to print, more are viewing content online and most newspapers publish and archive their stories on their websites. The Globe’s website reaches nearly six million people each month. The Telegraph hits 8.3 million and the New York Times tops 65.8 million.
Way back in 2009, I visited Whitehorse on a press trip hosted by Travel Yukon for a story on mountain biking with Boreale Biking. The article ran in the Globe & Mail in print and online in May 2010. Included was a backlink to Boreale. A quick check in early February 2016, using online marketing and SEO analytics software, MOZ Open Site Explorer, shows that original story I did is still the most influential inbound link (despite a name change and url-redirect) almost six years later. A few dozen other media have probably been up there in the meantime, yet that story is still hanging around lending link juice to Boreale. That’s some amazing fish-n-chips wrapper!
You’ve done the work, hosted the journalist, and the story has finally been published. At this point most operators either expect the phone to start ringing with bookings (possible, but not likely at this point) or file it in a drawer and forget about it. Editorial coverage is the ultimate word of mouth and must be fully maximized. The story should be shared on your social channels and posted (with permission) on the media section of your website. A good tourism PR agency should help you navigate this process, so as well as building trust with search engines, via link juice, you can gain credibility where it really counts–your target audience.