Ten tips for ethical link building on travel websitesNewsBy Viewpoints | April 15, 2011Share This article was originally published on NB: This is a guest article by Eshe Brown, a travel consultant at Propellernet.If you're in the business of selling holidays online it's worth swotting up on the Google Panda Update.Put simply: Google's latest development could impact massively your website's rankings.The update is a development in Google's algorithm, designed to help people find more high-quality websites from search. Initially tested in the US, at the beginning of this week it was rolled out globally to all English-language Google users.Search behaviours have changed, just like Google's algorithm, so if your search strategy is still about trying to out-smart Google's algorithm, working the loopholes and simulating relevance, then it's time to re-think your approach.Google values three main things: Structure, content and authority and it's always trying to improve the results it returns based on these three pillars.This means your content creation and link building should be inspired by your customers and you should be aiming to cultivate genuine authority for your brand.So we have ten tips for travel brands trying to build their website's authority, which are ethical and will ensure you aren't negatively impacted by Panda and future updates.1. Create something amazing!Interesting, insightful or entertaining content will always win and naturally attract links from other websites.So consider creating useful tools, video or resources, which you can talk about to attract visitors and links.2. Encourage sharing."Likes" and "Re-tweets" are now widely accepted as clear signals of a web-page's reputation which helps Google decide how important you are.So if everyone's talking about the amazing guide to Cyprus on your Cyprus page, Google is likely to recognise this and reward the page with higher rankings.Once you've created something amazing why wouldn't you make it easy for people to share with their friends and colleagues?Adding social sharing buttons like 'Tweet this" and "Like this" to your website is simple and helps create a buzz online about your brand.Also keep an eye out for the imminent launch of Google's own +1 button which you can add to your web pages to help encourage sharing of your amazing content.3. Get to know the relevant media and engage in conversations.Comment on blogs and in forums and add to the discussion, using links in signatures or on profiles.Although not all will benefit SEO they still help to create a natural link profile and build a solid reputation, which will open up other link building opportunities and attract visitors to your website.4. Apply to directory sites that are relevant to your industry and product.Online directories are just like phone books. As long as you choose genuinely relevant directories, it's absolutely an ethical way to build your website's reputation.5. Look for ways to work with sites to add value.Rather than pushing your brand or products onto websites, take the time to build a relationship.By finding out what websites need or want you're more likely to come away with a result you both benefit from, as well as opening up more opportunities to work together in the future.Websites are often screaming out for good quality, insightful or interesting content, so contact a few blogs in your area of expertise and offer to write a guest post in exchange for a credit (and a link).6. Amplify your existing PR activity.It doesn't always have to be about creating something new. Take a look at the materials your marketing and PR teams have created; they may already have created great assets, which with good media knowledge could be leveraged as link magnets.7. Don't use link brokers.Links have become a saleable entity on the web and buying them has become part of the online economy.However, they’re against Google’s terms and conditions, so the 'benefit' can be removed at any time. Plus they’re only rented so they can also be removed at any time!8. Don't pay for editorial coverage.Paid for editorial coverage is called an advertorial - which put plainly is advertising. If you create something amazing, editorial sites will be falling over themselves to write about it (and link to it) - so why pay for something you could get for free?If you want to build genuine brand authority get into your customers mindset, research the media networks they interact with and create something that appeals to these networks and their readers.9. Don't setup unrelated reciprocal links.Reciprocal links can be beneficial when they're individually managed through relevant websites.However, there's no benefit from exchanging links with websites that have nothing to do with your industry or product - so don't waste your time!10. Don't copy content.Google doesn't like identical content duplicated all over the web and neither do online publishers.You can spot regurgitated, re-written content, built-just-for-search engines a mile off, so if you're contacting websites with something to offer, make sure it's original and tailored to the website's audience.NB: This is a guest article by Eshe Brown, a travel consultant at Propellernet.