Recently, a Blizzard client displayed a great example of creative thinking and content building on their tourism website. The Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association added a page describing and promoting ghost towns in their area. They even threw in an interactive map for convenience. Will that page drive thousands of visitors to their website everyday? Most definitely not. Will it increase their authority status with the search engines and does it provide a service to a small but dedicated faction of society? Absolutely.
This is a great example of using imagination and observation skills to find anything and everything in an area that may be of interest to a target market. Remember, both industry and regional relevancy has long been of major importance to search engines when evaluating the importance of a website. The bottom line is that they want your site to be useful and informative to your market. So what, in the eyes of search engines, do ghost towns have to do with the hospitality industry?
First, the towns are local – that is, they are within the lodging property’s general vicinity. Providing information about local attractions and events is a great way to let the engines know that you are an important part of your community. Second, the towns are touristy. A watch maker in Gunnison, Colorado, for example, wouldn’t see much benefit from a “ghost town page”, because the clientele probably couldn’t care less; the towns just aren’t relevant to their business. Out-of-town visitors staying at your lodging property, however, may very likely have an afternoon in which they’d like to cruise around and see the sites. Search engines recognize this. Providing potential clients with as many options as possible is a great way to solidify your standing as a valuable asset to your region.
Another benefit of finding niches like this is that you can then list with travel and tourism websites that were previously irrelevant to your property. Does your state tourism site have a section about ghost towns? Is there a local chamber of commerce with a relevant page? Would it be worth contacting larger sites like Ghosttowns.com to inquire about listing with them as a convenient and desirable hotel lodging option? It may take some time to explore, but you can see some of the doors a simple page addition can open for your travel business.
And how about the benefits you can receive from link baiting? You just built an informative page about a valuable resource in your community. Believe me, there are other businesses in your area who could benefit from having that information on their site but do not have the time or resources to build a page of their own. If your Ghost Town page is the best source of information on that particular subject, chances are that other businesses within your local tourism industry will want to link it – and that, my friends, is a very good thing.
Take an objective look at your surrounding region and try to think outside of the box. Why do people come to your neck of the woods? If a traveler stopped in a local gas station and asked for the most extensive list of things to do in your area, what suggestions would they likely receive? Are you covering all of the bases? If not, make a plan and develop a marketing strategy to begin adding some pages detailing all of the attractions and activities that make your locality a desirable travel destination. Sometimes, a whole lot of little things make a whole lot of difference.