As a specialist in airline marketing and tourism, I am always interested in SEO strategies being used in the sector. When last summer I found a interesting piece of content from Goeuro, a price comparator in transport, I said to myself “what a great example of linkbaiting: utilizing a comparative analysis of travel costs for each European country”.
I put that content aside, telling myself that I was going to use it later to write an article about linkbaiting, or quality content that naturally leads to links, a backlink strategy. When I finally started, and much to my surprise, I realized that that analysis could not be found on the net anymore. How was such content just trashed?
The Disappearance of the GoEuro comparative analysis of travel costs in Europe
I decided to further the SEO analysis to better understand what had happened. A Google search produced a few articles that provided some info : “challenges”, “économie matin”, “direct matin” …
All these articles do have links to the GoEuro study, but oddly, when one clicks on a link it now goes to a page optimized for the keyword “cheap travel”!
Looking at archive.org, I find the famous study in question. However, the study is no longer indexed by Google :
So how was this trick made possible ?
With a 301 redirect of course! That study was created from scratch in order to receive links from prestigious websites. Challenges and the journalist Kira Mitrofanoff are good examples, as the journalist Kira Mitrofanoff has been specialized in travel and transportation for years.
On top of this, that study was purposely published as an image, in order to avoid easy copy and paste and to force journalists to make an actual link to the study.
Once the links were in place, Goeuro simply closed the page and put in place a 301 redirect to the page of their choice. In this case, a page optimized on “cheap travel”, a popular keyword with 135,000 monthly queries.
For the time being this tactic alone is not enough to make them rank high on the keyword “cheap travel”, as they currently rank on the 5th page of Google. This keyword is highly competitive though, with the major long term players of the travel market in France positioned on the front page.
Although France is just another market for Goeuro, there is a good chance this strategy has paid off in other markets. And GoEuro continues with its strategy of fake linkbaiting, this time with a study on the price of beer …
Do you have another example of a backlink strategy that uses 301’s? Let us know!