Farecast: How Online PR can Drive Link Building

4 Comments

Introduction: Links with Closed Content v. CGM
Link Building is process of seeking to have relevant websites link to your website with the goal to: 1) increasing “channels” for traffic to flow to your website from the websites that link to you; and 2) increase you website ranking among search engines (particularly Google).

Between Closed Content Creation and CGM
Traditional link building is broken down to 1) link request; 2) reciprocal link building; and 3) link buying. While still important, this type of link building is essentially pre-CGM, which I’ll call “Closed Content Creation” (CCC). With the advent of CGM, the amount of content and links available have driven upwards astronomically.

How has CGM changed the Internet and Search Landscape (Collected at SES-SJ2006)?

  • 44% of Internet users are “content creators” (Pew)
  • 12% of top SERPs for Business Week 100 is CGM (Converseon Research)
  • Then consider that “56% of Consumers say best source of information on products and services is other consumers” (McKinsey).

In this sort of situation, soliciting bloggers – every consumer content creators – to link to your website is neither a practical nor a scalable effort.

Enter the need of PR, WoM and Virals…

FareCast – PR Success for Link Building
FareCast, a travel site that predicts when its best to buy airfare, launched recently in public beta launch in June 26. FareCast is an example of a website that has greatly harnassed the power of online PR, climbing up tremendously in brand awareness, traffic and search engine presence

Appearing on heavy hitting blogs like TechCrunch.com and BattelleMedia.com has resulted in:

  • First two weeks of public beta launch > 40% of traffic are from Blogs
  • Traffic led by TechCrunch, BattelleMedia.com, Koktte.org, Del.icio.us, Consumerist and others
  • 200 Blogs Post on FareCast in 3 weeks
  • Has had seen their inbound links increase from ~368 to 1160 (June 06 to June 3), 1925 in July 25 and ~2600 today.
  • del.icio.us links increase from ~600 to 1141 in 10 days (June 27 to July 05). This has slowed down to ~1500 today
  • Google ranking between 18-22 for “cheap airline tickets”

(Source: Data gathered internally and from Farecast Blog)

From Blogs to the New York Times to Time Magazine
From the major influencers (TechCrunch and BattelleMedia), FareCast has built momentum to myriad of blogs and eventually to New York Times and most recently the Time Magazine’s top 50 websites. FareCast has credited the blogs for driving coverage in the New York Times.

Conclusion
With no emarketing or PPC campaign I am aware of, Farecast’s PR efforts has create a link building that is helping drive their awareness, traffic and search engine visibility. Traditionaly link building would not have resulted in 200 blog post (and one can assume links) in 3 weeks as easily as a well placed review on TechCrunch or Digg could.

However, it should also be mentioned that Farecast has a very interesting and unique service offering, something that not every travel website can say. Indeed, CGM and WoM efforts only succeed if the value proposition to the consumers is there. You can’t try to force the product or service like you can by buying-up all the TV commercial runnings you want.

Traditional link building will always be the baseline level of effort needed. But, if you are confident that your service/product is great enough that it will make you audience evangelizers (talk, link, blog about it), then pushing online PR efforts will produce great results.

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4 comments

  1. Daniel, thanks for including Farecast in your post. Find more info, including podcast on the subject, here: http://travelstartups.com/2006/08/blogification.html

    Mike
    Farecast.com

  2. Mike,

    Thanks for stopping by. Its much appreciated and thanks for the pointer to the podcast.

    You’ve got some great analysis on your blog postings. Definately will keep checking on it.

    Cheers,

    Daniel

  3. Thanks for the post and mention about Farecast, wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. Looking at their blog / stats now. Cheers.

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