SEO Deepdive: How this Affiliate Site Ranks and Earns Big with Booking.com

In this article, we’re going to be digging into a website that’s making the most of best of content, especially in the travel and tourism niche. By the end of this article, you’re going to have a better understanding of what exactly this site is doing so effectively in order to capitalize on all of these different best of phrases.

Digging into Hotels with Pool website

Let’s go ahead and dig into this site. So the site we’re going to be looking at today is hotels-with-pool.com. This is a website that is solely focused on helping you identify the best hotels that have pools. The reason why this is a super powerful website is because what they’ve done is they’ve created tons of pages that target specific location-based queries of which hotels have the best pools.

Digging right in, I’m on their website right now, and what I can tell from the start is that they want me to search for a particular location. This is great navigation at the top because it’s really simplistic and easy for me to use. I can search for destinations or I can look at some of the most popular destinations from their list provided.

As I scroll my way further through the website, I can see all these different popular locations of where people are looking for hotels with pools like New York, San Francisco, Madrid, Paris, Lisbon, and more. And so what I can clearly tell is that this site keeps it really, really simple. And whenever you’re doing an SEO deep dive, I want you to dig into the footer of these websites because it’ll help you understand how they are structuring their website.

When I see something like this, in which there’s popular destinations, and then more destinations as two of the three columns in the footer, it means that this site is probably following a format of just having the core page, which is the homepage followed by all of the different destination pages for hotels with pools. So right at the bat, I can tell that it’s a really simple website, however, it’s super powerful.

Why their website is so powerful?

Let’s see exactly why it’s powerful. If I go ahead and open up a few of these pages, for example, the London, the Barcelona, and the Rome pages. And I go ahead and jump into these tabs, I can see that all of these pages follow a very similar format in that it is targeting the phrase best hotels with pool in London.

This was a travel guide that was written in July of 2021, and you can see how right off the bat they are trying to get me to put in some sort of query around when I’m checking in and when I’m checking out for my potential trip to London. Furthermore, what I can see is that there is navigation on the right hand side for some of the things that are going to be relevant to the city of London, such as the different neighborhoods in London.

So I can see here how there are different pages in the bottom left corner that are going to all these different neighborhoods in the case where I’m looking for a hotel with a pool in these particular neighborhoods. I can also see that they are covering things like hotels with rooftop pools, hotels with infinity pools in London and so on.

And then within this content itself, you can see how they follow a format of using some overall headers for the names of the hotels coupled by information about the hotel. And then this button that says see available rooms. Whenever you see a page like this in which there’s a laundry list of images, coupled Y links and things like that, you should be thinking the back of your head this is probably an affiliate website.

What we can go ahead and do to double check if it’s an affiliate website is click one of these links. And when I do so, you can see that I’m being taken to booking.com. And from here, I essentially am redirected to the listing of that particular hotel with the pool.

So what does that tell you? Well, it tells you that every single one of these pages on this website hotel-with-pool.com is an affiliate link. And that is really powerful because in the case where they are ranking for hotels with pool XYZ location, it means that they are getting organic traffic for these phrases.

And this is the formula that they use over and over again. You can see they’re covering every single major pool. And then what you’ll see is that there are all these different cities. As I close out that tab and go to this next one, I can see that they’re using the same exact formula here. We have the best hotels with pool in Barcelona, and essentially we are going through a very similar format in which it’s a laundry list of all this different content and it’s covering different places that have pools.

You’ll see that they have drawing in some reviews of past people that have potentially visited these pools. And essentially they are just going after these long tail phrases and they repeat this formula over and over again. This website is really really simple yet it’s really really powerful. In fact, what we can do is we can go ahead and open up an incognito window and search for this particular phrase.

So let’s go ahead and take a look here. I’m going to go ahead and scroll through and look for hotels with pool. And what you can see is that they are actually the top five ranking for best hotels with pool in Rome. And if you just imagine with me for a second, you’re searching through thousands of different locations and you’re looking for a hotel with a pool. You’ve got a site that ranks really well here, and it’s leading back to booking.com.

This is really really powerful because what that means is that regardless of what booking.com is, affiliate commissions are, they are likely getting a decent cut from that. But to really understand whether or not this site is being really effective, we need to dig into each Ahref’s profile.

Digging into Hotels with Pool’s Ahrefs Profile

So let’s go ahead and take a look at how they’re doing on Ahrefs. We now know all about the structure of hotels-with-pool.com. But now we want to know whether or not their strategies even working to do this. We need to dig into Ahrefs.

Digging right in though, I’ve gone ahead and typed in hotels-with-pool.com into Ahrefs and I can learn a lot about this website from here. The first thing that I noticed is that they are ranking for 64,000 organic keywords, and they’re getting a traffic value of around 28 grant. Furthermore, what I can see is that their referring domains have actually been going up over the time period of the last two years.

What you can also see as that, when I dig into the organic search section, they have gradually been growing in organic search reaching an all time peak as of right now. Since starting this website around mid to late 2019, they have just written this curve all the way up, which tells me at the very fundamental level that hotels with pool’s strategy is indeed working.

Another thing we can do is we can dig into their top pages. When we dig into their top pages, we’ll be able to see exactly which pages are giving them the most traffic. As I scroll through here, I can see that are tons of pages all around different locations. We have Manchester, Dublin, Chicago, Edenberg, Calgary, New Jersey and so on. So right off the bat, I know that they’re doing well with this page strategy.

The other thing I can see is that there’s a ton of traffic being estimated for these pages. Some of them is high as 1500 from a single page from the Manchester with pool site. And you can see that these phrases, that they’re ranking for things like Manchester hotel with pool, hotels in Dublin with pool.

How they built their website

And again, we already went over these pages, but they’re essentially using a long form content strategy in which they’re targeting these long tail phrases for their particular site. And then when we start getting into their organic keyword section, we can also validate what we just saw in the organic pages section.

When we dig into this, we can see that there are a ton of phrases that are long tail, that they’re ranking for that have thousands of monthly searches. There’s thousands here, there’s hundreds here, and they are all ranking in the top five spots for a ton of these. This is really powerful because you’ll notice that all of these keyword difficulties are very low.

In fact, they’re all coming in green pretty much. And so right off the bat, I know that this is working for hotels with pool. And another cool thing that I noticed when I was digging into their website is that if we go back into the overview tab and then we go to the organic search section, you’ll notice that in a top competitor section, there’s going to be a very similar site that appears that’s called hotelswithprivatepool.com.

So I went ahead out of curiosity to see exactly what this site was about. And lo and behold, you’ll notice that it looks incredibly similar to the site that we’re evaluating right now. In fact, it’s the same core theme, re-used all over again, but presumably for the specific query of hotels with private pools all over the world. And we start scrolling down on this site, you can see that it’s made by the same people Anna Holt in this case.

So what you’ll notice is, again, this is the original site. In this case, it’s Anna Holt as well and Isa Weber. But what you’ll see is that it’s pretty much using the same formula all over again. And I went ahead and took a look at what this site is doing in Ahrefs. And you can see that even with this hotels with private pool site, they’re actually ranking for around 17,000 organic keywords, along with over $6,000 in traffic value. So this just goes to show you that this strategy is absolutely working for them.

How much they are making from this approach?

But the next question I wanted to ask was how much might they be making from this particular approach and answer that I didn’t have a clear answer, but I was able to find from another website, an estimate of booking.com affiliate commission rates and how it’s structured.

And what you’ll see from this table is that at the very beginning, booking.com gives a 25% commission rate. So what they do is they give you a percentage cut of their overall commission for referring people to these different accommodations. So the example, this particular blog site is that if somebody were to book an accommodation worth a hundred dollars and booking.com were to make 15% of that cut, so $15, they would give you 25% of that $15, which is $3 and 75 cents.

Now that might not seem like a lot, but I want you to remember that there are thousands of people searching for these phrases and that the accommodations are likely going to be a lot higher than just a hundred dollars. In fact, it shouldn’t be alarming to think that you might be spending a thousand dollars on your accommodations.

So in that case, even just using this example here, that might mean that somebody is going to make 37.50 for one respective booking. And that’s really powerful because if you just imagine with me for a second on both of these respective domains, that there are hundreds, if not thousands of people visiting these websites, that means that there is a ton of monetization possibility for the owner of this website.

The other thing that’s really cool is that I went ahead and just try to search for some of these phrases to see whether or not I could come across one of their sites in the wild. So to do that, just to show it to you guys, I’m going to open up a private tab. And what I can do is I can search for hotels with private pool. And you will notice that it’s not the number one result because Google was taking that for themselves and they want to earn their own commission, but it is the number one and number two spots in which they have the top 20 hotels of private pool in Barcelona. And they also have the top 18 pools with pool in Barcelona.

So that just goes to show you that this is absolutely working for them. And it makes a ton of sense as to why they have taken this strategy and replicated it over and over again. Now that we know that this is working, let’s dig into four lessons that you can learn from this example.

What can you learn from this?

From studying this website, I think there are a few key lessons that you yourself can take away. The first one is that you don’t need to have a complicated website in order to draw some meaningful traffic from Google. In this case, these guys just have a homepage followed by a massive dump of different pages of different location pages that is replicated over and over again. They don’t even really go too deep into self-bouldering or things like that in terms of creating different hubs and spokes.

The second thing that you can take away from this is that going after long tail phrases can be really really powerful when you start stacking long tails on long tails. In this case, when we dug into Ahrefs, we saw that all of the keyword difficulties they were targeting were pretty much below 10. And so this made it so that these pages were really easy to rank for right out of the gate.

The third thing to take away though is that you’ll notice that these sites weren’t started just yesterday. In fact, these sites were starting more than two years ago, and since that time period, they’ve had to consistently create new and refreshed content in order to rank for these particular phrases. So you shouldn’t expect wins from an organic side in just a day or a few weeks of releasing content.

And then the fourth takeaway I want you to remember is that there are a ton of ways that you can monetize your website. In this case, they are monetizing through an affiliate program with booking.com. However, there are tons of other extensions of this that they could start to do. For example, they could start to capture emails and then sell info products in terms of how to identify the best pools in different places with hotels or something like that. Or they could come up with different travel guides that they could sell based off of their expertise.

Whatever it may be, once you have traffic, it is meaningful because then you can convert that traffic into sales. Hotels with pool is one of just many websites that’s implementing this same exact strategy. So in the case where you haven’t already started tackling your long tail phrases, you might benefit from just searching for best of in your respective niche and going right after that.

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