By Ally Biring of FeelUnique.com.
Posting gorgeous, brilliant content is unquestionably the best way to increase traffic. The second best way is link building. And while there unfortunately isn’t a clear formula for accomplishing the former, there are many tried-and-true methods for waging an effective link building campaign. Here’s how:
What is Link Building and Why is it So Important?
Simply put, link building is about two things: networking and visibility. Needless to say, both are essential for serious bloggers. If you want to attract visitors to your site, they need to be able to find it. The more links pointing back to it, the more likely users are to stumble across your blog. Think of links as doors opening onto your content. The more doors you create, the more people will enter your site.
If well placed, links also connect you to other bloggers and experts in the industry. They help you establish a niche in the fashion community, which connects you indirectly to the traffic other sites have already built (ie. users interested in fashion). They don’t call it the web for nothing. No blog is an island, and networking is incredibly important.
But perhaps most importantly, link building is a powerful SEO tool. Links are a very important factor in the Google ranking algorithm, and so the more quality incoming and outgoing links you have, the more likely Google will rank you highly in its search results.
Quality Over Quantity: Where is What Matters
A single incoming link from a high-traffic, trusted site is worth any number of links from disreputable or spammy pages. Not only do you risk being penalized by Google for linking to untrusted or irrelevant websites, you will also be devaluing you blog in the eyes of users.
Guest Posting: A Link Builder’s Best Friend
The hardest part of establishing good incoming links is finding sites willing to host them. That’s where guest posting comes in. It is by far the best way to network with other trusted fashion sites, gain exposure, and establish quality links. The first step in hunting down guest posting opportunities is knowing not where, but how to look. For that, you’ll need to use Google Advanced Operators (a tool every serious blogger needs to be familiar with).
[Disclaimer: At first glance, this is going to seem confusing. It isn’t. Google Advanced Operators are just phrases you type into the search bar to narrow down your results.]
Finding Other Fashion Bloggers
Good bloggers do their homework. This means getting inspiration, advice, and information from other people who are successful at doing what you do. To hunt down blogs like your own, try typing something like this into the Google search bar:
site:.com inurl:“blog” “comment” –“you must be logged in” fashion
I told you it would seem confusing. But here is what you are looking at: site: inurl: and – are three different Google Advanced Operators.
- site:.com tells Google to only return pages ending in .com. (You can also use site:.org or site:.net).
- inurl:“blog” means Google will only return URLs containing the word “blog”.
- Putting comment in quotation marks tells Google you only want blogs that accept comments. (You might also try ‘post a comment’ or ‘leave a reply’)
- The negative sign (–) filters out sites containing the phrase “you must be logged in”
- Fashion is your keyword
If you’re still a bit mystified, spend a few minutes playing around with these terms in Google. You’ll quickly see what is going on. To make things even easier, just have a read of one of the many great guides available on utilizing Google's advanced operators.
Finding Receptive Fashion Bloggers
As we all know, blogging is quite personal––a bit like a diary sometimes. And while bloggers obviously want people to read, they aren’t always willing to let someone else write on their blog. So when looking for guest posting opportunities, narrow the field. Only contact bloggers who have previously accepted guest posters.
Again, Google Advanced Operators come in quite handy. Try searches like these:
inurl:category/guest (To find sites who separate guest posts into a unique category)
inpostauthor:guest (A URL-independent search for sites that designate post authors as ‘guest’)
So, uh, can I post on your blog?
Now that you’ve found some blogs you want to connect with, the only thing left to do is contact them. No need for anything fancy, just shoot over an email or––better yet––contact them via social media (yes, this may involve Facebook stalking). Just remember to:
- Always ask about reciprocation. (This process works both ways, you can also solicit guest posters. But either way, ask if they want to guest post to your site or if you can post to theirs).
- Screen any guest posts for duplicate content, topical relevance, and similar writing style. Never allow a guest post to devalue your site.
- Never put more than 1 or 2 links in author bios. Google will penalize you.
- Add them to your blogroll (You need to have a blogroll).
Remember, outgoing links are as important as incoming ones. Get your name out as much as possible, but also put time into building quality outgoing links to increase the value, relevance, and Google rank of your site.
When you offer value, you get value. Consider unique strategies like creating an infographic that compiles relevant tips and advice from all of your favorite fashion bloggers, and links back to their content. Just be sure to contact them well in advance to get permission and make them aware. This is a great way to get other industry experts talking about you on social media sites, and can lead to huge traffic boosts.
Ultimately, link building is about community. You need to reach out to the right people if you want to tap into the user resources they have built. Web traffic is not a zero-sum game. What is good for one fashion blogger is good for others. Your blog becomes more valuable to visitors when it gives access to more content (believe it or not: even if it isn’t your own!).
Link Building 101 a Guide for Fashion Bloggers was researched and written by FeelUnique.com.