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Own Your SEO Strategy: 20 Tips for Style Bloggers

April 11, 2018
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Veteran fashion bloggers might remember a time when the only option to stand out from the crowd was to build an actual blog -- post by post, reader by reader. Every blogger had to be a master of SEO strategy, from keyword research to inbound link building, and the hard work required made blogging a fairly level playing field. 


Instagram changed everything by lowering the barrier of entry, making it possible to build a huge following seemingly overnight. Fashion enthusiasts could find and follow many style leaders with a single app, rather than across several websites, and influencers could easily demonstrate how many followers they had. These two factors gave aspiring bloggers a way to fast-track their relevance, and for many, skip the chore of launching a blog altogether. 


Unfortunately, the moment is passing for influencers who “built their house” on Instagram alone. Today, Instagram’s algorithm has made it far more difficult for new influencers to build an audience, while a general wariness of fake followers has made it more difficult to convince brands (and new potential followers) that your own audience is indeed authentic. 


At Shopping Links, we work to validate your audience for brands by allowing you to connect your Google Analytics, and now your Instagram Insights, to your Shopping Links profile. These elements are becoming more and more important to promoting your blog, especially as managers look for a hedge against low returns from influencers whose audiences might be less-than-authentic. What we’re finding is that content marketers for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands are increasingly interested in an omnichannel approach that includes blog content.  


This interest comes at a time when brands are building in-house influencer marketing departments (great news for influencers hoping to form long-term brand relationships), and are looking to get more overall value from their collaborations. One way to accomplish this is by actively seeking bloggers with high domain authorities and a more well-rounded social presence who can help them with their content strategy. Brands want bloggers who can help them “search engine optimize” their own rankings.


Even when rightfully utilizing nofollow links for collaborations, bloggers have the power to give brands a significant SEO boost to the product pages of their ecommerce sites through high-quality inbound links. Google counts nofollow links toward the ranke of a page every time a reader physically clicks on it. This means that influencers with strong, consistent blog traffic are gaining an edge on their social-only counterparts. 


Brands are also starting to consider bloggers who have invested in their own domains as a safer long-term bet in the face of ever-changing social algorithms. As long as you maintain your blog, you will always have an audience. It’s like buying your house rather than renting. There’s also no way to “fake” your way into organic search rankings without a real, dedicated audience. But just like building a house brick by brick, you have to build your audience reader by reader. This means understanding SEO strategy. Here’s how to do it:  


SEO Strategy 101 

If it feels like you’re constantly learning SEO basics, it’s because SEO is an ever-moving target. 


What worked five years ago doesn’t work today, and what worked 10 years ago will actually hurt your ranking. (If you’re old enough, you might remember “keyword stuffing.”) With each new tweak to Google’s algorithm, best practices change, and the tips and tricks that help you optimise each article can become obsolete. Never fear, however -- these algorithm changes are designed to reward helpful content, so unless your only SEO strategy is designed solely to beat Google’s algorithm, you’ll never be penalized. 


In fact, the one thing that remains consistent with Google’s algorithm is a commitment to visually appealing and relevant content. So even though you might find yourself learning and re-learning factors such as optimal word count, keyword frequency and post timing, you can take comfort in the fact that high-quality content will always win above other ‘tricks.’ 


It’s also important to remember that Google takes into consideration more than 200 factors when it ranks search results, which encompass everything from how you use headlines to your meta descriptions, which we’ll get into in a moment. Google have never disclosed a full list of these factors, but the company recently confirmed that just two factors matter most: high-quality content and inbound links. Inbound links signal to Google and other readers that your content is worth endorsing.  


Implementing Your SEO Strategy

When it comes to improving your SEO strategy, you can group your efforts into two categories: on-page and off-page. “On-page” efforts refer to factors you can change directly on your blog. These could include how much content you write, the length of each post, how many internal links you include, and how you label your images. “Off-page” refers to efforts made outside your blog. For example, contributing to a relevant blog with a link back to your own, or submitting your blog to a directory like Bloggeries. Your social channels also count as inbound links. Both on-page and off-page efforts are important, but they require different strategies. Here are 20 tips & techniques to tackle them: 



Did you know: We love your submissions! 

Contact us at press@shoppinglinks.com to send us your article ideas and contributions. 



On-page


  1. Start with a sitemap. Organizing your website may be a challenge if you’re a creative, chaotic soul, but to really own your SEO strategy, you’ll need to start with structure. Don’t worry, it should take less than a minute! In fact, you can do it in less than 20 seconds.

 

  1. Design for user-experience. Although Google has never disclosed exactly what factors go into its algorithm, recent speculation suggests that user experience, or UX, has become increasingly important. This means being mindful of the actions you want readers to take on your site, whether it’s finding your shopping section or signing up for your newsletter, and making this information easy to find.  

 

  1. Take a mobile-first mindset. Is your blog easy to read on your phone? How about your friend’s iPhone 6? Making sure your site loads quickly and reads easily across different mobile platforms will help boost your ranking. 


  1. Know your keywords. Perhaps counter-intuitively, your SEO strategy isn’t about optimizing your blog, but rather individual blog posts, each of which you’ll want to cater toward a specific keyword or phrase. For the greatest results, think beyond generic phrases like “fashion blog,” and more toward long-tail keywords that are specific to your blog. The more detailed your keywords, the greater your chance of really owning your niche and coming up first in results that are most relevant to you. For example, you might want to own “spring work outfits” or “creative DIY projects.” We recommend some great free keyword generators in this throwback post. 


  1. Add an SEO tab to your content calendar. As we have written before, consistency is key to gaining traction with your blog, but when you’re focusing on your SEO strategy, quality will matter more than quantity. We recommend adding a tab to your content calendar to organize ideas and keywords, note important events like Coachella or Fashion Week, and track how you’re ranking.   


  1. Incorporate video. One of the biggest factors Google considers when determining the quality of your content is something called “dwell time,” or how long readers stay on the page. Video is proven to keep readers on your blog longer than text alone, and by hosting your videos on YouTube, you get a double benefit. Remember, YouTube is a search engine, too. If you’ve been camera shy in the past, now is the time to get smart about video! 


  1. Label those images. This is one step even SEO-savvy bloggers forget, but the details make a difference. When you add an image, fill out every field, including the alt-title and description. This is especially important as a style blogger since your readers are likely to search by image.  


  1. Don’t cannibalize your own content. As we mentioned above, your SEO strategy should focus on optimizing each page, since this is how Google approaches search rankings. You therefore want to “own” each of your target keywords with a single piece of content. So rather than writing a series of posts about Coachella fashion, each of which will compete against the others, you want one strong post that you update each year with new tips.  

 

  1. Be mindful of page speed. Speed is a huge SEO factor, so if you find that your site takes a long time to load, you may want to invest in some technical advice to streamline your design. Imagery is a common speed-killer for fashion bloggers with an easy fix. You’ll want to make sure all images use a resolution of 72 dpi and are no larger than 3MB. Here are some tips for choosing the right photo size.  


  1. Install an SEO plugin. If your blog’s content management system allows for it, an SEO plugin is a great way to give yourself a page-by-page checklist. If you use Wordpress, we recommend the Yoast SEO plugin or All In One SEO Pack. 


  1. Optimize your site for voice search. With more and more people using tools like Siri to search by voice, incorporating keywords that account for natural speech patterns can help improve your SEO. Here are a few practical tips.  


  1. A note on word length. The debate over optimal word count is a lengthy one, and it’s frustratingly inconclusive. Expert recommendations have varied wildly over the years, ranging from a mere 300 words to the now-recommended ballpark of 2,500. 


But here’s the catch: the real factor at play here is how much time readers spend with your content. Compelling imagery, video and interactive components can keep viewers on your page longer than words can. When you write a 2,500-word article, for example, you’re really writing to keep a reader on your page for 10-15 minutes. (This tool can help you predict how much time it takes to read your post.) 


If you can achieve this same amount of time with a photo gallery, video or interactive component, which might fit more naturally to your style as a fashion blogger, you will gain the same SEO benefit. We recommend experimenting with both types of content to see how well one format performs against another. 

 


Off-page


  1. Make a list of submission opportunities. One of the best strategies for building your inbound links as you’re just starting out is to submit content to relevant sites that will allow to to link back to your own blog. Shopping Links is a great opportunity for this because of our strong domain authority, and we love receiving submissions! Send your article ideas to press@shoppinglinks.com. 


Here are a few other publications that accept submissions from fashion bloggers: 


Fashion Industry Network 

Ellements Magazine

Flawless Magazine

Cole Mag

Solstice Magazine

Pump Magazine

JustLuxe


Collaborating with other bloggers is another great opportunity to build your inbound links, while building your community. After all, the only thing more satisfying than building your own site traffic is helping a fellow blogger build her own!

 

  1. Get listed. In addition to submitting articles, you can also submit your blog to directory services that help style enthusiasts find sites like yours. Here are a few to try: 


Blogs by Women

Bloggeries

Cliche Mag

 

  1. Share your posts everywhereDon’t be shy about getting your posts out there. Share with friends, family and everyone you met at your last networking event. Share on your social networks and in your email signature. This is where you can put that stale Twitter account or Facebook page to use. Developing a habit of sharing after every post can help you expand your readership and land some valuable inbound links in the process. 

 

  1. Channel your inner journalist. Incorporating interviews, quotes and input from others is another great way to increase your inbound links since the people you feature are likely to share the content with their own networks. Roundups and lists are great ways to try this tactic. For example, you might write a post of your top 10 favorite beauty blogs with a quote from each author. Show us a blogger who wouldn’t want to share that! 


  1. Be your own publicist. Another way to attract high-quality inbound links is with a traditional PR strategy. It can be intimidating to advocate for yourself, but a little persistence can go a long way. We recommend building a list of editors at magazines and digital publications that feature content similar to your own and positioning yourself as an expert. Did you just attend Fashion Week? Send photos with your analysis. Are you seeing a new beauty trend you haven’t seen featured yet? Suggest the story idea with your thoughts as a quote. As an influencer, you have proven that readers value your opinion. Taking advantage of that can help you earn wider recognition for your blog, while improving your SEO. Just be mindful that this strategy can take time and patience with no guarantees! 

  

  1. Be mindful of your inbound link quality: It’s important to keep in mind that not all links are created equal. Links from irrelevant sites or directories can actually hurt your SEO efforts, so it’s important to only pursue high-quality opportunities. The best sites will be authoritative, trustworthy and relevant to your industry.  


  1. Be mindful of your own content quality. If inbound traffic lands on a poorly designed page, you won’t receive the full SEO benefit. Make sure your pages load quickly, are well organized, and are designed to help or inspire your readers. When it comes to your SEO strategy, every page counts.  

 

  1. Run competitive audits. Since SEO is ultimately a competition, we recommend running a competitive audit a few times a year to see how your content is stacking up for different keyword searches. This great article explains how to do it and offers some helpful tools to use. 


Understanding SEO can help you stand apart from other fashion bloggers by showing brands that you have a strong audience beyond your social media followers. Brands are also actively interested in improving their own SEO, and having a strong domain authority can give you the edge when competing against other bloggers for a collaboration. We hope this guide helps as you plan your SEO strategy and look forward to receiving your article submissions!  

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