Getting ahead of your competition in the current online marketing landscape is not an easy task, especially for those coming from the fashion, beauty and lifestyle niches - a portion of the Internet that has become quite competitive over the last decade or so. The good news is that there are numerous effective ways to invest in your marketing campaign and significantly boost your online presence.
One of those ways is Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
SEO involves two different approaches: on-site and off-site optimization. While on-site SEO is the groundwork for your entire campaign, it is the off-site SEO that can really make a difference in the long run. Perhaps the main part of this approach to boosting online visibility is the process of link building, and those who are not implementing this SEO method in their online marketing strategy are most likely missing out on major business opportunities.
In this post, we will be giving you both basic and advanced link building guidelines for the fashion, beauty and lifestyle websites.
The starting point of any SEO related strategy is thorough research. Link building is no exception. Prior to any actual outreach efforts, some heavy sleuthing needs to take place.
Three types of research lie ahead:
The good news is that a fair portion of relevant data you uncover will overlap, but the seemingly bad news is that this research process is not a once-off effort. Instead, it is an ongoing process that should be performed incrementally for as long as your link building campaign is active.
Since you’ll have frequent updates on the relevant data regarding your client, their competitors and audience, we suggest you have a template spreadsheets that will feature allocated columns for various handy information bits that would help you properly develop your off-site SEO strategy.
This type of research includes:
Thorough analysis of your client’s direct competitors will give you a valuable insight into which link building goals you are likely to achieve, but just as importantly, which ones are not worth chasing after. Not only will this research provide you with numerous prospects right away, it will help you find data critical to forming the rest of your off-site strategy.
Main aspects of quality competitor analysis include:
Backlinks Have one column in your table filled with websites linking to your client’s competitors and, while you’re in this phase, make notes on the best way to contact each of them. Example: Let’s say the page you are writing down is a lifestyle blog. It is recommended that you save the contact email address of that particular blogger, but also make sure you save their “write for us” page (should they have one, that is).
If you notice any broken links on their pages, write them down in your spreadsheet as well. We’ll explain why this may be crucial later in this post.
Keywords and Anchors Closely examining competitors’ keywords and both incoming link anchors and internal link anchors, can be paramount to coming up with your own strategy. Take note of how most successful links are anchored, but be sure to process less successful ones too. As far as keywords are concerned, pay close attention to those you want to rank for, as well as the ones that may come in handy later on.
When it comes to fashion, beauty and lifestyle niches, incorporating names of prominent influencers/niche-oriented brands/industry events as keywords can really make a difference.
Content Much like you would analyze the quality of your client’s content, you should thoroughly examine the content their direct competitors are posting. Take note of blog posts that have generated most engagements in terms of shares, likes, comments, organic traffic, average time on page, organic backlinks, etc...
Think about what makes this content successful:
Defining the general ideal target audience persona for the fashion, beauty and lifestyle markets is not too difficult, but learning specifics about them and leveraging that data to your advantage can make or break your SEO strategy.
Some useful questions include:
Use Google Analytics to record the behavior of the client's target audience; Search forums and social media for useful comments; Read related blogs; Check out the most popular YouTupe channels; etc.
If you have been paying attention while going through the backlinks of your competitors, you have noticed a number of patterns. Apart from perhaps identifying tactics that you might want to try yourself, chances are you have also noticed recurring footprints in the URL, titles or content of pages you were coming across.
Now it’s time to put that research to good use and decide which of the link building approaches are most suitable for your client. To get you started, here are some of the most effective tactics in these industries.
Writing guest posts for established private or commercially-owned blogs is a popular link building tactic, not just in this industry, but pretty much across all of them. This makes it a perfect example to illustrate how you should compose your queries in Dibz in order to find these, or any other type of prospects. Naturally, these queries will work in Google as well, and there are other ways to find these blogs, like checking the comments of the ones you did find or seeing where else those guest posting on one site also contributed an article.
So, what do you need to do to find all the fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogs that you might need? There are three basic approaches:
Looking for blogs with ‘write for us’ pages: These sites are low-hanging fruit, which means everyone gets to them sooner or later. That’s not to say that you can get a link from just any of them, as there are quite a few respectable publications out there with some kind of ‘submission guidelines’ or ‘write for us’ pages. However, if you put in the required effort, at least you know that sites found this way will be willing to read through your pitch and judge it on its merits. The parameters you need to use for this search are mostly different variations of the same idea.
You don’t have to use only one parameter (or a keyword) in a query, but can include several different variants of it by tying them together with OR advanced operator. intitle:“submit an article” OR intitle:“contribute to our site” OR intitle:“guest post guidelines”.
Naturally, you need to make sure that the keywords you will use are the ones that blogs you are looking for often use on their ‘write for us’ pages. This usually includes broader categories related to fashion, beauty and lifestyle; anything you’d find in the title of a post suitable for the blog; phrases describing the audience likely to read the blog, etc. You can, and probably should, start going through ‘write for us’ pages of sites that you already know about, and creating a list of the most common phrases found there, but to get you started, here are some of them.
The fewer possible meanings and different interpretations a word or a phrase has, the better it’s suited for this kind of research. For instance, the word ‘exfoliators’ can mean only one thing and would do a fine job of defining the niche you are interested in on its own.
Looking for blogs that already have published guest posts Blogs that are open to publishing guest posts don’t necessarily have to have a ‘write for us’ page, they just need to be, well, publishing guest posts. Since you are looking for pages with the posts themselves, aside from the keywords we already listed, you can also use the names of popular brands or prolific guest authors, popular procedures unique to the niche, etc. Now you just need to explain which pages you are looking for. Here are several ways to do so.
Looking for fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogs in general: The previous two methods may lead to blogs which are likely to accept your contribution proposal, but they leave a lot of room for otherwise amazing blogs to slip by. In other words, with this method, your response rates may be lower, but you’ll leave no stone unturned. Any of the keywords we mentioned so far should do just fine in this search, and since the only task that the parameter has is to explain that it’s a blog that you are looking for, you have all the freedom to experiment with different combinations.
You may have noticed that the last parameter is enough on its own to bring you a ton of relevant results. In cases like this, you can use the Keywords box in Dibz to provide even more detail about the kind of blog you are looking for.
Fashion, beauty and lifestyle are niches where it’s more who you know than what you know. Influencers play a huge role in getting the word about you out, presenting you to a narrowly defined audience in the most appropriate light; and of course, leading you to other influencers or linking prospects in general. If you are interested in promoting a fashion, beauty or lifestyle site with the help of relevant influencers, we have a detailed Influencer Marketing Guide, but just to get you started, here’s where to look for them.
Their blog - Even if you never prospected specifically for blogs, you had to have come across quite a few of them during the competitor analysis. Just form one relevant blog you can get:
You could repeat this process indefinitely, but you can also use the tips we provided in the Guest posting section of this post, and simply get Dibz to find these influencers and their blogs.
Social networks - you could also start with a single influencer and then branch out your search from them, but there are more efficient ways to scan the social networks for people of adequate profile. From joining relevant groups on Facebook to searching Twitter for relevant hashtags; the greater challenge in this kind of prospecting is to keep everything tidy than to actually find prospects. For instance, Google gives you a great way to search social network websites for any kind of influencer you might need. For instance, the search below will lead you to profiles with anything between 1 and 1000 posts and anything between 1000 and 5000 followers. Simply add the keywords you need to define the subject matter likely to be found on these profile pages, and you’re all set.
"1..1000 posts 1000..5000 followers" site:instagram.com
You can do the same with YouTube, Pinterest or other sites likely to be interesting to fashion, beauty and lifestyle influencers, you just have to identify the footprints that these sites use, and find a way to express them through adequate queries.
If your client is at least a somewhat established brand name in the industry, or if they are associated with a popular and often quoted influencer, you can get an impressive amount of links just by checking for unlinked mentions of the brand or influencer. The reason this method is so effective is that you don’t need a lot of time to find the sites mentioning you, don’t need to prepare any resources or even compose a particularly well-drafted email, since people mentioning you often feel almost obliged to add the proper attribution when asked. There are a number of ways to find these sites, from Googling all the mentions of your brand and either comparing that list with your entire backlink portfolio, or running it through Screaming Forg’s SEO Spider with an adequate filter (containing your bare domain - example.com) to check which of them are linking to you; to simply using Ahrefs Content Explorer. Once you have a list of websites that are discussing your client but not linking to them, all you need to do is evaluate which of them are relevant and decent enough for you to actually want a link there, and move on straight to outreach.
While this tactic has often been abused to the point where it crosses over into black-hat, if you do it right, it won’t only bring you links and brand recognition, but might actually do wonders for your credibility. While there are bloggers who will write praises about each and every product they have been sent for review, you don’t really need that kind of promotion. Naturally, you also want to stay away from the ones who have never said anything nice about anything, and instead look for those who seem to be the most objective and honest. While they might say less than ideal things about your product, they have the trust of their audience, and their sites are likely to have much more to offer to you, both in terms of metrics and in terms of targeted exposure. You have probably seen quite a few of these websites when exploring your niche competitors. Like you would for other tactics, examine those sites for convenient footprints and start looking for your own review or giveaway websites.
hair straightener intitle:product AND intitle:review
Some of the results you’ll get with these searches won’t be sites accepting giveaways, but those offering them. Simply get the backlinks of pages they are promoting (or the entire domain), and you should end up with a nice list of prospects
The part that everything so far has been building up to. You’ve done your research, made lists upon lists of prospects, and now it’s time to actually turn all of that information into links. However, this is also where the problems start. Up until now, everything was strictly under your control, but at this point, you have to give the reins to someone else, i.e the person you are contacting. Since it’s very depressing to see how the effort you’ve invested so far can go to waste simply because of someone’s disinterest in opening your email, or their unwillingness to reply to it; we asked our link builders what do they believe are best practices when it comes to negotiating fashion, beauty and lifestyle backlinks. Here’s a summary of their suggestions (focused on outreach for guest posting, but mostly applicable to other tactics as well), followed by a template email example.
Even though getting a negative answer is by no means pleasant, it might even be worse to realize that your email has never even been opened. Getting the person you’re contacting to at least take a look at your offer is absolutely critical, which is why you need to keep experimenting with your subject lines until you find a pattern that people seem to be responding to. According to our link builders, subject lines shouldn’t be too long, and they seem to perform better when you include the name of the blogger you are contacting or their blog. Some bloggers won’t mind you using phrases like ‘guest post’ in your subject line (some even demand it in their submission guidelines), but others may associate it with spam immediately and respond much better to usual euphemisms like ‘collaboration inquiry’ or something along those lines.
If you got your contact to this point, congratulations! So, what now? First you need to introduce yourself while unobtrusively explaining why you would make a perfect contributor to their blog. You can do this by listing the sites you’ve already had your articles published on (possibly by just giving them a link to your online portfolio, to keep the email cleaner); providing an insightful comment on one of their posts; or discussing a trending issue, but what you say isn’t the only thing that will leave an impression, you also have to pay close attention to how you’ll say it. Fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers usually have very high aesthetic standards, and how your email is formatted and presented gives them a clue regarding what your post might look like if they agree to publish it. So, even if you don’t have to be overly formal and careful when it comes to the tone and register you’ll use (it’s often better if you are not, as a matter of fact), you do when it comes to the layout and formatting of your email.
If you’ve done everything else right, the thing that will decide if your proposition is going to be accepted or not, is the topic that you are going to suggest you cover. Naturally, some bloggers prefer giving you the topics themselves, but it is usually recommended that you approach them with a couple of already formulated ideas.
Aside, of course, from making sure that you don’t offer a topic that they have already covered, you also have to make sure that they’ll find it interesting and suitable for their blog. So, if you see that most of their posts are about generic trending topics, that’s what you’ll offer, regardless of what may be your first instinct. If a blog that you’re contacting is good enough to justify you putting in a bit of extra effort, you might even want to find its editor on social networks, and see what kind of posts they usually enjoy and share.
If you get absolutely no response to an email, you shouldn’t give up on it just yet. The more popular the site you’re contacting the busier its editors will be. Sometimes they simply won’t get around to opening your email; or they may open it, decide to answer later and then simply forget about it. This is why you should always follow up unanswered emails with at least two polite reminders, and definitely not more than four. There should be at least a couple of days before your follow-ups, and of course, if someone gets tired of your emails and asks you to stop, apologize nicely and remove them from your outreach list.
Hello [blogger’s name],
I hope your day is going great :) I enjoyed reading [one of their articles] recently and it inspired me to get in touch.
My name is [name], a lifestyle consultant by day and a beauty blogger by night. I have always been creatively inclined and design plays a huge role in my personal expression. Over the years I also wrote pieces for [established relevant publication].
If you wish to check the quality of my writing in more detail, you can take a look at my online portfolio here: [link to portfolio]
I was wondering if you would be interested in having me write a guest piece for you? I'm on the constant lookout for new writing challenges and would love an opportunity to write for your beautiful blog :) It goes without saying that I would promote the article through my social profiles, so you’d get additional traffic.
Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? Please let me know what you think so we can talk about the next steps. I appreciate your time, and am really looking forward to working together :)
Kindest regards, [name]
In the attempt to present every aspect of fashion, beauty and lifestyle link building, we didn’t have the time to get into too much detail regarding how you should evaluate the sites you come across or how to assess the value of a particular link. Luckily, our site is full of related resources you can use to polish your strategy to perfection. The point of this post was to give you a solid jumping off point and a framework for what the entire process looks like, for particulars on any other aspect of link building, you can visit our Learn SEO section.
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