Since Google Penguin decided to completely wipe out brands that spent (misplaced) time and effort trying to get black hat backlinks to their website, link building has become a dirty word. However, if you’re in the fashion industry you really shouldn’t be put off trying to get links, in fact you should be applying more focus on this aspect of online marketing. Just make sure you’re getting good links.
To understand the process of good outreach you have to really think about what exactly it is…
In short outreach is the process of placing content on other websites that people will actually want to read in exchange for a link. Let’s go over these words again: content that people will actually want to read. This is the key part of outreach that a lot of brands tend to forget. You need to be adding value with any content that you are placing, whether it’s something like style tips, ‘how to’ guides or the latest fashion trends to be aware of, either way, your content must be something that their readership will genuinely be interested in. If your content looks spammy, Google kicking you out of the listings and accusing you of black hat techniques is the last of your worries – you risk alienating people and damaging your brand.
Always add value. Or don’t bother. Simple.
Understanding which sites to place content on is half the battle…
There are literally thousands of websites that will take your money in exchange for a link without question. These are the websites you probably want to stay away from. In fact you shouldn’t even be considering them as potential outreach partners at all.
These websites may offer you some benefit in the short term, but Google is cracking down on these ‘spammy’ sites and penalising anyone who has had anything to do with them. Google wants to point people to the most relevant content available based on what the user is searching for, and it’s getting better at weeding out the reputable sites to those who solely exist to make money off links.
If you’re talking about the latest colour trends, don’t try and place this content on a website that has posts about gardening next to the latest medieval dig excursions. No one is going to read it or share it, and chances are Google will eventually shut this site down; you’ll lose your money, rankings and potentially hurt the brand in the long run.
This is what I mean by ‘good’ links. You should be targeting sites with authority and industry leaders that you respect, as well as bloggers who have a genuine following and strong site that you want to be associated with. If your content is good, it will gain traction, encouraging interaction and raising awareness as well as helping you with the rankings. When the site is reputable, you also gain a little bit of kudos that helps the brand image too.
Industry tools like the Moz Site Explorer and Majestic are excellent for determining whether a site is worth your time and effort, but make sure you take into account social following too as this is an important factor to be aware of. Are previous posts being shared and re-tweeted? If so, you probably want in on that action.
The fashion industry as a whole creates some of the best content available, and has an opportunity to turn link building into something really great. Just make sure you’re placing your content on the best sites, offering insight and generating interest through creating your own content that people will actually want to read and the Internet will be a better place for the fashion industry in general.