In mid-April 2018, one of the pioneers in wedding blogging, Style Me Pretty (owned at the time by OATH), announced that it was closing its doors on April 30th (see below) - sending a wave of panic through the wedding business community and leaving them wondering:
What happens to my links and traffic?
Then on April 25th, in a surprising twist - met with very mixed reactions from the wedding community (some thrilled, others blah) - the original founders of SMP announced that they would be acquiring the SMP assets so that the brand could live on.
Regardless of the immediate fate of SMP, knowing how to preserve your links and traffic when websites and blogs that you've been featured on shut down (think anything from real weddings to guest posts), is a valuable way to ensure your SEO doesn't die off when a blog does.
In this post, I'll break down the exact steps you can take to restore as much of your traffic, links and SEO as much as possible, despite the end of SMP.
This Is About Other Wedding Blogs Too
This guide isn't just about Style Me Pretty's brief shutdown chaos.
Blogs come and go every day in a variety of industries for a multitude of reasons. There are often real people behind these blogs, unless they sell off, so many things can influence a wedding blogger to shift focus. Blog missions evolve, writers take a hiatus, bloggers switch careers and, yes, some blogs simply stop producing content altogether for unknown reasons.
Here are a few examples:
- Snippet & Ink said farewell for good on January 16, 2018
- The Pretty Blog evolved from blogger to social influencer
- The Broke Ass Bride hasn't published a post since September 14, 2017
- Floridian Social hasn't published a new post since February 18, 2016
These tips will help you somewhat recession-proof your PR, so that you can always recover fairly quickly when a blog retires...taking your links down with it.
No Time To Read? Watch This Instead
Wait, How Does This Hurt My SEO?
Anytime your site is naturally linked to by an authoritative, editorial site, it's a good thing for your SEO. Data-backed studies consistently show that do-follow backlinks are a top influencer of search engine rankings.
So if Style Me Pretty was linking to your site, it was likely helping your rankings. Now that your site is losing those links, you're losing that extra bit of SEO lovin'.
But here's the thing. It may or may not affect your rankings and traffic. It depends upon:
- Whether the sites competing with you in Google search also have links from Style Me Pretty. If they do, then losing your SMP links may not affect your rankings because everyone else is getting affected to, so it's somewhat of a wash. However, if the other sites replace their SMP links with fresh ones, then you need to as well to stay competitive in search results.
- Whether your links were "do follow" (if it's a real wedding or styled shoot, they were), which means SMP was telling Google to go ahead and follow that link back to your website. The "do follow" directive is kind of like a site telling search engines that the website they are linking to is a viable reference and deserves credit.
- Whether SMP was sending you referral traffic (um, they probably were).
And then, of course, there is the everyday traffic you attract to your site because of your nice rankings - which SMP may have had some influence on.
A smaller site might not make much of a dent into your SEO by itself. But Style Me Pretty is a powerhouse of SEO goodness and is much more likely to have an impact on your SEO if you were featured there.
Either way, it is always a good practice to keep whatever quality links, mentions and other online references you've earned. It's a way for prospects to find you and factors into your rankings too.
Our goal in this guide is to lay out the steps to replace your Style Me Pretty links with links from another high quality, well-respected wedding blog.
Step 1. Find Pages That Mention Your Company
First, you need to take inventory of all the pages on Style Me Pretty that have linked to your own website. This could include:
- Profile Page (Little Black Book directory listing)
- Real Weddings
- Styled Shoots
- Vendor Features
- Advice Posts
- Sponsored Posts
Go to Google.com (or your local Google search site) and enter the below search operator, replacing "My Company Name" with your actual company name and/or personal name, depending upon how you are credited in features.
site:stylemepretty.com "My Company Name"
Make a record of all the pages on SMP that are mentioning your company or linking to your site, including the direct URL of each page.
Step 2. Find Pages That Mention Your Website Address
Second, find pages that reference your domain name, which is your root domain address - your .com or .co.uk etc.
Go to Google.com (or your local Google search site) and enter the below search operator, replacing "mydomainname.com" with your actual website address (aka domain name), excluding any trailing slashes, "www", "http" or "https" extensions in order to produce the maximum number of results.
Step 3. Record Sites That Are Linking To Your Feature
Next you'll want to identify any and all websites that are currently linking to your pages on Style Me Pretty. It's not likely many sites are linking to your directory profile, but several sites may be linking to your real weddings, styled shoots and other features if they are popular.
- Go to Moz's Open Explorer Tool. The free version will probably suffice for our purposes.
- Paste the URL, i.e. direct link, of the SMP page that is linking to your website into the URL input field.
- Click enter or press the "search" button.
- Scroll down to view the list of websites linking to this SMP page. Either manually copy/paste each site into a spreadsheet or request a CSV download.
- Repeat steps 1-4 for each SMP page linking to your site. For each new set of linking sites, record which SMP page they are linking to. This information may coming in handy later.
Hang onto your spreadsheet of linking sites. I'll tell you what to do with these in the last step.
Step 4. Get Your Features Published Elsewhere
This is the step that may take the longest, as it requires some good ol' fashioned PR work. For each feature you've had published on Style Me Pretty, you need to find a comparable wedding blog to re-publish it on. You might have to wait until SMP officially shuts down before you're permitted to do this, I'm not certain.
Since SMP was one of the leading wedding blogs in the market, if not the leader, you want to try to find equally well-respected blogs to pick up your features in order to maintain the same degree of "authority" your site was benefiting from as a result of your SMP links. From an SEO standpoint, this is the best way to preserve the SEO value.
If you can't get a top wedding blog to pick up your SMP features, then go after up-and-coming blogs or local blogs. If you strike out completely, at the very least, publish your real weddings, styled shoots and other content on your own blog so that it has a new home.
It's preferable to get your features and content published on top wedding blogs where you can earn a quality SEO-beneficial link. This will lessen the blow to your rankings when SMP closes down for good.
Step 5. Share The New URL With Any Linking Sites
Ok, back to all those linking websites you uncovered in Step 3.
Each of these sites will need to update their SMP links if they want to avoid dead, broken links on their pages, which isn't helpful for SEO or visitors. You can do them a big favor by helping them find and fix these soon-to-be broken links.
It's easy to do.
Once your SMP features have been re-published elsewhere, simply contact each website linking to that previous SMP feature and let them know about it's new location. Share the direct link to your re-published feature so they can update their sites and avoid broken links.
Repeat this for every SMP feature you've re-published.
By doing so, you trigger a win-win-win situation:
- Win for the linker: No broken links on their site.
- Win for the blogger: You're giving the new publisher of your feature immediate promotion and links.
- Win for you: You recover your SEO with revitalized links.
Start Recovering Your SEO Today
Time to put this strategy into action. While it's sad to see the wedding blog that started it all go, you've still got a business to run. Take these actionable steps and recover your SEO as quickly as you can so that your website doesn't see a drop in rankings or traffic along the way.