How Will the Shut Down of Style Me Pretty Affect Your SEO?

Just like everyone else in the bridal industry, I was totally shocked to learn that Style Me Pretty has stopped all online content production on April 11, 2018, and will shut down entirely on April 30th.  Over the past decade, this popular blog platform has not only carved a new path for wedding professionals to showcase their work, but it has changed the way brides planned their weddings.  Ever since the news came out, I’ve been flooded with a lot of questions by many of my clients ask me how this is going to affect them since they are either members of the SMP or their feature work is on the platform. 

So the main question is:

Will the shutdown of SMP affect my online visibility and SEO?  

The quick answer is YES, it will negatively affect your SEO, and it may hurt your ranking.

So, the quick answer is YES, especially if your website has links that go to any of the blog post features published on the Style Me Pretty platform.  These links are known as external links.  According to moz.com, "external links (also known as outbound links) are hyperlinks that point at (target) any domain other than the domain the link exists on (source)."  

So let me translate. Essentially, a backlink is any link that you have on your site that takes your website visitor outside or away from your site.  Because SMP’s site will be going down, any links that lead your web visitor to the SMP site in any way will no longer be accessible.

From an SEO perspective, having external links on your site is considered valuable from the page ranking perspective of Google search.  Take a look at this graphic by moz.com:

Moz-external-link-internal-link-Myrnapd.png

What this is demonstrating is that having an external link to another website, especially if the other website is as authoritative as SMP was, it is deemed as more valuable than having a link going to another page on your website.  To make matters a bit more complicated, since April 11, 2016, Google has been working to crack down on people abusing this backlink tactic by issuing warnings to websites that may be misusing it. The message from Google would look something like this:

google-webmaster-message-about-outbound-links-myrnapd.png

Once the SMP site goes down, any links that you have going to that URL will be considered broken or unnatural.  What used to be a highly rewarding outbound link to a robust and authoritative website can negatively impact you if you do not take action.

For as tragic as that sounds, there are several things you can do to lessen the blow and avoid being affected:

  1. Take screenshots of your blog features/product mentions from the SMP website before it shuts down on the 30th.
  2. Copy and paste the content into a document so that you have a copy.
  3. Download all the images.  Be sure to capture all the photo credit information. 
  4. Go to your website and remove all the links that pointed to SMP.  I know that this may be a grueling task, but it will be well worth it in the long run.  Also, make sure that any SMP badges no longer link to the main SMP home landing page.
  5. The last and most crucial step is to log into Google Search Console / WebMaster Tools and resubmit your XML-sitemap.  Resubmitting your sitemap will inform Google that your pages have been modified and fixed.

I know you may be thinking, Wait…. what?  Search Console?  XML-Sitemap?  Site-maps are like a table of contents for your website.  Search engines scan them in order to better understand or interpret what your website is about.  It is good practice to submit your website's sitemap to Google.  Not sure whether you have a site-map?  Use this as a guide:

  • If you have a Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly, it has automatically been created.  
  • If you have a WordPress site, you will need to make sure that you have a plugin like yoast.com in order to have a sitemap created.  

Once you have determined that you have a sitemap, Google has created a quick link for you to submit your XML-sitemap:  Click here to Submit it to Google using the Search Console Sitemaps tool. If you aren't sure what to do, please contact me or write in the comments below as I am always here to help.