I’ve mentioned blog carnivals in a couple of posts as a method for building links, and folks have asked what they are. I actually didn’t know myself until last year, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of them. Here’s a short definition and a bit on how they can help increase links and traffic to your site.
What is a blog carnival?
A blog carnival is a collection of links submitted by bloggers. They highlight recent posts across the blogosphere that are related to the carnival’s theme (i.e. personal finance, diet and fitness, writing, etc.)
Posted on blogs themselves, carnivals are ideally published on a regular basis (weekly, bi-monthly, monthly). In the best case scenario, the hosts rotate, so each week a link to one of your posts has a chance to appear on a different blog. (Sometimes they’re published on the same site each week which limits the usefulness of the links–you may want to submit a couple times, but there’s less SEO benefit from submitting frequently).
You can usually volunteer to host an existing carnival, and of course you can start one up yourself (this may be worth doing if there isn’t anything out there in your niche).
How useful are blog carnivals for increasing links and traffic?
I regard any link to my site from another regularly updated site as a good thing, and when we’re talking about a blog in a related niche, it’s even better.
However… when your link is one of dozens listed in a blog post, you may wonder how much it’s going to count for in the broad scheme of things. Honestly it probably won’t matter much. It’s certainly not going to take your blog from a 10,000,000-something search engine ranking to a top 10 ranking.
Still, every little bit helps. As they say, don’t look a gift link horse in the mouth.
Blog carnival links are free, and it’s easy to submit your posts for consideration (just head to the aptly named Blog Carnival site to browse the list and find related carnivals).
Other reasons to participate in blog carnivals
It’s always worth thinking beyond the links. Blog carnivals can provide an opportunity to network with fellow niche bloggers.
When your post appears in a blog carnival, you can head over and see all the other bloggers writing in your niche. If you go visit these related sites, you might find some good people to strike up relationships with. Leave some comments on their sites, and maybe drop them a line. This could lead to blogroll link exchanges and–even better–guest blogging opportunities.