Ecommerce Link Building: Tips and Strategies to Enhance Organic Search
If your destination is page one of search results, all roads point to eCommerce link building. But, unfortunately, of the three primary search engine optimization (SEO) techniques — including off-page, on-page, and technical SEO — eCommerce link building falls under the category of off-page SEO, or what many in digital marketing consider the least flashy way to land on page one of Google.
Though they lack the pizazz of flawless design or dazzling site speed, quality backlinks build authority for eCommerce websites. You could have a perfectly crawlable website with excellent structure and content, but you don’t have a chance to rank if Google doesn’t trust it. High-quality backlinks act as a vote of confidence for Google (and potential customers) to get you on page one.
In other words, when authoritative sites link back to yours, it signals to both search engines and customers that your eCommerce website deserves traffic. But to gain that traffic, you’re going to need to earn relevant links the right way, which means you’ll need an effective eCommerce link-building strategy. Here’s how to navigate this crucial eCommerce SEO skill.
First, Do it Right or Don’t Do it at All
There are no good shortcuts for eCommerce link building, however, we do have some quick and actionable eCommerce SEO tips that are useful for creating a well-rounded strategy. Like any digital marketing technique, you can find quick methods to build a backlink profile online. However, these shoddy methods won’t only backfire but could also expose your business to a laundry list of penalties, like delisting your entire eCommerce website from search engines.
The golden rule for earning reputable inbound links is to follow white hat link-building techniques and avoid black hat techniques. ‘White hat’ refers to digital marketing strategies that adhere to webmaster guidelines and improve the overall user experience, like creating unique and insightful content. ‘Black hat’ refers to shady tactics that manipulate search engines to rank faster, like experimenting with Private Blog Networks (PBNs), link farms, or hidden links that confuse users.
Our marketing agency values honesty and integrity, so we only utilize white hat techniques. When using these techniques, the results of eCommerce link building can be excellent. For example, in the screenshot above, you can see that top-ranking websites have many links to the exact page and extremely high Domain Authority. Just as users can understand the quality of domains, Google can, too, which is why the quality of the websites that link to your content is arguably more important than the number of backlinks.
4 Strategies for Ecommerce Link Building
Whether you’re a digital marketer helping a client climb to page one of the search results or an eCommerce website owner striving to boost the visibility of your online business, eCommerce link building can increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Take a look at the white hat techniques in an eCommerce link-building strategy to earn high-quality backlinks.
1. Develop Linkable Content
This strategy might seem straightforward, but quality content is often overlooked by eCommerce brands. Typically, eCommerce websites focus on building the best product or category pages, sourcing trustworthy reviews, and implementing a catchy CTA. Yet, in all this effort to increase their conversion rate, eCommerce brands forget one main thing: actual content.
Content creation is usually the first marketing effort to be put on the back burner, meaning eCommerce websites offer slim to no linkable content. However, linkable content is the root of all link acquisition. Linkable content is what keeps readers coming back to your website and positions your brand as a leader in your eCommerce niche.
From blog content to resource calculators, here are different linkable content types to develop.
Blogs on Related Concepts
Blog content drives traffic for users interested in an eCommerce product. It communicates relevant information about various topics that can be referenced and linked to in other websites’ content. For instance, several other brands or news outlets can repurpose a blog post that addresses frequently asked questions about your industry.
Guides and Reports on Industry Topics
Guides and reports are a great way to build links because they provide high-quality information that can be easily referenced, such as statistics, unique findings or strategies, and more—the more valuable and impactful the content, the better. If readers can take value from the guides and reports you provide, they’ll be significantly more likely to link back to you.
Just think about how many “X of the Best 2021 Statistics” articles you’ve passed in the New Year — all of these collection-type blogs house dozens of links back to the original guide or report, which can be re-linked endlessly for years to come. Plus, these guides and reports can be repurposed into a blog or social media posts for your brand for additional link-building opportunities.
Tools to Benefit Your Niche
Linkable content doesn’t always need to be written content. What about all of the articles you’ve read that link out to a resource like a calculator? If there is an opportunity to create a calculator, dynamic chart, or some other type of tool that is useful for users in your niche, try to make one.
For example, CamelBak, a popular water bottle brand, developed a ‘hydration calculator.’ This calculator alone has earned the eCommerce website 63 DoFollow backlinks — which is now 64 because we are also linking out to them — and drives an estimated 530 visitors to their site per month.
Unique Story, Products, or Collection
Sometimes, having a unique product in itself can help earn you backlinks. Whether it be through diversification, a charitable initiative, or a unique product or collection of products, your ‘special something’ can be the aspect that encourages other websites to link back to your eCommerce site. Take an uncommon eCommerce brand like Tall Order, for example.
The brainchild of two 6’11” and 6’9” brothers, the backstory of this undergarment brand is one you would write about in a blog and link out to. The brand’s Our Story page has earned them six DoFollow backlinks and hundreds of others that reference their story but link to other pages on the site. The product page that donates 100% of the proceeds to charity has earned them seven more, including one from Fox Business (remember, quality over quantity when it comes to backlinks).
2. Search for Unlinked Brand Mentions
As far as eCommerce link building goes, unlinked brand mentions are one of the easiest methods to earn links. An unlinked mention is when your brand or product is referenced by name but without linking back to your eCommerce website. The easiest way to find unlinked mentions is to search for general brand mentions on a search engine like Google.
Search for your brand name in quotation marks and see what turns up — the quotations specify to search engines that you’re looking for an exact match and are only interested in results that directly use these words. This search will retrieve all of the sites that mention your brand. To narrow your results, set your site as a negative in the query to eliminate your domain from brand mentions.
Alternatively, you can set up brand mention tracking on a website like SEMrush or Google Alerts and Google Analytics to monitor new brand mentions. From here, you can reach out to sites with unlinked mentions and request that they use your brand name as anchor text for the appropriate link (such as Home, About Us, etc.). Finally, create a quick email template for unlinked mentions that you can use to speed up the process of eCommerce link building.
3. Affiliates and Influencer Reviews
In the era of influencers, affiliates are a fantastic eCommerce link-building opportunity. Now, developing an affiliate program can be time-consuming, but it can also lead to links being developed promoting your products. Affiliate links are typically marked as sponsored links or ‘NoFollow’ — which are generally regarded as not as valuable, but they drive relevant traffic, boost overall purchases, and encourage a marginal gain to domain authority.
Influencer reviews on social media or blog sites are also helpful for eCommerce link building. Many niche influencers will write a review of a product or collection of products using an affiliate link or get the product at a discounted price. These sites often rank highest for “best [insert product]” queries. Product features on these sites can be powerful from a link building and authority standpoint and a pure traffic-driving perspective.
4. Broken Links
Broken link building is a timeless SEO strategy that is just as time-consuming as it is worth it. As the name might suggest, broken link building involves building backlinks by replacing the broken links on someone else’s site with a working link to your website. This tactic benefits all parties involved: The other website fixes what would’ve been a 404 error on their end, their reader avoids the frustration of receiving an error, and your website gains another backlink.
Ecommerce brands can use free tools, such as the Check My Links web extension, to find broken links across websites in your niche (including the above influencer sites). You can also search for resource pages that provide valuable information and content within your niche, which are sure to be rich in outbound links. To find resources pages via Google, try tweaking your specific query with search strings like:
- “Keyword” + “helpful resources”
- “Keyword” + “resources list”
- “Keyword” + “to buy in 2021”
- “Keyword” + inurl:resources
- “Keyword” + intitle:links
Once you find one broken link, discover additional websites or web pages that also link to that broken link. To do that, enter the broken link itself into a link analysis tool like Moz or Ahrefs. Alternatively, enter a specific domain into your link analysis tool and toggle to “Outgoing Links” to identify all the broken links on that entire site.
From here, construct a basic email template that your eCommerce brand can send to other websites to inform them of the broken links. It’s helpful to include the content URL that uses the dead link and the broken link itself. Most importantly, always remember to offer a replacement link — in most cases, this will be a working link to your website.
Extra Tips for Creating Ecommerce Backlinks
Can’t get enough of this topic? It’s no surprise; after all, it takes quite a bit of time to earn high-quality backlinks, but the process is so rewarding that it can become a habitual part of your digital marketing strategy. Here are some extra tips for creating eCommerce backlinks to boost your marketing efforts and entice potential customers.
Tip 1: Great Content Creates Great Backlinks
When you focus on creating great content, the backlinks will follow. Extra outreach often is not necessary if your content is well-researched and provides tons of value. So, aim to grow your content marketing efforts and plan to create unique content on a recurring schedule. By unique, be sure that your content offers additional insight that another brand cannot replicate.
For instance, linkable content like guides and reports are fantastic examples of unique content that create great backlinks. If your eCommerce brand does a study of 1,000 customers or site visitors and publishes those findings in a blog post or white paper, other websites will need to reference your brand when citing these findings. These unique, unreplicable data points will be the source of several backlinks.
Tip 2: Treat Backlinking as One Piece of the Puzzle
Just because you develop a couple of decent backlinks does not mean your site will instantly rank. Like all elements of eCommerce SEO, link building is only one piece of the puzzle. There are tons of additional off-page SEO elements — like internal links and product reviews — that impact the success of building links that a link-building service cannot provide.
Not to mention, there are dozens of alternative SEO strategies aside from building links, namely among on-page and technical SEO.
On-Page Puzzle Pieces
- Conduct thorough keyword research for product, collection, and blog pages.
- Utilize keywords throughout the page content where appropriate.
- Front-load your primary keyword in your title tag.
- Utilize keyword modifiers, like ‘best’ or ‘reviews.’
- Place your keyword in H1, H2, and H3 tags when relevant.
- Use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords and synonyms.
- Edit duplicate or missing title tags and meta descriptions.
- Uncover keyword cannibalization and optimize to fix it.
- Update and optimize outdated content (2017 and older).
- Add keyword-driven alt text for all images.
Technical Puzzle Pieces
- Improve page speed by following Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly and has a positive user experience.
- Create or update your XML sitemap.
- Locate and fix crawl errors through Google Search Console.
- Ensure your website uses HTTPS.
- Set correct 301 redirects and ensure there are no redirect chains.
- Identify and correct any broken links.
- Ensure canonical tags are used properly and that none are mismatched.
- Utilize schema when appropriate (organization, review, etc.).
- Ensure the Robots.txt file is not blocking relevant pages and lists the sitemap URL.
Pro Tip: Unsure how to help your eCommerce website succeed in organic search? Check out our free website audit checklist!
Tip 3: Use Infographics as a Linkable Asset
Remember, a linkable asset does not need to be a written blog post — it can take several forms, including an infographic, an aesthetic way to communicate information that can open your eCommerce website to image backlinks. Writers love to link to infographics or even use them to demonstrate a figure or statistic within their content.
If you are implementing a content marketing strategy, be sure to include infographics as a way to recycle high-performing blog posts or reports. You can repurpose your content into an image-based infographic. Reports and data make for excellent infographics. Be sure to share these on social media to kickstart building links.
Tip 4: Put Yourself (And Your Site) Out There
Ecommerce link building performs best when the efforts are not kept in a silo. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself and your eCommerce brand out there. First, start small by contacting the people you’ve linked to in your content and letting them know about it. Then, once your content marketing grows, offer to go on podcasts or be interviewed for online publications.
Any mention of you or your brand can lead to relevant link opportunities, like providing quotes for an online publication, and they don’t take much time. However, if you do have a bit of spare time, consider offering to write a guest post for a publication. Guest posting on reputable sites, such as Forbes or Entrepreneur, can be an excellent thought-leadership opportunity that puts your brand (and a link back to your website) in the spotlight at little to no cost.
Link Building for Ecommerce Brands Can Be a Journey
Like all great marketing efforts, link building for an eCommerce business is a journey, not a destination. Ecommerce link building relies on publishing linkable content, locating unlinked mentions, finding and correcting broken links, and implementing an affiliate link program. It’s simply impossible to build a robust, trustworthy backlink profile overnight.
Fortunately, white hat SEO services can help expedite the process with a full-service SEO agency like Bullseye Strategy! The SEO experts at Bullseye have more than a decade of experience building links and boosting rankings for eCommerce websites just like yours. If you’re ready to start eCommerce link building for your brand, contact Bullseye Strategy today.