If you run an online store, a proper link building strategy can be the difference between increased sales and closing up shop.
Last week we talked about ecommerce SEO mistakes that thwart your success so it’s only natural that we cover ecommerce link building strategies this week. If you currently run or plan to run an online store, you don’t want to miss this.
Since the internet is chock full of guides that tell you how to build links, today we are going to discuss where to build them instead.
Before we get started, it is important to understand the types of pages you will likely have on your site.
+ Product Pages
+ Category Pages
+ Sub-Category Pages
+ Blog Pages
+ Product Guides or Long Form Content
+ Dynamic Pages
All the pages above, except for dynamic pages can have links built to them. However, this should be done strategically, to give you the biggest bang for your buck. The best place to start your plan is by identifying the pages that are not likely to be removed soon.
As obvious as this sounds, I have seen numerous ecommerce stores build thousands of dollars’ worth of links to product pages that will be removed within 3-6 months. Sure, you can redirect them, but why not build links more efficiently the first time?
Efficient Link Building
Since they don’t change as frequently, category pages are often the best place to start your new link building campaign. In many cases, sub-categories pages are also long-lasting, thereby making them a logical choice as well.
As you may already know, if your site is structured properly, a link built to the main category page will “power up” the sub-categories and product pages that fall underneath it. This is especially beneficial if you want to create an authority site.
Why Is Trickle Down Power Important?
If you look at sites like Website Magazine, Forbes, CNN, and other authority sites, you can find a lot of pages that rank without having any links pointed directly to them. Even though the latest SEO craze is to boast about ranking pages without links, what you really see at work is the trickle-down effect whereby the authority (inbound links) of the root domain is powering up sub-pages enough to rank.
This is especially beneficial if you have a store with thousands or tens of thousands of products you want to rank. If you increase the overall authority of your site, you will start to see products rank on their own and that will allow you to scale your organic traffic considerably.
Category page link building is awesome, but don’t forgot about…
Product Guides and Long Form Content
If you have buyer guides, product tutorials, or other long form content on your site, you MUST build links to them.
In the not so distant past, when you wanted to rank a certain page, you built links only to that page and boom, it ranked. To some extent you can still use that strategy, but, if you are up against fierce competition, don’t let it be the only place you build links.
As the bar raises and the competition gets fierce, you may find that building enough links directly to the page you want to rank looks a little unnatural and that is not what you want your link profile to look like.
In order to continually power up the target page without looking suspicious, you should be building links to the related guides, ensuring your content is properly siloed for maximum boost from each new link.
This is where blog posts also come into play.
Funneling Authority with Blog Posts
Blog posts on an ecommerce store generally serve one of four purposes:
1. To engage your user base and generate leads
2. To attract links and new traffic
3. To build credibility and educate your audience
4. To establish topical relevancy and support product pages.
Like long form content and guides, blog posts can also be used to power up product pages. Here is a simple visualization of how it works.
As you create each blog post and link it to the product page, you are creating a channel for authority (aka link juice) to flow through. So, if for example you build 5 links to each new blog post, you will have the combined power of 15 links flowing to a product page.
Aside from looking more natural, this method will benefit you it two additional ways.
1. You can switch the internal links to a new product page when you do update your inventory, preserving the power accumulated to the blog posts.
2. While improving the rankings of your product pages, you can also rank the blog posts, increasing overall traffic and allowing you to connect with buyers earlier in the buying cycle.
Aside from sharing link power, blog posts are also great for boosting overall topical relevancy on your site, which in turn will increase the impact of each new link built.
Circling Back to Product Pages
Now, earlier we talked about why building links primarily to your product pages isn’t the most efficient method. However, that is not to say that you shouldn’t build any links to individual products.
Once other methods have been used, building links directly to a product page can give it the final push needed to rank. Since you will have power flowing to the page internally, fewer direct links should be needed to finish the job.
If you are launching a new campaign, make sure your SEO strategy covers these important elements to maximize the impact of the links you build to any page.
Start by building links to categories, sub-categories, and long form content. Second, create granular blog content and silo it to product pages. Third, build links directly to product pages that are stuck and aren’t ranking after completing the first steps.
Finally, don’t forget about your home page. Sending branded links to your home page will round out your link distribution strategy and signal to Google that you have a legitimate brand, worthy of ranking.
This article was originally written for and appeared in Website Magazine by Travis Bliffen, CEO – Stellar SEO.