Ecommerce SEO can be frustrating and time consuming. Building links for online stores is no exception. Without a good strategy, you could spend a lot of time doing outreach and have little, if anything to show for your efforts.
Even when you are sharing great content, people are usually reluctant to link to other people’s posts, especially if you are a new site without established credibility.
As such, you are going to need to get in front of a lot of well qualified prospects to gain new links at scale.
To improve your success rates, you need to create a proper email strategy so that everyone feels special without eliminating your ability to scale the process. Even small adjustments, such as a new email subject line can have a dramatic impact on the success of your campaign.
Once you do start to secure new links, your internal linking strategy and the pages you link to will have a significant impact on your overall success.
If you plan to go it alone, here are five practical ecommerce link building tips that will help you be more successful.
1. Be A Source – Don’t Just Quote Them
What do we mean when we say be the source?
We are talking about conducting primary research or sharing first-hand expertise on a particular subject matter. If you conduct direct research or provide unique and actionable information, you will be the source others are quoting. If you can’t afford to do primary research in the beginning, then secondary research will be your next best option.
Here is a good overview of primary and secondary research, in case you aren’t familiar with the concept:
Valuable blog posts that attract links can be created either through superb information, length, design or by mashing various content forms into one piece. But this is where most people go wrong – they think that such posts can be done overnight and without investing any money.
“Awesome Posts Require Awesome Investments.”
Like with everything else in life, you can expect to get out what you put it. These pieces of content have to be well-thought, carefully researched, and written in an engaging manner.
Here are a few steps you can take to improve the value of your content:
- Use various studies posted online. Niche authority sites are always a great source of information, so you might as well start from there. Get acquainted with educational sites and other informational sources that can provide insights not found anywhere else.
- Don’t think that your opinion doesn’t matter. It is actually one of the main reasons why people will pay more attention to your posts. Critical opinion is always valued (as long as it has merit) and can bring you lots of goodwill within your industry.
- Be prepared to take risks and more importantly, take your time. Awesome content cannot be rushed so make sure to set your expectations properly from the get-go. If you start rushing it, the piece may feel incomplete or unpolished.
- Hire experts for various types of content. It is completely ok to have a video in your blog post. Similarly, you might add your own graphs and other visual content. Have in mind that people love complex information presented in a simple way. Actionable data will have a positive impact on the perceived value of your content and may increase your odds of getting shares and links.
- Think about branding. Besides your content, your brand also has to feel like a big deal. People are unlikely to link to sources who are less authoritative and rank poorly. Throughout the content creation process, you need to keep your unique selling position, your ideal buyers, and your brand voice in mind.
2. Finding Relevant But Non-Competing Sites
The relevancy of your backlinks is one of the most important elements determining the quality and thus the impact of a hyperlink. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, things get much tougher if you’re an e-commerce business. This is why you have to stretch it a bit.
While your direct competitors may not be willing to link to you, there are lots of valuable sites that will be close enough to your topic that getting a link from them seems natural and is beneficial.
“Relevant Links Come From Sites Solving a Different Problem for The Same Target Audience.”
Here are three simple concepts that can make a positive impact on the number and quality of links you are able to secure.
- Before you do anything else, get acquainted with the industry. If you’ve just started an e-commerce site and you have no prior experience with these particular products, you must start with proper research. A cheap solution would be to check your direct competitors in Google. Browse their online stores and look for secondary products or concepts that you could target. A better solution is to get a tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush and start learning more about semantically related keywords. They usually reveal some great shoulder niches.
- Majestic SEO tool shows the relevance of a website to particular topics (a.k.a. topical relevance). In a nutshell, it shows the type of content and pages that the site is creating. Occasionally, people may think that a domain is totally irrelevant to them and that the link provided will hold no value. This might be a wrong assumption and the only way to know is to analyze the site. Internally we do not use Majestic, we instead rely on our A.R.T evaluation strategy. However, if you are a beginner, the Majestic tool is a great way to get started.
- Some owners may feel that your content is not relevant enough to them and that linking will be pointless. If you’re creating content with link building in mind, consider how it will affect the potential link givers and their audience. If you aren’t certain who their audience is, download their advertising guides (if available) they usually describe the makeup of their audience. If your content isn’t speaking to the right audience, your likelihood of getting links or shares goes down considerably.
3. Don’t Forget About Offline Link Building
E-commerce sites may feel completely virtual as if there is nothing behind them.
“There is Always an Individual Behind an Online Shop.”
E-commerce is exactly the same as any other business; and like any link building, it comes down to creating a mutually beneficial arrangement with another person.
There is much more to link building than simply sending emails to various addresses. This is a lazy way of doing things and though most people see it as the most efficient technique (due to the fact it’s much faster), the best results are always achieved by taking the time to find and connect with the person who will say yes or no to your request.
It is much easier to get a link from a person with whom you have a direct and constant communication. Platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn give you the opportunity to connect with others by liking their statuses, sharing their posts, communicating directly via live sessions, and so on. Once you stop being “just an image on the screen”, your chances of getting a link increase exponentially.
The next key thing to keep in mind is that for the site to be interested, there needs to be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Offer products and services in exchange. Bloggers and online stores oftentimes work closely. If you have something new or different to offer, you can exchange it for a link. Be creative; as an online store, you probably have some resources at your disposal to make sure to create some sort of a compensation for a link without paying for it.
Providing free samples can go a long way. Not only are you giving something for free (and everybody loves free stuff!) but you’re also demonstrating the quality of your store’s items.
4. Analyze and Replicate Your Competitors Best Links
Google has evolved immensely over the years. It quickly changed the way we see search engines and internet browsing in general.
Links (including internal linking) have always been a big issue for Google. Although the most popular search engine has always given them top priority for determining the authority of a page and domain, this led to numerous misuses.
Nowadays, link building is on an entirely different level. You have to be very selective while acquiring backlinks to any website. If you receive too many spammy or low-quality links to a page, Google will eventually penalize it either manually or algorithmically.
That being said, part of your strategy should include finding and securing your competitors best links. As part of your initial SEO audit process, you should seek to understand how big of a gap exists between your site and the top ranking sites, followed by creating a plan to close that gap which includes competitor link acquisition.
“Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel. Learn From the Success and Failures of Your Competitors.”
So, what is the best way to go about things?
- If you’re not well-versed in SEO, it is much better if you hire an expert to do the analysis. Sometimes websites seem to be more powerful than they actually are. Instead, they might have internal problems waiting to surface. An expert can determine whether their link profile is safe, natural and consisting of sources that can be beneficial to you.
- There are various tools for checking links. We would recommend Ahrefs and Link Research Tools as some of the best link analysis tools out there.
- Check every link your competitor has received. What is the anchor text distribution? Where are they linking to? What type of a link building technique was used? Are you able to replicate it? Try to find the path of least resistance so that you can build the maximum number of quality links in the shortest amount of time.
- Be realistic. You won’t be able to get every link that competitors have received. Some of these links are coming from friends, old partners or were the result of prolonged negotiations. Some of them might even be purchased.
5. The Strategy of Mutual Benefit
If everything else fails, there is one thing that always works.
“The Best Way to Get is to Give.”
The best (and most successful) approach is one that is mutually beneficial. Create link building strategies and techniques that can suit both you and prospective link partners. Their ultimate goal is same as yours – attracting more targeted traffic that can be converted into leads and sales.
Here are some additional techniques that may work for you:
- Link exchanges are one of the oldest techniques there is. Although it is no longer as effective as it was back in the day, it still provides certain benefits when done moderately. Keep in mind that these links should make a small percentage of your overall link profile and shouldn’t be done on a larger scale. They should be super relevant too. If you exchange links, make sure to do three-way link exchange!
- Roundup posts have been very popular over the past couple of years. During an expert roundup, you get opinions from some of the top experts in the field. Even though this activity is much better for PR and creating social media presence, it also can lead to some very powerful backlinks.
- Infographics and other shareables are an easy way to get a link to your site. As soon as a webmaster places it on their site, you will get a backlink. As easy as that.
- Guest post link building is still very popular and can work very well. They don’t pose much of a threat and represent a good opportunity of connecting with other bloggers or influencers. The guest appearances, podcasts and other formats on which you are featured will help too
- Broken link building is another great method for getting links but takes more time and experience. Just try to find broken links pointing to competitors’ sites that is linked from several good pages. Contact the owners of these pages and offer them a replacement link to your pages of course. Make sure your content is at least as good as the original but for the greatest success, it should be considerably better than the original.
Regardless of all the obstacles, there are lots of solid ways to earn links for your e-commerce website.
Always look at things from the other people’s perspective. In the end, there is a person behind each site who’s responsible for placing the links. You are asking for their time and consideration, so the benefits should be mutual.