The Importance of Ecommerce Link Building

Ecommerce link building is an important SEO strategy to implement for boosting your ecommerce business. Link building, a type of off-page SEO tactic, is the process of acquiring external links from other websites to your own. Off-page SEO refers to SEO techniques undertaken outside of your website that can be used to improve the position of your site in search engines. Besides link building, this can also include social media marketing efforts. According to Moz, there are two fundamental ways that search engines use links:

  • Discover new web pages
  • Determine how pages rank in the results

When search engines go through webpages, they explore the content of the websites to add to their indexes. When they do this, they also look at the number of sites pointing to that particular web page as well as the quality of the website. Off-page SEO (in this case, link building) gives an indication as to how other websites perceive yours, and with all else equal between other ranking factors considered between two similar pages, off-page SEO will determine which page will rank higher. Link building is important in page ranking, which is the measure of the quality of a page based on the number of links directing to it.

The more links pointing to it, the more trustworthy the website is deemed to be, at least according to Google’s search algorithm. Some people have resorted to shady link building techniques to manipulate the results, but these are not advised. After all, the Google Penguin update penalizes sites that use those illegal methods, including and up to de-indexation from Google search results. Link building is also important in SEO. The more links are spread out, the greater the chance your website will be seen and clicked. The more visitors, the more incoming traffic. It is important to link to sites that are related to your own, as relevance is a factor when it comes to ranking with backlinks.

The Google Panda update penalizes sites with low-quality content, and who you’re linking to can be a factor in determining the quality of your content. Google also gets suspicious when you seem to be soliciting backlinks from sites for SEO purposes. According to the latest algorithm update, Google Panda also includes a social component, which specifies that your website should also be mentioned on social media for full marks.

Ecommerce Link Building

Link Building Techniques for Ecommerce Websites

Keep Track of Competition

By keeping track of your competition, you’ll be able to borrow strategy relating to which sites are linking back to them. Use tools like Moz’s Open Site Explorer to browse the catalog of backlinks for your competition, as well as your own ecommerce website.

Add a Blog

A simple strategy for driving traffic (and backlinks) to your ecommerce website is by adding a blog component. Companies that blog receive 97% more links to their website, and 13x more ROI than those that don’t. Use these pages to create content related to your niche. Make sure that it is so good that people can’t ignore you (high quality), or focus on sharing content that is very clickable/click bait. A few types of content to consider with backlinks in mind:

Evergreen Content

Content that remains relevant regardless of the situation or time of year. Infographic, How-to guide, Buying guide

Viral Content

You can put this on your blog, but it is better shared on social media. Consider this as more of a social media promotions strategy. Memes, Consider creating “Ego-bait,” which is a listicle that links to popular sites (example: Best Fashion Bloggers of 2017) to your blog post. These influencers will share the post to their audiences, which will, in turn, bring more clicks to your site. Don’t forget to inform those you featured about it! Videos The blog content you create should depend on your brand personality. If you’re targeting beginner surfers, they would probably want more informative content about how to start surfing, so don’t post memes they wouldn’t be able to relate to. If done well, adding a blog to your ecommerce website will also open you up to guest posting opportunities.

Guest Posting

Although former Google spam team head Matt Cutts publicly been quoted saying that guest blogging is dead, there have been case studies that have sworn by its effectiveness, like this one for Ninja Outreach, which claims that 10 guest posts brought in 5% of their 2-year overall referral traffic. There are many benefits of guest posting, like the fact that the practice: Builds authority and establishes credibility, Reaches a wider audience, Expands online circle and enhances social media presence on top of strengthening SEO Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that do guest blogging for all the wrong reasons and go about guest blogging the wrong way.

Here’s how you can fight the spam: As the receiver of guest blog posts: scrutinize each submission you receive. Make sure you only accept from reputable links that are related to your business. As the writer of guest blog posts: pitch stories to higher authority sites related to your niche Neil Patel is a blogger that was able to use guest blogging to build good backlinks and makes for an excellent case study in the right way to go about this ecommerce backlink strategy.

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Ecommerce Link Building
Not All Backlinks are Created Equally

follow backlink helps your SEO. It’s like the website is telling the search engines “I can vouch for this website,” while a nofollow backlink says “I acknowledge this website, but I can’t vouch for it.”

To make a link nofollow, you can add a code:

<a rel = “nofollow”, href = “”>Hi!</a>

…instead of the standard:

<a href = “”>Hi!</a>

Nofollow link tagging is often used in places you cannot frequently monitor, such as:

  • Blog comments
  • Forum posts
  • Yahoo! Answers
  • Forum signatures

The nofollow tag protects a link to your website, as people frequently add to these kinds of sites and may abuse it with spam posts.

Advertisements and press releases on other sites are also not included in organic search results. Although Google does not recognize this as a follow backlink, it can still help by bringing in traffic to your site.

When creating an ecommerce link building strategy, consider the following sources:

  • High-quality, relevant sites
  • Links from unique domains have more value than those you’ve linked to before
  • Links from relevant anchor text are worth more (e.g., “best spas in LA” versus generic “click here”
  • Posts with fewer backlinks have more value

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Make Product/Category Pages Worth Linking to

Product or Category Pages are where the SEO money is at, which is why it’s advised to optimize for them separately.

Getting links to these pages is a major win because these are the pages that will be ranking for key head and mid-tail terms. Although these pages are SEO gold, they are also a challenge to link to, because as Moz puts it, “who wants to link to a page full of products?”

To encourage backlinks, make the product pages interactive, funny, or different in some notable way. Case in point: Hema’s Category page was able to stand out with a Rube Goldberg-inspired design. It was able to generate 20,826 links from 2,686 sources.

Leverage Your Most Interesting Products

Sometimes, designing creative product pages isn’t easy, but if you’re selling interesting products, to begin with, you can use that as linkbait.

Case in point: The product page of Threadless, a company that sells creative t-shirts, is their second most-linked page, and has received 5,065 links from 686 linking root domains. It also received 3,068 Facebook shares and 1,167 Facebook likes. They’ve created a backlink portfolio that includes high authority sites, such as Wired and Boing Boing.

Run Special Offers

Notable guest blogger/backlink generator Neil Patel suggests offering truly irresistible deals that bloggers cannot ignore. Link them to your sales or deal pages that fulfill SEO requirements, and modify the page every now and then when you have a deal or sale. Over time, your link equity will grow as more bloggers are linking to the page.

It may be tedious and time-consuming to create a database and email relevant influencers, but it is a very low-cost tactic for building backlinks.

Run Contests

When it comes to running contests for backlinks, avoid a so-so prize and jump ahead to something that offers a hard to ignore prize.

Say you’re a beauty store that’s giving away $500 of store credit. Ask bloggers to write about their makeup routine, but instruct them to choose and link to products from your website, only. You can invite influential bloggers to host/promote this contest for more exposure.

Another example of a contest you can run is a personalized giveaway. People like feeling special and unique. Ask users create a board on Pinterest around a specific theme, using products found on your site. Pin products onto Pinterest, because when these pins are clicked (especially if the pins are optimized), they will link directly to your site. Kotex did a campaign like this and received 2284 interactions & 694,593 impressions.

Contests also lend a social element to your link building, since those who join the contest will be sharing relevant content on their social media sites.

Ecommerce Link Building

Product Giveaways and Press

Giving away products for review to influential bloggers and publications is another a good way to get backlinks. Specifically, getting press features can also get you a high credibility backlink (versus blogs). Start with small publications, then work your way up. Having a PR person on your site can help, but consider pitching yourself using a service like Cision’s Help A Reporter Out (also known as HARO).

Social Promotion

Though hard to measure specifically, there’s a distinct social component to off-page SEO. Urge people to follow your social media pages like Facebook and Twitter, possibly incorporating some of the contest tactics mentioned earlier. Encouraging people to like or follow a page without a compelling reason or incentive won’t work, so craft messaging or promotions around this knowledge.

Don’t forget to cross-promote your blog posts on social media. According to Awareness Inc,  96% of marketers keep track of how many followers their companies have, 84% keep track of their mentions, and 89% keep track of traffic. By tracking mentions, you can message those that mentioned you to change their link to the most relevant one.

Having share buttons on your ecommerce page can be useful, so people that like your products can easily share them to their Facebook walls, Twitter timelines, or Pinterest boards.

Ecommerce Link Building Strategies Proven to Boost Rankings

Link building an important SEO strategy you should be using to help rank your ecommerce site. It will certainly make all the difference in ranking between your website and a competitor’s.

Link building is hard work, and the results won’t pay off til months later, but keep pushing, and you’ll get there. Adapt the link building strategy best suited to your brand, and adapt more if you can. Shane Barker, a digital marketing consultant, recommends using multiple strategies so as to not keep all your eggs in one basket. Most importantly, don’t try to do everything at the same time if it does not work personally for your brand.

Need some help with ecommerce link building? Having no luck with your outreach tactics? Consider working with backlink/SEO experts at Over the Top SEO. Everyone we work with gets a free 30 minute SEO diagnostic review, and from there, we’ll work together to create a winning backlink strategy. Get in touch to learn more!

Ecommerce Link Building

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