Link building is essential for all businesses, but it's particularly important for ecommerce brands.
Because they can't attract links as easily as B2B websites, online stores often struggle to get link equity. To understand this dilemma, let's hone in on the two types of pages ecommerce businesses typically get links to asides from their website home page: blog posts and product pages.
Blog posts: Not all ecommerce shops have blogs, and many of the ones who do don't have a lot of posts or publish frequently.
Product pages: Getting links to product pages is tricky with limited options since it's directly selling an item vs. a blog post that's simply covering an idea.
To overcome these challenges, think of link building for ecommerce as a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, you could go all out and try to build links from every website your competitors do, but that's not sustainable. Instead, take a holistic link-building approach - understand how backlinks work at a high-level and then zoom in on the best practices for ecommerce brands!
What makes a quality backlink?
A backlink is any link from a page on another domain that points to a page on your website. But you can't just stack up links from any and every site and expect that to improve your site rankings. The more relevant and authoritative the linking page is to your industry, the better the link quality. That's why getting quality link-building opportunities takes a bit of extra effort.
Types of backlinks
When building link equity for your ecommerce brand, it's important to learn the different categories of backlinks - based on how referring pages tag them and how much they influence your domain rating.
Backlinks can be classified into three: no follow, do follow, sponsored links.
No follow links: No follow links add to your total number of backlinks, but they have little to no effect on how search engine algorithms rate your domain authority. No follow links are most commonly found through social media sites, blog comments, directory listings, and link exchanges.
Do follow links: Do follow links are highly valuable because they provide significant link equity. These backlinks directly influence your site authority and improve its ranking on search engines. Do-follow links typically include brand mentions and links from landing pages, website links within listicles, or links from guest posting.
Sponsored links: A sponsored link is a special link where the website explicitly states that you sponsored the link. It signals to search engines that the link is sponsored and should not be seen as an endorsement of the website linked to.
How to secure high-quality links for your ecommerce site
Now that you know all about backlinks and what makes up a quality link, let's dive into nine proven ecommerce link building strategies
1. Set up an ecommerce blog and create link-worthy content
Creating a blog and producing link-worthy content is an effective link-building strategy for ecommerce sites. This content can be anything from industry reports and product reviews to buying guides and case studies. The idea is to create content that will get the attention of relevant publications and influence them to link back to it.
2. Search for relevant but non-competing sites that cover topics in your niche.
Once you create linkable content, contact other sites that link to related topics or products and let them know about your post. This ecommerce link-building tactic will help you get quality backlinks from other websites.
3. Optimize your ecommerce site and product pages for link building
Make sure your ecommerce website is link-friendly by optimizing it. For example, product pages can be great link-building opportunities, so ensure you take the time to optimize them. Include high-quality images, descriptions, and videos of your products on the page, giving prospects plenty of content to link to.
4. Develop affiliate partnerships as part of your ecommerce link building campaign
Affiliate partnerships are a great link-building strategy for ecommerce sites. Affiliates will link to your site in exchange for a commission on sales they generate. Imagine you get 100 affiliates linking to your site - that's 100 potential sources of store traffic and customers!
5. Guest post and create link roundups
Reach out to websites that cover topics related to your niche and offer to write guest posts in exchange for a link back to your website. You can also link to other websites in link roundups and ask them to link back to your link roundup.
6. Offer discounts for link building
Offering discounts or free products in exchange for a review (including a backlink to your site or product page) from another website is another link-building strategy to try. This move will help attract relevant and valuable backlinks from websites in your industry.
7. Find and pitch publications with unlinked mentions or broken links to your site
If a website mentions your brand but doesn't link to it, reach out and politely ask them to link back. You can also use a tool like Ahrefs to find broken links linking to outdated pages on your site and offer link replacements with updated URLs.
8. Analyze and replicate your competitors' best links
Find websites that link to your competitors in their content but not to your website. Reach out and ask if they can include yours in the post, especially if it's a listicle. Also, search for broken links pointing to your competitors' sites and reach out to replace them with links pointing back to your site.
9. Nail your cold outreach technique for ecommerce link building
After identifying publications you'd love to get links from, be intentional about it. Don't just create a great piece and make your strategy "if they find it valuable; they'll link to it." Reach out to the website owner or blog post writer and ask.
Say you sell hair products and find a blog that lists top online stores for getting them in your location but doesn't include yours. Adding your brand to that list is a good backlink opportunity you can attempt to secure. Source the publisher's email on online directories or through an email finder tool like Hunter.io, and then contact them to ask for link inclusion. If that's not feasible, you can also message them on LinkedIn!
Track and optimize the results of your ecommerce link building strategy
Effective ecommerce link-building drives organic traffic and improves domain rating and search engine visibility. By learning the basics of link-building, researching link opportunities, and deploying link-building strategies tailored specifically for online stores, ecommerce brands can build more industry authority.
That's why tracking the number and quality of backlinks your store is getting is important - to determine the success of your link-building efforts and areas that need improvement. Check out Emotive’s piece on how to track backlinks for your ecommerce store to learn more. Happy link-building!