How is link building different for e-commerce sites?
While the basic process of building links in itself works the same whether for e-commerce sites or any other sites, most SEO experts agree that e-commerce can be more difficult for one particular reason: It’s hard to get people to link to pages that have high commercial intent. Getting links to product pages can be even more challenging.
Still, there are many good methods for scoring links to e-commerce sites. Here’s a number of great link building strategies that are worth the effort:
Conventional Link Building Strategies
These should be familiar to most people who do link building, no matter which type of website. But while these strategies are not specific to e-commerce sites, they are still very effective – even for online stores.
1. Blogging and Content Creation
While most e-commerce store owners would prefer to only focus on selling their products and not on writing, implementing an engaging blog on your website will give others something to link to (since you’re less likely to get links to product pages or your homepage).
If you’re selling apparel, why not create a blog on style guides, seasonal lookbooks, product buying guides, and everything else related to owning and using your products? But make sure to not to get too sales-y in your blog, as this will deter people from linking to your content. If your blog content provides value to people, it is more likely to get links.
Besides blogging you could get creative with other types of content that others would link to, like infographics, ebooks and more.
2. Guest Posting
While this is not a must for e-commerce site owners – if you are already actively blogging, you might do guest posts for other sites in your niche. It does give you links back, and at the same time it helps you become established as a voice in your industry.
3. Internal Linking
When you have inbound links to certain pages on your website, remember to spread that link juice around to your other pages (especially your product pages) with strategic internal linking.
It helps the overall SEO of your site, and improves important metrics such as average purchase rate and time spent on site.
Internal linking also makes it easier for website visitors to navigate to other pages on your website. Amazon has mastered internal linking with its “related products” section on each product page.
Creative Strategies for E-commerce
Even though link building for e-commerce sites can be more challenging than for other kinds of websites, it still opens up for a bunch of creative link building opportunities.
Some involve new ways of creating linkable content, some involve creating partnerships, while others just depend on how far your creativity can take you in order to get PR:
1. Product Reviews
Find influential bloggers in your niche and send them free product samples to review.
While they get to try out your products for free, they will in turn publish a detailed product review which includes a link back to your website. It also spreads the word of your products to their audience, which leads to increased visitors to your online store and more conversions.
When choosing which bloggers to reach out to, make sure that their audience matches your target market.
2. Run Offers for Bloggers
Neil Patel recommends offering steep discounts or coupon codes to popular bloggers in exchange for them linking to your site.
They might not promote your products as extensively as when doing an in-depth product review. Or who knows, when using your discount to try out your products, they might like them enough to recommend them to their readers.
Keep in mind that the higher domain authority a site has, while still being in a related niche, the more valuable their link is. So try to aim for sites with higher domain authority.
3. Special Offers Page
On a similar note, if your e-commerce store periodically has time limited special offers that attract buzz and social shares, you could use the same URL for every future offer.
This way, the page keeps the backlinks gained from previous offers, while generating new ones each time you launch an offer. Don’t forget to include internal linking to other pages from this offer page.
4. Video Marketing
Reach out to popular YouTubers for product reviews, and/or create your own YouTube channel featuring content related to your products:
You can create videos on product unboxing, user guides, detailed product description, product maintenance and more. These videos could vary in style, from informative and educational to casual and humorous.
YouTube videos tend to rank high on Google, and once you can see on the Analytics that your videos are being embedded, you can reach out to those blogs and request a link back to the original post on your site.
5. PR Worthy Products
This might not be for everyone, but if you’re able to offer a very unusual, even absurd product that is sure to draw attention – this is a great PR opportunity to attract more interest and links to your brand. You can also create shareable content around this product, like videos and blog posts, where you include links back to the product page.
6. Broken Link Outreach
This method is one that is highly recommended by Backlinko’s Brian Dean, which he calls The Moving Man Method:
- Find a product related to yours that have been discontinued – i.e. no longer available for sale online
- Look for sites that are linking to the inactive product page, using tools like Ahrefs or Open Site Explorer
- Reach out to these sites and give them a heads up that their link is no longer valid, and offer a link to your product page instead.
7. Retailer’s List
If you sell products from different brands, you could reach out to each brand and find out if they have a page listing their retailers – if they do, they could also add a link to your store.
You could apply the same strategy with the manufacturers of your products.
Build partnerships with businesses that are not your direct competitors, but target a similar market as you. They might be selling products that are complementary to yours; if you’re selling running shoes, you might partner with a business selling sports drinks.
Reaching out to these businesses for partnerships could get you links from their site (e.g. be featured in their “Partners” page) and also access to a larger audience.
9. Unique Product Pages
If really want to attract links directly to your product pages, you might want to make your product/category pages stand out by making them linkworthy in themselves.
Make the design and content unique and quirky; if you need inspiration, check out HEMA’s animated Rube Goldberg machine inspired design, which went viral and even won awards (unfortunately, they have since then changed their design to a plainer one – but they still kept most of the backlinks gained from going viral).
Link building can be a long and tedious process, but the the results in the long run translates into increased site traffic, conversions and brand equity.
These strategies are great ways to get around the challenges of getting links to a commercial website, including some creative methods to generate interest in your products and brand.
Analisa Sande is a content marketer in the e-commerce and crowdfunding space, who enjoys writing and creating helpful content for online store owners and crowdfunders. When not researching the latest marketing trends, she spends her free time drawing caricatures of world leaders.