We all know link building is a great idea for any ecommerce site, but how do you get started? Check out this guest post from seOverflow to learn five techniques to help you earn high quality links and grow your online store like a wildfire.
The best way to build new links to your ecommerce site is to earn them naturally by producing the best products and by promoting your products through inbound marketing channels such as SEO, social media and online PR. However, we all know that’s a lot easier said than done. If you find yourself struggling for top organic rankings even though you have a well-optimized website, you may be in a highly competitive industry where earning high authority links is more important to realize positive ranking changes. And if that sounds like you, try analyzing the incoming link profile of your top ranking competitors. It’ll give you a good indication as to whether you need to put more priority in manual link building.
When it comes to manual link building, two of the biggest challenges are:
- Getting enough powerful links to make an impact on web rankings in a competitive industry
- Getting links to product and category pages to improve their positioning in organic search results
However, that doesn’t mean they’re insurmountable. There are certain types of links that ecommerce sites can earn that other, non-business websites won’t, in addition to strategies that are very well-suited for online businesses that you can use to your advantage.
Here are five link building strategies for earning quality links for your ecommerce website:
1. Get more involved in online PR
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a public relations tool where journalists and other members of the media submit queries requesting sources for their articles or sometimes even radio shows or television appearances.
Let’s use a business that specializes in antivirus software as an example. If a journalist is writing an article about the security risks of using a laptop in an airport, she may seek the advice of a subject matter expert. In this case, a representative from the antivirus software company needs to be aware of the opportunity to contact the journalist. Being featured as a source will typically earn you at least one new link from a high authority website, and it could earn new additional opportunities and new business as well.
HARO has a free plan that consists of an email newsletter sent out three times a day containing PR opportunities. You have to dig through a list of around 30 or more queries to see if any of them are relevant to your business. There are also paid packages which offer features such as being able to filter your alerts, getting text alerts or even getting alerts before the free subscribers see them.
2. Offer your knowledge on other websites
Guest blogging is a popular technique that many businesses are using to earn quality links. The way guest blogging typically works is by finding sites that accept articles from guest authors and in return, the author will usually get a link from within the article or at least in a byline at the beginning or end of the article. A link within the content is best, but it has to be relevant and useful to the reader.
You normally won’t be able to link to your home page or product page using your anchor text of choice, but you’ll probably be able to link to a supplemental article on your own site. Then, from that article, you can link to one of your product or category pages. This will help send link authority through to the deeper category and product pages of your site.
There are a variety of tools you can use to find guest post opportunities. At seOverflow, we use the link building tools from Ontolo, which is a paid service where you add your desired keywords to a campaign and the tool find websites that they believe to be most relevant to those keywords. They also offer a limited free service if you register for a free account.
Buzzstream has a tool similar to Ontolo’s and it’s free, but requires more manual work. This tool generates queries designed to find guest post opportunities through Google and Bing search results, where you will need to review each site on your own.
There are also some great guest post communities where site owners are actively seeking out guest authors for their sites, such as MyBlogGuest, PostJoint, blogSynergy, Copy for Bylines, and Guestr. You should also check out Blogger LinkUp, which is an awesome newsletter service to find and request guest post opportunities.
However, keep in mind that you need to be careful where you are requesting guest posts because there are a lot of sites who will take any and every article someone will submit, despite the quality of the content. Those sites are usually of very low quality and relevance. Not only do links from low quality sites look poorly on your business, but they can also get your site penalized by Google if they decide that your link profile is spammy and/or consisting of too many links that were created for the sole purpose of increasing your rank, ie, “gaming” the algorithm.
3. Recreate popular content that no longer exists online
Broken link building is quickly becoming popular because it shows no signs of being devalued by Google and it can be easily scaled. Simply put, you start by finding popular web pages that are no longer online and recreate them on your own site. When you have the page up on your website, you can start contacting all of the sites who were linking to the old page and let them know that the old page is gone and that you’ve got a newer, better version on your site.
Moz.com has a massive guide called The Broken Link Building Bible that walks you through the entire process. If you want to cut your research time in half, the smart folks at Citation Labs have created The Broken Link Finder to help make the research process easier, but I would still highly recommend reading the Broken Link Building Bible to fully understand how this process works.
4. Rekindle relationships based on referring data in analytics
I learned about this technique from Seer Interactive, so I can’t take credit for it, but it’s a great technique and I had to mention it. The basic idea is to go back through your analytics data and see which sites have referred traffic to your site in the past but who aren’t any longer.
If you notice that sites were sending a lot of relevant traffic last year or the year before but aren’t anymore, try to figure out why. Maybe you had an advertising relationship or someone on your staff was a contributing writer. If you find value in that prior relationship, most notably that the traffic was relevant and converting, you should get in contact with the site owners and see how you can work together again.
5. Get links by giving stuff away
Ecommerce sites have one major advantage over other sites when it comes to link building, and it’s that they can give products away to be reviewed by bloggers and members of the media. Depending on the quality of the site where you’re getting a link, the cost of giving away a product might be worth the cost of giving that product away for free.
If you’re active in your industry’s community, you might already know bloggers who would be willing to write a review of your product and link to the product page. There are also some great paid services you can use to find the best sites in your industry, such as GroupHigh and BlogDash. Or if you’re willing to do a little work, you can try searching for bloggers in Google Blog Search for free.
There are also some services that specialize in product reviews, such as Tomoson and Business2Blogger. I’ve used both with varying degrees of success. I did a blog post review of Tomoson here if you want to read it. There are a lot of low quality websites in both, so you should have quality guidelines in place before choosing any sites to give your products to, otherwise you’re just throwing money away.
When doing product reviews, you want to give the reviewer the freedom to provide an unbiased review. Remember that criticism of your product is a risk you take when doing product reviews.
You should definitely ask for a link in return, but you shouldn’t require it. If you require a good review or require a link in exchange for the product, you’re essentially breaking Google’s guidelines against buying links and your site could be penalized for it in the future.
It’s all about getting high quality links
There are a lot of ways to earn links to your ecommerce site and the techniques mentioned here should help you get the ball rolling, especially if you play in a competitive industry. They might not be the easiest ways to build links, but high quality links are worth the additional effort when you consider the long-term benefits of higher organic search rankings.
If you need help with your link building efforts, our SEO services team will be happy to help.