The Dos and Don’ts of Link Building for eCommerce Websites
As difficult as it is to master the technical aspects of SEO, there’s arguably no more challenging piece to the puzzle than link building. There are no substitutes for the time and creative energy it takes to create content, build out links, and drive authority and traffic back to your site. And for ecommerce businesses that want to experience steady and sustainable growth around their website, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of link building – the dos and don’ts, if you will.
Link Building Tips and Best Practices
If link building were all about purchasing power and ad spend, only large ecommerce websites like Amazon would have success. But the fact that smaller ecommerce companies can find success in a crowded online world indicates that link building has more to do with consistency, creativity, discipline, and intentionality.
1. Be Consistent With Content
There can be no link building without a commitment to content creation. If you want to funnel SEO “juice” back to your ecommerce website, there has to be regular content creation – both onsite and offsite.
There’s no hard and fast rule that says you need to publish “X” number of blog posts per week, but there should be some weekly content creation. A handful of posts per week will eventually lead to a library of content that Google and other search engines will take seriously. Even just two pieces of new content per week will give you more than 100 linkable resources per year.
2. Create Sticky, Linkable Content Resources
There’s a difference between consistency and quality – and you need both to excel in your link building efforts. It’s easy to say, “We’re going to publish a blog post every Monday and Friday.” But if the content is thin and irrelevant to your underlying marketing objectives, it’s essentially worthless. In order for content to be effective within the context of link building, it needs to be sticky and linkable.
When developing content, you need to put yourself in the shoes of bloggers, customers, social media users, and anyone else who will run across it. What are you doing to make people want to link back to your content, reference it, or encourage others to click?
Examples of sticky content include:
This roundup post by Neil Patel, which provides readers with 44 Must Read Resources on Content Marketing. People love resourceful, evergreen articles and are more likely to link back when there’s lots of value packed into a single URL.
This Dollar Shave Club video is sort of the gold standard for sticky, viral content. And while not every brand will be able to pull off the same brash, humorous approach, it does speak volumes of how well video can work in today’s social media environment.
People love data and visuals. Bloggers, social media users, and website owners also love to share data and visuals. This makes infographics – such as this one from WebFX– highly effective for link building.
You’ll ultimately have to decide what sort of sticky content works for your ecommerce site, but these are a few good examples. In today’s world, boring doesn’t cut it. You need something to magnetize your audience.
3. Work With Influencers
Not all backlinks are created equal. Running some sort of influencer program where authoritative bloggers and influential social media users are incentivized to link back to your website will take your strategy to the next level.
Make a list of websites and individuals that (a) have sizeable audiences, and (b) have clout with your target market. Craft outreach emails or messages to engage the names on your list and build mutually beneficial relationships.
4. Guest Blog
It can be challenging to convince bloggers and other digital media influencers to link back to your ecommerce website or content. They don’t always see much reciprocal value in it. Having said that, your best option may be to develop guest blogging relationships.
With guest blogging, you write the content, plug in the links, and give it to another blogger to publish on their platform. This gives them free content, while simultaneously providing you with valuable backlinks.
Link Building Mistakes to Avoid
As is the case with any element of SEO, myths, misnomers, and falsities abound. The internet is filled with self-proclaimed gurus who have the “secret sauce” to unlocking unlimited potential and growth. But in case you’re new to the world of SEO, here’s the only secret you need to know: There are no magic wands or five-minute tricks. True SEO success takes time and commitment.
In addition to following the tips and best practices outlined above, it would be in your best interest to avoid making the following link building blunders.
1. Not Building Deep Links
Naturally, everyone wants to build links to the homepage. And while it’s great to get these links, it’s also necessary to build links to the internal pages of your site. In link building lingo, these are referred to as “deep links.”
For ecommerce websites, category and sub-category pages are especially valuable real estate that you should be deep linking to. While it can be harder to pick up backlinks to these pages, it is possible. Any extra investment you make in this area will yield significant results.
2. Not Targeting High Authority Publishers
Depending on the connections you currently have – and what sort of brand recognition you have in the industry – you may have to start small with your link building strategy. But understand that there’s a significant difference between the value that a high authority publisher and low authority publisher provide.
Domain authority (DA) is the search ranking score that those in the SEO industry use to grade/qualify websites and publishers. The scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating greater authority.
As you develop your strategy, look to source backlinks from high DA partners. This will accelerate your efforts and enhance your ecommerce site’s SEO health.
3. No Anchor Text Diversity
The anchor text you use to insert links into content is more important than you realize. Google takes this seriously and doesn’t want all of your backlinks to include commercial anchors. Anchor text diversity is important and you should focus on using natural, long-tail keywords whenever possible.
4. Creating Too Much Self-Serving Content
Every so often you’ll see an ecommerce website or brand that pushes out a lot of content, but doesn’t see much traction in terms of link building. And if you dig in enough to study the source of the problem, it usually becomes abundantly clear that their content is wholly self-serving and largely irrelevant to anyone outside of the brand.
Self-serving content is content that’s highly promotional and/or doesn’t offer tangible value to the reader. Press releases touting accomplishments and blog posts stuffed with keywords are two examples of this. Who wants to link back to resources like these?
As you develop content, remember to invest in quality over quantity. It’s far better to post one piece of sticky content per week than five thin, promotional posts.
Develop Your Ecommerce Link Building Strategy
Quality content is at the heart of successful link building. And in order to maximize the value of quality content, you need access to the right platforms.
At AudienceBloom, we take the challenge of link building and make it accessible to ecommerce businesses and companies across a variety of industries and niches. We write the content, handle the outreach, secure the placement, and deliver you highly rewarding links that increase SEO authority, drive traffic, and ultimately produce conversions.
For more information on how we can help your business craft a personalized link building strategy, please contact us today!
Timothy Carter is the CRO for AudienceBloom. Since 1997 he's been helping businesses maximize their sales revenue from websites via content marketing, SEO and Internet Marketing strategies.
Over the years he's written for publications like Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, MarketingProfs and other highly respected online publications.