10 Effective Link Building Tactics for Ecommerce Companies | Linkflow
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10 Effective Link Building Tactics for Ecommerce Companies

If you have an ecommerce site and want to crush the competition, you’ve probably already read about the importance of SEO and link building. 

For an ecommerce store, it’s a bit different (and more challenging). Compared to, say, a blog on a B2B site, there are considerably fewer opportunities to build quality links pointing to category and product pages.

It isn’t impossible, though. I’m here to share my nine tactics that can form the basis of any ecommerce link building strategy.

Link building is the practice of getting other websites on the internet to link back to your ecommerce site.

The logic is simple: If other high-quality sites are linking to your pages to give their readers product/service recommendations or extra context, you must also be a credible source.

So, as far as Google is concerned, each link you acquire is a “vote of confidence” that tells search engines your page is trustworthy.

But you can’t just earn links on your own (at least, right away, you can’t). You have to grow your link profile with intention.

  • Creating linkable assets (e.g., infographics, video content)
  • Writing guest posts for other sites
  • Distributing your content effectively
  • Building relationships with other businesses and site owners
  • Hosting contests, giveaways, and sponsored events
  • Getting good product reviews

In addition to having a great product/service and publishing high-quality content (duh), these are all things that lead to a better link profile and higher domain authority over time.

So…in a nutshell, ecommerce link building comprises the networking, promotion, and relationship building you’d do to grow your business either way.

But with every action, you’re thinking, “I’m gonna earn a backlink from this.”

Why, you ask?

I’ll give you the short answer and the long answer.

Short answer: Sales.

In 2023, 44% of all ecommerce customer journeys started with a Google search, according to Klarna’s Shopping Pulse report.

And even if they don’t start with Google, the vast majority use online search at some point in the research process.

The #1 position on a search engine results page (SERP) is 10x more likely to get a click than the #10 page. And only .63% of users click something from the second page.

SEO is a zero-sum game. You’re either ranking 1-3 for tons of valuable keywords, or someone else is taking what might as well be all of your potential customers.

Oh yeah…and organic traffic is free. Five, five thousand, or five million clicks. Once you’ve earned that spot as a website owner, you’ll have a passive source of new potential customers.

Let’s look at an example:

Here’s a that sells jade necklaces. 

One of their category pages is ranking for the keyword “jade necklaces,” which gets searched ~11,000 times a month. 

They’re in position 1 (below Image Pack), beating big box stores like Macy’s, Tiffany & Co., and even Amazon.

The top three listings are the ones that get the most clicks. As you can see, Seree gets 2,373 organic visitors — almost double what Macy’s gets just one space below.

But…in this case (as is true with lots of commercial ecom keywords), Image Pack, plus tons of ads, occupy the top half of the SERP.

That right there reduces the number of total clicks up for grabs to ~3,500.

The sites below probably aren’t getting very many clicks. But they aren’t really trying — it isn’t a competitive keyword by any means (~2 referring domains could get you in the top 10).

Now…Seree’s necklaces cost between $60 and $90. For the purpose of this thought experiment, let’s call each sale $75.

At 2,373 organic traffic, assuming a 2.5% conversion rate, they’re looking at $5,339 in monthly sales from this keyword alone. Since the CPC for this keyword is $0.35, they’re also looking at an additional cost savings of $830.

This individual page ranks for 110 other keywords, too.

I’ll spell it out in plain, simple English for you: They’re absolutely printing. Even if they invested several hundred dollars per link, they’re returning their investment several times over.

But they aren’t building links. They have ZERO backlinks and referring domains.

If one of their competitors hired us for link building services, they’d be absolutely done for. We could easily build 5-10 links and come for their position. 

All of a sudden, those thousands of dollars would be going into someone else’s pockets.

Not all links pointing to your ecommerce website are created equal.

Spending too much time on a nofollow link is probably not worth the effort. And toxic backlinks from garbage blog sites and spam directories won’t do anything for you.

You want high-quality, dofollow links.

At a high level, here are the top considerations when evaluating a potential link: 

  • Page/site relevance: If you’re looking for a link to your kitchenware page, including it on a page about stock market tips wouldn’t make sense (even if it’s on a high-DR site). 
  • Domain Rating (DR): The higher the DR, the more beneficial the link is. Getting a link from sites with a DR >30 is more worth your while. The more topically relevant the site, the more forgiving you can be of a lower DR. 

An exception to this rule would be generalist sites with high topical authority across numerous subjects. For example, the New York Times ranking your kitchenware products in their “best” list would be incredibly valuable, even though we all know the New York Times isn’t an expert in kitchenware.

Here’s a list of the nine most effective ways to build links for your ecommerce website. 

Some of these link building strategies apply to any type of website, but the first three are specifically useful for ecommerce websites.

Reach out to industry influencers and trade publications.

Site owners are sometimes reluctant to link to obviously commercial pages, which makes this link building strategy difficult. But some influencers accept payment in exchange for a mention on their website. 

If your product is in a controversial or popular industry, you can find relevant blogs with thought pieces or news articles. 

For example, let’s say you’re a cannabis company. Trade publications like this one (https://www.newcannabisventures.com/) would be a great place to reach out to.

You can even submit a tip for a news story if your company has recently done something interesting.

There are plenty of sites like this all over the internet. Use a search operator like intitle:industry + “write for us” to find them.

Get product feedback on other sites.

There are plenty of sites that publish product roundups ranking for search queries like “best {your product type}” or “top {your product type} for {specific use case}.”

Literally, for any topic you can imagine.

They always link to the products they rate or recommend in their articles, like this:

They also get plenty of traffic. For example, this one gets a few hundred visitors.

You can proactively reach out to these websites with a link to your product and ask them to include it in their roundup.

Normally, their process will go one of two ways:

  • You can pay to have your product featured in a new roundup or added to an existing one.
  • They’ll test your product. If it’s good, they’ll add it to their list. Sometimes, they’ll even remove a competitor’s product to make room for yours.

The best thing about this method is, the website owner does some of the selling for you. Being from a third-party site, it’s also more authentic.

Find unlinked mentions of your brand.

One of the easiest ways to get a link is to find brand mentions of your company without a link and ask the site owner to add one. If they already like you enough to mention you, surely they won’t mind throwing you a bone.

To do this, use Google Alerts and monitor for mentions of your brand name.

Then, simply reach out to the site owner and request a link.

You can also find a decent chunk of existing ones using the Ahrefs Content Explorer.

  • Type your brand or product name using quotations.
  • Click “Highlight unlinked” for your domain.
  • Use the “One page per domain” filter setting.
  • Choose “Only pages with highlighted domains” when you export.

When we do this for Scrub Daddy, we can see there are ~20,000 domains that aren’t linking, but have mentioned the product in some way.

These aren’t all worth your while. It’s best to filter them by DR so you can weed out the low-quality ones.

From there, go through the content and email the site owners thanking them for mentioning your brand, and kindly request a link.

Create a viral campaign.

In the summer of 2022, a company called Candy Funhouse created a “Chief Candy Officer” position, which paid $100,000/year to test various candy products. 

Big media outlets like NPR, Food Network, CNBC, and Today took notice and wrote articles on this story:

The influx of DR 80+ links clearly had an impact on traffic as a result: 

Posting a new job isn’t the only way to go viral. There’s a lot of room for creativity with this tactic.

For example, in the legal industry, creating a scholarship for college students is a popular practice. Universities like to link to these pages to promote them to their students (and .edu links tend to confer lots of authority).

Use HARO (Help a Reporter Out).

HARO is a free service that sends subscribers several daily emails with requests from journalists seeking sources for upcoming stories. If you are chosen to be featured in their article, they’ll often credit you with a link to your website. 

Sign up as a Source (not a Journalist), and they’ll start sending you requests related to your industry, like this:

an example of a query from online magazine Best Life

The key to HARO link building is to respond as quickly as possible and send a concise quote that directly answers the reporter’s question. 

Also, be sure to send along any other requested information (such as a headshot and site URL). 

Note: Reporters are typically only willing to link to home pages. 

Serve your community.

Consider projects aimed at improving the lives of your target audience. Charities and organizations may link back to you on their websites to promote these initiatives — or better yet, ask them to!

Let’s say you own a pet apparel business. You could organize events with local rescues to raise money for shelter pets. As an added benefit, it’s great PR.

Chewy has a page on their site that talks about all the work they do in support of local shelters.

It has hundreds of dofollow backlinks, including ones from HubSpot (DR 93) and Mashable (DR 91).

You can earn links simply by creating link-worthy content. In addition to growing credibility, this is one excellent way to keep your link profile natural.

  • Infographics
  • Statistics pages
  • Data studies/analyses
  • Interactive tools
  • Video content

Other website owners will use these to add context to their own arguments. For example, when I say that Google has 200+ ranking factors and backlinks have always been among the most important, I’ll link to the comprehensive
Backlinko study that proves it.

Backlinko, in this case, created a linkable asset (their blog post).

Appear on a podcast.

Podcasts are a two-fold marketing opportunity — you get to promote your product to relevant audiences, and the podcast will include a link to your website in its show notes. 

For founders with the gift of gab, talking about your business for an hour or less is an easy way to earn a link instead of spending hours writing and editing a guest post.

Business podcasts — which usually ask you to share your story about how you built your ecommerce brand — are some of the best for exposure and brand building.

Oliver Brocato is the founder of Tabs, an ecom brand selling aphrodisiac chocolate bars. TREND interviewed him about viral marketing and how he used a network of thousands of TikTok UGC creators to scale his online business to millions.

The first thing in the episode notes is a backlink.

Pro tip: Prioritize podcasts that have consistently published episodes over a period of time. It’s better to appear on a podcast with a growing audience instead of one that’s on the decline.

Broken and lost links from competitors are a great opportunity to get new ones for you. You can even find working links to competitors’ websites worth looking at.

  • Broken link building involves contacting the webmaster to let them know they’re linking to a broken resource (competitor).
  • Lost link building involves finding links to competitors’ sites the site owner has recently removed.
  • Working competitor links tell you which websites link to other brands.

Finding them is pretty easy. All you have to do is look at each competitor’s backlink profile and filter by “link removed” or “broken redirect” in Ahrefs.

From there, email the site owner suggesting adding new content or swapping out the link and surrounding content with a working link to your site.

Create a blog.

A blog can be an effective strategy for generating relevant traffic for several reasons: 

  • Blogs help attract top-of-funnel searchers. For example, a site that sells hiking equipment might benefit from creating a blog post on the “10 best hikes in the US.” These hikers may not be actively searching for boots, but getting them to the site raises brand awareness and may increase the chances of them making a purchase from you in the future. 
  • They improve your niche authority. The more related keywords you rank for, the easier it is to rank highly for each of them individually. Search engines want to promote content from brands with demonstrated expertise in the field.
  • They generate links more naturally than commercial pages. The informational nature of blog posts makes them great for attracting natural links (to other blog posts). 

Caveat: We recommend first targeting your site’s category and product pages because those will drive the most revenue. A blog can be your next focus once a solid product page SEO strategy is underway.

Closing thoughts

Going back to that “jade necklace” example, it literally took me 5 minutes to find that opportunity. And “jade necklace” was simply the first word that popped into my head. Nothing special.

In other words, opportunities to boost your revenue by thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars through link building are all over the internet. 

You could seize them, or let someone like me take advantage. Up to you.

My advice? Hire a pro to do the hard work for you.

Michelle Fayssoux