If you have an e-commerce site and want to crush the competition, you’ve probably already read about the importance of SEO and link building.
Link building is the practice of getting other websites on the internet to link back to your site. Each link you acquire is a “vote” that tells search engines your page is trustworthy.
Link building to any site is tough, but it can be especially difficult for e-commerce sites.
In this guide, we’ll discuss the top tactics for building e-commerce links so you can start ranking for your target keywords and generate sales.
Which E-Commerce Companies Can Benefit from Link Building?
The real answer is: all e-commerce brands can benefit from link building. Online shopping had already taken the world by storm before the pandemic, but the trend became white-hot once shoppers were quarantining at home. According to Statista, online sales are here to stay with projections shown to reach 8 trillion dollars in sales by 2026.
That said, the companies that we tend to see invest in link building most are those that sell high-priced premium products or those that sell a large volume of products, regardless of price.
The reason for this is it’s much easier to see a return on investment when your average order value is in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Effective SEO is not cheap, and some companies invest five-figures or more on a monthly basis to maintain a flowing customer pipeline.
Why Link Building Can Be Game-Changing for Most E-Commerce Brands
Let’s take a look at a company like this one who sells jade necklaces. Some of these necklaces sell for $9,000 a piece!
One of their category pages is ranking for the keyword “jade necklaces”, which gets searched more than 1,000 times a month.
They’re in position 6, beating big box stores like Kohl’s and JCPenney.
However, the top three listings are the ones that get the most clicks. And to make matters worse, there are a ton of ads occupying the top half of the search engine results page.
To compete with sites like Macy’s or Etsy, they will need more links directed to this product page. Currently, they have backlinks from 3 referring domains.
With some effort, this brand should be able to acquire more links (at least 10) than any of the competitors on the first page. This is great news!
Compare this with much the more competitive terms we see in SaaS SEO, like GDPR compliance:
There are a number of reasons why SaaS as a whole tends to be more competitive when it comes to SEO–SaaS companies tend to have bigger budgets and more stable revenue streams.
E-commerce, on the other hand, is still a wide open field–companies stand to see outsized benefits if they’re simply first in their niche to invest in SEO.
Let’s take a look at another e-commerce site–this one is for products that have a lower price point but keywords with higher search volumes, like “dinosaur backpack”.
This particular keyword can have as many monthly searches as 26,000 but the average monthly search is around 8k.
The average backpack is priced at $30. If they get 120 purchases, that’s around $3,000 in sales.
All of the listings here are household names except for the brand in position 10. However, several sites like Macy’s and Ebay don’t even have a single link.
It’s worth noting that building links to individual product and category pages is critical to rank for target keywords; however, this brand also has a much weaker overall backlink profile (i.e., a DR of 7 compared with sites in the 80s and 90s), so it will be an uphill battle to crack the top 3.
Looking for e-commerce links?
Linkflow is highly experienced in helping multi-million dollar brands acquire more search engine traffic.
What Kind of E-Commerce Backlinks Should You Look For?
Link building tactics can help you improve the number of backlinks you’re getting, but the quality of the backlinks you’re acquiring is even more important. Spending too much time on a NoFollow link is probably not worth the effort.
At a high level, here are the top considerations when evaluating a potential link:
- Domain Rating (DR): The higher the DR, the more beneficial the link is. Getting a link from sites with a DR >30 are more worth your while. The more topically relevant the site, the more forgiving you can be of a lower DR.
- Page/site relevance: If you’re looking for a link to your kitchenwares page, it wouldn’t make sense to include it on a page about stock market tips–even if it’s on a high-DR site.
Top E-Commerce Link Building Tactics
Here’s a list of the six most effective ways to build links for your e-commerce website.
Reach out to industry influencers and trade publications
This can be difficult because site owners are sometimes reluctant to link to obviously commercial pages.
However, some influencers will 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 would be a great place to reach out to:
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 CNBC and USA 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, it’s a popular practice to create a scholarship for college students. Universities like to link to these pages to promote them to their students (and .edu links tend to confer lots of authority).
Utilize 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.
Let’s say a company like Basepaws is browsing the listings (they make Cat DNA tests).
This listing is the perfect opportunity! While it doesn’t specify the magazine, we can reasonably assume that the Domain Rating is high because it is a national one.
The key to HARO 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 homepages.
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!
For example, 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 a great public relations strategy.
Chewy has a page on their site which talks about all the work they do in support of local shelters. It has many relevant backlinks including one from this Humane Society with a DR of 57.
Create Link Bait or Linkable Assets
At the beginning of this article, I referenced an article containing growth trend projections for e-commerce. I found this article by searching “ecommerce stats” and then credited the website (Statista) for the information by including a backlink.
Informational posts are great linkable assets that can attract a large volume of links.
You’ll want to do some keyword research to see what kind of stats/data/trends people are searching for–then, create an article on that topic.
For example, a diet pill company that is focused on college students could create a resource on diet statistics.
Note that your site should be authoritative enough to easily rank on page 1 for the target term. Otherwise, you’ll need to build links to your link building asset!
Appear on a podcast
Podcasts are a two-fold marketing opportunity–you get to promote your product to relevant audiences and usually, the podcast will include a link to your website in their 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.
One of the most common podcast types out there are business podcasts. These podcasts usually ask you to share your story about how you built your e-commerce brand.
Here’s an example:
This founder was interviewed on the SaaS Club podcast. At the bottom of the episode page, there’s a link to his company’s homepage.
Tip: Be sure to 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.
Steal Competitor Links
Find the top websites ranking for your target keyword and analyze their backlink profiles. Identify which websites are linking to them and send an outreach email asking them to either replace the competitor link with yours or include yours in addition to your competitor’s.
We take the guesswork out of e-commerce link building.
Talk with one of our SEO experts today to learn more about how we can help you get more traffic.
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 United States”. 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.
- Blogs help grow 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.
- Blogs generate links more naturally than commercial pages: Blog content is more informational in nature and informational content is great for attracting natural links.
Caveat: We recommend first targeting your site’s category and product pages because those will drive the most revenue. However, a blog can be your next focus if you have a solid category/product SEO strategy underway.
Every year, thoughtfully designed e-commerce sites with a great selection of products fail to generate revenue because they’ve neglected link building.
It’s true–link building is time-consuming and difficult–but by implementing the tactics in this guide, you’ll give yourself the best chance at making sales and beating the competition.