5 Effective Link Building Strategies for eCommerce Sites
Author bio: This is a guest post by Nick Chernets. Nick Chernets is the founder of DataForSEO, a leading provider of SEO data for the marketing technology industry. With an API-led approach to data delivery, DataForSEO is enabling hundreds of software businesses to enhance their products with reliable, accurate, and fresh data.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a complex domain that comprises different disciplines - one of which is link building. When you build links, you try to get as many relevant, high-authority websites to link back to your website’s content.
Link building helps your site in two ways. First, a backlink placed in a high-traffic site has a good chance of generating traffic back to your site. Second, it sends a signal to Google that your site is accurate, relevant, and authoritative.
Many people seem to think that eCommerce websites don’t need to go all-in with link building since they’re in the business of selling products, not content. However, just like any other online business, eCommerce brands need to build reputable backlinks from reputable sites to their content to get good positions in search results. With that in mind, here are a few ways for you to do a proper link-building campaign.
Table of Contents
- Run a guest posting campaign
- Conduct competitor backlink analysis
- Develop your professional network
- Run contests, promotions & collaborations
- Set up an affiliate marketing program
Run a guest posting campaign
Some expert content marketers believe that guest posting isn’t as effective as it once was, and in a way, that is indeed true. In the early days of digital marketing, it was easier to see an improvement in your search result rankings through link building.
Nowadays, it is a lot more competitive. Google and its other alternatives have also got smarter and are more adept at filtering out spammy backlinks and low-quality content.
Building backlinks through guest posting is effective if you focus on quality over quantity. The value-first approach that Google has taken regarding page-ranking factors has given a definite advantage to brands that put a lot of effort into creating useful, actionable content and publishing that content on high-authority sites.
To find quality sites for your guest post, you want to find suitable sites in your niche. You may use either Google search or a keyword database to search for relevant websites based on the types of keywords you are targeting.
Another approach is to review the backlink profile of an authority site in your niche. Through reviewing the backlink profile, you can identify sites where you might want to guest post.
Once you’ve created a list of suitable sites, you can contact the content manager to ask if they accept guest posts. While many sites have a “Contact Us” form, emailing the person in charge of content is more effective as an outreach method. You may download LinkedIn contacts or use an email finder to get site content managers’ correct email addresses.
Reach out to the editor and pitch your guest post idea. The editor will usually direct you to the guest posting guidelines, which usually include the tone, topics, and the number of backlinks you can add to a post.
Conduct competitor backlink analysis
Regardless of industry or niche, you need to figure out who your competitors are and what they’re doing. SEO and backlinking are no exceptions.
Several tools like Alexa, SEMrush, and others allow you to conduct thorough backlink analysis.
Using a suitable tool, you can review the backlink profile of a competitor site or a particular piece of content on their site. You can assess each of the referring domains’ authority and figure out the websites and pages you want to secure links.
If I were to review the backlink profile of DataForSeo, for example, I could do one of the following:
- Review the total referring domains to a site
- Look at the most popular pages on the site
An analysis of the most popular pages on the site would help me identify relevant keywords I could target. It would also help me understand how competitive it is to rank for some of these search terms.
If I was a competitor, I could do a granular examination of each of the most popular pages. An analysis of the backlinks to each page might help me identify possible opportunities for a link insert campaign. For example, if the page was getting a link from a roundup post, I could send an email to the editor at that site to ask if they would include my tool in the article.
Competitor backlink analysis can even help you improve your guest posting strategy. You can make a consolidated list of authority sites and pitch guest posts to them as well. I briefly discussed how you could take this approach in the previous section.
As SEO is a continuous process, you need to keep yourself updated about your competitors. The best eCommerce brands regularly assess their competitors’ performance to use as a guide for fine-tuning and future-proofing their strategy.
Develop your professional network
Individuals and brands alike need a network of friendly partners to survive in the long run. Your professional network can help your link building.
For example, if you know someone who runs a blog in your niche, it will be relatively easy to land a guest post on their site. There are also other types of collaboration you can explore. For example, they might recommend products that you sell. You can also enter into a partnership with a related brand for co-sponsored posts, brand collaborations, and other exchanges.
It’s important to grow your professional network. Industry meet-ups are a great way to start. They offer a good venue for introducing yourself to people and organizations that can help you in the long run.
If you’d rather keep things online, professional social media platforms like Linkedin are a great way to start your professional network. Growing your LinkedIn network is relatively straightforward. You can do the following:
- Create a list of businesses where you want to guest post
- Identify who in the company you should connect with
- Send a LinkedIn connection request to that person
- Follow up by introducing yourself and pitching a guest post
The nice thing about LinkedIn networking is that it takes just 10-20 minutes a day on the platform to grow your network. You can then leverage that network for years to come.
Run contests, promotions & collaborations
When it comes to marketing your brand, promos and incentives are a great way to generate sales and raise your profile. Promos can also indirectly result in backlinks as site owners promote tempting offers to their audience.
Using contests, promotions, and collaborations for link building can be effective. For example, you can run a viral giveaway that encourages your brand’s followers to promote your offer through social media for a chance of winning prizes. Take this campaign from Topaz Labs as an example.
Topaz Labs ran a viral promotion online. The promotion generated 44,853 new emails, 14,206 new followers on YouTube, 13,105 social shares, plus 3,973 new trial accounts. All of these leads have undoubtedly helped boost traffic to their site. Moreover, it probably increased branded search, which can also help Google understand more about your business and help you rank for key terms in your niche.
The same goes for promotions and collaborations. You may reach out to influencers and offer free products or a trial of your tool. In return for the gift, they review your product and post it on their blog or social sites.
Ecommerce websites run promotions and collaborations all the time. While these forms of marketing are commonly associated with product launches, they can also help increase your site’s web ranking through the sheer number of backlinks that they will generate for you.
Set up an affiliate marketing program
An affiliate marketing program is similar to a promotion in that you let other people do the selling for you. However, affiliate marketing differs from promotions and collaborations in that you give your affiliate sites a share of the revenue from the sales they generate.
How is this relevant to link building? Most affiliate marketers promote your product using an “affiliate link”, which tracks traffic flow from an affiliate site to your site for payment purposes.
Amazon is probably the most noteworthy brand that uses affiliate marketing. Its affiliate links are everywhere: on Facebook posts, YouTube videos, and blogs. Amazon’s affiliate marketing program is so popular that many individuals earn a good amount of revenue as affiliates.
Besides giving your potential affiliate partners a chance to earn something on the side, affiliate links are also legitimate backlinks that can influence how Google sees your sites. For example, if a well-known influencer posts an affiliate link to your site, that backlink can increase your site’s domain rating. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone: you expand your marketing reach while building up your backlink profile.
Link building is important to an eCommerce brand’s SEO. By securing high-quality backlinks to your site, you can improve your search ranking and increase traffic from organic searches.
There are a variety of ways to build backlinks to your websites at no cost. For instance, you can get quality backlinks by publishing guest posts on high-authority sites in your niche. Alternatively, you can conduct competitor analysis to find backlink opportunities, or you can leverage your professional network. Finally, don’t overlook competition, promotions, and affiliate marketing.
Figure out the combination of approaches that drives the most results with minimal expenditure, roll with it, and watch your organic online presence soar!
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