Marketing on the web is unique in the case of ecommerce brands, and backlink building is no exception to this rule.
Unlike other business websites, most pages on an ecommerce website are dedicated to products. However, not many people are ready and willing to link to a product page. Those who are, usually charge a bomb for such a link.
Not only paying for links is expensive, it also goes against Google’s guidelines on obtaining backlinks.
Another challenge with organic marketing for ecommerce stores is that many stores are operating in extremely competitive industries with many giant players with seemingly endless marketing budgets.
For instance, if you have a store that sells beauty products for women, a couple of your big competitors are Sephora and Ulta Beauty. Competing with such brands can prove to be very difficult for most small brands.
Despite these challenges, link building is a worthwhile undertaking because it contributes tremendous value to your website’s SEO performance and your brand’s visibility.
Not to forget, better SEO strategies can help ecommerce stores reduce their dependence on paid advertising, which is the primary source of business for a significant chunk of ecommerce stores today.
This is not to say that link building is free. Link building, and other organic marketing efforts will still cost you a pretty penny, but mostly in the form of marketing tool subscriptions and content production and of course, time.
However, this investment will provide returns for a long time and when done right, organic marketing efforts like link building also drive a much better ROI than any paid marketing channel out there.
Want to start making this investment right away? Link building is an excellent place to start. However, as mentioned earlier, link building for ecommerce stores can be quite different from link building for other types of business websites.
That’s also the reason why many digital marketing services offer ecommerce SEO and general SEO as two different services.
With that said, different never means impossible. If you are struggling with building links for your ecommerce store, try these strategies:
Invest In Content Production
This advice may have come as no surprise if you have read the introduction of this article.
Content production is one of the most popular and most difficult ways to garner backlinks. This is particularly true because there’s an ocean of content that is being produced almost everyday and being published on the web.
So making your content stand out, especially as an ecommerce store, can be pretty difficult. However, if you are able to perfect the art of content creation, you can expect to be rewarded handsomely.
One of the most popular ways to build links with content is to produce linkable assets.
What are linkable assets?
A linkable asset is (usually) a piece of highly valuable ungated content that lives on your website. Once you have produced and published such a content piece, you start with outreach to bloggers and websites in your niche to link to your valuable piece of content.
As you may have guessed, this strategy only works with truly valuable content. Producing such content usually demands a considerable investment of time or money or both.
With that said, producing valuable content usually delivers results in the long term. Let’s see how by looking at the case study of ProFlowers.
They created this extremely detailed guide about flowers in the US. Looking at the guide, it becomes abundantly clear that a lot of research, expertise, and work went into creating the guide.
The guide has generated over 1,000 backlinks out of which, over 400 are do-follow backlinks.
The guide itself is currently responsible for over 40% of the entire traffic that the website attracts.
Content assets are great for link building but keep in mind that your entire link building strategy with content should not depend on content assets. It’s not scalable or feasible to frequently create investment-intensive content assets. Not to forget, not all of your content assets are guaranteed to perform well.
Besides building content assets, you should also consider creating a blog section. With consistent posting, you can not only expect to increase the number of keywords you can target, but you can also use your blog posts to support your content assets.
Over time, with enough content and proactive planning, you can even turn your website blog into a content asset that you can use for link building. Then, you can pass the ‘link juice’ to your product pages and start generating organic traffic from transactional keywords.
How can you build links to your blog content?
That brings us to our next link building strategy, guest posting.
Theoretically, if your blog content is good enough, it should automatically start generating leads. However, in the real world, where you are competing with millions of other websites for a chunk of digital real estate on the top of SERPs, things don’t happen. You have to make them happen.
One of the best ways to make things happen for your ecommerce store’s backlink profile is to start guest posting.
However, you probably already knew that. There’s also a chance that you tried to guest post and were told by many bloggers to not include links to your product pages.
Having a blog helps you overcome this obstacle.
When you have a blog that contains valuable content, you can contribute valuable content to others and link to the valuable content on your own website.
While this doesn’t mean that everyone you reach out to will agree to add links to your website, the ones that do will still be a lot more than the number of people who agree to link to your product pages.
With that said, all the details about guest posting deserve a dedicated article. Here’s an incredibly detailed guide that you can refer to. To give you an overview, guest posting usually involves the following steps:
- Make A List Of Guest Post Target Websites: The simplest way to do this is to conduct a round of Google searches with some variation of “<niche name> + guest post”. Among the results, you should find a long list of websites in your niche that accept guest content contributions.
- Qualify Targets: To ensure you are only writing guest post content on respectable and authority websites, evaluate them on the basis domain authority, relevance to your business, and the quality of the content currently present on the websites. Getting links from shady websites with poor content is worse than getting no links from anywhere.
- Begin Outreach: After you have qualified your guest posting prospects, reach out to them, preferably with personalized guest posting offers. Don’t forget to follow up with those that don’t reply instantly.
- Deliver Excellent Content: Create and deliver excellent content to the bloggers that accept your contributions. Don’t forget to add links to relevant blog content on your own website. Some bloggers also offer homepage links to your website in an author bio and it is worth your while to explicitly ask every blogger you reach out to if such an arrangement is possible on their blog.
- Promote Content And Invest In Building A Long Term Relationship: Finally, you must promote the guest post on your own social media channels. Make sure you tell the blogger about such promotions and try to foster a long term relationship with them. Some bloggers even offer monthly guest contribution opportunities that you can enquire about.
Broken Link Building
Broken link building is exactly what it sounds like- looking for broken links and making efforts to replace them with relevant content on your own website.
The reason it works is because most webmasters that don’t regularly check the SEO health of their website don’t realise that they have broken outgoing links. It is only when they either suffer a penalty from a search engine, or are told about the broken links, that they are able to do something about them.
With broken link building, our objective is to do the latter, while replacing the broken links with links to our own content.
Let’s break it down into steps:
Step 1: Finding Niche Websites With Broken Links
If you have followed my advice about guest posting, you may already be working on a list of niche websites that you want to target for links.
Even if you don’t have such a list, you can run any industry website you visit (and find interesting) through a backlink checker to analyse the kind of links they have.
If you have a list, run the entire list through the backlink checker and you’ll end up with a list of broken outbound links.
Step 2: Audit Your Content
The next step is to ensure you have relevant content on your website that can be used to replace the broken links you have found.
If you have a blog, there is a chance that you may find a lot of content that can replace the broken links on your target blogs.
If you don’t, you can consider producing content for this purpose. THe best strategy is to find a broken or unavailable resource that a lot of websites are targeting. This way, you only have to create one piece of content and you can collect links from a number of websites.
For all the others, you can save their details and reach out to them when you publish a relevant piece of content.
Step 3: Outreach
Finally, it is time to reach out to the websites with broken links and inform them about the same. In the same email, suggest that they can replace the link with a link to a relevant piece of content on your website.
Don’t forget to follow-up because if you are doing it right, you should have a high success rate with this strategy. So don’t hesitate to assume that the blogger missed your email (for whatever reason) and reach out with a follow up. Ideally, you should pursue every prospect with at least three follow ups.
There you have it, three easy backlink building strategies that you can start implementing right away. With that said, this list is not exhaustive, by a long shot.
If there is an ecommerce link building strategy that has worked well for you, and is not mentioned in this article, feel free to share it with me (and all the other readers) in the comment section below.