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.
If link building were all about purchasing power and ad spend, only large ecommerce websites like Amazon and Etsy 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As you build valuable inbound links to your website, you’ll simultaneously build domain authority (DA).
Domain authority is a metric developed by Moz to predict how well a website will rank within the search engine results pages (SERPs). Domain authority is scored on a scale of 1-100 and is calculated based on several factors, including the number of backlinks to each domain.
The ultimate goal isn’t to get a DA score of 100. DA will always fluctuate and a score of 100 is nearly impossible. The true value of increasing your DA score is knowing that you’re racing ahead of your competitors in terms of your position in the search engines.
Your goal should be to use DA to gauge how well your site ranks compared to your competitors – and then catch up if you’re behind. For example, say a local competitor scores 63 while your domain scores 37. That indicates that your competitor is likely ranking higher in the SERPs. Knowing where you stand compared to your competitor gives you the opportunity to beef up your SEO strategy.
You can’t get sales without relevant traffic, but traffic can be expensive depending on your industry. Even the cheapest paid traffic still costs money. You need all the free organic traffic you can get.
Link building through high-quality content marketing will generate free, relevant, organic traffic from both search engines and other websites.
Part of link building is intertwined with content marketing. A good portion of traffic will come from content published on other websites since users tend to click on links embedded in well-written, helpful content.
When you have high-quality backlinks, your customers will perceive you as trustworthy. The idea is if you’re not trustworthy, nobody would link to your site.
One way to display your credibility is to post “featured on/in” graphical badges on your website whenever you’re able to get links on high authority websites that people know and trust.
For instance, say you get a feature piece published on one of the top entrepreneurial websites. Let your visitors know your business was featured on that site with a graphical badge. It’s an instant credibility boost.
Plenty of companies offer link building services, but not all services are equal. There are a lot of black hat link building tactics out there and you need to be careful. Although most black hat link building tactics were abandoned after major Google algorithm changes wiped out link farms, some businesses still employ small-scale versions of these tactics.
If you get unknowingly sucked into a bad link generating scheme, your site – and your rankings – will suffer. Google constantly blacklists websites that publish spammy content that add no value to the internet. If your link profile is made up of links from spammy sites, all of your link building efforts could disappear in an instant.
To build high-quality backlinks, you need to partner with a professional, reputable SEO and content marketing agency. Link building is a complex, multi-faceted marketing strategy best executed with the support of a professional marketing team.
Managing an eCommerce business is tough, but with our help, you won’t have to work so hard – at least where SEO is concerned. When you partner with us, our link building experts will handle all the technical details so you can stop worrying about becoming an expert overnight. We’ll take care of everything from finding high-quality link sources to producing the content required to publish your links.
Curious about your backlink profile, then we suggest taking a look at our backlink checker tool.
At SEO.co, we take the challenge of SEO and link building service and make it accessible to even the smallest of online merchant businesses 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, increase average order value and ultimately produce conversions.
For more information on how we can help your business craft a personalized link building strategy, please contact us today!
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