If you are looking for Ecommerce SEO tactics and strategies (or perhaps even search for a link building service agency that would do the heavy lifting for you), you are in the right place!
My name is Artem and I run LinksHero, a white hat link building agency that helps Ecommerce companies tap into FREE organic traffic from Google, become less dependent on Zuck ads (😏) and ultimately increase that profit margin!
Unlike any other link building agencies, I, just like you, own an Ecommerce store and I’m going to give it all to you “as is”.
If you are ready to learn about how SEO Ecommerce link building really works, keep reading!
4 Link Building Mistakes in Ecommerce
To be honest, link building for e-commerce, just like link building for startups, is not that complicated but…you can still screw up!
If you want to get your business ranking high up as soon as possible, do NOT make these 4 mistakes!
1. Build Links to Product Pages Without Analysis
Getting links to product pages seems like the most sensible thing to do, right?
Nope! Obviously not!
You first need to see what is actually ranking on Page 1 for the search term you are trying to rank for – are those pages product pages?
- Are they collection pages?
- Or are they comparison pages?
- Pure info content?
Make sure that you know exactly what Google LIKES on Page 1 and build links to that type of content.
Building backlinks to anything that Google doesn’t want on Page 1 is futile (e.g. that frequently happens with product pages and collections).
And you don’t want to risk your Ecommerce site doing that.
Giveaway: don’t just have backlinks pointing to product pages! In most cases, you need to be acquiring them for collections pages!
See Also – Effective Email Outreach for SaaS
2. Lack of Interlinking
This is far too common in Ecommerce online business world.
Link your products with the collections they belong to and link them between each other as well.
Not only will it help your potential clients to learn more about the alternatives (and interact with your brand) but it will also improve the rankings by passing that authority from one page to another.
Seriously, interlinking is one of the most helpful little SEO things you can do for your Ecommerce store to help in rank better in Google and other search engines.
Giveaway: link to your collections from individual product pages (you can use the product description field); it will also help to create a cluster around the keywords you want to rank for, meaning that it will become easier to gain positions in SERPs!
3. Relying on External Links Too Much
We get clients coming in with high hopes for link building but their basic game is not in check – they are missing supporting informational content; their on-page SEO is not even good; loading speed is just too bad…
In SEO links are not a silver bullet!
Don’t waste your money on link building if you haven’t set your store to succeed!
Talking of money…
Giveaway: external backlinks are vital for ranking…especially for tougher keywords, but…they are not a silver bullet! You still need great content being published…continuously!
4. Not Creating Informational Content
Not creating purely informational articles for your Ecommerce site is also a mistake.
It stalls your business’s development for a number of reasons.
First, you are less likely to get links from other websites – people don’t tend to link to product and collection pages (unless these are some outstandingly amazing products).
Second, you are missing the chance to link back to your own products and collection pages. Internal linking, especially when supported by rich informational content, can give a massive boost to your organic rankings.
Third, if you are not creating content for your visitors, search engines are not getting anything new to feed on as well. This is not the signal you want to give them.
Instead, you want to give them blog post after blog post. This shows that you are, at least, making an effort and that can produce significant traffic increase.
I observed that on a couple of occasions after an Ecommerce website ramped up the amount of articles they published in their blog. Coupled with the quality links we were getting them, this produced beautiful traffic increase.
Giveaway: product pages, categories etc…are all great ways of getting high-intent traffic; however, you should invest in creating Top of the Funnel content, as it helps with rankings, generates brand awareness and helps you with sales!
If you are like me, then you LOVE getting FREE organic traffic from Google.
However, to really get there, you need to invest quite some time and money into actually making it happen.
If you are planning on acquiring backlinks with your internal team, then you need, at least, $2500 per month to get 10 high quality relevant links pointing to your store. That includes the cost of staff, software, cost of link placement and content creation.
If you are looking to get quality links with the help of a link building agency, then you should also account for the same amount – $2500 for 10 links.
The costs are broken down as follows:
- A trained link prospector finds 70 opportunities in a 8-hour shift
- Conversion rates vary from 0.5-3%
- Hence we get ~1 link in 11 hours of work (we should also account for reply and project management time)
- Link fees vary from $50 to $150+
- As follows, $250 per quality link is absolute minimum
Talking of quality link and what exactly is it..?
3 Characteristics of a Quality Link
What makes a great link?
None of us is Google so it’s hard to tell every single parameter we have to consider in order to say with certainty that any given link is great however…we know something!
1. Organic Traffic
This one is huge, because, according to the study done by Ahrefs (SEO tool), 90.63% of content gets no traffic from Google. So if we get links from websites (and ideally pages) that have traffic, then we are already doing a very good job as we get a positive signal (a link) from a website that’s loved by Google (as it gets traffic).
Generally, we only take links from websites with more than 1000 unique monthly visitors.
There are some caveats though. For example, getting a link from a website with traffic that has just experienced a major decline is, perhaps, not the best idea.
2. Domain Rating (DR)
This metric created by Ahrefs (Moz has Domain Authority (DA) as a far less accurate alternative – see how to increase domain authority) has nothing to do with Google but it’s a good proxy to have when it comes to quickly analyzing websites by their authority (i.e. power). This is a logarithmic variable, which means that getting from 20 to 30 is lot less harder than getting from 30 to 40.
When we build links for clients and my own store, we only get links with DR40+. These links are powerful enough to move the needle quicker as they are coming from more reputable and established websites.
3. Page Relevance
This quality characteristic is frequently misunderstood and link builders tend to make this as vague as possible but it really shouldn’t be that way.
If you are getting backlinks to a collection page that covers “mesh back office chairs”, then you want links to be coming from the pages that contain these keywords (mesh, back, office, chairs). They should ideally be present in Page Title, URL, subheadings and/or the body text.
So if you get a link to your “mesh back office chairs” collection page from an article about…cement?..then it wouldn’t do anything (even if you have “mesh back office chairs” used in the anchor text). Don’t waste your money!
The Most Effective (& Efficient) Backlink Strategies
We are in business here and business…it’s all about making things effective and efficient.
When it comes to acquiring backlinks, we want to get links as cheap and as fast as possible (given the limitations we have from Google, when it comes to link velocity).
Given that, here is my list of the most effective link building strategies I personally use when hunting for backlinks to my own and our clients’ stores.
These links are added to already existing articles which makes them really good because they are able to pass the accumulated authority to your Ecommerce website immediately.
They also require a lot less work when compared to guest posting and other techniques.
They are also typically cheaper than the guest posts.
You can find them using two ways:
- Find an already existing piece of content that has a ton of links. Create something that’s better (or just give it a different spin) and reach out to all those websites that linked to the original piece pitching whatever you have created.
- Simply find related websites on Google and pitch them a guest post. When they reply you can negotiate a link placement instead.
This is the most common type of backlinks we built for my own Ecommerce store and our clients’ businesses.
I’m not a fan of this link building strategy because there is a lot of back’n’forth movement.
It goes like this…
You need to find the websites, pitch them whatever you’ve got, wait for the response, follow up, negotiate the terms, get to writing the text, proofread the thing, wait for it to get published.
There are also a few things that can go wrong – they start ghosting you, or don’t like the text you wrote and ask for the edits…it’s gotten quite complicated.
Having said that, if you have a properly built SOP, guest posts are not that hard to scale (even though it’s a lot of work).
Depending on the type of a product you are offering, this can be a very lucrative way to both, build backlinks, and…make sales!
You’d need to find websites that are accepting the products for review or you can find blogs that cover your theme and pitch them what you got.
I tried doing that with one of our supplements clients and got some positive feedback. However, we decided to not proceed in that direction since there were cheaper ways to build backlinks and that sort of campaign would require a different set of KPIs (e.g. sales).
However, with the right spin, you can definitely score some backlinks and…get additional sales!
The best way to make it happen? Start an affiliate program!
For an Ecommerce website, this is a set it and forget it type thing.
I do recommend having an affiliate program in place or, at least, have a page that describes your affiliate program – it doesn’t actually need to be running (yes, a little grey hat but we are entrepreneurs).
Personally, I started an affiliate program on my Shopify store and even reached out to a bunch of bloggers in my niche. That effort wasn’t futile and I do get sales coming from my referrers.
Once you have the affiliate program published, you can just leave it and see how you’d start accumulating links to it with time (you need some luck also).
You can also take a slightly more active approach (I actually recommend this path) and find the pages that include the affiliate programs similar to yours. You’d then ask them to feature your affiliate program as well.
Bonus Tip: check out all the links that are pointing to those pages and reach out to those directly.
How Does a Typical Link Building Campaign Run
Another honest truth – it is not rocket science.
Besides that, we should always focus on the only things that matter:
- Create new content
- Interlink it all
- Build backlinks
Given that, a typical campaign would go like this.
1. Set The Targets
You come in and tell us exactly what you are looking to rank for as soon as possible.
We then run a quick analysis and see whether that’s actually possible at your current state.
In essence, we want to make sure we are setting ourselves to success so we need to:
- You have enough supporting content to rank for a specific keyword
- Your on-page SEO is in check
- Your interlinking game is in check
After that we give you a specific working plan which evolves around your current situation.
For example, when I launched the campaign I first started building links to the homepage using my brand’s name in the anchor text almost exclusively. I’d throw in occasional links with URL in the anchor text as well.
I also had created a lot of supporting content around the products that I want to sell and linked all those articles to the given products and the collections. Remember – interlinking, including those internal links is very important!
After that, I start building links to that supporting content and let it spread the authority to my collections and product pages.
At the same time, I will look into getting links for my collections and product pages. This should be done carefully though.
2. Prospecting for Opportunities
This is when we go out there and search for decent websites with traffic and relevant pages we can get backlinks from or, if we have a proper SOP built out, pitch them some guest posts!
We find approximately 70-90 prospects every day, check them for DR and traffic values. We then record them in our database, find the best contact person and their emails.
3. Outreach Time!
It’s time for sending out cold emails and for that…we need a killer template!
I spend quite a while crafting something that’s worth replying to – that’s an art in itself!
Once that’s taken care of, it’s time to start sending those emails out, manage replies, negotiate the terms and, ultimately, get the links live.
Conversion rates vary, but they typically are at 0.5-3% if you are cold pitching to websites you find on Google.
All the links that go live are recorder into our Link Building Database with the exact date, Source URL, Target URL, anchor text, and fee, where applicable.
The file is shared with our clients in real time so they can quickly see how things are going.
As you can see, a link acquisition campaign is not rocket science but it takes a lot of monotonous, repetitive work that needs to be done over and over again.
4 Other Link Building Strategies You Can Consider
1. Create Outstanding Content And Promote It
In link building we call these “link building assets” or “content assets”. Essentially, these are pages of content that attract backlinks for different reasons. This happens as a result of content marketing – us promoting the heck out of your piece!
Here are some of the examples.
- Ultimate Guide. A thorough piece of informational content can naturally attract backlinks because it’s very useful.
- Statistics. Or any form of research because it allows whoever is using it to make a statement and use the stats as a resource.
- Online tools. Similar idea as the ultimate guide – if it’s useful, it will get backlinks. So if you had an idea for a calculator or another simple software, go for it!
- Something outstanding. If you publish something funny, or feature some sort of a crazy product, it can become a link bait and start accumulating links.
You can definitely combine the above to create a link-worthy piece of content. Build infographics, comics, simple tools or run a podcast with cool guests…sky is the limit here!
I remember we created an infographic for a client once and it got featured in a local news website…he then got a lot of referral traffic and got his investment back from the purchases he made through that single link!
2. Coupon Codes
Generally speaking, if you have a publicly available coupon code available, you start getting all those coupon websites linking to you in no time.
Unfortunately, almost all of those links will not move you up in the rankings but…you can definitely make a twist out of it.
Employers and universities have special sections of discounts offered exclusively for the employees, students and lecturers.
So you can create those ExClUsIvE coupon codes and reach out to them with a special link which will be featured on their high authority websites.
I had it done once with our protein powder client and it worked pretty well!
3. Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
You can try getting high authority backlinks for your Ecommerce store by using HARO, a platform journalists would come to for an “expert insight” on things.
The idea is that they are looking for some insider knowledge and will frequently link back to your site as a source, once you provide them with a useful snippet.
HARO, just like any type of link building, is a numbers game but…it might not work a typical Ecommerce store because…who would link to an Ecommerce store?
However, if you are still looking to give it a go, focus on responding to HARO requests within the first 10 minutes with no more than 200 words of content.
Expect a lot of competition and a longer link placement cycle (up to 45 days).
I personally tried HARO for a bit but it never worked out.
4. Brand Mentions
If you have been in business for a while, there is a good chance you have accumulated some unlinked brand mentions.
These occur when other websites mention your brand or a company name without actually linking to your home or any other page.
The strategy is then to simply find these brand mentions and reach out to the site owners asking them to insert the link there since they already have you mentioned there.
It can be tricky for an Ecommerce site to get these links but with the right twist you can make it happen!
I recommend the “funny approach” when your goal is to make them smile – this helps with conversions BIG TIME.
In fact, being funny in my link building efforts got one of my outreach templates featured on Ahrefs blog!
Need Help To Ramp Things Up?
I love Ecommerce business and the so many cool things you can do with it (I try quite a number of those with my very own Shopify website).
If you are looking to get that FREE organic traffic from Google and other search engines, let’s get on a call and see what we can do for you!
This is a FREE non-binding call where I go over your online shop and give you the best tips you can get in order to rank higher WITHOUT my help.
If there is a fit, we can always help you out and get that ROI as soon as possible!