Link building is an important part of creating a successful ecommerce website. Links are the backbone of SEO; up to 50% of SEO success is attributed to link building (1). Frequently, ecommerce websites struggle with link building as they feel it is something that they don’t have full control over. Like all other aspects of SEO, link building requires effective strategies and perseverance. This article will teach you how to approach link building for your ecommerce website as well as some creative link building strategies that work in any industry.
What is Link Building?
High-value, Quick returns
- Review Sites
- Coupon Sites
- Original Content
Ethical Low Returns
- Blog Posts
- FAQ Sections
- Paid Directory Link Building
Grey Hat Strategies
- Guest Posts
- Footer Links
Down Right Cheeky
- Spinning Content
- Using Old Link and Resource Pages
What is Link Building?
Link building is the process involved in getting other websites to link to yours. There are two types of links: internal and external. Internal links are links that redirect people from a page on your website to a page on your website. Link building refers to external links, which are links to other websites. Every link to your website is a vote of confidence and trust. Link building is very important for establishing authority for your website.
There are three types of authority which play a big role in SEO:
- Domain Authority: this refers to all links connected to the domain.
- Page Authority: this refers only to links which are connected to a single page in question.
- Link Authority: this is about the authority a link confers from page A to page B.
The more authority your website can foster the better. Authority is conferred on your website if it is linked to from a trusted website like CNN.com for example.
Trust also plays a big part in link building. Trust refers to the degree to which search engines trust your domain. Domains earn trust over time, by adhering to Google’s guidelines, and through receiving links from other trustworthy websites. Media outlets like newspapers are good examples of trustworthy websites. If you are building trustworthy links in a natural way, your domains level of trust should increase over time.
Lastly, relevancy is an important topic when it comes to link building. A relevant link refers to a link from a page of the same theme or topic. If you’re in the business of selling ink, you might be aiming to get a link from a blog post about the best place to get printer ink. The relevancy of links will also influence the importance of topics on your website.
High-value, Quick Return
High-value backlinks come from pages with high SEO trust scores. This high score indicates that the website creates original, valuable, and authoritative content that is relevant to its audience. Receiving a link from one of these websites can boost your domain’s search engine evaluation. Being connected to a link like this indicates that your website publishes thoughtful content that other websites might want to share with their users. It is also a sign that your website is an authoritative resource in the industry. Below we will discuss three ways in which your business can create high-value links with quick returns.
1. Review Sites
A quick and easy way to create high-value links is to get your business on a review site. Start by searching for a review site relevant to your industry. Adding a profile for your business automatically creates backlinks to your website. Many review sites encourage you to provide basic details of your business and what you specialise in. Utilise the opportunity to share your web address and contact details. As well as this, encourage customers to write reviews or to give you star ratings on that external site.
2. Coupon sites
Using coupon websites is a popular strategy for ecommerce brands. Discounting products may seem like a worrying strategy at first but it has beneficial side-effects. By submitting your products or services to coupon websites you are building a link which will improve your site traffic. Ensure that each time you submit a promotional offer to a new platform you are guaranteed a backlink to your website. Over time you should see improved traffic on your site.
3. Original Content
Creating high-value links is vital but you don’t want to get bogged down in creating them all yourself. As we have already seen, fostering high-value links from external websites is a useful tactic. If you are looking for a more proactive way to create high-value links, you should create your own content. This is a very straightforward, very successful strategy. By writing good articles, blog posts, or content with original insights, you are going to capture the attention of the search engine. Interesting, authoritative, and relevant content is a factor in higher SEO ranking. Originality as well as knowing your audience is what you should be striving for in your content. Trying to beat competitors by using the same content that can be found elsewhere on the web isn’t going to cut it. What gives your website the edge over another if the content is the same? Original content results in more people engaging with and sharing your website. Your content being shared is a form of backlinking in itself but it also encourages backlinks.
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Ethical Low Return
There are many ways to invest ethically in your domain to yield a steady return. Below we will discuss three ethical link building tactics that will transform your website for the better.
1.Create a Blog
Having a blog on your website is useful for creating content that will result in more links. This content can be anything from trending topics, information about your business, or interesting things happening in your industry. This is also a good place to publish infographics. Creating original and interesting blog content is the only the first step to making link-worthy content. After you have your content it is vital that you contact industry leaders and industry relevant media outlets to tell them about your content. This is what will lead to a higher level of backlink creation.
2. Create an FAQ section
This is a quick and easy step towards effective link building. You can probably think of 10 FAQs off the top of your head. By doing a small amount of research across forums like Quora, Yahoo! Answers, and Reddit, you will start to see a pattern of questioning that arises for your industry. After researching the types of questions people are asking of your niche across these platforms, tools like AnswerThePublic.com will help you to come up with hundreds of FAQs to populate your site.
When you are writing your FAQ section it is best to prioritise them according to search volume. Divide them into topics to make it easier to navigate for visitors. The most successful FAQ pages are as informative as possible. Including visuals, links, and videos on the topic can lead to more original content. The best method for organising the information is the inverted pyramid method; give the answer to the question at the very beginning.
You might be wondering how an FAQ section will lead to authoritative links. Visitors are looking for quick, competent answers to their queries. If you are an authority on a topic, it will lead to people sharing those answers across social media and discussion platforms. As well as this, if your FAQ ranks well enough you might be eligible for a featured snippet result. This is when Google displays a short paragraph of text at the top of the search results in order to quickly answer a search question. It is taken from web pages in Google’s index.
When your FAQ page has gained authority it is important to distribute that authority among the other pages on your site. This is done through linking FAQ pages to other pages on your site which will add value to those pages as well as adding authority.
3. Paid Directory Link Building
Paid directory link building services can be difficult to navigate. Most web directories aren’t worth your time, however there are some that will confer trust and influence on your website. The best way to utilise this strategy is to submit to a small number of authoritative directories rather than paying for a package that promises to submit your information to thousands of places. In order to get more bang for your buck, you should choose a category that has the most PR. Even if your content only fits into the category marginally, it is always best to choose the category with the most authority. Choosing a category with PR can double the value of your directory link. This technique is Google approved but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be recalled by the search engine in the near future. It is vital to avoid directories which could be categorised by search engines as untrustworthy. Things to look out for in this instance are directories that are too wide-ranging, or that list controversial websites.
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Grey Hat Strategies
As the name suggests, grey hat strategies reside in a grey area of sorts. One must be wary of using grey hat tactics as some of them are on the outer limits of Google’s TOS, but if you have a high tolerance for risk, these may be for you. It is important to approach using these strategies with caution, but utilised correctly they can yield a good return. Below we will discuss two grey hats strategies that could suit your business.
This strategy has been around for a while and is a very common SEO technique. The main purpose of guest posts is to create partnerships with other websites in order to contribute content to their site. Where this practice becomes grey hat is when a guest post is written for the express purpose of creating a backlink and nothing else. There are a number of websites that exist solely for this purpose.
2. Footer Links
As we have already explored, the more quality and authoritative links on your website, the higher you will rank on search engines. The same applies to links in your footer. Here are a list of some things you could link to in your footer to improve your Google ranking:
- Contact Us
- Social Media Icons
- Email Subscription Option
- Blogs or Articles
These links will help visitors to navigate your site as well as encouraging them to stay on your site. When they reach the end of a page you want it to be clear where they should go next. This encourages more traffic on more of your pages, leading to better rankings in search engines.
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Down Right Cheeky
There are a lot of down right cheeky tactics for link building online these days. Often these practices are either against search engine guidelines or in a grey area of sorts. These unethical tactics often result in penalties for the domain owner.
3. Spinning Content
Spinning content is seen as a grey hat tactic. This strategy involves taking someone else’s content, making some changes to it, and posting it as your own. This tactic is normally used for link building through articles. The standard of the changes you make to the original article are imperative. There are a number of online tools which can make the article different enough to pass Copyscape and as a result will not be considered plagiarism. If you decide to follow this tactic, make sure to read through what has been spun to ensure that it makes sense. As always, you are using these strategies at your own risk.
2. Using Old Link and Resource Pages
Buying expired domains that have hundreds of links connected to them is the quickest way to build a blog network with authority. The safest way to do this is to keep the domain and build links to your pages. If the domain has a lot of authority, you can set links to your pages while keeping the domain separate. This is not the most powerful way to use an expired domain but it is the most risk-free.
You can also set the landing page of the old domain to redirect visitors to your site. In order for this to work the domain will have to be from the same industry as your business. The things to keep in mind with this strategy are whether this domain is relevant to you and whether the domain has any pre-existing penalties. The domain should be from the same industry as your business as this will effect the trust of your site and the external links. To check whether a domain has a penalty you can use tools like Google Sandbox or Penalty Checker Tool.
Having effective link building tactics in place at your business is imperative for the overall health of your SEO. Sometimes it can feel as though SEO ranking is out of your control but by following some of these simple steps you can focus on creating high-value links with continuous rewards. By focusing on ethical and high-value strategies, you can be secure in the knowledge that your website is prepared for big business.