Link building, the process of getting links from other websites, improves search engine rankings and traffic, ultimately generating more sales for your business.
Link building is one of the tasks a company must repeatedly do for search engine optimization. But ecommerce sites often struggle with the practice. This is especially true for links to product detail pages.
It is nonetheless necessary work.
In this post, I’ll describe several link-building tactics for ecommerce SEO. While none of these are particularly easy, they can be effective.
In blogger outreach, you contact micro-influencers and encourage them to create content that will link back to your product detail pages or to other resources on your domain.
“Outreach fundamentally involves an exchange of value,” said Rand Fishkin in a Moz video. “As you are going out and attempting to earn a link from someone directly through link outreach, through that one-to-one relationship…if you don’t provide value, if you’re simply asking for something, your success rate is going to be extremely low.”
“Value can be a bunch of different things. Value could be in the ego that it boosts. It could be in the problems that it helps solve. It could be in the form of what you’ve given them in exchange. Lots of things.”
Specifically, Fishkin — who, incidentally, has left Moz and is soon to launch SparkToro, an audience-development tool — and other optimization professionals recommend relevant research, unique visuals like information graphics or videos, embedded and interactive content, and even access to data via an application programming interface.
Here is a scenario. Imagine an online store that sells coffee, tea, and related products. This store might produce a study describing the quality of life for coffee and tea industry workers around the world. The report could point out how these industries have a positive impact in various regions and even associate those regions with the products sold.
Many bloggers (and even a few news outlets) may be willing to produce content around the study and link back to the data and even some of the products mentioned because of its value.
Thus link building outreach is closely related to your content marketing efforts. In content marketing, you are creating, publishing, and distributing content with the goal of attracting, engaging, and retaining customers.
Link-building outreach can be a form of distributing content. Any link-worthy article you produce, any helpful video you make, and any research you invest in can become a source of value for your blogger outreach.
Broken Link Building
“I have mentioned many times before that I love broken link building because the success of the campaign is directly proportional to the good you do for the web,” wrote Moz’s Russ Jones in a 2014 article. “You aren’t attracting links unless you are fixing them.”
With this technique, you will prospect, create content, and reach out to site owners in a way similar to what was described in the previous section.
Along the way, as Jones points out, you will be helping websites remove dead links and improve their users’ experience.
In the prospecting phase, look for authoritative pages that rank for topics or keyword phrases important to your ecommerce business. Develop a list of pages and test them for broken links using tools like the W3C’s Link Checker, Dead Link Checker, or PowerMapper’s SortSite.
Once you’ve identified a broken link, create content that answers the same questions or provides the same value as the original source.
Finally, contact the website owner or manager. Let her know of the broken link and suggest your new resource.
Help a Reporter Out
Help a Reporter Out is an online service to connect journalists with industry experts in every field imaginable.
Consider registering with HARO as an industry expert. You will be notified when a journalist needs help with a related topic, and you can become a source for any articles published. Having your name and your company mentioned in an article does not guarantee a link every time. When it does, however, it can be a very valuable link, since media outlets such as ABC, Reuters, Mashable, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal all use HARO to help find sources.
Mentions of your business (in a positive way) on other websites or social media can help to promote your store and may send curious shoppers your way.
Those mentions can also be an SEO link-building opportunity. Try to find unlinked mentions using a search engine or a monitoring service like Mention, Ahrefs Alert, or Awario.
When you locate a mention of your business that does not link back to your website, simply contact the site owner, thank him for the mention, and ask if he would insert a link.