Links are the currency of the internet and how you rank your website for more competitive queries.
But link building can be really hard especially after Google started their Penguin algorithm undertaking back in 2012. And if you’re trying to build links to your category pages especially, which need them in order to rank well, then you’re going to have a tough time.
But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. You need to get creative and be ready to roll up your sleeves and do some outreach to build those links.
Here are some strategies for ecommerce link building.
In this chapter, you will learn strategies for building links through:
If you read the SEO chapter then you may understand a bit deeper about links and why they matter for SEO. Basically, a link to your site from another site is counted as a vote for your website and will help your website rank better.
That said, link building for ecommerce sites can be very difficult because many products are not inherently useful and attractive to others to link to them without great marketing. As we mentioned in the content marketing section, content can be a great way to build assets on your website that can be outreached and used to attract and build external links to your website so that you can achieve those all important rankings.
At the same time, many ecommerce marketing teams are already overwhelmed and don’t have the bandwidth to execute on content marketing and link building yourselves. This is why many ecommerce companies tend to partner with a link building agency to help them scale their operation, earn more links to the site, and increase traffic and conversions from organic traffic.
One of the best ways to attract links to your category pages is to not only list products on those pages, but also to provide useful content that offers something unique. For example, some sites will put guides to buying products or sizing your shirt or whatever onto their category pages, which not only helps the page to rank better for its intended queries because of more unique and useful relevant content but also because the content itself is inherently useful and people will want to cite it.
One strategy that I see very few undertake but can work well is to annually provide a report for the product with sales numbers, popularity, and changes throughout the years to provide something intriguing for people to read.
If you are a major retailer, then you probably have a direct connection with manufacturers. If so, you can look at this as partnership link building by getting them to reference your website as a place where people can buy their products online.
If you’re a smaller player, you may have a more difficult time getting links to your site from manufacturers so you could look at partners like distributors or review providers who can link to you as a customer.
Another great way to get links back to your site is to offer to write a testimonial for your partners that they can use on their site and link back to your site.
Of course, a great way to get links and earn attention to your content or site is to do traditional link bait like “Top 50 Nike Shoes of the 20th Century” where you rate shoes (or whatever product) by some measurement and then take a stand for what you think is the best product.
This works well because the public is opinionated and people will always disagree with you, which you should welcome!
I’ve done this in the past with awards and reached out to the award winners to offer them content or a badge that they could embed on their site. When taken too far or as your only strategy, it can get you into a bit of trouble but as part of a holistic content/links campaign it can be very effective and whitehat.
This one is a bit more greyhat, but a lot of ecommerce companies will give away products to bloggers and professional reviewers in exchange for the writeup of their product on popular review sites. One effect of a review like this, from product given for free, can often be more links back to your website.
I must reiterate that this can be seen as manipulative. My main suggestion would be to not require a link back, as that will certainly get you into trouble if exposed. Instead, offer the blogger the product for free in exchange for the review and don’t say anything about links. If you do want to talk about links for the referral traffic, then mention to them that the link should be nofollowed so that it is not manipulative.
Another great way to get links back to your site is to offer your images as resources for other sites to use, as long as they link back to you as credit. I should also mention that instead of them hotlinking and using the image to link back to its own URL, you should instead ask them to credit your site overall, as in the homepage, for the link. This way you can drive more links that will help the rest of your site rank.
Another way to get links back to your site is to periodically take some of your more popular images and products and do a reverse Google Image search to identify the sites that have used your images that you should ensure are linking back to you.
Here are sites using my personal image of me and my dog, and I should be sure are linking to Credo!
If you’re building an ecommerce store, you know how important it is to have links to your site so that you can rank for the products you are trying to sell.
Hopefully this section has helped you to better understand link building for ecommerce and some of the strategies you can employ to build links. If you want to learn more, we recommend Paddy Moogan’s Link Building Book ($37 purchase).
This page last updated on October 3, 2022 by John Doherty
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