Today, we share seven of our most-effective link building strategies that your ecommerce business can leverage to achieve SEO success.

Read the full article below or download the guide as a PDF.

Link building strategies for ecommerce websites

Link building is, arguably, the most challenging pillar of SEO, but it can also be the most impactful. Alongside content and technical SEO, an ecommerce website’s backlink profile is extremely influential in helping it achieve greater visibility for its target keywords. 

We share some of our favourite ways of acquiring valuable links to boost your online retail business.

1. Earn links through great on-site content

By creating high-quality, relevant content, your website can serve as a link-worthy resource for customers and professionals within your industry. Link-worthy content can be both evergreen and topical and can be anything from a fun infographic to a large-scale industry report. Likewise, buying guides, how-to’s and review content can be great for answering informational intent.

This is an often-overlooked aspect of informational content, as most businesses only look at blogs and guides in terms of on-page SEO signals. Earning natural backlinks in this way can be extremely rewarding, but it certainly helps to be proactive in sharing the content with industry publications as well. For more information on leveraging informational content, check out our blog on creating blogging strategies.

2. Write guest posts for industry related websites

The guest post approach is a great way to shout out about your particular knowledge and expertise through written content whilst building links. This strategy can get your content across to a particular target audience niche, which can then lead to referral traffic as a result of your article’s success.

Many reputable publications include do-follow backlinks in their guest post articles as they understand the value it brings to the contributor. While a guest post with an unlinked mention or no-followed backlink is still valuable, it is usually worth prioritising “do-follow” links as these will be more rewarding for your website’s strength in your backlink profile. Therefore, it’s important to gauge whether or not a potential opportunity tends to host “do-follow” backlinks.

By doing a quick inspection of the source code on-page, you can identify whether or not they use the “nofollow” attribute when hosting links. If a website does host followed links, the source code would simply show you href=[URL] and the rest of the html.

3. Offer a product or service for review 

Another great strategy is working with journalists and popular bloggers to feature your product in upcoming buying guides. Both journalists and bloggers will often send out a request on tools like Gorkana and Response Source asking for companies to send them products in exchange for a review. 

Simply offering free product samples to relevant influential contacts in your niche is a powerful way of boosting your ecommerce site’s referral traffic and backlink profile. It’s important to do your research and focus on relevant blogs and publications, however, as Google attributes more value to backlinks from topically-relevant sources. Choosing the biggest publications and influencers does not always result in the most impactful links.

As part of our digital PR services, we continuously monitor journalist requests for any quick opportunities to get your brand mentioned! 

4. Run a competitor backlink analysis to find quick wins

Investigate your competitor’s link building efforts to find websites open to feature your competitors, which means that they could be willing to feature your website.

Using tools such as the Moz Link Explorer or Ahrefs, you will be able to audit a competitor’s backlink profile. With this information, you can start to get an idea of where your competitors have been featured, and why. 

Finding opportunities is one thing, but we want to make sure that backlinks to our sites are going to be of value. Getting backlinks in a quantity over quality approach will not only reduce the effectiveness of link building, but it can actually do harm to a site’s ranking performance.

For an opportunity to be considered a good one to pursue, the potential website should get a reasonable amount of traffic in order for it to hold value. You should ensure that the opportunity has the potential to bring referral traffic to your website. Ideally the website should also include do-follow backlinks as standard. Using SEM Rush, you can analyse a potential website’s estimated organic and paid traffic. This metric will give you a good indication of the quality of the potential opportunity.

You can also use these tools to find broken backlinks pointed to your competitors’ websites. It is very common for ecommerce websites to remove pages when they go out of stock, which means the source of the link is pointing to a broken page. You can contact these publications to point this out and provide a replacement example on your ecommerce site, earning a valuable backlink in the process. 

If you would be interested in exploring a competitor’s link profile, check out our service page on bespoke SEO audits at Impression. 

5. Sponsor or speak at industry events

Another great link building strategy you can leverage is sponsoring or contributing to events, particularly if they are of a high profile and industry-specific. This brings many benefits; increased brand visibility/awareness, web traffic and potential leads. If the event is established, it will have its own website which will link to your ecommerce website.

Your participation in these events can then lead to other links from newspapers discussing the event, or simply other attendees blogging about your talk.  

6. Find unlinked mentions

Another quick win is to find unlinked mentions of your brand or website, reach out to the publisher and ask if they could include a link. You can explain that this will benefit the user experience by linking directly to the websites they mention, therefore increasing the likelihood of them using the publisher’s website in the future. 

The simplest way of finding mentions of your site is to use this advanced search operator:

“brand name” -inurl:domainname.com

E.g. “impression” -inurl:impression.co.uk

This operator finds any mention of your brand name other than on your website. You will then be able to search through each result to see if a link is included. Joshua Hardwick at Ahrefs has published a great blog on this subject with tips on how to approach unlinked mentions.

Alongside checking for historical mentions of your business, you should also set up alerts so that you get notified as soon as any website mentions you. There are various providers out there, including Ahrefs, Google Alerts and Talkwalker Alerts. By signing up to one or several of these will help you react more quickly to new website mentions and leverage them to drive links to your ecommerce business.

7. Product stunts

Ecommerce stores can also leverage product stunts to generate top-tier links back to key landing pages. Brands can create assets that generate news coverage in publications relevant to the target audience. 

We recently won an award for a product stunt involving a luxury homeware site and an ‘anti-nightmare mist’ spray for children. The campaign drove hundreds of links back to the site and achieved coverage in national newspapers. This strategy is replicable across every ecommerce industry – all you need is a quirky idea and digital PR support to deliver results.

Summary

Link building is an incredibly effective way of increasing the organic visibility of your ecommerce site. Whether it be producing regular, high-quality content, providing thought leadership pieces to external sites or simply leveraging unlinked mentions, ecommerce businesses have a plethora of tactics for building their backlink profile in 2021. 

For more guidance, check out our other blogs on digital marketing for e-commerce.

Ecommerce Series, Part 3: Link Building

This is the third of a 19 part e-commerce series. Fill out your details to receive your PDF copy.

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Hugo Whittaker

SEO Strategist

Hugo is an SEO Strategist at Impression, working with clients across a wide range of industries to help meet their business goals, whether it be increasing their online brand visibility, website traffic or ecommerce revenue.

Hugo has specialist knowledge in SEO and e-commerce marketing.