17 practical ecommerce link building techniques
Recently we shared with you a detailed article on the basics of ecommerce link building, including some useful practical tips – however, we don’t think that would suffice.
You can apply lots of techniques in link building, so we are now posting another article on the presentation of the most effective and most creative solutions.
And all you’ll have to do in the future is to open this page and select the technique that will best serve your goals.
This article is not about optimization, but about techniques that will help you reinforce your link profile in the long run and steer audience to your pages – audience that find you not by simply searching on the appropriate keywords, audience that come across your brand not only on the search result page, because that’s only the very first step.
So let’s see which are the techniques that the most professional online marketing managers use for link building. We’re going to discuss the following:
- Send in articles (to relevant pages)
- Product tests
- Make interviews
- Answer questions: Yahoo Answers and Quora
- Create infographics
- Dig into video marketing
- Make podcasts
- Create your own online tools
- Use Pinterest
- You should be listed among the references in Wikipedia
- Look for dead links
- Write your own articles
- Publish press releases
- Use SlideShare for professional pieces of content
- Make good use of customer guides
- Don’t be afraid to be a little “crazy”
- Outsource guest blogging
- The basis of everything
1) Send in articles (to relevant pages)
Yes, it may sound like an old and outdated technique that has long been eaten up by the herd of Penguins & Pandas, but relax.
I’m not suggesting that you should send in a couple of articles to dozens of pages where they don’t belong. Of course, Google will also spot that, and even if it brings benefits in the short run, the unnatural building of your link profile may backfire in the long run.
This technique differs from customer blogging which we discussed in one of our previous articles, in that it takes much less of your energy. You don’t have to build relationships in this case, but you will most probably also benefit less from it.
What’s most important is that you publish unique content on each page, and make sure you will be referred to and will get valuable backlinks in exchange for the piece of content.
2) Product tests
In contrast with the previous technique, you will need some relationship building for this one – this is a somewhat similar technique to that of looking for influencers. You should contact bloggers who publish about a given speciality field, it’s best if they regularly post product tests.
These are quite popular in video format, as the customers like to examine what they buy as thoroughly as possible. They can’t touch or try the product online, so it’s best if they check out how it worked for others.
Of course it’s best if your product is unique, and it can be tied to your brand – you’ll also make a profit even if a lot of others also sell such a product, because you are a reseller for example, however, you can generate the most visibility and traffic with the link if your product is completely unique.
3) Make interviews
We have mentioned this earlier as well, now I’m going to explain in detail how and why you should make interviews.
But your profit, regarding link building, will not really be the success of the content.
Think about it: if someone made an interview with you, you would most probably share that on all available platforms. In the social media, on your blog, you would even publish it on your home page (many people collect media releases, interviews on a separate page).
4) Answer questions: Yahoo Answers and Quora
Pages where members of your target audience ask questions from each other and from experts, actually represent a gold mine for you. You can discover excellent topics here, of which blog posts, videos and discussions can be created. You can answer the questions, thus increasing your visibility and building your expert reputation. And they represent a great tool in link building as well.
Of course it’s essential that your webpage is full of truly valuable pieces of content: analyses, case studies, guides, product presentations and tests, which provide answers to everything that your target audience is most interested in.
So you can refer to your site when providing the response, which will then give you a backlink. Even though this will typically be a nofollow link, that’s not a problem: on one hand, many people will follow it, as you are providing an answer for a really interesting question (thus traffic will arrive to you, which will make you stronger), on the other hand, nofollow links will just as well add to your link profile, furthermore: they will help you create a mixed link profile that looks natural from the point of view of search engines.
5) Create infographics
Creating an infographic is a lot of work, having it created is not exactly cheap, but it’s really worth it, according to the experiences.
Since Google also likes outbound links, and as the more prestigious content creators with larger groups of followers like to play safe as well, you will also get quality backlinks in many cases.
In addition to that, don’t forget to edit the infographic so that it’s automatically tied to you: your logo should be displayed on it, create the design and define the colours using your corporate design and marketing communications guidelines, and your website address should also be displayed on it. All this will help you a lot in brand building as well.
How should you spread it?
That’s simple: publish it on the available social networking interfaces, in professional groups, send it out in newsletters, or even send it to professional pages. As this is quality and interesting content, useful for the sharers as well, you can be sure that your efforts will pay off.
6) Dig into video marketing
Drop advertisements: because of banner blindness, most people won’t even remember having seen them. If you spend on simple advertisements in 2016, I can declare with almost absolute certainty that you’re wasting money.
It may be a walk-through that helps put into operation or repair a given product, or solve a problem of the target audience with the use of your product. The trickier the given action, the better, since the more chance there is that your customers will need help with it.
It may be a product test, when you try the functions of each product and how they operate. You show the product in use, thus facilitating commitment, as your audience will see it, will know what it’s capable of and thus will be more willing to buy it later.
It may be an educational video in which you share various useful information, tips and tricks:
How can I use my lawn mower effectively?
How should I tie my tie?
How should I assemble my PC?
These are all questions, based on which an educational piece of content can be perfectly built.
It may be a simple entertainment video: a show in which you, even in the company of others, share opinions, do funny things with your products.
What’s essential is that you consider this piece of content as part of your brand, or even a separate brand within that. Videos rank very high, and usually 1 out of 7 search result pages contain some kind of video content: if you optimize the titles, descriptions and keywords properly, you won’t have difficulties reaching your audience.
You’re building a brand and increase visibility with the video content as well, and of course you place your link wherever you like. Also, you acquire additional committed customers with that while building an audience.
7) Make podcasts
It’s not by chance that you come across podcasts on almost every site nowadays: many people prefer simple audio content to videos, articles or infographics.
The reason: if you are listening to something, it allows multitasking. While you’re listening to a podcast, you can browse the internet, you can drive, even work.
For this, you will need equipment: a sound recording device that’s capable of creating high quality material. There’s a good chance that this is a one-time investment, which is why I don’t suggest you save money on this: nobody can endure a crackling podcast for too long.
Once that’s given, you can launch your show right away: you just have to select the topics that are interesting enough so that people listen to what you have to say about them.
8) Create your own online tools
A big investment, a lot of energy – but if you put smart marketing behind it, it’s very likely to pay off.
The different online tools are amazingly popular. Just think about how many different free tools you can use for link building and SEO, which examine your site, point out the mistakes, make valuable analyses and so on. This approach can be applied with similar success in almost every field.
Similarly to customer guides, these tools directly facilitate the solution of the problem: they make the recommended solution, or at least the outgoing data, personal, thus making the life of the customer significantly easier.
If you’re doing it well, you will receive a great deal of links: your tool will spread in the social media, on the questions and answers pages, it will appear in listicles and so on. These will be extremely valuable backlinks, and you can easily raise the attention of influencers and professional pages as well.
9) Use Pinterest
We devoted an entire separate article to this excellent platform, on which you may even sell directly, but now I’d like to draw your attention to one more thing: did you know that the link of your webpage on your Pinterest profile is a dofollow link?
And the same goes for the links on the profiles of your followers and of the ones you follow.
If you’ve read our previous article on Pinterest, you’re already using it, thus all you have to do now is to start paying attention to this very simple thing as well.
This is also a platform that you might not have considered to be useful for you. However, according to SEO professionals, it really is: in case a topic of yours gets enough votes, search engines will index the links included in it. And that’s incredibly good news, because reddit’s domain is very powerful, just like that of Wikipedia.
Therefore, all you need to do is to be active in a smart way, to try targeting the users with valuable pieces of content, while making sure to link the pages of yours that you want to make more powerful.
11) You should be listed among the references in Wikipedia
Speaking of powerful domains: why shouldn’t you be linked in Wikipedia as a reference?
If you launch any kind of search, the relevant Wiki article will most probably be among the first three hits, if there is any. That shows how extremely powerful the site is, and you can take advantage of that also.
Of course you’ll get a nofollow link, but according to the experiences, in case of Wiki, the search engines tend to “disregard” that and strengthen your page even in this case (and of course, including nofollow links will also do good to your link profile).
Look for dead links
Check out what exactly was referred to in the text with the use of sources that no longer exist (e.g. 404 pages). It goes without saying that you should preferably look for articles on Wiki that are relevant for you, so this way you’ll also have content, or you can create content.
If the content supporting the statements in the article is there on your page, you may as well replace the dead link with your own. Don’t advertise in the new source article if possible: editors of Wiki are quite sensitive to that.
Write your own articles
Look for topics that are important enough (in wiki Wording that is: renowned), but there’s no article about them yet, or the existing article is incomplete.
Elaborate the article yourself: pay attention to the language (encyclopedic), to the appropriate references (don’t claim something that you can’t support somehow), and make sure to include some of your own pieces of content among the references which are truly relevant, valuable and are not of an advertising nature.
With the help of these two techniques, you can easily become part of the Wiki source references, provided that you always bear in mind the rules of the online encyclopedia.
12) Publish press releases
Why would you, as an online shop issue press releases?
If you create quality content continuously, if you have a large follower base and pay attention to your communication, ideally, you’ll be considered to be an expert, rather than a merchant. An expert, who sells stuff as well, of course, but building your professional reputation is what’s most important.
From then on, if you introduce any kind of unique and new products, if you make your own research, if you organize a professional event, you can send out a press release about that to professional sites – and if you formulate it interestingly enough, some of the sites will publish it, together with your reference. Bear in mind that these domains and the references on their sites, publishing professional news and articles, are usually quite powerful.
The trick is (in addition to the content truly worth communicating), is that you formulate the release smartly. A journalist receives dozens of press releases every day, which means you’ll have to stand out from the crowd.
13) Use SlideShare for professional pieces of content
Do you usually make presentations? At professional events, meetups, even at webinars?
As a matter of fact, there’s no point in me asking those questions, because you can put together a presentation on any topic even if you don’t make a lecture of it anywhere.
You should by all means upload this presentation to SlideShare, because you can rank really high with that. This is a proven technique, especially in case of difficult, competitive keywords, since the domain is quite powerful.
The best solution is if you make a separate sub-page, where you collect the various presentations. If you made lectures of those at certain events, don’t forget to indicate that as well. On the one hand, those who search on those events can find your sub-page, and on the other hand, you can also reach out to the organizers that way.
If you are included as a referred site somewhere, this page should be linked, if they send out a newsletter after the event, they should link to your sub-page. You can get a great deal of backlinks using this technique, especially if you have invested the appropriate amount of energy into building your expert brand.
14) Make good use of customer guides
A tactic from Jordan Kasteler, expert of Utah SEO Blog. Make customer guides.
Think about how you buy jeans or furniture. Lawn mower. Dog food.
You’re vacillating which one’s the best for you. You need education: you have a problem, but you’re not certain what the best solution is. Because you don’t know for sure what the curtain will look like in your apartment, or which nutrition is the most useful for your dog’s body.
Guides that lead you through the purchasing process are simply adored, and experience shows that a lot of people refer to them as well, because they find them very useful. They assist the consumers, provide them with information that makes their lives easier.
Make guides like that and wait until they are strong enough. You can place references to given products or product categories on sub-pages where these guides are uploaded, however, a trickier technique is also available.
You can redirect the “strength” of the backlink pointing to the page: you can make the page of the category or the product stronger with the rel=canonical link element or even with a 301 redirect.
15) Don’t be afraid to be a little “crazy”
There are ecommerce stores that get backlinks by not being afraid of realizing somewhat extreme ideas as well. Offer products without the intention of selling but which are so original that users can’t help sharing.
Firebox online shop is the perfect example of that. In their case, the WTF (“What the Firebox”) section serves that purpose, where you can find – among others – a vacuum cleaner that costs 800.000 dollars.
The more extreme and creative the idea, the better.
Of course you should play safe, so that nobody buys something from you that you never had or you’ll never have – having a creative message at the end (“Sorry, our billion-dollar decorative cushions sold out on the first day.) is perfect. Your audience will appreciate the joke, they will share it with their friends – what you should pay attention to is that the tone, the communication of the whole thing is in line with your brand.
16) Outsource guest blogging
Not only can you publish guest posts in which your reference appears: you can simply advertise the job. Of course you should have a budget for that. However, if you are being clever during the advertisement and the selection, your investment will undoubtedly pay off.
Publish an advertisement on pages grouping together freelancers (you can find countless pages like that, Freelancer and Upwork are perhaps the most widely known examples). Explain that you are looking for those who operate well-established blogs, ideally relevant ones for the area of operation of your ecommerce store, and you would like them to write about you.
You will most probably have several dozens of applicants who would willingly “lend” you their blogs, and there’s a good chance that Google will not be against the whole thing either, because you don’t actually buy links, you simply pay for content – and it’s your own decision where you publish that.
17) It should be you who creates the best pieces of content
One of the simplest techniques – at least in theory – is to check out which pieces of content of your competitors acquire the most backlinks (you can use a lot of online tools for that).
And you should definitely make better content than those: more recent, more detailed, more thorough, more useful.
Then you can recommend these for the sites that also have a reference of the original piece of content – not as a replacement, but simply as a curiosity. On the other hand, that’s how there’s the greatest chance that the most possible people will find your piece of content (the more detailed, interesting and useful it is, the higher organic traffic will arrive to it, and you won’t have difficulties spreading it either).
And if a lot of people find the given article, post or any other kind of content valuable, you can be certain that after a while it will be rewarded with a number of quality backlinks as well.
You can see that there’s something in common in all of these techniques: you have to create great pieces of content, no matter which format, but something that the audience – preferably your own, well-targeted audience – will not only be willing to read but will be willing to recommend and share as well.
It’s not by chance that we have already written so much about blogging, and that we try to encourage you in all of our articles: think of your brand not only as a simple ecommerce store. Be more than that: not someone whom they purchase from, but who makes their lives easier in all areas, who serves their needs.
Directing the customers to your product pages is certainly not always what’s important: if your pieces of content rank high, that’s just as useful for you – moreover, building a community, educating returning customers is even a lot more useful for you in the long run.
We have already written an article for you on how to find your keywords: from this, you can learn how to conduct the basic research, and at the same time make sure to optimize not only for the keywords that are directly related to the products.
Serve your audience’s need for information, and your competitors will have no chance of beating you in link building.
Krisztián is a enthusiastic SEO proffesional who cares as much for UX and Google's directives, as for the needs of customers. He's specialized in search optimization, but he is able to see the big picture too, therefore not only the SEO, but the conversion optimization is also important for him. He likes hiking, reading spiritual books in his spare time.