For all the myriad ways the internet has changed the world of business and commerce, some things remain the same regardless of whether you operate a 9-to-5 brick-and-mortar location or an always-online digital storefront.
What’s the one thing every shop needs to make a profit? Customers. Or, to put it another way: traffic.
For a brick-and-mortar business, that means foot traffic. For an online store, though, it means web traffic. It means maximizing not just how many customers you can get through the front door, but also the number of ways you have of bringing them to the proverbial party.
In other words, you need more than just a front door. You need a back door, some side doors, an underground tunnel or two, a secret passageway hidden behind a bookshelf, and maybe a few teleportation pods, too!
That’s where link building comes in.
What is Link Building and How Does It Work?
Link building is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: it’s the process of gaining traffic to one or more web pages via links placed on other pages.
While internal link building (interlinking several pages across the same website) is definitely a thing that has its place in digital marketing, today I’m going to be looking specifically at external link building (links to your page from other people’s pages).
Many online businesses will receive at least a few links from other websites without doing any work; someone will stumble across your company on their own and find something interesting that they think other people should know about and, presto, instant linkage!
When that happens, it’s awesome. But you’re not Blanche from “A Streetcar Named Desire.” You can’t depend on the kindness of strangers.
Just like a brick-and-mortar business can’t simply wait and hope for people to randomly wander in, running a successful online business requires you to get proactive. When it comes to link building for SEO, that means seeking out new linking opportunities, contacting webmasters, and fostering relationships with influencers and websites.
In short, link building is a way of taking your ecommerce site’s destiny into your own hands.
The Importance of Link Building for Ecommerce
The most obvious benefit of ecommerce link building is that more links mean more web traffic, and more web traffic means more sales.
No, not everyone who visits your site is going to buy something. But, statistically, the percentage of people who will buy something becomes larger as the total number of site visitors increases. This isn’t just common sense; it’s a fact backed up by years of digital marketing research.
The importance of link building isn’t limited to its positive impact on web traffic, however. The number of high-quality backlinks to a page also affects that page’s SEO. Studies have shown that the top-ranked pages for various search queries are often those with the largest number of incoming links.
Search engines like Google and Bing take into account not just the quantity but also the quality of backlinks when determining where ecommerce pages should be placed in the SERPs. That’s why spamming every corner of the internet with unnatural links isn’t an effective form of ecommerce link building.
Real link building requires outreach, organization, and planning. Most importantly, it requires the creation of legitimately valuable and informative content. A link building strategy that relies more on networking with other websites will help strengthen your business’s relationship with the larger online community.
This, in turn, creates a greater sense of user trust in your company. Even in the age of web crawlers and ranking factors, having a positive reputation is still one of the most crucial elements of drawing an audience and securing conversions, online or otherwise.
3 Link Building Strategies for Ecommerce Sites
There are many, many different approaches and types of link building in SEO. For ecommerce specifically, though, three particular tactics stand out as uniquely suited to the needs of online vendors: unlinked brand mentions, affiliate coupon codes, and influencer item reviews.
Unlinked Brand Mentions
Have you ever come across a web page with content describing a product or service that you sell? If that page isn’t linked to your site, that’s a missed opportunity. Fortunately, it’s also one that’s very easy to turn to your advantage. In fact, half the work is already done for you!
If you find mentions of your shop, the brands or products you sell, or related issues on other people’s websites, it never hurts to message the webmaster to propose turning that mention into a link. No new content needs to be created and it only takes seconds to insert a hyperlink to the content that already exists. Bing, bang, boom.
How do you find unlinked brand mentions, though? Tools like Ahrefs and Google Alerts can help you identify possible candidates, but this still requires time, effort, and know-how. In the end, however, all that work can pay off big time, potentially turning hundreds, thousands, or even millions of mentions into links that drive more users to your business.
Affiliate Coupon Codes
If you run an ecommerce business, you don’t need me to tell you how much customers love discounts, sales, and coupons. When people feel like they’re getting a deal, they are much more likely to make a purchase, and may even spend more money than they normally would have if paying full price.
What does this have to do with link building? Well, keep in mind that you don’t have to limit yourself to offering discounts solely through your own website. With affiliate coupon codes, you can offer discounts through other people’s websites as well. This not only has the effect of increasing your revenues the same way any sales event would; it also draws in a completely new audience and creates fresh backlinks to boost your search rankings.
All you have to do to attract affiliates is incentivize other websites to include links to your pages on their pages. This can be done by providing them with unique URLs which allow you to track how much traffic you receive from those pages, as well as how much of that traffic converts.
Rewarding affiliates with a small percentage of each sale is a great motivator to encourage webmasters to spread those links around, and the cost to you is greatly offset by the increase in customer purchases.
Providing affiliates with exclusive coupon codes and sales URLs enhances the effect even further and works as a win-win for everyone involves: the customers get a discount, the affiliate gets more traffic from bargain-hunters, and you make more revenues while growing your backlink count.
Influencer Item Reviews
The only thing people love more than getting cool stuff at a discount is getting cool stuff for free. That’s why contests and giveaways are such a great strategy for link building. These aren’t the tactic I want to look at here, though. Instead, I want to talk to you about influencer item reviews.
Influencers are social media users and internet personalities whose opinions hold sway with a certain audience. These can be experts in a specific field, popular entertainers, or just famous figures with large followings. Whatever the case, getting an endorsement from an influencer can do wonders for your brand.
One way to get such an endorsement is to offer influencers free products in exchange for honest reviews of those products (so long as the influencer includes a link to the page on your site where customers can the products, of course).
The emphasis here is on honest reviews. While it might be tempting for you to stipulate that influencers always give your products good reviews, most influencers are discerning with the brands they endorse. That’s how many of them became influencers in the first place.
Beyond that, customers can usually tell when they’re being lied to, and they don’t appreciate it. As long as it doesn’t outright bash your company or products, even a relatively middle-of-the-road review will greatly help increase your reach.
Maybe a lot o your chosen influencers’ followers won’t be persuaded to make a purchase, but some of them will. Again, it’s a matter of statistics: even if only 1% of the total number of people aware of you make a purchase, making more people aware of you automatically grows the number of people making purchases.
Increase Your Site Traffic and Sales with LSEO
The three tactics outlined above are just a few of the ways your ecommerce site can refine its link building efforts; there are dozens of others that may or may not be right for your business.
Likewise, while link building is an important part of any ecommerce SEO strategy, there are a number of other SEO techniques that can help you increase your website traffic, grow your revenues, and rocket your way to the tippy-top of people’s search engine results.
That said, the digital marketing landscape is always growing and changing. To keep up, you need a dedicated team of marketing specialists who have the experience and resources required to help you make full use of the power and potential of the internet.
LSEO is that team. Do you want to take your ecommerce business to a whole new level? Contact us today.