Learn how to improve your eCommerce search engine rankings and get more sales with this essential guide to eCommerce link building.
You got your online store up and running.
Now it’s time to get some traffic and make some sales. And let’s face it – getting traffic is hard.
It doesn’t have to be.
I’m going to share with you the exact link building tactics that helped me improve my search engine rankings, increase my traffic and grow the sales of my store.
But first let’s get something out of the way:
If you are here to learn fast link building, you’re in the wrong place.
Link building is a growth strategy that requires a significant time investment, and efforts onGive your side. Prepare yourself to do a lot of work.
Now, let’s get our feet wet!
- Why SEO is good for eCommerce?
- Improve your store’s search engine rankings and get more sales with SEO
- What Makes Your Online Store Link-Worthy?
- In this case, is link building dead?
- Choosing a goal for your link building campaign
- Why creating an “Link building Campaign” is the wrong way to go?
- Create scalable growth results with the link building framework
- Figure out your linkable assets
- Find link opportunities: websites that are likely to link to your store
- Identify Good And Bad Links
- Getting Links: 16 eCommerce link building tactics that will get links to your online store
- 1. Ask for opinion about your online store on message boards and niche communities
- 2. Put a link to your online store in your forum profile signature
- 3. Submit your store to business profile directories and eCommerce directories
- 4. Submit your store to web design galleries
- 5. Include your brand name on your marketplace store pages
- 6. Giveaway to bloggers
- 7. Offer promotions, discounts and coupons to bloggers
- 8. Guest blogging
- 9. Find vendors that link to retailers
- 10. Ask your customers for product reviews
- 11. Give a crap
- 12. Reclaim brand mentions
- 13. Do an image reverse search to find pages that use your product photography
- 14. Find broken links
- 15. Scan communities and sites for people looking for your products
- 16. 44 experts reveal their #1 tactic for eCommerce link building
- Monitor your backlinks
- More resources on eCommerce SEO
Why SEO is good for eCommerce?
As Andrew Chen says, there are only few ways to scale user growth. In my opinion, this applies to eCommerce traffic and sales, too.
These ways are:
- paid acquisition
Paid acquisition for eCommerce
If you are aware of the Lean Startup, by now you’ve validated the demand for the things you sell.
During the validation stage, it’s likely that you used paid channels to get that initial boost in your traffic and acquire your first customers. Using Adwords, as StartupBros suggest, is a quick way to validate your business idea on the cheap.
Paid acquisition might not be the perfect solution for your online store in the long term.
Buying customers directly through ads will cut your already razor thin eCommerce margins.
If you are in a drop shipping eCommerce business, it’s likely that you have 5 to 20% product margin on your sales.
Make this simple calculation:
How much it costs you to acquire a paying customer through AdWords (or other paid acquisition channel)? And what are the return on investment (ROI) per paying customer and the customer lifetime value (CLTV)?
With my store, it costed me roughly $30 to get a paying customer through AdWords. And the CLTV was below that. I was losing money. Not good!
Virality for eCommerce
If you have an innovative, unique, custom-made product a la Kickstarter, viral word of mouth could work for you. Also, you can achieve virality with a good marketing strategy. And for some it did work. (Hint: TheDollarShaveClub.)
But what if you are selling a commodity? Would your friends love the office supplies you sell so much to share them with the whole wide web? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Even if you produce a unique product, you still need to design your viral loop and have a viral engine in place. Think here lots of A/B testing and experiments.
Improve your store’s search engine rankings and get more sales with SEO
There’s no doubt that you can get more sales for your online store and improve your search engine rankings by doing off-page SEO. Link building in particular.
Let me show you:
Brian Dean of Backlinko shares how one of his readers managed to increase his online store’s referral traffic by getting quality backlinks:
At our Bulgarian store, we managed to get almost 3,000 organic traffic sessions for 3 months, just a month after our launch. Bare in mind that we are using a brand new domain for the store.
Also about 80% of our referral traffic is coming from our link building efforts.
Moreover SEO is our top revenue source and top orders source:
This result is the outcome of just about a couple of weeks of link building.
Benefits of SEO link building for eCommerce:
+ You pay with your sweat. Perfect for bootstrapped stores.
+ Your product margins won’t shrink like the stock market.
+ It’s scalable.
+ If targeted correctly brings people that intent to make a purchase.
Drawbacks of SEO link building for eCommerce:
– If not done well, Google might penalize your store. Do I have to say no paid links?
– There’s no such thing as “fast link building”. Getting quality backlinks to your store takes efforts and a lot of hustling.
This post is a comprehensive guide to off-page link building for eCommerce. Use it and apply it today to improve your store’s search engine rankings.
I’m going to share with you, my best actionable advice on link building for eCommerce
Feel free to share it with other eCommerce folks.
What Makes Your Online Store Link-Worthy?
The web is built on links, right?
But what motives a site owner to link to your shop.
Here’s the deal:
The sooner you get used to this, the sooner you’ll become better at link building.
People care all about:
The less valuable your content,
The less likely you are ever to receive a link to it.
– Eric Ward, author of “Ultimate Guide to Link Building”
Ward continues by saying that the most useful sites are those that provide rich quality content on a particular subject on which the author is an authority.
Imagine you sell supplements. The supplements market is a competitive one.
What most store owners do when they launch their online store:
Take the default distributor’s product copy and pictures and throw it on a basic product page with a “Buy now” button.
While that approach might be fast, it’s not the best way to be useful and get people to link to your online store.
On the opposite, check what Bodybuilding.com is doing for their product pages:
Gosh, so much useful information!
There are tons of content on every facet of this product.The whole page is using a custom-built design that looks like a magazine review. There’s info on the servings, tastes, way of consuming, ingredients and loads of customer reviews. It could be the best resource on the web about this whey protein.
Bodybuilding.com is an excellent example of how an online store can add rich, relevant content and build a community around its products. Also make sales along the way.
Getting links naturally will decrease your manual link building efforts
In a recent webinar, Rand from Moz, talked about the importance of being link-worthy and likable.
The process of link building today has reversed.
You don’t build links anymore; you earn links naturally.
If you can’t earn links naturally, not only can you not get links fast enough and not get good ones. You also are probably earning links that Google doesn’t even want to count or may even penalize you for. It’s nearly impossible to earn links with just good, unique content.
Rand Fishkin “Why Good Unique Content Needs to Die.”
To earn links naturally you must create content that’s 10x better than the competition, says Rand.
The 10x concept is not something new.
In one of his latest lectures “Competition is for losers”, Peter Thiel (founder of Paypal) said that to conquer a market, you must be 10x better:
My sort of crazy, somewhat arbitrary rule of thumb is you want to have a technology that’s an order of magnitude better than the next best thing. So Amazon had over ten times as many books, it may not have been that high tech, but you figure oh well it can sell ten times as many books and be more efficient along the way.
For MenGear, we hired a junior copywriter to write unique product descriptions for every product on the site. Because the products we sell are hard to find on the local market, it was easy to create unique product descriptions.
The least words per product copy were 300 words. That way we had over 200 hundred web pages of unique product copy.
We still have to work on achieving the 10x effect!
Before creating your link building campaign you should ask yourself:
- Are my product pages 10x better than my closest competitor?
- Are my product descriptions 10x better than my closest competitor?
- Is my product photography 10x better than my next best competitor?
- Is my store genuinely useful for my customers?
- Is the UX of my online store 10x better than my competition’s store?
Being useful gets you backlinks and makes your store grow. Products don’t.
While I had my best results with off-page SEO, a more increasing trend is improving your site’s user experience.
How to measure UX when it comes to SEO?
- CTR (click-through rate) – what % of people click on your store on the search engine results page (SERP). CTR indicates how relevant are your pages to the people searching for a particular term.With online stores, people usually search about a product. They either are looking for information about the product or are using a long-tail keyword when they have a buying intent.
- Time on site – your visitors should stay on your site for more than a minute.Include interlinking sections like “Relevant products”, “Product reviews”, “Users also bought”, etc. These sections can increase customers’ time on your site and general engagement with your products.Amazon is an excellent example of this. They are pretty good at making you spend more time (and money) on their site:
- Bounce rate – In your Google Analytics go to Acquisition > All traffic > Source/medium and select Organic. What’s your bounce rate?
Personal experience note: When we raised our product prices, we had a major increase in the organic traffic’s bounce rate (as you can see).
Because our prices didn’t meet the peoples’ expectations. People could see the price discrepancy when comparing our products prices to the prices of other stores they found on the SERP. Our prices were way off!
As Neil Patel puts it in this post about UX:
What’s best for users is best for Google.
I still believe off-page link building will get you lots of traffic and sales bud don’t abandon your on-page UX metrics.
Also, make sure to get your pricing right.
That way your search engine rankings will certainly improve.
Okay, your product pages are in check, and you’re confident with the UX you deliver on your store.
Before you dive deep into designing the link building campaign for your online store, you must decide on your primary goal.
Choosing a goal for your campaign will allow you to be more analytical and track the right metrics for your link building efforts.
Example goals could be:
Getting more online sales
What to measure on your online store?
- Number of orders made through Google organic traffic.
- Revenue from Google organic traffic.
- The conversion rate for that traffic channel – what number of people that came from Google bought a product.
For points 1 and 2 I’d like to use a simplified analytical software for eCommerce called Metrilo. Metrilo integrates with your online store and allows you to see an overview of your top revenue and order sources in a neatly manner:
A free alternative (although not as simple and well detailed as Metrilo) is setting up a goal in Google Analytic
What to measure on the SERP (Search Engine Rankings Page)?
- Your search rankings for a particular converting keyword. That usually is a long-tail key term that lands the searcher on one of your product pages.I like this little free tool that shows your SERP position based on a keyword and domain:
- Increase of converting search traffic.
Increasing your store’s authority and trustworthiness
You can improve your eCommerce authority by getting links from sites that have already earned trust and proven authority to the public and search engines.
Although SERP impact is significant, in this case, a strong side-benefit is your online store’s increased value in the market.
Imagine you sell geek gadgets, and your store gets a positive review on another geek blog. It’s likely that your online store will receive some healthy referral traffic and site engagement.
What to measure on your online store?
- Increase in referral traffic.
- Conversion rate increase for referral traffic channel.
- Increase of newsletter/other opt-in subscriptions.
- Increase of product reviews, blog comments, and other site engagement metrics.
- Decrease of bounce rate. Notice how small is the bounce rate for our referral traffic result of the link building campaign:
- Increase of other sites actively suggesting your products.
What to measure on your SERP?
- Increase of branded searches.
- Increase in your search engine rankings.
Once you know what your primary goal is and how to measure it, it’s time to get your hands dirty and build your link building eCommerce campaign.
Why creating an “Link building Campaign” is the wrong way to go?
^ I learned this from Quicksrpout’s guide to online marketing.
When a campaign ends, the backlinks to your online store stop.
And you don’t want that!
You should create something that’s repeatable.
You must design a system and repetitive processes that help you build ongoing relationships for link building.
That’s why we are not going to create a link building campaign, but a framework that would allow us to produce sustainable results that scale.
Let’s get our feet wet!
The eCommerce Link Building Framework is the document you should be referring time and time again while executing any link building.
This Link Building Framework can be used for any link building campaign, not just for online stores.
It’s our tactical blueprint for backlinking and also a simple CRM.
What to do next?
- Start by creating an excel spreadsheet. If you are collaborating with team members, you might want to create a Google spreadsheet.
- Name it “[your store’s name] Link Building Framework”.
- Add the following columns. We are going to explain each column in details below:
- Rapport Built
- Contact details
- Asset type
- Article name (if applicable)
- Most used keywords
- Backlinks profile
- Traffic (optional)
- Conversion rate (optional)
- Number of orders (optional)
- Revenue (optional)
This is how the link building framework for my online store looked like. Click on the image to view full-size.
Quick explanation of the columns
- Website – the link opportunity. A concrete URL that you’d like to backlink to you. Could be a top-level domain name, a sub-domain or an inner page. Read “Find Link Opportunities” section to learn how to find sites.
- Rapport > Contacted > Replied > Linking – Yes/No; for each column. These columns represent the “backlinking relationship funnel”. They help you keep track of every relationship:
- Contact Details – Name, email, phone, etc.
- Asset type – your linkable assets. Promotions, giveaways, discounts, products, expert opinion and any other assets related to your online store. More on assets in the “Figuring your linkable assets” section.
- Article name – if you are doing guest-blogging.
- Audience – an overview of the audience that read the website or a particular page on the website.
- Most used keywords – most used key terms on that website, domain name or page.
- Backlinks profile – What website link to the link opportunity page. A linking profile of the website. Read more about qualifying link opportunities in the “Identify Good And Bad Links”.
- PR – Page Rank.
- DA – Moz Domain Authority.
- PA – Moz Page Authority.
- Traffic – measure the referral traffic that came as a direct result of your backlink.
- Conversion rate (CR) – what % of people who came from the link made a purchase. CR will help you get a better understanding what webpages to target if your main goal is getting more sales.
- Number of orders – how many orders did you get as a direct result of that backlink.
- Revenue – revenue as a direct effect of that backlink. It is particularly helpful if you’re investing in your linking assets. That way you can measure ROI.
Why should people link to you?
Your linkable assets give the answer.
Your linkable assets are something that only you have. They should be different from other websites.
I’ve identified some common linkable asset categories to help you get thinking about what your online store’s linkable assets could be.
As Kerry from Get response says in this article:
It’s becoming an age old adage already, but, more and more it is proving to be true again and again – content is king.
The most valuable links are the organic ones, and the best way to build those is to continue to create the very best content that you can, and get it shared far and wide across social and in your email campaigns.
Content assets open up your store to a lot of link opportunities.
Content assets are again about being useful and helping people solve their problems.
When you think of content assets, don’t just think text.
Example content assets for your online store could be:
- Detailed product descriptions. Over 600 words. Your product copy should be unique, helpful and evoke emotions.
- Videos – how-to video guides, product reviews and other videos showing the product in use.
- FAQs – install Disqus or Facebook comments on your product pages and collect customer’s questions. Then organize the most common ones into a product FAQ.
- eBooks – technical guides and product brochures.
- Illustrations – help people to understand your product better with useful illustrations and diagrams.
- 360-degrees product photos – allow people to interact better with your product online. [WooCommerce 360 Image] is a great plugin that allows you to implement interactive 360-degree images on your product pages.
Think Geek is an excellent example of an eCommerce site that creates a lot of content assets on its product pages.
Because you are an online store, often this is your best linkable asset. It might also be the easiest path to get some quality backlinks.
Depending on your product prices, you can use this asset for giveaways, donations, promotions, reviews and contests.
Just be careful to not go over overboard or you might lose more money than you earn from this tactic.
Knowledge and opinion assets
AKA the “thought leader” link building tactic.
Share your field expertise with the community through guest authoring, posts, and interviews.
Apart from being a reliable approach for quality link building, this method develops your authority in the domain of your store.
Create partnerships with your suppliers, customers, authority figures in the field and PR resources. You can later leverage these relationships to create link building opportunities
Make a list of your assets
You will input this information under “Asset type” on your Link Building Framework file.
Check out the linkable assets of my online shop:
- Content assets: product descriptions (300+ words), FAQ on each product page, 3 blog posts a week on innovation, technology, and geeky stuff.
- Product assets: 10% off on all products, 20% off on Star Wars product category.
- Knowledge assets: articles on eCoommerce, Entrepreneurship.
- Partnership assets: connect with eCommerce marketplaces.
Once you start link building, you should be able to identify which assets brings you the most links.
In your link building framework doc, just click on the “Asset type filter” and filter the different type of assets.
Then focus on what works best by trying to generate links using those particular assets.
Now it’s time to find websites and pages that are most likely to link back to your online store.
You either are going to find them manually or extract link opportunities via data scrapping.
Collect all website links under the “websites” column on your link building framework.
Here are 5 methods to find link opportunities for your store:
1. Look for blogs in your field
Let’s say you sell geek gadgets.
The best way to find geeky blogs is to look for blog lists and content curators.
You can do a quick search to find publishers that write about geeky things by using queries such as:
- geek + “blogs”
- geek + “top blogs”
- geek + “list of blogs”
- geek + “favorite blogs”
- geek + “posts”
- geek + “post roundup”
- geek + “news”
Check this great post from Buzz stream on finding content curators.
Extracting dozens of URLs from list pages might be a tedious job to do by hand.
Link Gopher is a handy-dandy little Firefox extension that extract all links from a page and removes duplicates for you:
2. Look deep for forums, directories, and communities
You should know where your target audience hangs out. Identify a list of niche websites and social networks.
When thinking about your audience, don’t just think about your market-defining audience.
Let’s say you sell teeth whitening kits. Your initial instinct might be to think about people with teeth problems or self-conscious people.
If you think more creatively you may expand that search to other people who are likely in need of teeth whitening. For example people who will get married soon, graduating students, YouTubers.
For my gadget store, I targeted not only geeks, but web developers and entrepreneurs.
Use search queries to identify communities where your audience hangs out:
- [my target audience] message boards
- [my target audience] communities
- where [my target audience] hangs out
- where to find [my target audience]
3. Scan your competitors backlinks
My favorite tactic. By reverse-engineering my competitors’ links, I managed to discover some valuable link prospects for my store:
- Copy a competitor online store URL. A home page or a product page if you’d like to be more targeted.
- Go to [MOZ Open Site Explorer] and paste it.
- Under the inbound link, you’ll find all the websites that are backlinking to your competitor’s page. You can also see whether a link is do follow or no follow.
4. Look for eCommerce directories
Company profile lists and business directories are an easy low-hanging fruit.
Search for eCommerce directories like:
(list provided by Fortune3)
5. Find guest-authoring opportunities
If you are planning to capitalize on your knowledge asset, then you should find places to share your expertise.
Search for guest authoring opportunities with queries like:
- [your keyword] guest blogging
- [your keyword] guest posts
- [your keyword] guest authors
- [your keyword] write for us
- [your keyword] looking for writers
Identify Good And Bad Links
By finishing the last section, you should have at least a 100 link opportunities in your Link Building Framework.
Now we are going to qualify, organize by importance and take out the bad links from the list.
I’m going to share 10 ways with you to distinguish good link prospects from bad.
1. Domain age
No matter what Matt Cutts says about domain age, the domain age is still a paramount factor in search ranking and website authority. Marketers like Neil Patel still believe in domain age.
The older the domain of your linking prospect, the better.
This Domain Age Tool allows you to see the domain age of every domain name you type in. It works with a list of sites, so you can prospect all domain names you’ve collected in the previous chapter at once.
I would take out from my link building campaign domains that are very new (1-6 months of age).
2. Page Rank
Page rank is still the easiest way to assess a website’s authority.
I’m a big fan of Open SEO Stats Chrome extension, which allows you to see a page rank + other SEO stats quickly.
I always aim at PR3 and above web pages. I found that the best ROI comes from more authoritative web pages.
3. Website relevance
How relevant is the website to your linkable asset?
Look for related keywords appearing in:
- Title tag
- Anchor tags
- H1, H2, etc. tags
- URL of the web page
- In the body copy
I love using WordTracker Scout for that. Scout is a Chrome extension that gives you keyword insights for the page you are currently viewing.
4. Website traffic
“The best backlink is one that sends you traffic.”
Brian Dean, Backlinko
While it’s impossible to know what traffic exactly a website gets (unless you take a sneak peak into their Google Analytics), you can still have a good estimate by using tools.
I use SimilarWeb which allows you to “discover your competitors’ website traffic statistics”.
5. UX metrics
Remember about the importance of UX metrics for your link-worthiness. Your backlinking prospects’ UX metrics are important as much when you qualify websites.
For that, you can also use SimilarWeb. It gives you an approximate overview of a website’s Time on site, Pageviews and bounce rate:
If you are after traffic and sales, you don’t want backlinks from a website with less than a 1-minute time on site and above 70% bounce rate.
However, these type of links can still bring SEO power to your search engine rankings.
6. MOZ Page Authority and Domain Authority
Domain Authority is a score (on a 100-point scale) developed by Moz that predicts how well a website will rank on search engines. Use Domain Authority when comparing one site to another or tracking the “strength” of your website over time.
It’s a simple Chrome Extension that allows you to qualify an online store’s authority.
Some SEO experts would argue that PA and DA are more important than Page Rank today.
7. Inbound links
The quantity and quality of inbound links is a significant factor in how a website ranks on the search engine results page.
From the previous sections, you already know how to check Inbound links with the Open Site Explorer.
Two other quick ways to qualify competitor inbound links are:
- Using the following Google search query: “link:”competitorsite.com” -site:”competitorsite.com”. This search will find all links to the competitor’s site and exclude any internal links. (Thanks to Gabriel for the tip!)
- Using HubSpot Link Tool. Thanks to LandscapeLeadership for pointing out this method.
8. Outbound links
Check what links going to outside websites are on the URL.
I had good results with the SEO Chat’s Page Link Analyzer tool.
9. Social activity
Do people engage with the brand? Look for factors like:
- Likes and followers
- Shares and Tweets
- Number of comments on site
I like to use Quicksprout tool for social engagement analysis as it gives you a quick overview of the site’s social media impact:
10. Design & Layout of the site
- What is the overall design quality?
- Does the site use Flash or HTML5?
- Is the design accessible?
- Would users quickly access links?
- Are there excessive, annoying ad areas?
By checking these 10 factors, you should be able to separate the good from the bad links.
Don’t hesitate to remove any links from your Link Building Framework that seem obscure, lack any elements of trust or have bad inbound and outbound link profiles.
Congratulations on getting so far!
Now it’s time to do some link acquisition.
So far you’ve done the following:
- You chose your link building campaign goal
- You Created the Link Building Framework Doc
- You outlined your linkable asset inventory
- You collected at least 100 link building opportunities
- And you filtered out the bad links and prioritized the good ones
Now it’s time for the fun part. Getting quality backlinks.
I’m going to share with you 16 eCommerce link building tactics. Some of them I’ve used for my online store, others I’ve seen other SEO experts use.
Feel free to grab and test any one of them today.
1. Ask for opinion about your online store on message boards and niche communities
This tactic is all about providing value to get value.
Create rapport and trust by regularly posting on the message board before you talk about yourself.
Engage with the community for at least a few weeks, write helpful and detailed posts every other day. Only after you contribute, you can ask for an opinion. Never come out too promotional.
I got my very first paying customer for my novelty gifts and gadgets store, just 2 hours after posting a thread about my online shop. I asked for a genuine opinion about my online shop’s design, prices and product selection. I got a customer and helpful reviews in return.
You or your store might get dissed when you do that. I made the mistake of being defensive about my shop and came back with some opinionated replies.
When you start receiving negative answers, hold your horses before you reply. Always be thankful for the opinions you get or at least try to be neutral.
When doing this tactic, I was pretty selective about the niche communities I’m targeting. I’ve only posted threads where I assumed other geeks reside. Like developers message boards and other tech-savvy communities.
It’s ok to be a community member with an online store, it’s not ok to be an online store with a community profile.
- Target only the right communities
- Create rapport by posting regularly
- Ask for genuine opinion about your store
- Be thankful for every answer you get
- Don’t be promotional
This tactic works well with online stores, too. So don’t overlook it.
Most forums use “no-follow” links – they won’t bring any SEO juice and increase your search engine rankings. But forums are still worth for the traffic that comes from them.
Offer a product promotion or other incentive in your forum signature to attract more users to click on your store link.
Joanna from Copyhackers advice on telling people to “click here” and put visual elements to lead people to click.
Use this template for your signature:
➤ Click here to get [your promotion] from my online store [store’s domain].
➤ Click here to get 10% off Star Wars products from my online store MenGear.bg
I like to use Goo.gl URL shortener or Bit.ly to get stats like how many people click on my forum signatures.
- Create a product promotion.
- Shorten the promotion landing page URL with Goo.gl and Bit.ly
- Put a forum signature linking to your promotion with visual signs and “click here”.
3. Submit your store to business profile directories and eCommerce directories
Because of the high number of outbound links to these websites, they usually don’t bring a lot of juice to your search engine rankings. Still, there’s no reason not to submit your site to them.
The Open Directory Project or DMOZ is one of the best free links you can receive for your eCommerce, says the Search Engine Journal. But it might take months before you see your link live on DMOZ because of the high volume of submissions.
Does your online store have a physical address, too? Then you should include your store’s info on local business directories.
::**Note:** Only submit your store to local directories if you have **a business** physical address. I’ve tried otherwise and didn’t work out. If you address looks suspicious YellowPages, and others will reach out to you to confirm that you use a business address.::
Check out this list by Hubspot, it’s an extensive collection of local business directories. I would suggest starting from there.
- Submit your store to DMOZ.
- Submit your store to this list of local business directories.
4. Submit your store to web design galleries
If your store has an extraordinary good design, you can send your web page to a service like The CSS Gallery List. A team of people will manually submit your link to a large list of web design galleries.
You might also want to consider CSSMania.com It costs $10 to submit a site on there, but it will get you some decent traffic to your store. You could expect between 300 and 3000 user sessions.
Bare in mind that 70% of the CSSMania traffic comes from India, so unless you offer delivery to India, this traffic might not be a worthy conversion traffic.
For you I’ve compiled a list of web design galleries that specialize in eCommerce websites:
- InspirationalShop – my favorite
- CartedUp – not sure if this sites still running
- Built With WooCommerce – for the WooCommerce store owners
- MagentoShowcase – for webstores built with Magento
5. Include your brand name on your marketplace store pages
Although not an exact link building tactic, this method is critical if you sell on Amazon or eBay.
I can’t stress enough how many people use eBay store names that are different from their domain name. Don’t do it!
The importance of brand search on Google is increasing, and it’s one of those authority factors that will play a bigger part in search engine ranking every day. Think about UX factors here. The more people search your brand on the SERP page, the better for your search engine rankings.
For your eBay and Amazon stores, use the same name you use for your domain name. This tactic will ease people to find your original store through the search engine and increase your CTR for brand searches.
- Make your eBay and Amazon store name the same as your domain name.
- Put your logo on your eBay page.
- Include some elements that could drive traffic to your store like a phone number, description of your store or even an invitation (even if just implied).
6. Giveaway to bloggers
If you sell products in the lower or mid price range (between $5 and $100), you can giveaway to bloggers in your industry.
Along with the guest-blogging tactic, giveaways are by far the most effective method I’ve used to build quality links (and traffic) to my store.
By now you should’ve collected at least a couple dozen of authoritative blogs in your niche.
Now let’s reach out to them.
I like to use this cold-email template:
Hello [blogger’s name]
[A short introduction to you and your store].
I’m approaching you because [rapport creating reason].
I’d like to ask what you think of our store.
Last but not least I’d like you to give us an address where we can send a small gift we’ve prepared for you. We think you’ll like it.
If the template above looks confusing, check an example email I’ve used.
I’m Kaloyan, co-founder of a new website for unusual gadgets and all other geeky things — mengear.bg
I’m approaching you because I found out that you like the stuff we have. I noticed you were looking for geeky things like the ones of ThinkGeek.com, but you had difficulties finding them locally.
We have some of the ThinkGeek stuff; it would be awesome if you could check them.
Also, As you are a person that’s deep into the geek subculture, it will be helpful for us if you have 2 minutes to check out our site. Don’t hesitate to share your opinion about the products we list and the site in general.
Last but not least I’d like you to give us an address where we can send a small gift we’ve prepared for you. We think you’ll like it.
Notice how I’m creating rapport by talking about his problems first. Prove attention by mentioning a material on their blog or another notable fact about them.
With this approach, I got a mind-blowing 90% response rate. Bloggers like to get attention!
What most corporations do when they send out a gift to bloggers is use a generic “congratulations, here’s your gift message”.
Don’t be a heartless bastard, include a personal message! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, just be personal.
To one of the bloggers we sent an excellent 8-bit glasses with a personalized geeky message:
Here’s the referral traffic we received from that blogger:
Not only that but a few more people shared our fresh message.
All in total costing us $5.
- Use the email template above to contact authoritative bloggers in your niche.
- Ask for their address.
- Send them a gift and a personal message worth sharing.
7. Offer promotions, discounts and coupons to bloggers
This tactic is like the one above but instead of offering bloggers a gift, you give them a promo code.
You reach out to bloggers using the email template from the previous method but you include a note like:
I’d like to make a small discount for you and your blog’s readers as we believe they’ll enjoy the stuff we offer. Here’s a discount code for 10% OFF: “discountcode”.
If you are using WooCommerce for you shop, Woo has a pretty good built-in Coupon codes feature.
To stay organized, I like to name my coupon codes using this structure:
<blogger’s site name>< % of coupon>-off
So for example:
strangeracom10-off (Put a dash before “off” so people don’t confuse zero with the letter “o”.)
8. Guest blogging
A lot has been spoken and written about guest blogging, so we are not going to go into great details here.
The best resource on the topic is this video on Mixergy by the co-founder of Buffer.
One of the key takeaways from Leo’s interview for me is to write blog posts for a wider audience:
The problem is that customers aren’t the ones who will send you the most traffic. Instead, you need to reach “a large audience that could be inspired,” he says, “and goes away and maybe tells someone”.
I know what you are saying by know: “I run an eCommerce business, I don’t run a software business. I can’t do guest-blogging”.
Yes, you can.
As an eCommerce owner, you probably have a broad multidisciplinary skill set. Why not share that knowledge with the world?
Think of topics on which you can become a trustworthy expert:
- inventory management
- people and processes
Identify blogs that would be a good home to your content. Figure out what is the most popular content on these blogs and then pitch the blog owners.
I like the use the following email template:
Hello [name of blogger],
I’d like to share my knowledge with other people on the topics of [your topic]. Last few days I’ve been writing an article on [your topic]. I noticed that your readers are interested in [the topic]. I think I can contribute to your blog by talking about the following points:
[A brief list of things you are going to write in your post]
I think this material will be well worth for your readers, what do you think?
Best thing is you don’t have to write the whole article before you get a green light. You just go to the next one.
- Start with MyBlogGuest and BloggerLinkUp.
- Identify blogs that are a good home to your content.
- Pitch them using the email template.
Most product packages contain the name and address of the original distributor or manufacturer of the product. Look carefully on your product packages.
- “vendor’s name” + where to buy
- “vendor’s name” + retail list
- “vendor’s name” + buy locally
- “vendor’s name” + store locator
Then approach the vendor by asking them to link to your store.
10. Ask your customers for product reviews
If someone just bought a product from you, then this is the perfect time to ask for a product review if they have any authority on the web.
Not only you’ll get a link, but reviews bring repeat purchases, up-sells and increase your influence.
I like to reward reviewers with a discount code.
Use this template to get your shop customers to write a review for you:
Subject title: Review your recent purchase to get a discount
Body copy: Thank you for your recent purchase at . Hope you like your new . If you have a blog or a website, we’d like to give you if you review our product.
Just send us back the link to your review, and we’ll send over a promo code to you!
Are reviews for links dangerous?
Personally, I never had any problems with getting backlinks from reviews but I only this tactic on a small scale.
This article from the Search Engine Watch outlines some potential dangerous from doing review reach outs for links.
I certainly agree with these points if you are a large eCommerce business doing this tactic on a large scale and asking directly for links.
when reaching out for product reviews I never ask for a link, let alone an anchor tag. Because this is not the way you talk to potential customers and humans in a matter of fact.
Be careful when:
- applying this tactic on a large scale.
- asking directly for a backlink.
- asking for an anchor tag.
11. Give a crap
Care about your customers, and especially about those that are critical of your brand.
I found that people who are harmful to your brand, are the most vocal customers in general. You’d like to do your best to convert them to happy customers.
Install a product review or comments plugin on your website. This is an excellent roundup of product review plugins for WP by Elegant Themes, if you are running a WooCommerce store.
Make sure you follow every comment under your products and personally get in touch with the authors of the bad ones.
Check this out:
I received an awful comment that one of my products was way overpriced. She was right. I had raised the price markup of that product way higher than I should have.
I did a bit of research on the customer (stalker alert) and found out that she was a blogger. She had bought the product from another place way cheaper. Not only that but she had a whole blog post on that product and some fantastic photography of the product.
I sent her an email personally explaining our store’s benefits, and I offered her readers a product discount. In exchange, I asked if I can use her excellent photography on our product page.
The result: I managed to convert an angry customer into a brand promoter.
12. Reclaim brand mentions
If your store gets mentioned on the web, then make sure you ask for a backlink.
Social media specialist Afton Negrea recommends 5 free tools for social signals and brand and keyword monitoring.
13. Do an image reverse search to find pages that use your product photography
If you are a brand like Firebox, and you make your product photography (that is also amazing) it’s likely someone already stole a picture or two of yours.
Sometimes other sites might use your product photos for other reasons: in articles, blog posts, etc.
Politely reach out to each and ask if you could have a link back.
Finding broken links on sites is an old link-building tactic that works well for eCommerce, too.
In a nutshell, you are searching for websites that could be a home to your link by looking for broken links. If there are any, you let the site owner know and ask if she can replace the broken link with a link to your store.
There are plenty of product aggregators and catalogs on the web. All you have to do is search for broken links linking to non-existent product pages.
The Broken Link Building Bible is an excellent resource on finding broken links.
And this is the most extensive round-up on broken link building resources (save it for later).
Or if you want to make your life easier (and you are fine with joining the dark side), Jacob King made this quick video showing all link building bros how to find broken links extremely fast by using Scrapebox for finding broken list. And it’s easy!
15. Scan communities and sites for people looking for your products
If you are selling products hard to find locally, then you can find people that are in search for your stuff.
Scan niche communities, forums and websites by searching for your products. Outreach to those looking for the things you sell.
This article from Freddie is a further excellent reading on the topic. A list of eCommerce link building tactics collected by Freddie. Go check it out!
Okay, you’ve built some links but as Felix from MonitorBacklinks says:
Link building campaigns are not just about building or earning links. What’s the point, if you can’t keep them? Monitoring your backlinks is just as important as building them.
It’s important to keep your hard earned backlinks live. Check this article to learn one way to monitor your backlinks easily using MonitorBacklinks. (Note: a paid tool.)
Good work for getting so far!
There’s no doubt about it: building quality backlinks to your store is one of THE best ways to get traffic and sales. eCommerce link building is so effective because it takes more effort than most of the other growth strategies. But the willingness to try harder is what separates good from the bad marketers.
So are you ready to get started?
More resources on eCommerce SEO
- 50 Ways To Build Links To Your eCommerce Store
- The Definitive Guide to eCommerce Search Engine Optimization
- 7 Critical SEO Errors of E-commerce Websites
- How To Optimize Your Ecommerce Site using On-Page SEO
- Best Practices and Routines – Top Tips For Every Ecommerce Website
- 17 WordPress eCommerce SEO tips to sell more product
- 29 Experts Reveal The 3 Link Building & SEO Tools They Use Every Day
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