Building links to an ecommerce website is similar to putting up billboards for a brick-and-mortar shop. Like billboards, ecommerce link building helps you get in front of more customers.
But landing links isn’t easy for ecommerce brands. Other sites often won’t link to ecommerce sites because they’re commercial.
That’s why you shouldn’t wait for links to fall into your lap. Speed up the process using some of the nine ecommerce link building strategies we’ll show you below.
We’ve landed links for numerous clients using these same strategies, so we know they’ll work for you. Here we go.
When we talk about link building, we’re referring to getting backlinks.
Backlinks are external links, meaning they come from other websites to yours.
On the other hand, internal links link from one page on your website to another page on your website. Internal links aren’t backlinks.
Ecommerce link building can help you increase your site’s search visibility and traffic.
Consequently, it may also help increase your conversions — because the more eyeballs you reach, the more sales you can make. And that’s the ultimate goal of ecommerce websites.
But let’s see how ecommerce link building pays off in real life. We’ll analyze two ecommerce businesses and the results they got from their link building efforts below.
Note: SEO results can’t be solely attributed to link building. Other factors besides links, like improving your on-page SEO, also impact rankings and traffic. Still, the examples below do indicate a strong correlation between backlinks and these two metrics.
Let’s start off with an ecommerce business you know: Airbnb.
We’ll first look at the company’s traffic in 2022.
Pay special attention to the biggest upward spike, which took place in May:
Now, let’s look at data on Airbnb’s referring domains (RDs) during the same period.
Just a reminder: RDs are domains linking to a particular website, airbnb.com in this case:
You can notice some clear overlaps between the two graphs.
For example, the biggest spike in traffic happened in May 2022, when Airbnb also had the most referring domains:
Both graphs align with how Airbnb’s positions in search engines changed during the same period:
But, truth be told, not everyone can get the same results as Airbnb, which became a true ecommerce giant in recent years.
That’s why we’ll also quickly look at the stats for a lesser-known brand below.
Bellabeat is a smaller wellness ecommerce brand, so the results it got from its link building efforts may be more telling of what you can expect from your own.
Again, let’s first have a look at Bellabeat’s traffic stats for 2022:
Just like Airbnb, Bellabeat got the most traffic in May 2022.
Now, let’s see if that coincides with the RD stats:
You can see the biggest spike in RDs happened after April 2022.
This image shows the exact month it took place:
You’ll notice that these two graphs also coincide with the changes in Bellabeat’s positions in search engines:
To conclude, we saw how getting more backlinks (RDs) improves:
You can expect similar results from your own ecommerce link building efforts.
Before moving on to the how, we should note that the traffic graphs above show changes in all types of traffic (and not just organic traffic).
The thing is, most websites don’t see a spike in organic traffic immediately after they get backlinks. In 99% of cases, the process is more gradual. Organic traffic slowly improves as websites rise on the SERPs.
For example, Airbnb’s search traffic increased from 11.1M in April to 11.6 in May of 2022.
That means the site got “only” 500,000 more visits through search engines in May than in April. So, organic traffic doesn’t account for the total increase in traffic.
In fact, Airbnb saw the most growth in direct traffic, which increased by about 4% from April to May.
So, attributing the entire traffic growth solely to backlinks would be false. But it’s possible that backlinks are responsible for one part of direct visitors, as they help raise brand awareness.
Still, even if we only consider Airbnb’s growth in organic traffic and rankings, we have to agree those are big results.
Here are nine link building strategies that will help you replicate them.
Now that you know why building links matters for ecommerce brands, let’s get to the how.
Here are 9 link building strategies you can use to attract links to your ecommerce website.
Creating linkable assets — like a valuable blog post or a useful tool — will probably be your favorite link building strategy.
The reason why is that this cost-effective strategy can simultaneously:
The fastest way to see ROI with this strategy is to create three high-impact assets.
Value-packed guides can help you reach your link building goals, while also letting you connect with your audience.
As long as you answer their questions or solve their problems, you can turn visitors into first-time customers and first-time customers into recurring buyers.
But guides also attract natural links. If they contain useful info, they can get referenced on social media, forums, and other websites.
Niche-related tools can help you build links and attract qualified traffic to your ecommerce site.
The trick is in deciphering what your audience struggles with. Then, all that’s left to do is make a tool for it and add it to your ecommerce site.
For example, if you’re a fashion brand, your customers may struggle with:
You can develop tools, such as quizzes or calculators, that help your audience solve these problems. That’s how you’ll stand out from other similar ecommerce brands and be top of mind for your audience when they’re ready to buy.
(Btw, your tool doesn’t have to be fancy as long as it’s useful. Just check out the first search result for BMI “calculator” if you don’t believe us.)
Conducting original research almost guarantees you’ll get quality links to your ecommerce website. The reason why is obvious: if you’re the only source of data someone references, you’re the only one they can link to.
On top of that, doing your own research means you can create content no one else can. And that’s important, too, because original content can easily get to the first results in the SERPs.
PR mentions alone can make for an effective ecommerce link building campaign. The only problem is that landing those mentions, and landing them consistently, can be difficult.
But some strategies work better than others. Here are three that worked best for us personally.
Contributing to charity isn’t just a great link building strategy but can also serve your overall marketing goals. Research shows that charitable activities enhance customer loyalty, brand reputation, and sales.
As a website owner, you should announce your contributions on your own website. But, to land PR mentions, you should also reach out to owners of other websites.
That may take some back-and-forth, but it’s worth it, as you’ll get a link and a chance to promote your brand to new audiences.
Unique products naturally generate buzz and press.
But you can create buzz around your product even if it’s already finished. Just add a unique feature and prepare a newsworthy press release. Publications will pick it up.
We like this link building strategy because it’s beneficial on multiple levels. Altering your product for press purposes can also improve customer experience and double your gains.
All you have to do is find out what changes your customers want and make them happen.
Many publications report on events, so hosting them could land you some juicy backlinks. Consider which events your customers would want to attend or host charitable events, like fundraisers.
Affiliate partnerships can do more for your ecommerce website than just drive sales. They can also play an essential role in your link building campaign.
The chances are, your affiliates already have the perfect places for your links within their content. So the links won’t feel salesy or out of place.
But there is one problem. According to Google’s guidelines, affiliate links should be tagged as “sponsored”:
Unfortunately, sponsored links don’t carry as much juice as dofollow links.
In other words, they won’t have as big of an effect on your site’s rankings and domain authority.
Of course, you can always ask your affiliates not to tag your links as sponsored, but it’s up to them if they’ll agree to that.
But note that not all links are tagged as nofollow or sponsored — only the ones that lead to product pages.
Links that lead to home pages are marked as dofollow, so they transfer extra link juice:
It might be a good idea for your affiliates to use the same strategy so that you can still get a dofollow link.
Answering frequently asked questions on your product pages is a great way to earn backlinks and rank for bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) keywords.
To demonstrate that, let’s imagine you sell smart locks.
Through your research, you discover a popular long-tail keyword that’s relevant to your product: “what happens if smart lock battery dies.”
Including this query on your product page could get you backlinks and sales. Let me quickly explain why.
Firstly, you could earn backlinks because you’ll give important information that people search for.
Secondly, your answer could eradicate your customers’ fears and lead you closer to making a sale.
Think about it: the fear of getting locked out may be the only thing stopping a person from buying a smart lock. If your answer can eradicate that fear, you could make an instant sale. And that’s probably the ideal situation for any ecommerce owner.
Unlinked brand mentions are what they sound like: mentions of your brand that don’t link to your website.
Your goal is to turn those mentions into links. And that’s easy when you already get a mention because your link is relevant to the content.
All you have to do is ask the website owners to include your link. Most will happily do so.
But how do you find unlinked brand mentions?
Luckily, you don’t have to go through infinite Google results yourself. Instead, you can use specialized brand monitoring tools or Google Alerts.
Google Alerts are free and easy to set up. Simply enter your brand name and adjust the notification options if needed:
You’ll now be notified whenever your brand gets mentioned online, regardless of where that mention’s coming from.
Besides helping you make sales and raise brand awareness, influencer marketing can help you reach your link building goals, too.
To make this strategy work, we suggest partnering with bloggers instead of social media influencers.
The reason is that links from social media have little to no effect on your site’s SEO. And they won’t bring you as many long-term benefits as links coming from websites.
That’s why we recommend you:
One downside of this strategy is that links coming from influencers should be tagged as sponsored (just like affiliate links). Unfortunately, that reduces the impact the links will have on your website.
There’s not much you can do about that — except ask your partners to keep your links dofollow despite Google’s guidelines. Some may be open to it.
If you like win-win situations, you’ll love this ecommerce link building strategy. It involves promoting other businesses in exchange for them promoting yours.
The best way to go about it is to partner with brands that sell products related to what you’re selling.
Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
Just ensure you let other websites know you’re promoting them or establish partnerships in advance. That way, you’ll know you’ll get a link back.
Now, you may be thinking: all that sounds great, but how do I actually find businesses to partner with?
We agree that that’s often the hardest part. That’s why we’ll share three strategies we’ve used ourselves in the past.
If you work with other businesses, you may already have suitable link building partners in your network.
For example, you can check if one of your suppliers or clients would be interested in building links with you. You may discover some hidden opportunities.
If you don’t find suitable connections in your network, it’s time to expand it.
One way to connect with other business owners is to attend networking events. It doesn’t even matter if the events are purely local, as long as you meet business owners with websites.
Attending physical events may be out of your comfort zone, or maybe you just want to meet people regardless of where they’re based.
In that case, you can network online on professional platforms like LinkedIn.
Invest some time and/or money into creating content and engaging with others, and you’ll grow your connections in no time.
Broken link building is a widespread SEO strategy. It can be useful to any online business but especially to ecommerce brands that have limited link building opportunities.
This strategy comes down to finding broken (404) links and replacing them with your own:
You can use a tool like SEO Minion to find broken links faster.
This particular tool highlights all broken links on a page so you can spot them more easily:
When you find a broken link, check whether you already have a URL that could replace it.
Consider the context — does your page match the existing anchor text and the content surrounding it?
If yes, then you only have to ask the site owners to replace the broken link with one to your page. Most will be happy to do so, as they don’t want to direct their readers to 404 pages anyway.
And if you can’t find contact info on the website, use Hunter — a tool that scrapes the web for email addresses:
But what if you don’t have any suitable content on your website?
In that case, you first need to create it.
It’s important you don’t offer irrelevant links to sites, especially if you want long-term relationships with them.
If you can’t create suitable content yourself, hire a writer or have a link building agency do it for you.
If you want easy link building opportunities, conduct a competitor backlink analysis.
This strategy helps you find websites linking to your competitors but not to you.
In theory, the majority of those websites will want to link to you, too, because they’re obviously interested in your niche.
But some website owners make deals with ecommerce businesses that don’t allow them to link to or promote similar brands.
So, you shouldn’t expect to get a link from every site linking to your competitors. In fact, reaching out to many of them may end up being a total waste of time.
Luckily, there’s a way you can filter out such websites in advance.
Simply search for sites that link to two or more of your competitors instead of sites that link to only one.
Most link building tools will let you set filters that make that possible.
We’ll show you how to do it with Moz’s Link Intersect tool.
To start off, you’ll need to enter the URLs to your competitors’ sites. You can enter as many as you want:
Your report will only include domains linking to all the sites you’ve entered:
Again, these domains are likely to link to your ecommerce site because they’re already linking to several of your competitors.
This tells you two things.
One, the domains you find are probably very interested in your niche. Two, they probably don’t have any exclusive deals with your competitors.
All that’s left to do is reach out and see how you can get a placement.
Ecommerce brands should combine different strategies to reach their goals.
In the beginning, you may want to invest in more cost-effective strategies, like creating FAQ sections or finding unlinked brand mentions.
As your business grows, you’ll probably need to diversify your methods to find new link building opportunities. That may be the right time to invest in influencer or affiliate marketing.
But it’s always best that you decide for yourself. Here are three questions to help you determine which strategy to use:
If you don’t have the necessary expertise or time to build links, you can always hire a link building agency to do it for you.
Ecommerce link building is the process of building links to ecommerce websites for SEO purposes, such as improving rankings on search engines.
Backlinks look like normal links; they’re only considered “backlinks” from a website owner’s perspective.
There’s no one best backlink. But there are low- and high-quality links. The quality depends on the DA of the referring domain, link type (dofollow vs nofollow), anchor text, etc.
We’ve been in the link building industry for almost a decade, so we now have access to exclusive publications like Forbes, IB Times, Entrepreneur, and many more.
When you work with us, you get to place your links on these and similar authoritative websites. That means you get high-quality links that can provenly increase your rankings and traffic in a matter of weeks.
If you’re interested in available link placements, set up a free consultation today.
Forum link building can be an incredibly effective way to get links to your website. This guide will teach you the basics of forum link building, as well as some advanced techniques.
The best link building strategies for SaaS companies in 2022 (#11 is our personal favorite).
Talk to our link building team to see how we can help.