Killer Ways to Build Links in Ecommerce (The 2015 Edition)
I bet sometimes you feel like giving up.
You work on the site, write killer content and optimise the heck of it.
Only to watch your rankings stuck where they have been all the time.
Of course, your site is important – it’s the cornerstone of your web strategy.
But to build its authority you need to work on one more thing.
Links pointing to your site are one of the key ranking factors. And as Matt Cutts confirmed back in 2013, they are to remain one.
But building links today is risky.
Google notoriously seeks out and penalises sites with low quality links pointing to them.
Penguin, a Google’s algorithm update helping to identify those sites has also become a continuous update. It analyses your links all the time, meaning that there’s really no chance to game the system anymore.
Last week I outlined some general link building strategies for 2015.
Today I want to share few link building ideas for ecommerce sites
1. Create Deal Pages
I bet you run various deals all year round.
But did you know that you could use them to earn more links?
Instead of creating new pages for every deal, consider publishing one, generic deals page to list your current promotions.
- You can use this page over and over again. And in time, it will amass a solid number of links.
- Customers could also check it back for any new deals too. This might help with winning return business.
Target relevant audiences – bloggers and media to let them know about your deals. If they decide to let their audiences know about it, they will have to link to the page.
Keep the page up once the sale is over. You can change copy to be more generic, include links to relevant categories on your site or offer a way to subscribe to your mailing list.
(This is how bodybuilding.com’s Black Friday Deals page looks like after the event. Note email subscription box. The page also features links to other deals and promotions)
2. Run a Contest
Contests offer an incredible opportunity to generate links.
You can design them to target a specific audience, cater to their needs and in turn, make your contents go viral.
There are many contest types you could use in ecommerce. Once that works exceptionally well is sweepstake.
Sweepstakes are easy to run, affordable and generate enormous interest around your store.
Check out this Viralsweep’s guide to sweepstakes to learn more about this contest type.
And then check out our guide on using contests to build links.
3. Use Products and Categories as Linkbait
I’m sure you’ve heard about it.
According to a definition, it’s simply content that’s shareworthy.
And who said that you couldn’t use it to build links?
Create a fake category or product and run a PR campaign around it to generate media interest.
ThinkGeek for instance offered Canned Unicorn Meat. If you look closely on a page, the product is out of stock (although they expect it in few weeks. I’m sure this information never changes though). Fake but definitely attracting a lot of attention. Not to mention that ad for Canned Dragon Meat!
Wish.co.uk on the other hand offers Zombie Boot Camp promising participants to have an “undead good time”. Here are some of the benefits they list:
- Learn how to fight hordes of zombies.
- Fight the undead.
- Enjoy wearing combat gear.
Fake? True but also sooooooo link worthy!
4. Invest in PR
PR has long lost its SEO appeal. Today mass distributed press releases can do more harm than anything to your rankings.
But a well-designed PR campaign built around an important event for your business can generate high quality editorial links.
Monitor services like HARO for media story requests and pitch your ideas. If you’re picked, you’ll earn an editorial link.
I used HARO many times to find sources for my articles. Here’s one I wrote featuring few online retailers and links to their sites:
5. Turn Brand Mentions into Links
Every week people mention your brand. They write about it on their sites, Tweet or include it in their Facebook updates.
But they not always link and reference your site.
Monitor the Internet for mentions of your brand or products and reach out to whoever wrote asking for a link.
6. Write a Column
Writing guest columns on the other hand, that’s an invaluable way to generate high quality links while building your authority at the same time.
Ok but what’s the difference between the two?
Guest posting meant placing a post on a site with the aim to generate a backlink.
Writing a column however means constant exposure to this audience. It means sharing knowledge and building a connection with the audience.
Sure, guest posting was simpler. Running a guest column however is more sustainable and offers other benefits – building authority and personal brand, for instance.
It’s still impossible to rank without links. At the same time, link building often seems like an impossible task. There are however certain ways to generate good quality links back to your store without triggering any Google penalties.
Creative commons image: Jeff Kubina / Flickr