Successfully building ecommerce links is way more fun than struggling! Links will be a key aspect of Google's ranking factors at least for the foreseeable future. So as an ecommerce business, you do need them.
We’ve researched and prioritized the most promising link building strategies below. Use the quick guide to jump into any tactic.
Quick Guide to Ecommerce Link Building Strategies
The best way to acquire links for your online store is to ask other websites for inbound links. But you only want high quality relevant link prospects.
And there's the rub. When link building for an online business, you ideally want to be building links to your product pages. And in our experience and through our clients feedback, those are tougher to get organically. That is why you must seek them out directly!
New to link building? Read our Ultimate Link Building Guide first.
Product Page Link Building Tactics
Your ecommerce brand needs plenty of organic traffic to your commercial pages and category pages. Click the links below to choose which of our tactics you choose to implement.
Ecommerce Link Building Strategy: Product Page Broken Link Building
There are many ways to build links. Any that work for building links in general will also work for an online store. But let's focus on strategies specific to the challenges of ecommerce sites.
For example, broken link building is a tactic. But for ecommerce, go more targeted and focus on product page broken link building.
We could brainstorm everywhere you could get links to your product pages:
But there is an easier way to get started: competitor research.
How to Find Ecommerce Backlinks Using Competitors in Ahrefs
Analyzing the backlinks your competitors already have is a shortcut to finding relevant sites. The reason your competitors are ranking above you has a lot to do with their backlink profiles. The good news is that there are tools available that allow you to analyze the sites linking to your competitors so you can find ones quality and relevant sites that would be valuable backlinks for you. Below we will outline a simple but effective way to start analyzing competitors sites and finding good link prospects.
Competitor Backlink Analysis Process:
Search Google for your target keyword phrase and put the top ten listings in a spreadsheet.
Use Ahrefs to find all your competitor's backlinks:
Log in and choose Site Explorer.
Paste your competitor's URL in the URL field.
Click on backlinks to see the pages linking to your competitor's ranking page.
- Export this list to a CSV file and then copy the rows into your competitor spreadsheet from step 1.
Repeat step two for each competitor's page you wish to analyze.
A premium Ahrefs account is necessary to use the above procedure. There is a free backlinks tool explained here. However, it only works at the domain level. For a more advanced competitor backlink analysis technique, check out this video by aHrefs where they explain how to find excellent link prospects by analyzing your competitors sites.
Read on for methods that do not require Ahrefs.
Ecommerce Link Building Tactics
The best way to implement link building ecommerce website tactics is to ask for high quality links most likely to lead to sales. They best align with the searches for your products.
GOAL: Get links where buyers are researching your products.
Start your effective link building tactics for ecommerce brands by seeking out the most relevant audiences.
Do searches for "best product category" to find the pages that rank for the type of products you sell. Open those pages and put the URLs for any that do not mention you into a spreadsheet.
These are your priority links to obtain. Your success or failure depends on how well you approach the decision-makers on these sites. Mass generic email just won't cut it. And neither will acting entitled.
IMPORTANT: You are asking these sites for a favor -- not telling them what to do!
So how should you ask for the link? There are many routes that can work. The key to getting quality links is in how you find and ask for them.
How to Do Outreach to Ask for Ecommerce Backlinks
Think about how you could benefit the site you'll be asking for a backlink.
Have you shared their content on social media?
Would you be willing to include them in your newsletter?
Are you part of a group where you could mention them?
Does it make sense to link to them from your blog content?
Are you getting the idea? Instead of asking for a favor, could you offer something of value? Your link building efforts will be rewarded when you do.
Ecommerce Product Page Link Building: Finding Contact Information
Now you know how to build real manual backlinks for ecommerce sites. But who do you pitch? And how will you figure out how to contact them?
Watch as Adam Enfroy shares how he does it. Then follow the steps below the video.
Outreach Process: Who to Contact; Getting Their Email
The process of reaching out to publishers for in an effort to secure backlinks is often referred to simply as "blogger outreach". Here are the steps to find the person to reach out to:
Find the company page on their website or on LinkedIn.
Search for a content manager or content editor on large sites and the website owner on smaller sites.
Can't find their email address? If the company has a consistent standard for email addresses, try guessing what it is. For example, first name.last name at domain or first initial.last name at domain.
What if they're not on LinkedIn or you can't find the individual? Look at their website "about" or "team" or similar page to get their name.
Alternate Outreach Process: How to Send a LinkedIn Connection Request
Or maybe they're on LinkedIn, but the email address bounced. You can contact them via LinkedIn. This doesn't always work, but it works more often than not:
Go to their page and click on "connect".
IMPORTANT: Always customize your invitations by clicking the "Add a note" button.
Write the most compelling short message you can. Make it about them, not you! You cannot include links in these notes.
Notice in the above image, we included the reason we want to connect. And we offered him something of value to accept.
That message can be twice that long, but no longer than 300 characters. Spend time crafting it because if they reject or ignore it, you've lost that avenue to connect.
There are people who remove the connect button from their profiles. See the image above for where it is typically located. Sometimes it does appear under the three periods that indicate "more" so look around.
Or you may see a message asking for their email address. Try guessing or use the email address that bounced. There is a slight chance it could work.
Remember to go back to LinkedIn to check for any accepted connection requests. Now that you know how and who to contact, take your time perfecting your pitches.
WAIT! Don't reach out yet. You need link worthy content or assets!
Before you make your pitch, optimize your link worthy product page. Give them reasons to want to link to your online store instead of saying no.
Open that page and check all the links. Consider adding more photos and text. Many site owners are not going to want to link to a vanilla product page. Do this well, and you could attract links, too.
Even before you start building external links, create an internal linking strategy to strengthen your category pages. Your internal links are easiest to get and can be used to improve your link equity.
And make sure you have your technical SEO fine-tuned. Your links can turn into unlinked mentions if your pages load too slowly.
Link Building Strategies for Ecommerce
You're well on your way to knowing how to get quality backlinks to ecommerce websites. The most valuable backlinks are the toughest link prospects. So when learning to do link building in house, you might want to start with easier sites to hone your skills.
Effective ecommerce link building requires that you build quality links to your landing pages. Remember that exact match anchor text is considered the most tricky for maintaining the appearance of natural links.
You do want to use some exact match anchor text, but don't go overboard. For links pointing to your product pages, you want only relevant backlinks. And most site owners do not want to link to unrelated sites anyway.
Remember the spreadsheet you created of "best product" reviews and recommendations? Open it up and create columns for person's name, email, LinkedIn bio, and notes. Use one of the processes above to populate those columns.
Now use your spreadsheet to keep track as you pitch each person. Taylor each message for that specific person. And remember to offer value so they have a reason to say yes!
If the above doesn't sound like something you want to do yourself, consider using ecommerce link building with Vazoola.
Easy Link Building for Ecommerce Websites
You could be more profitable by focusing on your business instead of doing your own outreach. For easy link building for ecommerce sites, let us do it for you!
What are your ecommerce site link building goals? When it comes to how to get organic backlinks, ecommerce sites can have a greater challenge. That is especially true for ecommerce store product pages.
If you already know that you would rather have someone else build links for you, consider using our ecommerce link building services. Because we already have relationships with thousands of website owners, it is easier for us to do it.
Let's continue with additional methods for finding ecommerce SEO link building opportunities for your ecommerce store.
Finding Relevant But Non-Competing Sites
Your direct competitors may not be willing to link to your site. Many ecommerce sites in your niche will be competing for the same keyword phrases.
Another way to approach ecommerce link building is to base it on the other site having the same target audience as you.
For example, if you sell golf clubs, there are golf courses, golf clothing manufacturers and sellers, golf ball vendors, etc., who may not sell golf clubs.
You all have the same target audience, but you are not competing by selling the same products. Moreover, links from these sites add greatly to the relevance of your link profile.
Remember to Keep Your Link Profile Natural!
That is especially important when building links yourself. Do not overuse exact match anchor text or you run the risk of triggering an algorithm that takes away your traffic and sales.
Many site owners and SEOs are accidentally creating obviously unnatural link profiles. See the image below and make sure you avoid doing this!
Also, consider relevance more important than the size of a site. If you only build links from the largest sites, your link profile will not look natural.
Above all, avoid building toxic links. Refer to What are Toxic Backlinks? How to Find and Remove Them for details.
Start Your Ecommerce Link Building Campaign
Once you've identified non-competing sites, there are several tactics you can use to obtain external links from them.
First, do some research.
Search their site for your company name and the products you sell.
The syntax for that search is site:domain.com keywords.
If you find unlinked mentions, contact them to ask whether they are willing to add your link.
They are likely to link to your home page unless you ask for a different link.
Search their site for an indication that they would be interested in accepting a guest post from you.
Use a site search for common phrases such as "write for us" or "guest post guidelines".
Do they have bios on the content indicating they publish multiple writers? Click on the bios to see if the author works there or somewhere else.
Do they have a blog post about your product?
How old is it? Are there any broken links in it?
You could offer to update that post for them and add images and details.
We'll cover how to create a great pitch to write a blog post in the next section. We'd recommend starting with unlinked mentions because those are the easiest to get.
How to Build Backlinks for Ecommerce Creatively
Part of building backlinks is having an excellent content marketing strategy. You must know how to build real manual backlinks for your ecommerce store.
Before you even start pitching, you must have linkable content on your own site. The better that content, the less likely an editor will remove your link!
Creative link building for ecommerce sites starts with choosing the most interesting topic. Choose a topic that is relevant to their site and also fits the content you want to link to on your own.
Bad pitches abound. So do tools for sending templated outreach emails. Whether you do it manually or use a tool, the key is to personalize every message.
And while you're at it, change some of the templated information so it doesn't look like a mass mailing.
Most sites get so many pitches that they ignore 99% of them. Make sure you don't make the mistakes that cause that!
How to Successfully Pitch Guest Posts
Start by thinking about the intersection between your own website and theirs. What can you contribute that their readers want and value?
Decide what your guest post will be about and spend time brainstorming multiple headlines. Study what makes a great headline. Contently's How to Write a Helpful Headline People Will Want to Click is a good place to start.
Once you have some ideas, use a free headline analyzer tool and test variations. Add and remove words to improve your score. If you saw that headline in social media, would you click on it?
Use the editor and the publication's name in your email subject line. The sole "job" of your subject line is to your email opened!
Factors Editors Want to See in a Pitch:
Headline ideas - the better the headline, the more likely they'll say yes!
Who you are:
Polish your LinkedIn bio and include it in your signature.
Use the "Add profile section" to showcase your accomplishments and what you do.
LinkedIn is not just for getting a job. It is the first place people look to evaluate who you are, what you've done, and whether they want to be associated with you.
Examples of your writing. Include a link to your portfolio or links to 2-3 published pieces.
Contently is a good free place to store your portfolio. Move your most impressive content to the top. Here's how to create your portfolio.
If you don't have any content published on other sites, write and publish some on your own site and use those.
Keep your email brief and to the point. But do not leave out the above three factors. Keep in mind that publishing content takes time. Think of it from the site owner's viewpoint.
Yes, you're providing them with free content. But it still has to be edited, saved, images compressed and uploaded, and SEO fields completed. Maybe it is a fair trade and maybe it isn't.
If they agree to publish your content, ask for their guidelines:
How many words they prefer.
Any other specifics your content needs to meet.
The size of their images and what type they permit. Many sites source their own featured image, but will allow you to supply screen captures or custom images. Others want you to provide the featured image.
If they don't tell you the size, ask. Or download a typical image from their existing blog posts and check the size using your image editing application.
Some of this you can get from looking at their site. Are the sub-headings in their content in capital case (all major words capitalized) or in sentence case (only the first word and names capitalized)? Whatever they use, you should use in the content you submit.
Do whatever you can to make your content fast and easy to publish. Create your images the correct size and compress them before you send them.
More link building opportunities will be yours when you demonstrate the ability to provide exceptional content for other websites.
Advanced Ecommerce Link Building: New Reviews
What if you could get other websites to write about your products for you? An excellent link building strategy is to make it easy for site owners to review your products.
Sites that cover ecommerce businesses often write about ecommerce brands and their products. If you want your products to get included, give them everything they need to find interesting angles.
Optimizing your product pages with unique descriptions, videos, and images from multiple angles is best practice to increase conversions. But it can also attract relevant links.
Earlier, we discussed finding existing content with unlinked brand mentions. And then asking the site owner or editor to add your link in that content.
But in this advanced ecommerce link building campaign, you're asking for new content to be written that includes you. Consider offering a sample product to get the most comprehensive review possible.
This ecommerce website link building strategy could be for driving sales as well as SEO. Some site owners may agree, but want you to sponsor the post. Sponsored posts should be clearly marked and the links nofollowed and marked sponsored.
Some site owners will not require the content to be sponsored if they like your idea enough to want to write it editorially.
Be prepared to offer guest posts if the site owner isn't interested in writing a review of your product themselves.
Link Building for Small Ecommerce Sites
What can you do if your ecommerce site is brand new or really small? Before you ask for an ecommerce link, you need to build some authority. There are types of links you can build yourself.
Google Business Profile (Formerly Google My Business)
Acquiring this type of link is an easy way to build SEO metrics. And those will increase the odds of others linking to your website.
Sadly, it is only available to you if you have a local, physical location. If you do, claim, optimize and engage using your Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) by using the process explained by Ben Fisher in this video:
Links in Other Directories
Directory links can increase your organic traffic and are an important part of Google's ranking factors.
Request listings in good quality general business directories.
Research niche directories and websites and ask to be included.
You need to have a physical address to create local listings. But some directories will allow you to hide your address once you enter it.
If you use a service to acquire these links, your listing will be submitted to the major databases. These are used by many when setting up new niche websites. And it can be less expensive to use a service than it is to submit manually to some databases and directories.
This type of link is referred to as a local citation. Find out more about local citation building here.
Social Media Links
Use Knowem to find a username that is available on at least the most important social networks.
Claim that username on those sites. Do your best to use the same username everywhere. If that is not possible, choose a secondary username. But that does make it harder for your customers to remember it. That can mean fewer mentions and referrals.
Use the bio to link to your website and mention what your business does.
These two types of links are important for two major reasons. One, these are authority sites and will increase your Moz DA, Ahrefs DR, and other SEO metrics.
And two, they insulate your business from most negative mentions. Because these sites can outrank all but the highest authority sites, they populate the first few pages of the search results.
We've seen businesses with no authority links end up with negative mentions all over page one on a search for their name.
Avoid reputation management issues and needing authority links quickly to push negatives down. Simply build your links for advance protection!
Off Page SEO for Ecommerce: Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Etsy, Sears
Guess what sites outrank even most social media sites? Big ecommerce websites, of course.
List your products on these to rank higher and sell more products on your own site, too.
We bet you haven't thought of using them for ecommerce link building, have you? This is an untapped link building techniques in ecommerce. Let's take Bumblebee Linens as our example.
Bumblebee Linens is owned by Steve Chou of MyWifeQuitHerJob fame. He is absolutely brilliant when it comes to ecommerce marketing.
So what does Google rank highest for his business name? His store, of course. Note the additional SiteLinks to his products and About Us page. The images to the right are ads he and Amazon are running for his products.
Google loves him so much they have so many photos of his products a screen capture would go on and on. So here's a list:
Google Page 1 Results for Bumblebee Linens:
His website with 4 additional SiteLinks
An image pack of his products displaying 8 photographs
A second image pack with 8 more photographs of his products
TheKnot (a wedding marketplace)
Etsy with 6 images of his products
A third image pack showing 8 more photos of Bumblebee Linen products
Here's a screen capture of Google's first page of search results immediately below his website and the image pack:
Google Page 2 Results for Bumblebee Linens:
8 photographs of his products
Ebay with 1 photo of his product
8 more photographs
A competitor using his brand name as a generic name
Sincerely Stacy: product review for his business
Military.com (discount for his store)
Review Meta (for his Amazon reviews)
Podcasts.Apple.com (him being interviewed)
We told you he was brilliant. Wouldn't you love your ecommerce site to do as well in the SERPs? He teaches what he does on the MyWifeQuitHerJob YouTube channel.
This makes our point that social media links show up on page one and two. And the major ecommerce sites you can list your products on also rank at the top.
When your ecommerce website can dominate over other websites, your organic traffic is bound to go up!
How to Ensure Your Ecommerce Link Building Doesn’t Result in a Google Penalty
One way to ensure your ecommerce link building doesn’t result in a Google penalty is to use reputable only high quality tactics for e-commerce websites.
We specialize in link building. And we also know exactly what to do and what not to do when it comes to avoiding penalties due to improper e-commerce backlinking.
Vazoola keeps up with all the search engine algorithm changes as well while strategizing on the best ways to use those changes to your advantage.
Try Our Ecommerce Link Building Tactics
Are you frustrated waiting for your content to attract even one ecommerce link? Do you want more blog content out on the web, but don't really want to write it yourself?
You're in luck! And, we would love to do link building for ecommerce for you. Whether you are a site owner or an ecommerce link building agency, Vazoola works for you.
Our proprietary software allows you build links for the best possible rates in a hands on or hands off fashion depending on your desired level of involvement in the process.
We give you full control over the metrics, quality, and price you pay for backlinks with using our powerful Bounty Express software. We sincerely believe we are one of the best link building companies for ecommerce!
Written by Casey Bjorkdahl
Casey Bjorkdahl is one of the pioneering thought leaders in the SEO community. In 2010, Casey co-founded Vazoola after working for a Digital Marketing Agency for five years in New York City. Vazoola is now one of the fastest growing and most widely recognized SEO marketing firms in the country.