eCommerce Link Building: A Comprehensive Guide

  • Samuel Darwin
  • Aug 24, 2022

The era of eCommerce businesses is increasing with each passing day. Any product you can think of is available online. 

New brands come up every day, and with such competition comes the responsibility of ranking your eCommerce business on top of search engines. 

Ranking an eCommerce store high on search engines is like having a shop on a busy street with many viewers.

This article has a breakdown of what an eCommerce business is, how to build an eCommerce website, eCommerce link building strategies, and how to track sales and leads.

Types of eCommerce Businesses

eCommerce businesses are mainly conducted in four different ways. All transactions, pushing, and selling between businesses and consumers happen according to these four types:

  1. Business to Business (B2B)
  2. Business to Consumer (B2C)
  3. Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
  4. Consumer to Business (C2B)

An eCommerce business can take different forms between businesses and consumers. The different transactional relationships in eCommerce businesses are:

  • Retail eCommerce business
  • Dropshipping
  • Wholesale eCommerce business
  • Crowdfunding
  • Selling of physical products
  • Digital products
  • Services, and
  • Subscription-based.

There are millions of eCommerce businesses established today. But to start an eCommerce business, what are the prerequisites you should know?

Setting Up an eCommerce Business

The pre-requisites start from researching your niche, competitor analysis, product or service planning, to setting up the website. 

Here is a complete checklist of four things you should be doing.

Choose the Perfect Business Plan

A business model is an outline and plan on how your eCommerce business will make money. 

Business models can be single vendor models or multiple-vendor models. The idea of your successful business plan will include every step, from a customer coming on the web, finding your website, choosing a product, buying the product, and then until the time the product reaches the customer, satisfying the customer’s need.

A Brand Name & Legal Structure

Your company’s brand name is your identification in the market. Choosing a brand name that resonates with your brand will help you connect to the people who engage in your business and your brand.

Once you have chosen a name, you can confirm the name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. After confirming your brand name and logo, the next step is to decide on a legal structure for your business. 

The different types of business legal structures are a corporation, general partnership, LLC, or sole proprietorship.

Apply for an EIN & Business license

Next, the step is to apply for your Employer Identification Number (EIN). The EIN is a unique 9-digit number that is important for your business tax-related purposes. The EIN will help you to open a business bank account and file for your business license. The business licenses will help you legally work in any city or country.

NOTE: The business license permits are different for various businesses.

Choose a Platform and Build a Website

A website will be the face of your business. You can choose a pre-built website or build your website from scratch. Building a website in a structured and user-friendly manner is a crucial part. Your website is the place where customers will come, browse and purchase any service or product.

Here is a free eCommerce checklist for eCommerce link building.

Pre-requisite for eCommerce Link Building

Every eCommerce website is styled differently depending on your niche and business strategy. 

But certain prerequisites must be noted to gain traction in the market and look forward toward traffic and revenue goals. 

Let’s take a look at all the necessary aspects you need to focus on while setting up or upgrading your eCommerce website.

Hierarchical Ecommerce Website Structure

A good eCommerce website should follow a proper hierarchy when it comes to site navigation and setup. The first page should be your homepage, followed by the sub categories and then the product pages. You can use a drop-down menu to categorize your hierarchy.

While designing or creating an eCommerce website, keep the below points in mind.

  • Keep your design simple. People will love navigating to pages if your UI is clean.
  • Add side menus to help navigation. Users can narrow it down to pages using the side menus.

Good URL structure

A clean and short URL structure is essential for any website. And for your eCommerce website, this adds value in the form of user-friendliness.

The URL should contain a shortened description of your product. It helps users understand the page better. Also, make sure to use lower case letters for your URL.

Proper Categorization and Tagging

Page Categorization and Tagging Example
Page Categorization and Tagging Example

Any user who navigates your website would require properly categorized pages to find products, of course. This can be done by categorizing pages according to product niche, gender, age, occasion, usability, etc. 

Once you have categorized these, add tags to the products and link them to the pages. This will bring you traffic and increase your ranking on search engines.

Great Homepage

When a user arrives at your website, if your homepage is dull and cluttered, your users will find it hard to find any product on your site. 

Linking to product pages and subcategories will help your homepage get more traffic and views. 

When you start link building, your home page optimization will set the standards for success.

Internal Linking

Internally linking your pages is a great way to signal to Google that these pages are important on your website. However, this should be done with caution since linking too many pages causes dilution and doesn’t provide great results.

  • Product pages that are very important to your website should be linked.
  • Link pages from the sitewide menu show their importance.

This practice helps you increase your authority and ranking in the Google search engine. These cover the basic requirements you need to get traffic from search engines. Your linking structure should be aligned to your homepage for better reach. Your homepage should contain only basic information required for a user to navigate to other pages.

Using Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are Google’s way of showing the user’s journey to a certain page by showing the path they took to reach the page. Breadcrumbs give Google an idea of how the homepage, subcategories, and product pages are interlinked, making the website easy to read and analyze for its ranking purposes. 

This is a very popular method to get Google’s attention towards your site and helps site crawlability. If there are multiple sub-pages in your user’s journey, they all should be reflected on the breadcrumb navigation bar.

Example:

Home → Category → Sub Category → Product

Breadcrumbs navigation example
Breadcrumbs navigation example

Apart from giving Google information about the categorization and linking of your pages, breadcrumbs offer better navigation options.

Fix Broken Links

Broken links are the bane of any website. As an eCommerce website owner, your focus on broken links should be rapid and regular. 

Broken links are those links on your website that do not work properly anymore. 

They might have been redirected, lost, or no longer valid due to multiple reasons. Always do a regular check on your pages to fix broken links and to detect them, either manually, or through automated processes.

Broken links affect your SEO ranking, user experience, and lead generation capabilities. This being said, broken links are inevitable on any eCommerce website. Although Google doesn’t punish for broken links, your users will surely find it annoying, so get rid of them, or people are going to leave your site.

Below are some of the broken link error codes that are common in eCommerce websites.

  • 404 Page Not Found: the page isn’t available on the server.
  • 400 Bad Request: the host server is not able to decipher your URL.
  • Bad host: Invalid host name: the server is not reachable or invalid.
  • Bad URL: Disfigured URL (structural issues)
  • Bad Code: Invalid HTTP response code: the server response breaches HTTP requirements.
  • Empty: the host returns no content or code when prompted.
  • Timeout: The request gets timed out constantly during the check.
  • Reset Too many connection drops. A server might be busy or malfunctioning.

Why is eCommerce Link Building Important?

You already know what an eCommerce business is and how to start and structure your business and website on the web. 

An important part of doing SEO for eCommerce is eCommerce link building. According to SEO experts, link building is one of Google’s most important ranking factors. 

To learn all about eCommerce link building, we’ll first learn why eCommerce link building is important.

For any eCommerce store, ranking your website on the top of search engine results (SERPs) is as important as running a physical store in a busy area. With the ever-increasing competitive world and hundreds of other businesses selling similar types of things, it is important to stand out from the crowd. The primary step to do this is to have a product that can solve mass problems and is user-friendly. 

Link building is the process of getting hyperlinks (also known as backlinks) to your site. 

Hyperlinks help users to navigate through different web pages. Search engine crawlers (a spider bot) crawl through links to visit different web pages and find unique content throughout the internet and index them. This helps in increasing your search engine visibility.

When you do link building on your sites, it helps your sites in letting Google or any other search engine know about earning votes from other websites. 

Every time your eCommerce website gets a “vote” from other websites, it will help Google to establish your website as an authoritative and trusted site. The increase in website authority also leads to an increase in Domain Authority (DA). 

An eCommerce website owner always wants more organic traffic and potential customers, which can generate leads and conversions. eCommerce link building also helps build brand awareness and drives more referral traffic.

Even though link building is important for SEO, are all links equally important? 

The answer is no. 

Before the release of the Google Penguin Algorithm Update, it was evident that the number of links was the main ranking factor. Website owners started practicing black hat SEO to get quicker results. Post publishing the update, Google checks for three main things:

  • Relevant links
  • Contextual
  • Quality links

According to Dan Maverick, these three things are important while analyzing a link building campaign:

  1. Relevancy of the link to the context of the article.
  2. The total number of inbound links pointing to that page.
  3. How the article/blog post is target keyword optimized.

We will now look for the different ways you can do eCommerce link building.

Here is the case study of Lynn & Liana Designs, a Canada-based eCommerce website, and how they grew their organic traffic and sales through a white hat eCommerce link-building campaign. After three months of the link building campaign, they saw an increase of 127% in their organic sales. Along with their organic sales, their Domain Rating (DR) also increased from 28 to 31.

Lynn lianda case study example
Lynn lianda case study example
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11 eCommerce Link Building Methods

Knowing eCommerce link building is the first step to success. It is important to implement different link building strategies for your business. Let us deep dive to check some of the most effective eCommerce link building strategies.

1. Niche Edits

The plain definition of niche edit is to add content along with your target link into already published content rather than creating new content. The main advantage of niche edits is that you can add your link to a published article that already has high authority.

The first step in niche editing is finding suitable sites with similar products or services. You can get a list of websites by searching in Google or any other search engines or by running a link building campaign. For example, if you’re searching for the fashion industry, you can search for a search query like “fashion blog website” to find a list of relevant websites.

After this, you connect with the webmaster and ask them to add a link to their existing blog posts. The important part here is to deliver value through your link and content. Most niche edits are paid links.

Niche edits are also less time-consuming than regular guest posts. Another advantage is that you can reach out to websites with high DA (Domain Authority) and get your link live in less time.

The best practice for niche editing is looking for websites with genuine content rather than spammy websites with many paid links.

Related Reads: How Effectively Do Niche Edits Improve Your Website Ranking?

2. Create Linkable Assets

Another important and effective way of link building is by creating linkable assets. Linkable assets are content created to attract links from external websites naturally. They can be in different forms like instructional videos, blog posts, resource guides, infographics, etc. The purpose of creating linkable assets is to create content for your industry or niche. Creating linkable assets comes with other benefits than attracting links. They are:

  • Increasing organic search traffic by increasing “link equity.” The incoming links can be distributed to other subpages in your website via internal links.
  • Linkable assets are also an important element for an increase in referral traffic. If your website has incoming links from higher authority websites, it will result in an increase in referral traffic.
  • Suppose you are producing valuable content for your industry and niche. In that case, your brand affinity and exposure (acting as a part of the top of the marketing funnel) will also increase through linkable assets.

If your website already has a linkable asset in the form of content, you can work on improving the quality of that content. Perform on-page SEO audits and competitor research while implementing new researched content or media elements. 

The last step for the linkable assets is to do outreach and reach webmasters who will link to your content.

3. Influencer Link Building

Product endorsement is a popular marketing strategy. Similarly, influencer product reviews are also becoming more popular these days. Think of Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. These social media platforms are powerful tools for eCommerce businesses. According to this study, it is found that influencer marketing is more reliable and brings more value to the audience than celebrity brand endorsements.

The easy steps of influencer link building are:

  • Do research about influencers who can review your products and belong in similar niches.
  • The next step is to contact them and approach them for product reviews.
  • Next in the process is to give them a product (it can be free or paid, depending on influencer popularity) and ask them to create content about it.
  • Now, influencers can review your product via various channels like by writing product pages review or posting their content over social media channels.

But according to Google Webmaster guidelines, all product reviews should be tagged as “Sponsored post” and should be a no-follow link.

4. Conduct Giveaways

Another important tool of eCommerce link building is conducting giveaways. Giveaways are not only helpful in building links but also in helping increase brand value and create a buzz about your website and products. Giveaways help by creating organic links through social shares and increasing brand exposure. This increases the incoming variety of links to your website.

Giveaway example
Giveaway example

Giveaways can also lead to an increase in followers, new email sign-ups, trial order sign-up, and social shares, and can introduce your brand or product to a wide variety of new audiences. A giveaway can also be created in partnership with an influencer. In this case, your website can also see a surge of new audiences from the influencer’s followers. An ideal time for conducting giveaways is during any product launch.

5. Buyer’s Guide

A buyer’s guide is an important element for any eCommerce brand. According to this report, 52% of shopping has been shifted online post-pandemic. The shift of shopping experience from offline to online mode has led to the growth of buyer’s guides. They are an influential option to help make decisions and make sales. They are important to gain trust among your audience.

Buyers Guide example
Buyers Guide example

Image Source: Shopify

The main goal of creating a buyer’s guide is to influence people to buy your products. You can put your CTA (Call To Action) throughout the buyer’s guide with internal links to your product pages. Once a person is sure of buying your product, they can directly visit the product pages, make the payment, and complete shopping on your page.

Other than an online write-up, a buyer’s guide can also be in the form of video content. The video can be a list of products you need for an occasion, like a back-to-school video with details of the product mentioned in the video. The product links of the brand or website are usually present in the description box for a YouTube video. 

6. Promoting Charities

The promotion of charities is a time-tested marketing and link building activity. Participating in fundraising ceremonies and social gatherings is a meaningful way to build links while connecting with the community and gaining representation and visibility. These kinds of fundraising ceremonies help in local exposure, too, because local journalists will often publish a write-up or blog about the program, and they will mention your company along with a link to your website. Links coming from charities are often trustworthy and high-quality links. They are also important in increasing your local SEO and link-building efforts.

If you’re making donations to any organization and if they are publishing a list of donors, they can add your website name along with your link. This way, you will get a backlink from the listing.

7. Image Link Building

Image link building is possible if you’re creating images that are really valuable for the industry and niche you’re working in. If you have high-quality owned images, other websites might find your images relevant and can use them. You can get a backlink when they mention the source link if they’re using your owned images. Image link building is important because everyone is looking to make their website more visually attractive. That’s why creating visual assets has become of utmost importance to keep your website visitors engaged.

There are different types of images that you can use for link building; they can be:

  • Infographics
  • Product photos
  • Banner and badges
  • Maps
  • Statistic data charts, among many others.

8. Image Reclaiming and Unbrand Mention

Image reclaiming and unbranded mentions are ways to get backlinks for the content that is already published on the web without due credit to the source account or website. If you have an image asset and other websites are using the images without giving you credit, you can connect with the webmaster and can ask them to link the image to your website. Finding images without any links is done by reverse image search functionality. You can do this using tools like TinEye, Picsearch, Veracity, Labno’s reverse image search, etc. These tools will help you find the unclaimed images, and you can connect with the webmasters to reclaim the image credits.

Similarly, there might be articles/blogs/other content where your brand name has been mentioned without linking to your website. It can be either a brand name or anything specifically related to your brand. One easy way to find your brand is by creating a “Google alert” for your business. This will give you a notification whenever someone is mentioning your business name.

Google alerts
Google Alerts

You can also search in Google, “brand name” -inurl:domainname.com. This will give you the list of all the websites where your brand name has been mentioned, and once you find an unbranded mention, you can contact the webmaster and ask them to link back to your website. Search results for LinkDoctor look like this in Google search results:

Google search results for LinkDoctor
Google search results for LinkDoctor

9. NAP

NAP stands for the Name-Address-Phone number of your business. NAPs are the most effective for local SEO. A consistent NAP profile will increase and enhance your local SEO presence, leading to an increase in local Google SEO searches. The first step of creating a NAP profile is to create your Google My Business profile.

After this, you list your business in different directories. But the important point to note here is not to spam your website in every business directory. The best practice is to choose directories related to your niche and industry and reputed directories. It is best to put your website in a directory list with some original traffic that can bring a real audience to your website and increase your SEO value.

10. Startup Directories

For a startup company, you can immediately increase your visibility by listing yourself in different startup directories. Startup directories are an effective way of link building for new companies. Startup directories usually contain domain authority and ratings, making it easy for the audience to choose and understand your website better. Some of the common startup directories are Crunchbase, Index.co, Killer Startups, among many more. 

11. Coupon Code Link Building

Another creative effort of link building is through coupon codes. For eCommerce brands, coupon codes on different products are an important way of attracting new customers. Not just for attracting an audience but also as an important link-building technique. There are different types of coupon codes that you can generate for an eCommerce brand, namely:

  • Category Codes
  • Product Codes
  • Brand-specific Codes

The main strategy of coupon link building is through influencers and creators. You can collaborate with them, and they can help share your coupon code to a new audience, attract more traffic, increase social shares, and generate links to your website. The important thing here is to know for which page you want to do coupon code link building. It can be for landing pages or product-based coupons too. 

Measure Success And Track Sales

Once you start with your link building campaigns and strategies, track and measure your campaign success and follow the sales. 

eCommerce metrics provide you with insight into how well your campaigns are performing. By analyzing different metrics, you can decide on new ideas and opportunities. There are numerous metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that can help you measure your campaign’s success. The most important of all is:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Average Order Value (AOV)
  • Bounce Rate
  • Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Email click-through-rate (CTR), among many more. 

In Conclusion 

For a beginning eCommerce business, ranking your business to the top search engine page for competitive keywords for your products might take time. But with consistent efforts in building a website and putting all SEO elements together along with implementing the right eCommerce link building strategy, you can overrank your competitors. 

LinkDoctor builds ethical white hat links for your website and grows your website and business to increase search engine rankings. Book a call with one of our co-founders, and know how we can help your business make number 1 in the world. 

Related Reads: 

What are inbound links? And how do they help your SEO strategy?

The importance of user experience for SEO 

5 steps to do a successful outreach campaign

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