This post won’t tell you everything you need to know about SEO but will help you with the most daunting part for most newcomers: building links. Link building is an essential part of ranking on Google. Anyone who tells you otherwise has simply never ranked a website.
I can speak from experience. I’ve been doing SEO for over 10 years and have built up a number of ecommerce businesses on organic traffic alone. While SEO isn’t right for every ecommerce business it can be a very powerful marketing opportunity for many.
The thing about these link building ideas, is they won’t only benefit your SEO. They will drive sales to your site through referrals too! It’s an all-around win that will benefit your business.
Here are 5 ways to build links to your ecommerce site (without hiring an expensive agency):
1. Ask Suppliers
This is the easiest win for ecommerce shops that a lot of store owners simply overlook. The best part of these links is that they convert users at a really high rate too. If somebody ends up on your site, from a supplier’s site, they’re looking specifically for that product. Speaking from experience I’ve gotten tons of sales from brands linking to my ecommerce shop.
You might have a number of these awesome links just waiting to be picked up!
Just catalog all of the brands that your store stocks. Check out each of their websites and look for a ‘where to buy’ or ‘store locator’ page. If they have one just ask to be added to the website!
For example, if you’re selling phone accessories perhaps you carry Moshi products:
This means you can get a deep link to your Moshi collections page which might be a high traffic keyword. Also people will find you through the Moshi site. It’s a win-win.
2. Get Products in the Hands of Influencers
Find influencers who have blogs that link to products in their posts. All you need to do is reach out to them and ask if they’d like your product in exchange for a shout out on their blog. It’s as simple as that, it doesn’t need to be complicated. Always be courteous and offer to ship it free.
To find these opportunities just Google around to find bloggers in your niche. For example, “list of fashion bloggers” gives you this awesome list of Australian fashion bloggers to reach out to. Find a match, reach out and see if you can give them a free product in exchange for inclusion in their next blog post.
If you get on the right blogs you will drive sales from their readers as well as benefit your website’s SEO.
Another easy way to get links in the fashion industry is to find communities where people share their fashion. Lookbook.nu is one example where people show off their lookbooks and link to the place to buy them. Many of those users have blogs too so you can get multiple links from one influencer if you play your cards right.
Note: Try and get them to link to your product pages. They’re generally harder links to acquire.
3. Reach Out to Software Providers
Almost every ecommerce store uses a number of software providers, whether they realize it or not. You have an ecommerce platform (ex. Shopify), plugins (ex. Gooten), hosting services (ex. GoDaddy), email marketing (ex. Mailchimp)… the list goes on. Each piece of software you use may be a chance to grab a link.
Look at Gooten’s homepage for example:
These websites are all scooping up an awesome link right from the homepage. Just like with the suppliers, take stock of all the software you use, check their website, and see if there’s an opportunity for a link. It may turn out to be one of your best ones.
4. Run a Contest
You probably know that contests are a great way to boost your social numbers, but did you know that they can drive quality links to your website too?
Almost all new ecommerce competitor software (like Gleam) allow you to add custom actions as an entry to your contest. Create “write a blog post” as an entry and let it loose. The contest will naturally pick up links from people entering and writing posts about your contest.
The key here is to do outreach to blogs who may be interested in entering. It probably won’t just go viral by itself — you’ll need to do a bit of work!
There are also a number of websites that list contests. These are quick wins for links and can boost your entry numbers.
Hot tip: Put your contest on the product page of whatever you’re giving away. It’ll help you drive links to internal pages of your website which can be difficult to get links to (as I’ve mentioned earlier).
5. Exchange with Complimentatry Ecommerce Sites
This is a tactic that not enough ecommerce sites are using, but is ripe for the picking. Just because you’re selling similar things to other shops doesn’t mean that you are competitors.
A great example would be Blaze and Leaf, who sells weed-themed t-shirts and apparel. They could approach my vaporizer ecommerce store and offer to exchange blog posts. Not only will it give each other’s shop a link, but we’ll get in front of a whole new audience that is definitely interested in each other’s products.
Build a hit list of complimentary ecommerce sites that you’d like to exchange posts with and reach out to them. Some may turn you down but you’d be surprised to see how receptive people are to ideas like this.
You Can Do It! (Yourself)
SEO is generally broken down into on-page and off-page. On-page is the easier part for many people because you just need to change a few things on your website. Off-page (link building) can be a scary thing to do for many entrepreneurs so they turn to an expensive agency or consultant.
Don’t let it scare you! There are a number of links just waiting for your ecommerce store to pick up. Give these five tactics a shot today.
Christian Sculthorp is a serial ecommerce entrepreneur who has a day job as the Head of Growth for Practice Ignition (one of those SaaS companies you’ve heard so much about). Ask him questions about bootstrapping an ecommerce shop and growing it with SEO — he doesn’t bite!