Links play a vital role in SEO and contribute for more 50% to your SEO success. In this article about eCommerce website’s architecture, I will be covering the role of internal links.
Internal links are links within a website. When we’re talking about link building, we mean links from other websites, also called external links. Within SEO, most eCommerce websites struggle the most with link building because it’s something they can’t fully control.
However, link building doesn’t have to be that difficult.
Like all aspects of SEO is requires a good strategy and hard work. The key to successful link building is to develop the right content strategies and outreach techniques, as this will enable you to build quality links more easily and boost the visibility of your landing pages and site as a whole.
Let’s look at some of the best examples of effective, e-commerce link building tactics and how you can apply them to help your online business in order to succeed.
Using influencers to build Content Assets
According to research, millennials are progressively cynical of big brands and sponsored messages, which makes the process of link building even harder for eCommerce brands.
This is a challenge that was neatly side-stepped by online fashion retailer platform ASOS, as their ASOS Insiders campaign empowered individual influencers to create powerful content assets and build links on their behalf. In short, ASOS created sponsored accounts for selected influencers and established fashion bloggers, who would then post images of themselves on Instagram and other channels wearing branded clothing.
The pictures would be accompanied by targeted links that encouraged customers to “buy the look,” while also including relevant fashion tips and informative lifestyle content. And while these links from social media may not directly influence organic rankings, the Insiders page has attracted 49 natural referring domains from fashion bloggers and sites such as The Guardian.
The results were truly impressive, with ASOS able to develop an organic and low-cost link building campaign that boosted customer retention rates and reached out to new demographics.
Use of integrated content marketing and creating a compelling blog
As Google’s algorithms have continued to evolve and prioritize natural links, brands likewise have been more inclined to target content as the main part of their strategy.
This does not funnel customers directly to key product pages, creating the need to build an internal linking structure that integrates your content marketing strategy.
This positively influences the customer journey as well as the effectiveness of your link building techniques. Your blog should serve as the heartbeat of this link building strategy, by hosting relevant and high-quality content that can deliver authoritative links and offers a natural conduit to specific product pages.
For example, the fashion brand J. Crew’s brand blog is renowned for its classic sense of style and stunning photography, while it also hosts a diverse range of posts including in-depth styling advice, and behind-the-scenes looks at the world of high fashion.
Building an entire community of Independent Brand Ambassadors
If you have a start-up eCommerce brand with limited availability for marketing and little more than a product to sell. You want to use link building to drive awareness and traffic to your website and need the right strategy to deploy.
You could do far worse than follow the example of Black Milk Clothing, a fashion brand that has grown from humble beginnings into a multi-million-dollar firm that employs more than 150 people.
This brand has focused primarily on building regional communities within its customer base while establishing an individual Facebook group and social network for each one.
These communities have become a breeding ground for motivated brand ambassadors, who are engaged with targeted and personalized content that includes links to new product launches and existing ranges. These ambassadors then share these product links and drive traffic directly to commercial pages, while also continuing the discussion even when there is nothing new to talk about.
Embrace video marketing
Video content helps you bring your brand’s products and the stories behind them to life through walk-throughs, narratives, and in-depth instructional videos.
This also enables you to create different types of content for your target audience, from educational how-toss to humorous stories and slapstick comedy. This proves invaluable in the quest to build effective links that engage customers and drive higher click-through rates. Video content tends to rank well on Google with potential for featured snippets.
This can provide you outreach opportunities to relevant blogs where you can request a link back to the original page on your website.
One good angle to take when outreaching to bloggers, once they have embedded the video, is to provide a better alternative, such as a high-quality HD embed that doesn’t include the YouTube ads by just making sure to include a followed attribution link underneath the video iframe entrench.
Creating a feature that makes your products shareable
One of the most effective link building campaigns of recent times involved Getty Image’s Embed, which opened up around 50 million images for free use on blogs and social media websites.
The key to this campaign was that it made the product shareable to potential customers, creating a clear path for scaling the idea and driving traffic back to their website.
So, rather than attempting to build organic links through a remote blog post or external piece of content and then create a customer journey using internal linking, you can direct traffic straight to a page that sits at the heart of your venture, should you make visually striking images embeddable.
This creates the potential for your links to be shared beyond your own consumer network, generating more traffic and potential sales in the process.
Leverage extreme products to build links
Another way to acquire links and build buzz around your brand is to stock and promote extreme products either as part of a seasonal range or a new segment of your business.
This technique has the capacity to eschew traditional demographics and appeal to a mass audience.
Wish.co.uk have perfected this strategy, leveraging a number of extreme experience products to build effective links and brand awareness.
One of the most successful was its ground-breaking Zombie paint-balling experience, which was truly unique when it was launched and has now become hugely popular within this industry. By building links around this type of product, you can drive huge volumes of traffic to your website while generation considerable interaction through social channels.
Looking for broken links
Once you have compiled your list of potential websites you want to get links on, then you can check each of them in turn for broken links. There are a couple of useful tools you can use to check for broken links.
One of these is a chrome extension called Check My Links which allows you to see if there are any broken links on the page you are on.
A good habit to get into is to check every page you visit to help identify opportunities without having to allocate a ton of time. Any links that you find broken, just make a note of the referring page and the destination of the link for a later part of this strategy.
You can use Ahrefs as it allows you to check whole websites in just a few clicks. Head to their Site Explorer and paste in the website you wish to check for and search, then go to ‘Backlink’ and then ‘Broken’. Then you will see all the broken inbound links the target website has.
As before, make a note of these and add them to your spreadsheet. You can get a list of all the broken outbound links by going to ‘Outgoing links’ and then ‘Broken links’, then make a note of them on your spreadsheet. Lastly, you can use Ahrefs to find all the internal broken links by clicking ‘Pages’ than Best by links. Add any broken links to your spreadsheet.
Start charity projects
There are a lot of websites that are happy to amplify any charitable projects. It’s an easy way for them to feel like they’re helping out.
If you set up a charity drive through your business, start a scholarship, or choose a week to donate a percentage of all your profits to a notable cause, those are all things that other websites are likely to cover or promote to their own readers.
Again, this is a strategy that will have a cost for you and is best to do for reasons other than just getting links (like in this case, helping other people), but it can be a good way to earn links as well.
Feature Customer Stories.
This is good marketing advice in general. When your potential customers can see positive stories from your current customers, it makes them more likely to convert.
But it can also be helpful for link building. A good customer story can serve as a case study to demonstrate principles someone might point to evidence of in a blog post.
For example, that writer claiming that a good pair of running shoes really do make a difference would link to your customer story about someone who increased their running time after buying your shoes.
If you’re able to capture a particularly moving story, it could inspire people to share it due to the emotion it evokes. The couple that found each other through their shared love of your products and got married in spite of great odds could leave people feeling inspired and wanting to share the tale.
People relate to people, so creating content that features the people your brand exists for and because of can give other people something to connect with. It’s those connections that often lead to shares and links.
Doing original research.
Whenever someone cites a statistic or finding that comes from your research, they will link back to you. Creating original research isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s very effective and can be worth the resources you put into it.
Consider questions that your readers and other businesses in your industry have that you could help answer with a survey or analysis. If you see an opportunity for statistics or research that hasn’t been done or that you can do better, take it.