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While I am travelling over the Australian summer, I hope you are working on your niche sites! If you are currently waiting for me to explain my link building strategy then you are going to love this guest post by Andrew James of BrandBuilders.io. In it, he describes 4 ways to build backlinks to an eCommerce website – but most of these strategies apply equally as well to niche sites and blogs. So read it – then get stuck into some link building!
When you’re trying to drive more organic search engine traffic to your website, one of the biggest areas you need to address is the links that are pointing into your site.
Major search engine algorithms still place a huge emphasis on the strength and relevancy of the links that are pointing to your site, so increasing the amount of links you have coming in will dramatically improve your rankings.
However, eCommerce websites are different than most content-based websites, in that it is harder to generate new links to an eCommerce store than it is to generate new links to a content-based website or blog. Niche sites can often run into the same problems as eCommerce sites if they look more like a commercial website and less like a blog
If your site isn’t performing in the search results like you think it should, or you have a competitor that is consistently outranking you for keywords that you should be ranking at the top for, there are a few ways that you can increase the links to your site, so Google views your site as stronger than the competition — and ranks you higher as a result.
In this tutorial, I am going to share 4 ways you can build links to an eCommerce website. Many of the strategies I discuss here can also be applied to a new niche site or a blog.
You will learn...
- What you need to do before you start building links
- How to use your competition to get links
- How to acquire other blogs to get links
- How to work with celebrities
- How to donate to charities, join associations, contact manufacturers, partner with dealers & sponsor clubs to get links
- Final thoughts
What you need to do before you start building links…
Make Sure Your Design & Content Is Link-Worthy
Before you start building any links to your site, or expecting other people to start linking to it on their own, you’re going to need to make sure that your design and your content is actually worthy of earning those links.
Having a comprehensive content strategy in place is one of the best ways to garner natural links over time, and a great looking design helps you stand out in people’s minds so they’ll be more inclined to link to you.
It’s not that people are against linking to ugly websites, because some of the ugliest sites on the web are also some of the most profitable (look at the $1 Million Website).
You’ll also want to make sure that you have an active blog (or at least, the appearance of being active) and detailed product descriptions that go more in-depth than most eCommerce store’s descriptions.
When you’re focused on providing value, solving problems, or being entertaining with your content, and your design at least makes an attempt to look good while remaining usable and easy to navigate, you’ll be able to drive substantially more links to it than you could if the site has navigation issues, boilerplate and duplicate content on your product pages, or a blog that is either missing content, or is full of bland, boring and basic content.
Address these issues before you start building links. It will pay off huge for you in the long run, and make your link building efforts significantly easier.
How to use your competition to get links…
#1 – Dig Into Your Competition
Your competition and other similar websites to yours are going to be your biggest source of fresh links. When another website has linked to one of your competitors, chances are high that you can get them to link to yours, too.
Finding links that your competitors have can keep you busy for the next 6 to 12 months, and could very well be the only strategy that you need to take from this list.
Here’s how to do it…
- You need to make a list of 5 to 10 of your competitor’s websites. You can include other eCommerce stores, and even include a few content-based blogs for good measure.
- Once you’ve made a list, you will need to run them through a competition spy tool. Ahrefs is a great tool for spying on their links. So is Keysearch.
- Jump onto Ahrefs and enter the first URL. Then, click on “Backlinks” and start going through the list.
- There is going to be a lot of noise in the list, so you will want to open up 10 links at a time, or so. You’re looking for links that you can easily replicate. If you spot a link that has been placed into a piece of content, or looks like the website owner has created it and you can easily replicate it, add that link to a spreadsheet.
- When you’ve amassed a good number of links in your spreadsheet, you will want to start replicating them. Take your time, because if you’re in a competitive industry, your list is likely to contain thousands of links that you’ll need to build.
Go through each link in your spreadsheet, and work out how to build one for yourself.
For instance, if the link is in a piece of content that the blogger has produced, reach out to them with a few content ideas of your own and request a guest posting spot on their blog.
If the link is automated or built by your competitor themselves, you can create an account on the site where the link is held, and build your own profile to obtain a link.
Dissecting your competitor’s backlinks is one of the best ways to give your site a quick boost, and can keep you busy for months, or even years.
You may not be able to replicate every single link in the list, but don’t worry. When you get through one competitor’s list of backlinks, move onto the next competitor and run their website through Ahrefs again.
How to acquire other blogs to get links…
#2 – Acquire Other Blogs
There are millions of abandoned blogs that can be purchased for much less than what you would normally pay for a high end link through a link building or SEO service.
If you’re able to acquire these blogs by working out a deal with the owner, you can gain full control over the content on the blog and use it to promote your own website.
This is an amazing strategy because not only are you getting new links to your eCommerce store, but you’re also gaining a new platform that you can begin promoting to obtain its own link profile, which will strengthen the links that are pointing at your store.
Your competition also can’t get links from these websites and blogs, because you own them.
Now, when it comes to buying abandoned and expired blogs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 for the domain name (in the case of expired domains) or up to $1,000 for an abandoned blog that is loaded with content.
Think of the purchase as a long-term marketing investment into your business that will present you other opportunities to capture more traffic and drive it to your eCommerce store, as well as generate new links and build relationships with influencers that may be turned off if you approach them as an eCommerce store owner.
Here’s how to do it…
Start by jumping on Google, and searching for blogs. For this example, we’ll assume you’re selling widgets.
- You would start searching by typing in “widget blogs -2016 -2015”. You’re adding in the negative date phrases to help narrow down the list to blogs that haven’t been updated within the last 2 years.
- Go through the list of search results, opening each blog that you come across. Look at the dates of the latest published posts. You’re trying to find blogs that haven’t been updated in a long time.
- Build a list of all the abandoned blogs you find, and then run them through a service like Ahrefs to look at their link profile. Mark blogs with a handful of links, or more, with a star so you know who to contact.
- After digging through the list, and marking the blogs that have a decent amount of content and a handful of links, go back to each of those blogs and grab the contact information.
- Start contacting each of the blog owners. It’s best if you have a list of 100 or more blogs to contact, because many of them will not respond to you. This is the law of averages at work. The more people you contact, the better your response rate will be.
- When the blog owner responds, offer to buy their abandoned blog from them. Make sure to reiterate that it’s been abandoned, and contain your enthusiasm so that you’re able to work out a good deal.
- When you have a deal worked out, you’ve made payment, and accepted the blog, you will want to host it away from your eCommerce store. This will make sure you maintain the strength from the abandoned blog’s link profile.
How to work with celebrities…
#3 – Work With Celebrities
If you really want to get your eCommerce store into the spotlight, working with celebrities and getting an endorsement from them is one of the best ways to do it. Their reach is often substantially greater than the market reach you could achieve on your own.
Many eCommerce businesses have been built solely on the backs of celebrities.
This strategy does require quite a bit of work, if you’re going the relationship building route, because celebrities are busy people and tend to be motivated solely by money.
However, if you have a great product and can solve a single problem for a big-name celebrity, they’re likely to promote your product for you.
If the relationship building model fails to produce results for you, you can also offer to pay them money to promote your products to their audience.
Celebrities tend to be active on major social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, so if you are trying to get in front of them, you’re going to need to be active on those platforms, too.
Here’s how to do it…
- Start by finding celebrity profiles on the major social media platforms. You can use tools like BuzzSumo that make it easy for you to track down influencers and celebrities.
- Jump on BuzzSumo and enter in keywords related to your industry. For our example, we’ll assume that you’re running a yoga based eCommerce store. Type in “yoga” and hit enter.
- On the next page, you’ll find lists of content that have been shared the most in your industry. Take note of the websites that have shared these pieces, because you can safely assume that they have a massive reach, and would make great additions to your outreach campaign.
- Next, click on the “Influencers” tab in the top toolbar. This will bring up a list of the biggest social media accounts on various platforms, giving you the perfect targets for either relationship building or paid sponsorship campaigns.
- Make a list of the different influencers, and then begin checking out their social media profiles to get a feel for the types of content they promote, their personality, and begin brainstorming ways that you can get them to promote your content.
- Create content that is specifically tailored to one “celebrity’s” audience, and then reach out to that celebrity or influencer to let them know about the piece you’ve created. Repeat the process, while working on building a relationship with the influencer at the same time.
Remember, the people that you’re reaching out to are busy, so you are going to need to set yourself apart from the competition. Do this by getting creative, providing unique, awe inspiring content, and making it almost impossible for them not to respond to your outreach attempts.
In examples like this, the squeaky wheel really does get the grease, so stay active, and don’t give up. When you get even a single influencer to pick up your campaign, your business can explode with new customers and all of the effort you’ve put in will be hugely rewarded.
How to donate to charities, join associations, contact manufacturers, partner with dealers & sponsor clubs to get links…
#4 – Donate To Charities, Join Associations, Contact Manufacturers, Partner With Dealers & Sponsor Clubs
Major search engines love big brands and manufacturers.
There’s no way around it, and their love for big brands is one of the biggest complaints coming from the smaller guys who are trying to make an impact and gain those coveted top spots in the search results.
You can use their love for big brands to help boost your own SEO campaign, though.
If you can obtain links from charity websites, industry related associations, the manufacturers that you work with, along with your dealers and vendors, or even sponsor clubs that are related to your industry, you can gain strong, niche related links that can help you make huge headway in the search results.
These are going to be some of the easiest links to obtain, because manufacturers, vendors, associations and charities tend to already link to people who have donated to the foundation or that they work with, so all you have to do is track down the pages where these links are located.
Here’s how to do it…
You’re going to want to use specific keywords when you’re searching on Google to find these lists of links. You’ll also want to reach out to the manufacturers, dealers and vendors that you’re already working with.
Getting links from the manufacturers, dealers and vendors will be the easiest, so start with their websites first. If you notice that they have pages where they link out to approved websites, contact them and request to have your website added.
Some will have stipulations on who they link to, so if there are requirements that you need to meet before getting a link, make sure that you’ve laid the foundation.
Then, start finding associations and charities, along with link lists and resource pages where your eCommerce store can be featured. For this example, we’ll assume again that you’re working in the yoga industry.
- Jump on Google and type in “yoga recommended websites”. You can also use other variations of this search query to get different results. Here’s a few of the most common types of queries you can add to your search to find more link lists:
- “Yoga associations”
- “Yoga charity”
- “Yoga links”
- Go through the search results, checking pages, and adding the pages with lists of links that you think you can be featured on into your spreadsheet. While you’re on the page, grab the contact information so you can reach out later.
- Begin contacting each of website owners that have lists of links, notifying them about your interest to join the association, donate to the charity, or have your link featured on their resources page.
- Continue repeating the process using different search terms to find new lists that you can be featured on, new associations you can join, or charities that you can donate to.
These links are going to be some of the strongest that you can build, so take your time as you’re trying to obtain them. The effort that you put in up front will have a substantial payoff when the links are picked up by the major search engine algorithms.
Make sure your site is prepared to handle the new links…
Your site needs to be link-worthy if you are planning on obtaining links from high end sources like celebrities, charities, and industry associations.
This means you need to have valuable content on your blog, and a design that is easy to navigate, if not good looking at the same time.
If you can’t do it yourself, don’t be afraid to invest in a proper web design through a reputable company. The more work you put into your site, the better payoff you’re going to get from your link building campaigns.
Building new links to an eCommerce store does take time, so expect to spend a good deal of effort getting the campaign moving forward.
As time goes on, you’ll begin to attract stronger, and stronger links while putting in less effort, but when you’re just getting started you will need to get the ball rolling on your own.
Find more posts on my case studies and niche sites here.