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Link building for eCommerce websites

Introduction

In the architecture of a highly visible eCommerce platform we covered how to find and incorporate high potential keywords in your website. The definitive SEO checklist for successful eCommerce websites explains all the boxes you need to tick from a technical point of view. If you've taken these articles to heart, you're well on your way to a highly visible eCommerce website.

The last pillar of SEO we need to talk about is how to do link building for eCommerce websites. Links play a vital role in SEO. The general consensus is they contribute for more 50% to your SEO success. In the article about your eCommerce website's architecture we've covered 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 linkbuilding 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.

After reading this article you'll know how to approach link building for your eCommerce website. We'll leave you with some interesting link building angles that work in almost any niche.

Link building is the process of getting other websites to link to yours. All links are counted as votes for your websites, passing on authority, relevancy and trust.

Authority

Authority plays a major role in SEO. There are three types of authority:

  1. Domain Authority: takes into account all links to the domain.
  2. Page Authority: only takes links to the page in question into account.
  3. Link Authority: is about the authority a link passes on from page A to page B.

The higher the authority the better. For instance, receiving a link from a website like CNN.com be every SEOs dream.

Relevancy

A relevant link is a link to a page from a topically related page. If you're selling televisions, it's great if you get a link from a blog post about the best televisions to watch Netflix on. Subsequently, the relevancy of links influence to the topic relevancy of your website.

Trust

Trust is the degree to which search engines trust your domain. The higher the better. Trust is earned through age, sticking to Google's guidelines and by getting links from trustworthy websites. A good example of a trustworthy website is a newspaper.

Keep building trustworthy links in an ethical way and you aim to service your visitors well. Trust will follow naturally.

Links pass on authority, relevancy and trust. What else should you be on the lookout for?

These are the other properties of links that matter:

  • Link origin and link target
  • Anchor text
  • Nofollow attribute

When we're talking about link origin we mean the page a link is placed on. Say you're linking from your homepage to your 'About us' page, the link origin is the homepage. The link target is the 'About us' page.

Ideally, the link origin and link target share the same topic. Having links to the homepage is great, because you can funnel the homepage's authority through to other pages in your website. If you want to be rank with other pages than your homepage in competitive niches, having links to these pages is essential. Links to pages other than the homepage are called 'deeplinks'.

Anchor text

The anchor text is the clickable part of the link, usually underlined and blue.

Ideally, the anchor text contains keywords you want your website to rank for. We call this 'exact match anchor text'. Don't over do this though, having too many links with exact match anchor text may give off a signal to search engines that you're trying to game the system and may result in a penalty. It's important the anchor text varies and looks natural.

Nofollow attribute

The nofollow attribute is used to indicate that a link was paid for or that you don't want to be associated with the websites you're linking to. When a link has the nofollow attribute, only part of the link authority is passed to the link target. It's normal for websites to have links with the nofollow attribute, so don't obsess about it. Besides, links carrying the nofollow attribute aren't worthless. Wikipedia links are nofollowed, but they still carry relevancy, trust and some link authority.

All of the links to your website together comprise the so called 'link profile' of your website. This is basically your website's fingerprint when it comes to links.

It's important your link profile is 'natural', and doesn't stand out in a negative way.

But what's natural and what's not? That depends on the industry you're in. In some industries it's normal to have lots of links with exact match anchor text. Before stepping up your link building game it's important to get a feel for what your competitive landscape looks like. That defines what you can and cannot do.

Analyze the link profiles of your top 10 competitors to get a feel for what's considered 'normal' in your industry.

Conclusion

A lot of eCommerce website owners struggle with link building. This limits their SEO success, because links play such as big role in whether or not you're successful in SEO.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that link building is impossible. It's not, you can also build links. And you can start right away, using the 12 link building tactics that we described in this article.

Happy link building!

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