Getting links for an e-commerce site is a SEO nightmare. Nobody wants to link to a page that sells products.
But what if your product page is much more than a simple product page.
Following are some practical tips to help you in your link building:
1. Make a really cool website
Make your e-commerce site really good looking. By good looking I mean a site which is at least free from cluttering of ads, contents and products if not appealing to visitors.
Each product should have its own dedicated page. Nobody would like to link to a crappy looking site. Website design has considerable impact on conversions and link building. You can run your own tests, if you disagree.
Following are some great e-commerce designs:
2. Grab low hanging fruits
Leverage Business Relationships – Request back links from those with whom you do business. This can be vendors, suppliers, dealers, manufacturers etc. Almost everyone has a website these days and they can link back to you if you try hard.
Leverage Personal Relationships – Request back links from your friends, relatives, colleagues and even employees who own a website/blog. This is easier than getting links from total strangers.
Leverage your personal asset- If you own other websites, you can get links from them. But don’t go overboard and do site wide linking. A link from the home page of each domain is good enough.
Target hidden gems- These gems are those money keywords which have resulted in at least one conversion or transaction to your website but for whom you don’t currently rank in top 10. Google webmaster Tool ‘search queries’ report can help you in finding those keywords for which you don’t currently rank in top 10. Google Analytics custom reports can help you in finding those keywords which have resulted in at least one conversion or transaction. You need to be in top 10 for these keywords as they have the potential to drive sales and conversions.
3. Start with non-relationship based link building model
Get all those links first which don’t require any special relationship with potential linking partners and which are driving ranks of your competitors.
I recommend open site explorer to determine back links of your competitors. In this way you don’t need to waste lot of time in determining the linking partners and you can show improvement in ranking and traffic as quickly as possible to your boss/client.
Concentrate on building the domain authority of the home page of your site.
Which means get back links from large number of unique root domains. This will later make ranking for your individual product pages easier.
One of the best way to develop domain authority is through guest blogging and directory submissions. Submit your website to all niche directories and business directories under the relevant category. However stay away from free for all directories.
They are worthless as they don’t pass any link juice. Any directory which can pass link juice and enforce editorial decision is worth considering.
5. Push your top selling product pages and categories first
Determine your top selling products and product categories (through Google Analytics E-Commerce reports) and make them content rich so that they can drive even more visits and conversions.
Following are few tips to make your product pages content rich:
i) Focus on images- An image catalog is more appealing and enticing than a text based product category page. So spend some money on high quality images. Here is an example of good product category page:
Fig.4 Product category page of Teetonic.com
Fig. 5 Cool Product Category page of ShoeGuru.ca. Note: they just got two links from my blog alone cos of their images. This is the power of high quality images.
ii) Publish embeddable research data, (sales trends, buying behavior) on your industry/industry vertical on the product category pages.
I am focusing on category pages because getting links for them is much easier and practical then getting links for hundreds/ thousand of product pages.
Hire a market research agency if you can’t come up with research data. Then send a press release to all major publications and news agency. This tactic can get you links from news site like BBC, guardian etc. So don’t underestimate this strategy.
iii) Run contests and survey on your category pages. Try to offer something very unique or exciting. At the same time offer something valuable to encourage people to participate in the first place.
Gifting your own products is the best prize. In this way you will get those audience who are interested in the type of products you sell and not just every tom, dic* and harry who is simply after the prize.
If your product is good, you may even get word of mouth publicity from your contest winners. In short run a contest around your product/brand.
Survey is another good way to get repeated visits on your category pages. If you run a small e-commerce site, then you can apply the same tactic on your product pages.
Fig 6. Contest on Teetonic.com. Isn’t that cool????
Fig.7 Another cool contest on brandneusense.com
6. Gradually proceed to relationship based link building model
Through non-relationship based link building model you can move only to an extent in your link building efforts.
The real push to your rankings comes through links which require relationship with potential linking partners.
Again you can use ‘open site explorer’ to determine those back links of your competitors which require special relationship with the linking partners.
These links are hard to get but they can make a difference between no 1 and no 10 ranking position. So you need to determine how your competitors got those links and how you can acquire the same.
Start a blog on your e-commerce site that revolves around your industry/product but not your brand.
Use this blog to develop relationships with your prospects and esp. bloggers in your industry.
Forum or other online community is a great way to engage with your target audience and get repeated visits.
Take advantage of the large audience of facebook. Start a facebook fan page.
In order to truly leverage the relationship based link building model, understand my link building pyramid.
Fig.8 a cool blog on uo.com.au which sell bags
Fig.9 A cool community on emptees.com
Fig 10. A cool forum on jdcycles.co.uk which sell bikes
So they are teaching GA and GTM in the name of teaching Digital analytics.
They just copy each other. Monkey see, monkey do.
But Digital analytics is not about GA, GTM.
It is about analyzing and interpreting data, setting up goals, strategies and KPIs.
It’s about creating strategic roadmap for your business.
Digital Analytics is the core skill. Google Analytics is just a tool used to implement ‘Digital Analytics’.
You can also implement ‘Digital analytics’ via other tools like ‘adobe analytics’, ‘kissmetrics’ etc.
Using Google Analytics without the good understanding of ‘Digital analytics’ is like driving around in a car, in a big city without understanding the traffic rules and road signs.
You are either likely to end up somewhere other than your destination or you get involved in an accident.
You learn data analysis and interpretation from Digital analytics and not from Google Analytics.
The direction in which your analysis will move, will determine the direction in which your marketing campaigns and eventually your company will move to get the highest possible return on investment.
You get that direction from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.
You learn to set up KPIs, strategies and measurement framework for your business from ‘Digital analytics’ and not from ‘Google Analytics’.
So if you are taking a course only on 'Digital Analytics’, you are learning to use one of the tools of ‘Digital analytics’. You are not learning the ‘Digital analytics’ itself.
Since any person can learn to use Google Analytics in couple of weeks, you do no get any competitive advantage in the marketplace just by knowing GA.
You need to know lot more than GA in order to work in digital analytics and marketing field.
So what I have done, if you are interested, is I have put together a completely free training that will teach you exactly how I have been able to leverage digital analytics to generate floods of news sales and customers and how you can literally copy what I have done to get similar results.
Master the Essentials of Email Marketing Analytics
This book focuses solely on the ‘analytics’ that power your email marketing optimization program and will help you dramatically reduce your cost per acquisition and increase marketing ROI by tracking the performance of the various KPIs and metrics used for email marketing.
Attribution Modelling in Google Analytics and Beyond
Attribution modelling is the process of determining the most effective marketing channels for investment. This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling. It will teach you how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to allocate marketing budget and understand buying behaviour.
Attribution Modelling in Google Ads and Facebook
This book has been written to help you implement attribution modelling in Google Ads (Google AdWords) and Facebook. It will teach you, how to leverage the knowledge of attribution modelling in order to understand the customer purchasing journey and determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.
Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com
Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.
He has over 12 years experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.
He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence.
The Digital Analytics Association is a world renowned not-for-profit association which helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.
He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization: