Inbound links (backlinks) are important to the success of your ecommerce site for two reasons:
1. They bring visitors to your site from all over the web, and
2. They help push you up search engine rankings
Search engines love links
Google has always considered backlinks when assessing web pages for search engine results. In their eyes, it’s a vote for your content; so it’s got to mean it’s pretty good and deserves to be promoted, right?
But over the years, link building has been abused and search engines have made it tougher to get the kind of links you need.
Gone, thankfully, are the days of buying masses of irrelevant links to get better search rankings (if you’re approached by a company saying they can get you lots of cheap links, run!). That just annoyed everyone.
Now, the quality and relevance of backlinks are more important than quantity. The ones you want should come from good quality, reputable websites.
Here are 9 ways you can get these precious links.
Earn them with your awesomeness
The preferred method.
1. Create interesting and useful pages on your website, packed full of information and images.
A frequently updated blog is great way to provide this kind of content. Read our post explaining how to write good quality posts. Make sure each blog post havs social media share buttons so it’s easily spread around.
2. Establish and build your social media presence.
Social media is one of the best ways to promote your awesome content (see above point) to attract more traffic and natural links.
As well as maintaining a profile on the obvious networks – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube – explore others like StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Delicious and SlideShare and see how you can get involved with those audiences.
3. Reach out to popular bloggers in your niche.
Earning a mention on a popular blog can bring you instant results. If you have a unique product or piece of content you think their audience would like to hear about, offer to send it to the blogger to consider reviewing or promoting.
Search online for popular blogs whose audience may be interested in your products (use Alltop or google “xxx blogs”). Then send the blogger a short, friendly email introducing yourself and explaining why they’d be interested in featuring it (what’s in it for them). Don’t be salesy, be tempting and compelling!
4. Try guest blogging.
Writing unique content that’s published on other blogs is known as guest blogging. It takes more effort than blogger outreach, but can open more doors if your content’s really useful. Again, when you look for popular blogs to approach, ensure your ideas will be relevant to their audience.
Use with caution and remember the golden rule – quality and relevance. And don’t buy them. Ever.
5. Email your suppliers and business partners and ask if they’d be happy to mention you on their website and link back to your store.
6. List your store in relevant and reputable online directories
As I mentioned above, search engines got smart to the hundreds of poor quality backlinks coming from free directories and will downgrade or exclude sites that use this tactic. Only list in a handful of authority directories. Start with True local (AU), Yellow pages, Dmoz.org, Hotfrog and Yahoo! Directory Listings.
7. Look for opportunities to add your business to professional association websites.
They may have a member directory, for example.
8. Check backlinks to your competitors’ sites and see if they could work for you too.
It’s handy to know where your competitors are getting link love. There could be some goodies there you can go after. Type the website address you want to check in link checking tools like open site explorer. It can be an eye opener!
9. Sign up for alerts from online PR sites.
Journalists looking for sources for their stories often use sites like Sourcebottle to find them. Sign up for email alerts and keep an eye out for opportunities to promote your goods or your expertise.
OK. I think that’s given you enough to think about for now.
Building backlinks to increase traffic and impress search engine takes time but it’s worthwhile in the long run. Keep chipping away at it!