So you want to build authority links for your e-commerce website? It’s no secret that eCommerce is gaining in popularity. It’s been on the incline for the past several years but spiked recently due to the worldwide pandemic. Established eCommerce websites saw sales go through the roof and when major retail giants were forced to close their doors it caused them to shift their attention to eCommerce to stay in business.

As eCommerce competition increases it’s important to establish your brand as an authority quickly, as the longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to capture even the smallest piece of the pie.

When it comes to attracting customers and generating sales online most of the time the strategy revolves around paid ads, and Facebook ads specifically. While this is a great strategy, it’s important to understand that the costs associated with Facebook ads are going to continue to rise as eCommerce becomes more competitive.

With such a low barrier of entry, it causes some niches to become extremely crowded and this pushes the CPM bids for Facebook ads so high that the only way to be profitable is by spending a large sum of money daily or to acquire customers at a loss and hope you can get out of the red through upsells and repeat orders.

SEO is far from dead, and I believe more eCommerce brands need to shift a major part of their online marketing focus to organic traffic. While it’s not an instant solution like paid ads, it’s one that has enormous long-term potential.

Ignoring SEO now is going to be the death of many eCommerce brands down the line. Links continue to be the biggest ranking signal, and the quality over quantity approach is still the smartest link building strategy.

Building links to an eCommerce website can be more difficult than building links for a general blog or a local service business. But, even with the challenges, it’s still possible to get the best links for an eCommerce website with a little creative thinking.

Here are five eCommerce link building tips that can help build authority links for your eCommerce website.


1. Partnership and Vendor Testimonials

The best links are those that you can secure legitimately from authority websites that are relevant to your industry, and there is a very good chance you can come up with a very attractive list of potential targets just by opening up your bank statements from the past six months.

Wait, what? How could your bank statements help you create a list of easily obtainable links? By making a list of all your vendors, business partners, suppliers, and SaaS and tools providers. Anyone that you pay month-after-month is a potential link target.

The fact that you are a customer makes it much easier to secure a link. Why? Because they want to appease you and keep you as a paying customer — especially now, as these difficult times are seeing many businesses fold, resulting in a huge dropoff in numbers for many vendors, service providers, SaaS companies, etc.

If you have a personal connection at the company this makes it even easier. Offer to write a testimonial if they have a dedicated review page. Offer to provide them with a case study if that is the difference between securing a link and missing an opportunity.

Not only can you secure a nice link to help your SEO, but a well-presented case study can help attract customers. A company’s testimonial page is going to be one of its most-visited pages on their website. Being shown there can help drive brand awareness and click-throughs that lead to sales.

While acquiring a link is the main objective when you approach it this way you are receiving much more long-term value than just the link alone. You are also pitching an angle that is likely to be well-received as it helps validate the product or service you are leaving a testimonial for. Always lead with the value-add you are providing and don’t make it all about you and securing a link. This approach will help you land a higher percentage of your pitches.



2. Advertorial Sponsored Posts

Many large publications will allow advertorial posts, which is a write-up or review of your product. Some will label the post as “sponsored” in the heading but don’t let that scare you away. If that is the case just make sure that the contextual link within the advertorial is both do-follow and not tagged with the sponsor designation.

Even if they come back saying that they automatically no-follow all links within the advertorial and use the rel=”sponsored” tag, that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate. Times are difficult for many online publications.

Advertisers are dropping like flies and shifting their budget to Facebook ads and influencer marketing, so the amount of revenue these sites and blogs are generating via display ads and sponsored posts has dropped off significantly over the past year. Then, you mix in the domino effect of the worldwide pandemic and you will find out quickly that you have the upper hand when it comes to negotiating.

If one particular blog won’t accept your offer it isn’t hard to find a comparable site that will gladly take you up on your offer. You can begin your search on Google using strings like “sponsored content” and “advertorial” as well as keywords relevant to your industry.

Most eCommerce brands know off the top of their head which websites they would love to score links from, both for the SEO juice, but also for the exposure and branding benefit. A beauty brand, for example, would love to get an advertorial posted on US Weekly or People.

Both have amazing authority and an audience that is perfectly matched. Negotiating a placement there would provide a major SEO boost and it would also provide referral traffic and priceless branding.

I’ve found that direct and to the point is the best approach here. They receive so many pitches daily with the same “hey we want to guest post on your site” so stand out and let them know upfront that you are looking for paid opportunities. This will get the dialogue started very quickly.


3. Affiliate Referral Relationships (Coupon Code Method)

This approach is similar to the one I mentioned above in the sense that you want to target the big player sites that appeal to your niche, but rather than pitching an advertorial, present them with an opportunity to make recurring revenue by posting a product review post — that you provide. There are some key factors to keep in mind:


  • Make sure you have an affiliate program set up that uses coupon code tracking and not bulky non-friendly SEO URLs. When you track referral partner sales via a coupon code you can have them link to your website using your standard URL. You score a nice link while also adding a strong affiliate partner. It’s a win-win.


  • Offer to provide them with a professionally-written review that matches their website. If you present them with an opportunity to earn affiliate revenue but require them to write the content many might say they will think about it but never follow-through. By giving them a review that matches their site all they have to do is publish the article. You will find very few sites will pass up an opportunity to generate revenue without having to do any work.


  • Create a brandable code for them. This is a simple hack that makes it very hard for them to turn it down. Let’s use US Weekly as an example. A beauty brand that approaches US Weekly and says, “Hey we’d love for you to be a marketing partner. We created a piece of content you can simply post that already includes your coupon code “USWEEKLY” and it gives your readers an additional 20% off,” is going to receive a more favorable reply than just asking, “Hey, want to be our affiliate?”


Take your time to create a strong review that isn’t overly promotional and matches the feel and vibe of your target. Work in two links to your website in the review, one being a brand anchor and another CTA link with an anchor along the lines of “click here to take advantage of this offer.”



4. Unboxing and Review Outreach

Have you looked on YouTube recently and noticed a major upward trend when it comes to unboxing videos? They are constantly listed in the top trending section and they include everything under the sun. There are even channels that unbox random packages that are sent to them.

Users love the element of surprise and during the COVID-19 lockdown, they became even more popular. With a little creative searching, you can find multiple large channels that also have accompanying blogs.

I’ve been researching this strategy a lot lately and you would be surprised at how much authority some of these blogs have, especially in the fashion, health, beauty, and technology niches. Again, it’s a strategy that has additional benefits beyond just the links acquired.

There are several angles you can use to secure a link and also get exposure to a very large YouTube audience:


  • These channels have to continue to publish videos of unboxing items and this requires that they always have new items. Offer to provide them with free products and also some additional items that they can use as giveaways. In my experience, this little addition greatly improves the outreach effort. Offering them this gives them extra leverage. At the end of the video, they can ask their viewers to like and comment on the video for a chance to win an item. This helps the video’s engagement and the cost for you is minimal.


  • Offer them a branded coupon code that gives them a commission as well. Not only are you offering to give them something they can unbox, but you are also giving them an additional source of revenue. These channels love to make money, so use this as additional leverage. Don’t call it an affiliate program — instead, invite them to be one of your official marketing partners. I’ve seen much better responses when using this terminology.


There is such a demand for unboxing content and it’s growing, so there are opportunities for virtually every eCommerce niche imaginable. All it takes is some searching and creative pitches. The link is great and can help your SEO, and the added exposure, traffic, and sales are a nice bonus.


5. Hometown Press Outreach

This is an angle that we have been seeing amazing success with lately, so I wanted to share it. This is a way to help secure links for websites that are otherwise a bit more difficult when it comes to authority link building.

It involves leveraging the business owner or founder and pitching the local news channels in his or her hometown. There are two reasons why this works so well:


  • These local news sites are constantly looking for content so they are very receptive to pitches. When you lead with the local connection they become very eager to highlight the success of their eCommerce business.


  • These local news websites have amazing domain metrics, even those in the smallest markets. It’s not uncommon to grab a handful of DA 60 to 80 do-follow links this way. I’ve noticed that the smaller markets haven’t flipped the switch to no-follow yet, and this is most likely because the link requests and pitches they receive is minimal.


This will often have more benefit than just the link, as we have had many clients contacted down the road for on-camera interviews via Zoom, and asked questions about their industry and eCommerce in general. There was a huge demand for “local experts” at the peak of the pandemic.

Most local news sites have a directory of reporters, complete with contact information. Email is good, but phone calls also work. Get creative and make contact, even if through Twitter. You will find that it’s very easy to get in touch with local news reporters at small-market stations.


Final Thoughts

When it comes down to it, building links for an eCommerce website is no different than building links for a service-based business or a blog — it requires logical thinking and a well-designed plan.

The days of “top secret SEO” methods are long gone. So, why do so many businesses and brands struggle and fail to succeed with search engine optimization — and link building specifically, even though it’s clear as to what is needed to be done? It requires work, and most people are too lazy.

They want instant results and don’t want to put the time and effort in. This is why so many businesses continue to fall for low-quality link building agency offers. They see a Facebook ad that claims top Google rankings for any keyword in less than 30 days and rolls the dice.

Deep down they know it more than likely won’t work (and it never does) but they are willing to take that chance because they want those instant results. Doing it correctly takes time, but it’s the intelligent eCommerce link building strategies mentioned above that deliver long-term results.

Once you do start to see organic traffic gains it can lead to a snowball effect in terms of new customer acquisition and sales. This is how an eCommerce brand scales by leveraging the limitless amount of organic traffic available on Google.

Do you have any specific questions related to eCommerce link building? Are you using any strategies yourself that have been delivering exceptional results that you’d like to share? If so, leave your feedback in the comments below.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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