While search engine algorithms are constantly changing, some SEO practices never do.
As an essential part of SEO strategy, building backlinks is a mandatory task for every ecommerce store owner who’s looking to build and maintain organic traffic to their website over time. The most difficult and time-consuming part of getting backlinks is figuring out how to build them and doing so in a way that’s acceptable by search engine standards (AKA: Whitehat techniques). As backlinks need to come from sources outside of your own website, convincing other website owners to link back to your site in a way that’s honest and mutually beneficial can be tricky.
In this article, we’ll teach you how to generate high-quality backlinks all on your own, with little to no investment. But first, let’s get down to the basics.
How External Links are Important for SEO
Imagine a professor that publishes their work in scientific periodicals. The more people refer to the work and cite the author on a particular issue, the more that the professor is considered an expert in their field.
The same is true for websites: if quality resources related to your niche refer to your ecommerce website, search engines consider it more credible than similar sites, all else being equal. As a result, your website ranks higher on searches related to your niche, visibility increases and your traffic grows. Hooray!
And that’s not the only benefit to building high-quality backlinks. You’ll also enjoy:
- Increased brand awareness by reaching your target audience on external resources;
- And more conversion opportunities because customers can click to your store from other websites where it’s linked.
You can use Google Analytics or other services to track how many visitors came to your site (known as referral traffic) from links provided on other websites. Sometimes this can even be a significant driver for website traffic.
Without quality backlinks, it can take months or even years to promote your website in a competitive environment.
5 ways to get external links
There are a ton of ways to get links to your website. But that doesn’t mean they’re all good ways. Today, we’re focusing on five methods you can use right now to guarantee results with minimal cost and little to no experience.
Engage in forums (crowd-marketing)
Engage on niche forums, general discussions — whatever — and if your site contains information that could be potentially useful to the participants of the discussion, share the link in the thread. Not only are you providing valuable content for the forum, but you’re also creating some handy backlinks for your store.
Some forums even allow users with a certain number of posts (15-20) to give links to their websites in their name field, and when you actively participate, other users will often follow that link for more content. Win-win.
Register in directories
Most communities have an online directory of some sort for local companies, and registration is almost always free. Creating a directory listing provides an extra touchpoint for potential customers and an easy backlink for your website.
Create social media pages
The first thing you can and should do to start building links is to create official pages for the store on social media. This is the easiest way to get external links immediately after launching an online store. Even if you don’t plan to actively engage on social media for your store, you should absolutely take advantage of the opportunity to snag a couple of free backlinks.
Don’t limit yourself to the most popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram; create pages in Twitter, YouTube — even Pinterest.
SEO experts argue whether search engine algorithms count social links for calculating a website’s ranking. But even if social links don’t influence page rankings directly, other social signals such as likes or shares can prove your website’s credibility.
Create and share valuable content
A checklist for completing a task. A short e-book on a specific topic. Or a clever how-to guide (like the one you’re reading right now).Whatever you choose to create, one thing is true: great content gets engagement. And at the time content on the internet gets good engagement, it gets backlinks.
High-quality — valuable — content takes time to create. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with re-shares on related websites, on forums and all across the social media sphere. Not only that, but it creates brand credibility and positions your company as an expert resource for your product or service segment.
Use thematic aggregators
Aggregators are websites with a large amount of organized, usually business-focused, information. Think of it as a directory for specific types of products or services. For example:
- a catalog of foreign language courses…
- a catalog of dentists…
- a catalog of sheepskin slipper companies…
- You get the idea.
If your target region is large enough, you can find dozens of aggregators for your specific product or service.
You may need to sacrifice a product or two every now and then to get a link from the right blogger or event organizer, but rest assured, your efforts won’t be in vain. Over time, you’ll be compensated with a steady rise in search rankings, increased website traffic, and a sizable boost to your much-cherished sales revenue.
Got questions about backlinks? Share “em in the comments!