eCommerce Link-Building: A Beginner’s Guide

In order to make sales, you’ve got to have traffic. And in order to get traffic, you’ve got to rank well in search engines. Sure, you can pay for traffic and that will bring people to your site right away…but if you want organic traffic, you have to improve your SEO.

One way of improving your SEO is by link-building, which is the practice of getting other sites to link back to your website. While we will never know the exact algorithms of search engines, we do know that links play a huge role in SEO.

Not convinced? Andrey Lipattsev of Google said that, “I can tell you what they [the top ranking factors] are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”

So the importance of link-building is undeniable.

Want to find out more about eCommerce link-building?

If so, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, you’ll find out:

  • What link-building is
  • The three different types of links
  • What makes a link valuable
  • What to look for in a backlink
  • Backlinking strategies you can utilize

Ready? Let’s get started…

What is Link-building?

To put it simply, the more high-quality websites that link to your site, the higher your site will rank in search engines.

Link-building is the practice of increasing the number and quality of links pointing to a website, with the intent of improving the search engine ranking of that website.

A backlink is a link from one website that points to your own website.

What Are the Different Types of Links?

As Moz describes it, there are three different types of links:

Natural Links

These are links that are given to your site without you having to do anything. If you create noteworthy, valuable content, then other websites will want to link to your site and it will be easier to earn natural links.

Outreach Links

Outreach links are when you reach out to a company or organization and request that they link back to your site. You’ve got to explain why it’s in their best interest to create that link; often the best way to do this is to create a blog post (or other piece of content) for that site in exchange for the link (more on that later).

Self-Created Links

These links are created via blog comments, user profiles, forums and guest book signings. They are easy to get but are also, for the most part, devalued by search engines and considered as spam. So use self-created links with caution.

What Makes a Link Valuable?

Not all links are created equal. Far from it. There are a number of things that determine a link’s value:

Global Popularity

A popular website (a site that has many other websites linking to it) will create a more valuable backlink than an unpopular one.

Link Neighborhood

Search engines determine the “link neighborhood” that your website is based in both on the websites linking back to you and websites that you link to. This, in turn, will help determine your ranking. So if spammy sites link to you or if your website links to spam, then search engines will believe your website to be spam, as well.

Local Popularity

Links from topic-specific sites matter more than links from more general websites. So if your website sells electronics, you’ll be better off with a backlink from an electronic-related site than a more generic site that sells everything.

Fresh Content

The older content is, the less valuable it becomes. Search engines value new, fresh content, so it’s important to keep acquiring links.

Social Sharing

Another thing that search engines look at when determining a link’s value is social shares. Is the link shared widely across social media channels? If so, that’s bound to help its ranking. Social shares aren’t as valuable as links, but they still help.

Anchor Text

Anchor text is the text that appears in the hyperlink. And it’s important that the anchor text be composed of the keywords you want to rank for. If many different websites link back to your site with anchor texts made up of those keywords, then your page will have a much higher chance of ranking for those keywords.

What to Look for in a Backlink

When looking for a website to link back to you, there are a number of things that you should look for. These include:

Keyword Ranking

If you want to rank for the keyword “all natural oils,” then you should check out the pages that already rank for this keyword—and try to get links from those websites back to your site (preferably on those ranked pages).

Number of Links on a Page

The number of links on a page also plays a role in determining the link’s value. The more links on a page, the more spread out the “link juice” will be and the less powerful each link will be. So it’s better to get a link on a page with few links than a page with many links.

Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a search engine ranking score created by Moz that determines a website’s likelihood of appearing in search engine results. Domain Authority ranges from a scale of one to 100; the higher the score, the more likely it is that the site will rank in search engines.

So when looking for a backlink, you’ll want to focus on websites with higher domain authorities (60+), since they will help your website to rank higher. Steer clear of websites with low domain authorities, since this might actually end up hurting your ranking.

Competitor’s Backlinks

After you’ve found the pages that already rank for a keyword that you want to rank for (your competitors), you’ll want to check out (and then target) their backlinks, since those backlinks are what helped your competitor’s site get ranked in the first place…and they can probably help your site get ranked too.

Use Moz’s Link Explorer to find out your competitor’s top URLs that are being linked to and where those links are coming from. Then, you can create a targeted campaign based on this data.

Link-Building Strategies

Your product pages are probably the most important pages on your website and the ones that you want to rank highly for. The problem is that most people don’t want to link to a product page.

Here are a few ways that you can build high-quality backlinks to your product pages:

Product Reviews

One easy way to do this is to ask for product reviews. First, find the relevant, high-quality websites or influential bloggers that you want to link to your site. Then contact the site and offer a free product in exchange for a review on their site. Then send them the link to your product page, so that they can link to it in the product review.

You should obviously look for websites where your product would be valuable for the readers. So for example, if you sell yoga mats, then you could get in touch with various yoga studios and request a product review.

Sponsor an Event

Another way to generate backlinks is to sponsor an event (and then get a backlink on the event website). So if you sell athletic gear, you could sponsor a tennis match, and get a link on the event website that links back to your category page.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is one of the most popular link-building tactics out there. Get in touch with high-quality websites that are related to your niche and ask if you can submit a guest blog for them. They will often allow one to two links back to your site in the body of the post, as well as one link in the bio.

Make sure that you abide by the guidelines and submit high-quality, valuable content. The better your content is, the better your chances of being published on a high domain authority site.

Need a little help doing this? Check out our eCommerce marketing services.

Hold a Contest or Giveaway

Holding a contest or giveaway is a surefire way to get people excited about your products. But rather than just broadcasting your contest or giveaway on social media and your homepage, why not do so on another website?

That will not only help to get another valuable backlink to your product page, but will also help to increase your outreach and reach people that you might otherwise not have been able to.

Spruce Up Your Product Pages

If you want people to link to your product pages, then you’ve got to make them good.

You could, for example, add linkbait, like a product demo, an infographic or a downloadable guide, to your product pages (instead of having it on your homepage, blog or a separate landing page). That way, when other websites link to that content, your product page ranking will increase and people who click on the link will land directly on the product page—which is exactly where you want them to be. It’s a win-win.


eCommerce link-building takes a lot of work; there’s no quick shortcut to success. But if you take the time to target relevant, high-quality backlinks, your store will reap the benefits.

Looking for eCommerce SEO services to help increase your website’s ranking? Get in touch to find out how we can help.  

Mary Blackiston

Mary is the Content Marketing Specialist for eScale. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, rock climbing, blogging, traveling, and soaking up as much eCommerce knowledge as she can.