The Importance of Link Building for your E-Commerce Store

a group of people discussing their strategy

*This is part three of a three part series focusing on SEO for e-commerce websites. Part 1 focused ‘What Ecommerce Websites Need to Know About SEO‘ while Part 2 focused on ‘The Importance of Content for Your E-Commerce Store‘.

Although most SEO best practices are decided as a result of educated testing and analysis, the importance of link-building is something that the entire industry can agree on.

Google keeps the finer details of its search algorithm secret, but it has given out plenty of hints as to how crucial it is build a high-quality backlink profile.

It makes perfect sense that search engines would use this as a major indicator of a website’s quality. Most online writers would only point their readers towards website they believed were good. The more writers that do this, the better the website is considered (by the general public and therefore by Google).  

Google has given website owners a fair bit of advice about what constitutes a ‘high-quality’ backlink profile too. To put it simply, links from websites that have a good domain authority are better than links from poor-quality websites. In fact, a high quantity of links from subpar websites could actually harm your overall search ranking.

It doesn’t take a SEO genius to understand the logic here. Links from good websites are good. Links from bad websites are bad. However, to compete with the major players in their industry, website owners will have to think about link building in more complexity and detail.  

Below, we explore some of the most efficient strategies for building lots of high-quality links in a short amount of time, and how to maximize the impact of these links in terms of SEO.

How to build a high-quality backlink profile quickly

Building links is a huge part of an SEO expert’s job. To build a large portfolio of high-quality external links will take them a lot of time. However, there are a few strategies that the majority of the best SEO experts would recommend to build up this process.

These include:

Outreach: The process of getting in contact with websites and asking for a link can be really effective if you do it strategically. A well-written email explaining why a third party website’s audience would benefit from a link being added to a certain page goes a long way. Ideally, you’ll have already built some sort of relationship from influencers in your industry rather than approaching them cold with an outreach email. This guide has some great tips on how to develop an effective outreach strategy.

Starting a blog: If you regularly post useful, informative, entertaining blog posts on your website and promote this content as aggressively as you can, it should inspire readers to link to the post without even being asked to. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out to your contacts or other experts in your industry and ask for a link to the post. Most of the world’s most successful bloggers will do this for every post they upload.    

Guest posting: Many website owners will write unique content for a third-party website just so they can have a link to their website included. This is a good strategy to boost brand awareness as well as SEO.

Build your social media profiles: By building a huge social media following of people who are interested in your business and sharing your content on all of your profiles, it’ll be far easier to attract a large audience to your page. The more people that read your content, the more people will link to it, provided it’s of good quality. There are also several signals that the amount of social media shares a web page receives is playing an increasingly important role in its SEO. This guide features some expert tips about using social media to boost your search engine rankings.

In an ideal world, what pages would these links direct people to?

There are two types of authority that your website has in the eyes of Google: page authority and domain authority. The more high-quality links that your website attracts as a whole, the higher your domain authority.

How these two factors compare in terms of importance to SEO is unknown, but it is certainly common for a brand new page with no external links pointing at it to rank well, due to its website’s domain authority.

It is widely believed that the impact of domain authority on a single page experiences some sort of ‘trickling down’ effect, where the pages just above it in the hierarchy will have the biggest effect, followed by the page two steps above, all the way up to the home page.  A link pointing to a category page would therefore ‘power up’ the sub-category pages and product pages that fall beneath it. A link to the home page would ‘power up’ the whole website but maybe not to such an extent…

So where should SEO experts, making a concerted effort to build links, want them to point? This will be different for every website owner. What products do they want to sell the most? Which of their pages already rank well? How is their website structured? Which pages could be deleted in the future? All of these questions needs to be considered…

There is plenty of advice from SEO experts, each with different ideas about what pages should be targeted, like this guide from Website Magazine, which suggests prioritizing category pages and sub-category pages followed by product pages and the home page. Others will no doubt think it’s better to do it completely differently.   

It’s not recommended to have all your backlinks pointing to the same page. That looks highly unnatural and Google is constantly tweaking its algorithm to punish artificially manipulated SEO tactics. If the algorithm doesn’t already relegate domains with poorly-rounded backlink profiles, it may do in the future.

Google always spreads messages that the best SEO strategy is to create web pages that people naturally want to link to. Yet, as long as your website’s competitors are link building using the strategies above, it’s best for you to do the same.

For more advice on how to rocket up the search rankings using these strategies, see this guide on the dos and don’ts of good link building.

Get in touch with Paul – the top ranked Toronto SEO Consultant –  for a free SEO consultation to lead your e-commerce business to SEO success. He will assess your website and help you determine the best course of action for building the highest quality links to drive more organic traffic and potential customers to your website. 

About the Author

Paul Teitelman - SEO Consultant

Paul is a well-respected Canadian SEO consultant and link-building expert with over 15 years of experience helping hundreds of companies rank for competitive keywords on Google. He is a Toronto-based SEO consultant who is passionate about search engine optimization and link building. Over the years, he has made a reputation for himself as a leader in the industry by consistently delivering phenomenal results to his growing client base.