Link Building For Online Shops
By:∣ Updated: April 23, 2021
Link building for online shops is often a particular challenge. Who already voluntarily links to commercially driven shops with standard categories and boring product pages with no particular added value?
Correct: almost no one! In the following article, you will find out how you can still build backlinks for your shop and what to watch out for:
“Links are really important for us to find content initially. So it’s like if nobody links to your website ever, then we’re going to have a hard time recognizing that it even exists.”
Links are important for Google to find your content. If no one ever links to your website, will your content not be important and valuable either?
Another proof of the importance of links: Google introduced new link attributes. That wouldn’t happen if backlinks were completely unimportant. The attributes “Follow” and “NoFollow” have existed since 2005.
According to Google, links that are marked with NoFollow do not pass on any link strength.
Also, the crawler doesn’t follow these links – at least until now. Because, according to Google, NoFollow links should now be followed, and two new attributes should also make it possible to identify link types better:
- “Sponsored” for advertising and paid links
- “UGC” (User Generated Content) for links created by users.
What does that mean in concrete terms? Websites like Wikipedia have generally set all outgoing links to NoFollow, which means that very good links are marked as “not important” for the crawlers.
That is changing now, and that alone proves that good backlinks are still important for SEO.
However, the OnPage optimization should be considered first. If the problems accumulate there – loading times from hell, underground usability, too little content, missing internal links – even the best links are of little use.
Internal links help Google understand the content of a website and recognize which pages are particularly important. Internal links are an integral part of any information architecture on a website and are therefore important for search engine optimization.
The same problem often arises in online shops: After a few years, nobody knows exactly what has been linked. With tens of different categories with thousands of products, there is a great risk of losing track of internal link confusion.
There may be certain categories that should rank ahead for certain keywords. If these do not appear at all or not at the desired location, this may be due to missing or weak links.
That is why optimizing internal links is an effective lever in search engine optimization. A plus point is an independence from other webmasters.
Internal Link Analysis With Screaming Frog And Gephi
The linking force, or the link juice, is forwarded to special sub-pages through internal links. Internal links tell visitors and Google which pages contain particularly valuable information.
The internal links can be clearly displayed with Screaming Frog and Gephi. Those who prefer a sober presentation can display the internal links in a clear Excel table.
Gephi is a powerful and free tool. It visualizes the information architecture of your website. From this, it can be deduced whether URLs, which should rank first for certain keywords, are also often linked internally.
An important URL is not ranking or at least not ranking as it should? This can be due to incorrect or missing internal links.
With Gephi, it is possible to calculate the internal and the external PageRank for every URL. For this, however, Screaming Frog is needed.
Screaming Frog provides the raw data required to use Gephi. The tool is chargeable from 500 URLs per page. But the investment is worth it!
The focus of this blog post is not on internal links, but there are still seven rules in a nutshell that get to the point in a nutshell, what needs to be observed with internal links:
- Never set internal links to “NoFollow”.
- Use clear anchor texts. Avoid generic terms like “here”, “next,” or “more info”. For example, if a category in an online shop is called “women’s shoes,” it should be named in the anchor text.
- Think of the users: website visitors should quickly find the information they are looking for through internal links. Otherwise, they’ll be gone quickly.
- In order to give an overview or category page more link power, it should be linked in the sidebar, in the menu, or in the running text.
- Too many internal links cost link power. So proceed with caution. There is no officially recommended number. However, as a rule of thumb, it has become established to set two links for every 500 words in the text’s body.
- Do not link to the same destination multiple times on a page. This does not strengthen the link strength but only weakens it since with multiple links, only the first link counts.
- Do not link different pages with the same keyword as anchor text.
Before we get to the tips on building strong backlinks,
A warning: There are statements from various Google employees who say that any kind of active link building is undesirable. No matter which strategies are used.
Even the letter from webmasters with the request for a backlink is therefore not welcomed. It supposedly doesn’t matter whether money flows or not.
Regardless of whether that is the case or not: There is no way around active link building if the Google ranking of the online shop is to improve.
We’ll get to how you can do this in a moment without getting yourself into trouble.
If Google discovers an unnatural link building, this can lead to a penalty (loss of previous rankings). Thanks to Real-time Penguin, this happens in real-time. The number and quality of the links and the anchor texts are put to the test.
Let’s start with the bad link-building strategies that sooner or later can lead to a penalty. Certain measures are no longer sensible these days and almost demand penalties. These include:
- Manipulation and link exchange programs: Anyone who tries to manipulate the search results and, for example, takes part in link exchange programs must expect a downgrading of the ranking. Google considers these activities to be a violation of the Webmaster Guidelines.
- Comments in forums and blogs: It’s nice when users comment on the content of blog articles. However, reactions such as “Thanks for your contribution” or “Very helpful, thank you!” Offer no added value. This is spam.
- Link farms and networks: Link farms are websites that collect links to other websites. This is intended to improve their ranking. However, links from such sites are harmful. If inferior links lead to a certain website, Google also classifies them as inferior.
- Unrelated pages: The backlink received should fit your industry to some extent. To some extent? Yes, the topic relevance is often overrated. A newspaper, for example, can link to almost any topic if it fits the corresponding article. A golf club that links to an ornamental fish zoo is rather untrustworthy. It always depends on the topic and the meaningful connection.
- Different languages: Here, it depends on what you are offering. An internationally active translation agency appears credible with international backlinks. Other websites seem untrustworthy if they get ten million backlinks from Russia or China.
1. Write To Partner
A simple way to get the first five to six links is to write to your business partners. Everyone has business and cooperation partners or suppliers who are not direct competitors. With a good relationship, it is usually easy to ask for a link.
The easiest way to do this is through a testimonial: The business partner can advertise with his customer’s voice. At the same time, a link to your website can be placed in it. Of course, you shouldn’t overdo that – 100 testimonials don’t seem natural either.
2. Publish Guest Articles
Guest articles offer several advantages: on the one hand, they consolidate the online shop operator’s status as an expert.
On the other hand, there is usually an author’s box in which a short introduction with a link to the shop is possible.
However, many webmasters and bloggers charge for guest posting.
“Don’t worry: you can do it without a budget. As an SEO agency, we are a service provider ourselves with an advertising website. Nevertheless, we have already written numerous guest articles and published them on well-known websites without paying a cent for it! Guest articles represent – just like testimonials – a win-win situation: Every webmaster, blogger, or portal operator needs fresh, carefully researched content for their target group on a regular basis. We offer our know-how and our work free of charge and increase our awareness (and thus receive links).“
A basic requirement for cooperation with high-authority sites is that the guest article is really good. It is not enough to buy any cheap text on a content platform.
Quality is required here both in terms of content and visual preparation. It may well be that the blog article is not just 500 but 5,000 words long. So there is work in there!
The aim is to reach and inspire the target group of the blog or the web portal with informative and entertaining content.
The texts mustn’t be promotional. Above all, they should do one thing: provide readers with really great content. Added value – everything else makes no sense. The format also plays a role.
These formats are particularly appealing to users:
- Blog articles, with step-by-step instructions or lists
- Scientific studies
- Exciting surveys
- Interviews with interesting personalities
Placing guest articles: Here’s how
It is best to write to those responsible directly. Webmasters are only human too! However, this email is likely to be more successful if you don’t hit the door straight in the house.
Above all, clumsy inquiries in bad English or with incorrect grammar immediately end up in spam. (We get countless inquiries of this kind from Farbentour ourselves. Anything that looks like a mass email or is bursting with errors has no chance.)
It is even better than the direct cover letter to establish contact with the responsible persons—keyword: networking. Mutual support should be in the foreground. True to the motto: I’ll help you, in return, I get the chance to place a guest article with you.
One possibility for this is first to offer the other webmaster a platform yourself. Online shops often have magazines. There, for example, an expert round-up is a good option. A number of experts are invited to comment on a specific topic. Such an invitation is usually gratefully accepted.
Incidentally, the online shop also benefits from this: a panel of experts ensures coverage. After all, this is how high-quality content comes into the magazine since only experts write.
The experts later share their contribution with their networks, which can generate a lot of additional traffic. Another bonus: good content is reflected in the search engine ranking!
After that, it’s much easier to place a guest article on the targeted website. It provided that the content piece really offers added value for the target group and is excellently written and prepared.
3. Creative Content Marketing
Content marketing is also an excellent way to increase your online shop’s awareness and ensure more reach and traffic. The online fashion platform about you is a good example of what something like this can look like..
Thematically, the 22-page e-book revolves around safety when swimming, diving, windsurfing, rafting, and sailing. This covers the most important sports.
A surprising topic at first: What does a fashion shop have to do with water sports safety?
The answer can be found at the bottom of the landing page. Ten important and thematically appropriate shop categories such as “diving accessories for women”, “swimwear for women” and “water shoes for men” are linked there.
As a result, the link force is passed on to the sub-pages. About You offers a wide range of diving accessories as well as swimwear for women, men, and children. This is a clear example of creative SEO: Very few users are willing to link to commercial offers.
Online shops have a particularly difficult time in this regard. A well-made e-book, however, ideally offers valuable content for the user.
The preparation of “water sports safety” may not be spectacular, but the e-book is well illustrated and easy to read. That is why it is often linked and shared by bloggers. In total, About You received ten backlinks.
These came, for example, from travel magazines, diving schools, and pages about school holidays.
Another thing that should not be underestimated is that the e-book creates reach. Water sports enthusiasts and holidaymakers, who might never have come across the fashion platform on their own, find out about its existence. Maybe they even distribute the e-book on their network.
This example shows how effectively an e-book can be used for your purposes. Other topics may be even more effective. It is important to address the emotions of the user.
But the content distribution must also be right. Everyone is talking about content marketing.
But content also needs marketing. With a well-thought-out seeding campaign, content can be distributed better. This includes working with bloggers and influencers, who should be specifically brought on board.
“The targeted building of backlinks for online shops is not without risk because Google generally doesn’t like active link building.
But it is possible to optimize your online shop for SEO and improve the ranking with the measures shown.
One thing is certain: without backlinks, it will be damn difficult. If you do it skillfully and avoid the dangers, you have little to fear with link building.
It is best to try different strategies and find your own way.“
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