After 2012 and Google’s release of the Penguin algorithm update, many marketers might have worried that link building was dead. After all, it was the blatant abuses of black hat SEO marketers that forced Google to penalize websites for trying to game the system with link building schemes.
But here we are in 2017, and link building continues to play a substantial role in SEO. The major difference between then and now is that link building has a positive connotation associated with it when done right.
We touched on this idea a bit in our recent post detailing how to create a killer SEO strategy for your e-commerce business but would like to expand on it. Here are some best practices for e-commerce companies that want to effectively use links to generate more interest and drive traffic to their website.
1. Use Color
Make sure all the hyperlinks on your site use the same color; ideally, an accent color that plays off your brand color palette and stands out strongly against the normal black text near it.
2. Simplify the Structure
Don’t overcomplicate the naming structure of your links. It should be your URL plus a shortened version of the page title (also called a “slug”). Be sure to include your page’s focus keyword within the slug.
For example: www.ISellProducts.com/baby-swings/
3. Link Internally
Let’s say your baby swing product from above would go nicely with a new set of baby bottles you are selling. Find a way to creatively and relevantly link to the baby bottles page. In addition to linking to related products or services pages, include links to new blog content that would complement your offerings.
For example: An article about “Which Baby Swing Is Best for You?” would serve as an excellent linking opportunity for that product page, and vice versa.
4. Link Externally
Remember that this is about quality; from your side as well as from the other. Cite your research, include helpful information from other sources, and link to partner sites when it is relevant, and the source of information is reliable and reputable.
5. Optimize Anchor Text
Hyperlinked text, also known as “anchor text,” needs to be optimized for search.
- For internal links, try to use keywords you want your site to rank for in search. This will ensure that you reinforce the focus of your site, content, and/or products with search engines.
- For external links, do not use keywords you want your own site to rank for. If you do this, you are telling search engines that you view another website as more of an expert in an area you claim to be.
6. Find Other Linking Opportunities
Linking to another website is a good start in getting noticed by others and, hopefully, linked back to from their site. Until that happens, write content for other sites, ask your partners to share your links, and incentive others to link to your site (like product reviews and bloggers). Just remember that you want high-authority backlinks.
7. Don’t Buy Links
Don’t ever buy links. We cannot stress this enough. They typically come from irrelevant, low-ranking, and even Google-flagged sites. They are never worth it.
8. Share Links Outside Your Site
Anywhere else that you have a presence established online—social media, online forums, even your email signature—should include a backlink to your website.
9. Check Link Quality
Regularly check your site for broken links. While one broken link may not be enough to deter people from perusing your site, two or more may. Also, keep an eye on any links submitted by people who comment on your pages. Spam links from outsiders can be bad for your SEO, too.
10. Keep Going
Whenever you create new content, launch new services, or release new products, go back through your site and find new opportunities to link to those new pages. Link building should never stop.
As with most of the marketing and SEO work we do today, quality trumps quantity, which means that it is not about amassing a vast number of links to and from your site. Instead, the focus is on establishing quality linking opportunities that improve your visitors’ experience while also alerting search engines to the overall subject matter of your site.
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