Most of the linkbuilding tips on BlogStorm have been focused primarily towards linkbait for blogs rather than ecommerce sites and, after an email from one of our readers, it’s time to redress the balance and offer some help to webmasters who run ‘real’ websites.
Having a stunning design and investing the time to make your site usable is very important. It is much easier to attract links to a website that has a nice design than to try and promote an amateurish
and hard to use website.
Start a directory
This does NOT mean starting a directory of useless links like you see on a huge number of low quality sites.
By starting a directory I mean building a unique resource of partners/retailers that are related to your niche. For example a freezer manufacturer could create a directory of authorised retailers
with links to their websites, location maps and a description of the store. Create a really top quality resource and companies will email asking to be included and be more than happy to link to your site in
Some of you might be thinking that this is just a glorified link exchange program that won’t help your search engine rankings. This type of link exchange between sites that actually work together
offline is very valuable and, assuming the sites that link to you haven’t been engaging in mass link exchanges, will help your rankings significantly in the long term.
Done correctly you should find that creating a unique page for each company in the directory draws significant long tail traffic.
Create a news section
Blogging isn’t always a good idea for a commercial site. Company politics can get in the way and the opinions of the blogger can be censored to a point that it is no longer relevant as a blog.
The best linkbuilding tip is to create a news section on your site and post about the latest events from your industry every day in a non biased way. If you have a car insurance website you can post on the latest motoring and insurance news and become a trusted resource for this type of information. Spend the time to make sure you are included in Google News and network with other similar sites to make sure they read your posts. If you can break the news before other sites you will
attract links and build authority.
Try to make your news pages less commercial than the rest of your site so users trust you as a non biased resource. Adding a news section offers you a platform to publish the timely content that works so well in social media and also gives you somewhere to publish company specific news and press releases.
Publish your press releases
If you don’t want to publish press releases in a news section make sure you have a dedicated press section instead. A well known mobile phone company in the UK carried out a study concluding that mobile phones were dirtier than toilet seats and missed out on hundreds of links by not publishing the press release on their site.
If your company is a faceless commercial organisation then attracting links is much harder. Make sure you participate on relevant forums and add comments on blogs so that people know who you are and realise that there is a face behind your website.
Use some reputation monitoring tools to make sure you know what is being said about your brand. If customers are posting negative comments respond to them personally and offer to help them resolve the
Launch an affiliate program
Offering an affiliate program is an easy way to persuade websites to link to your site. Offer a generous commission along with lots of tools, banners and articles for your affiliates to use and give affiliates access to a dedicated affiliate manager to guide them through the process. Allowing deep links to your product pages is a good idea to improve conversion rates and search rankings . Some successful merchant sites offer to write custom content for certain affiliates as well as create dedicated co-branded landing pages.
Make sure you operate your affiliate program in house so that the links still pass weight. Links via services such as Commission Junction or TradeDoubler will not pass any benefits (apart from
Sponsor an event
By sponsoring an event you will usually be mentioned in the press leading up to the event as well as in the roundup afterwards. If your budget is limited try sponsoring events in the blogosphere such as
parties or blog contests. Bloggers are much more likely to link to your site than mainstream media and you don’t need a huge budget to reach them.
Give away your products for review
Sending a product to a popular website or blog for review pretty much guarantees you a link at the end of the review.
Make your site a useful resource
Each product should have a dedicated page on your site with thumbnail links to quality images of the product. There should also be detailed specifications, delivery information, product descriptions and
possibly even videos of the product in action. If your page has more information than your competitors it’s much more likely to attract a link.
Pay to advertise
Although the adverts you buy might not pass link juice it is always worth becoming a paid advertiser at the leading sites in your industry. Websites are always eager to please their advertisers and
will sometimes link to them from other stories and articles.