E-Commerce SEO: How to Get Free Backlinks for Your Online Store
Posted Jan 11, 2019 by Lina Vashurina, Ecwid Team

E-Commerce SEO: How to Get Free Backlinks for Your Online Store

While search engine algorithms are constantly changing, some SEO practices never do. 

Quality backlinks continue to be one of the most significant factors in your site’s search ranking. In the case of online shopping, a backlink is a link on a relevant website that directs users back to your e-commerce store. And Google continues to raise the bar on this type of SEO-linking.

Due to Google’s increased watchdog concern for generating high-quality backlinks, many businesses have been forced to fork over some major cash in exchange for backlinks that meet rising Google standards. And small businesses who aren’t ready to invest large amounts of capitol have been left in the dust.

Fortunately, there’s an alternative that won’t break the bank. And the best part? You don’t even need to be an SEO expert to do it.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to generate high-quality backlinks all on your own, with little to no investment. But first, let’s get down to the basics.

Why External Links Are Important for SEO

Imagine a professor that publishes their work in scientific periodicals. The more people refer to the work and cite the author on a particular issue, the more that professor is considered an expert in their field.

The same is true for websites: if quality resources related to your niche refer to your e-commerce website, search engines consider it more credible than similar sites, all else being equal. As a result, your website ranks higher on searches related to your niche, visibility increases and your traffic grows. Hooray!

And that’s not the only benefit to building high-quality backlinks. You’ll also enjoy:

  • Increased brand awareness by reaching your target audience on external resources;
  • And more conversion opportunities because customers can click to your store from other websites where it’s linked.

You can use Google Analytics or other services to track how many visitors came to your site (known as referral traffic) from links provided on other websites. Sometimes this can even be a significant driver for website traffic.

Referral traffic on Google Analytics


Referral traffic statistics in Google Analytics

Without quality backlinks, it can take months or even years to promote your website in a competitive environment.

Now that you’re convinced of the importance, let’s take a look at some of the practical how-tos for good link building.

9 Ways to Get External Links

There are a ton of ways to get links to your website. But that doesn’t mean they’re all good ways. While some methods might appear simple initially, they actually require significant digital experience or expensive SEO tools to really be effective. We say nay. Not today, sir. Today, we’re focusing on nine methods you can use right now to guarantee results with minimal cost and little to no experience.

1. Create social media pages

The first thing you can and should do to start building links is create official pages for store on social media. This is the easiest way to get external links immediately after launching an online store. Even if you don’t plan to actively engage on social media for your store, you should absolutely take advantage of the opportunity to snag a couple free backlinks.

Don’t limit yourself to the most popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram; create pages in Google+, Twitter, YouTube — even Pinterest.

SEO experts argue whether search engine algorithms count social links for calculating a website’s ranking. But even if social links don’t influence page rankings directly, other social signals such as likes or shares can prove your website’s credibility.

2. Engage on forums (crowd-marketing)

Engage on niche forums, general discussions — whatever — and if your site contains information that could be potentially useful to the participants of the discussion, share the link in the thread. Not only are you providing valuable content for the forum, you’re also creating some handy backlinks for your store.

Crowd marketing


An example of crowd marketing on Quora

Some forums even allow users with a certain number of posts (15-20) to give links to their websites in their name field, and when you actively participate, other users will often follow that link for more content. Win-win.

Learn more about marketing your store on popular forums like Quora.

3. Work with reviews

Customer feedback is important for any company, regardless of size. That’s because shoppers will inherently trust the opinions of other shoppers more than your own claims about your product. For many shoppers, user reviews can be one of the biggest factors in purchase decision. So naturally, you’ll want to encourage as many positive reviews as you can. And, of course, backlinks.

There are several great websites that compile user reviews including TripAdvisor, Consumer Reports, Yelp, Influenster. To get started, create a company profile where customers can leave feedback; then inside your profile, drop a free backlink to your website.

A company’s page on Influenster


A company’s page on Influenster

Such platforms allow you to create a company page where people can leave their feedback, and you get a free link to your website.

4.  Give interviews and comments to media and online publications

The trick here is targeting local media over major national outlets. Because local media often lack quality stories to fill their production needs, it’s much easier to get a foot in the door with their producers. Offer an interesting story about your product or company, and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with a shiny new backlink — and some brand exposure for good measure.

In addition to interviews, you can create other materials like blogs and whitepapers or offer comments as an expert for relevant online publications. And services like HARO make it even easier by partnering with media teams to connect journalists with subject matter experts whenever a new comment is needed.

Check out our article on publicity on a budget for more help building backlinks through the media.

5. Register in directories

Most communities have an online directory of some sort for local companies, and registration is almost always free. Creating a directory listing provides an extra touchpoint for potential customers and an easy backlink for your website.

Related: A Local SEO Strategy for Your Online Store

6. Use thematic aggregators

Aggregators are websites with a large amount of organized, usually business-focused, information. Think of it like a directory for specific types of products or services. For example:

  • a catalog of foreign language courses…
  • a catalog of dentists…
  • a catalog of sheepskin slipper companies…
  • You get the idea.

If your target region is large enough, you can find dozens of aggregators for your specific product or service. And you can register on any aggregator by simply creating a company page. To look for relevant aggregator websites, use search terms like “your niche + catalog / aggregator” or “your niche + city.”

7. Create and share valuable content

A checklist for completing a task. A short e-book on a specific topic. Or a clever how-to guide (like the one you’re reading right now).Whatever you choose to create, one thing is true: great content gets engagement. And when content on the internet gets engagement, it gets backlinks.

High-quality — valuable — content takes time to create. But if you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded with re-shares on related websites, on forums and all across the social media sphere.

This method of marketing is particularly popular in English speaking countries, and is widely considered one of the most effective — and important — strategies to building backlinks for your website. Not only that, but it creates brand credibility and positions your company as an expert resource for your product or service segment.

Visit our article on how to write and sell your ebook for more insights on creating valuable content for your audience.

Ecwid Ecommerce guides


We share our expertise in e-books. You can do it too!

Learn more about promoting your store with content marketing.

8. Work with influencers

Some bloggers and social media personalities have an audience reach similar to that of major media outlets. Ask an influencer to test your product or send it along as a gift in exchange for a review or mention for your online store.

Pay attention to blog authors, popular Instagram accounts and relevant YouTube channels. There’s a reason they’re called influencers. Like a close friend or a trusted authority, these individuals have a high degree of influence over their audience, and their review can make or break a follower’s purchase decision. The right word from the right influencer, and a backlink won’t be the only thing you’re celebrating.

For example, The video is a collaboration between an individual blogger and fashion brand Topshop:

Learn how to promote your online store on popular Instagram blogs.

9. Provide promotional support for events

Even in small towns, farmers markets, exhibitions, and major celebrations are regular activities. In order to be successful, event organizers often collaborate with media and other organizations to spread the word and attract participants.

Contact organizers to offer promotional support (like mentions on a blog or social media) in exchange for a link to your store. As a sign of goodwill, partners’ links often appear right on the main page of the event website.

You can also work with market and workshop organizers to provide sponsorship products in exchange for links. Arrange a product giveaway, or provide participants with small gifts, and in return, organizers will talk about your store on their website and social media.

Read more about promoting your online store at offline events.

***

You may need to sacrifice a product or two every now and then to get a link from the right blogger or event organizer, but rest assured, your efforts won’t be in vain. Over time, you’ll be compensated with a steady rise in search rankings, increased website traffic, and a sizable boost to your much cherished sales revenue.

Got questions about backlinks? Share “em in the comments!

Wanna get the most out of your online store? Ecwid shops come ready for search promotion. Don’t let your SEO efforts go to waste.

About the author
Lina is a content creator at Ecwid. She writes to inspire and educate readers on all things commerce. She loves to travel and runs marathons.