Five Insider Secrets to Help Build Better Backlinks and Rank Higher in Google
by Ron Dod
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Building beneficial backlinks is a mandatory task in any SEO strategy that is to bear fruit. Backlinks are an essential element for eCommerce businesses to cultivate and maintain organic traffic to their online stores.
That said, building authoritative backlinks is no easy task. Establishing the proper tactics and putting acceptable practices (i.e., white hat techniques) into motion is often a time-consuming and challenging thing to accomplish. The hard part is convincing other site owners to link back to the eCommerce destination in a way that is honest and benefits both parties.
However, despite the difficulties, there are ways to accomplish such feats and build the backlinks that businesses need to succeed in the SERPs.
Ready to improve your site’s backlink profile? Check out these five strategies for bringing about a backlink bonanza.
Craft Superior Skyscraper Content
While the content drum has been beaten to death, creating outstanding content still has no replacement or superior.
As the saying goes, content is still king.
While marketers often discuss the tactic, its difficulty is often overlooked or understated. Creating truly link-worthy content takes quite a bit of time, effort and energy to produce, let alone doing so consistently and for prolonged periods.
Digital retailers have an array of content options to choose from, all of which are beneficial in different ways. These choices can include producing blogs, style guides, videos, podcasts, slideshows, infographics and similar offerings.
However, even if a brand produces high-value content from day one, it will still take time for others to take notice. This gap is dangerous as some merchants might get discouraged and think that their time and effort has been wasted, ultimately giving up on their content and backlink goals.
Make no mistake–generating remarkable content is hard and can be draining. Nonetheless, great content does produce backlinks and helps to build an engaged audience. The key is to maintain efforts over a long enough time period to obtain results. Once that point is reached and a store’s content starts to get noticed, retailers will begin to see backlinks come in and the fruits of their efforts ripen.
Until that point (and well beyond it), it is vital to create content that is helpful, interesting and entertaining. One of the best ways to achieve these goals is by building skyscraper content.
The skyscraper technique is a process by which business owners seek out top-notch content within their respective niches and then use that as a guide to creating an even better piece.
Initially popularized by Backlinko founder Brian Dean, skyscraper content is still one of the best tactics available for establishing ideas for content that will earn valuable backlinks for a website.
To find great pieces of content, tools like BuzzSumo are invaluable. Similarly, SEO-oriented tools like Ahrefs make it possible to establish the top-performing content on specific websites that are noteworthy within a merchant’s vertical.
After picking out some piece to improve upon, ask:
What potential questions go unanswered?
Which points require further clarification?
Who has the piece failed to serve?
Can the structure be improved?
The key to creating skyscraper content is to produce even more valuable content than the most useful pieces available. It’s not an easy task, but who said that earning authoritative backlinks is easy?
Get Products Reviewed
A steller strategy for earning backlinks is to promote specific products to an audience by getting an authoritative blogger or industry influencer to review one or more of the items a site offers.
This strategy not only helps to put merchandise in front of relevant audiences, but it also aids in earning backlinks as well. Product review backlinks tend to rank well within search engines given that they meet several of the higher-value ranking requirements like choice link placement (within the post instead of in a footer) and link relevancy.
However, do be aware that if the review is sponsored (as would be the case in an influencer marketing campaign), the link garnered will be a nofollow link instead of a dofollow. While this isn’t ideal, it is not worthless either.
For this strategy to be useful, it is essential to contact and connect with reputable websites for product reviews. Naturally, retailers will likely have to start out earning links on smaller sites, working their way up to the more popular destinations.
When reaching out to influencers or bloggers, it is wise to provide them with information regarding customer demographics, the number of units sold, revenue earned and similar statistics to help intrigue the reviewer.
Moreover, during the outreach process, it is essential to lead with the value offered to the reviewer, while also being polite, eager and enduring.
Some product review sites that retailers might consider reaching out to include:
There are scores of websites online that conduct compilation or roundup posts of products, businesses, websites within a specific niche and the like. Retailers can seek out these destinations or posts and simply reach out to the site owner or operator and ask to be added to the list.
While it may not appear so on the surface, for many of these websites, the request is actually mutually beneficial. By brands reaching out and asking to be added to the list, it allows the site to maintain an up-to-date post, thereby preserving the value the list provides to its audiences.
On the flip side, eCommerce merchants can earn a dofollow backlink without expending much time or energy. Moreover, since the request is so simple, many sites are likely to oblige.
However, there is one potential drawback to this tactic. If the post in question was published more than a year ago, it has likely seen a significant drop in traffic and may not send many visitors to the webstore. However, this does not mean that the backlink is worthless as it is still a digital endorsement from a reputable site.
Do the necessary research required to understand which types of websites and posts are currently available in the desired niche and that asking for inclusion would be an appropriate request. Seek out pieces where adding a backlink to a merchant’s store would be simple and easy to do, instead of those that would require something of a rewrite as these are less likely to be amicable.
Republish Content Around the Web
When a site publishes a great piece of content, it doesn’t need to live and die on the site. There are a variety of websites for every niche that syndicate blogs, articles and the like that have been previously published on other digital destinations.
By earning syndication on other sites that are relevant to a merchant’s niche, retailers can gain a valuable backlink pointing to where the piece was initially published. Moreover, retailers can also get their content in front of a potentially broader and more diverse audience than the one to which they currently cater.
Some of the most popular syndication platforms include:
While there has long been a debate over whether syndication and guest posting are harmful practices bound to bring down the wrath of Google for charges of duplicate content, this argument does not apply here given that there is a link to point to the original piece.
Moreover, the piece’s creator will often craft a new introduction, title or data to spice it up and differentiate it from the original.
The key to this strategy is to seek out reputable, high-authority syndication websites that are relevant to the given niche. By achieving this, sellers will gain the best possible benefit from the link.
Snatch Up Competitor Links
Another excellent tactic for earning powerful backlinks is to conduct a bit of competitive analysis, comb through the links acquired by rival sites and snag them for oneself.
Using tools like Ahrefs, retailers can uncover the backlinks that aid the competition in climbing the SERPs. Once these links are revealed, business owners can then begin the process of figuring out:
If they have already produced superior content on the same topic for a given link
How to generate a better piece for a given link
If or when either of these criteria is met, merchants can then reach out to the site that links to the competitor’s page to see if they would be more interested in linking to their more valuable content.
Naturally, not all site operators will want to make the switch. However, if a merchant can convince the webmaster that their content is more beneficial to the site’s audience, there is an opening for an authoritative backlink to be earned. One prime method of persuading a site owner is to point out the weaknesses in the content currently linked and showing how their content fortifies those areas while still maintaining the value of the previous piece.
Link building is still one of the most influential of Google’s ranking factors and helps retailers to earn more visibility, traffic and sales.
However, earning better SEO performance with content marketing is no easy task as the digital world is already flooded with content. To effectively acquire beneficial backlinks, retailers must go above and beyond in their content production and outreach efforts to gain the edge over fiercely competitive rivals.
Use the five strategies outlined above to earn better backlinks in 2019 and outpace the competition in Google’s SERPs.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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