If you are in the retail business and planning to step into the e-commerce industry, there are lots of things you need to know in advance in order to prepare yourself. E-commerce is big, and unlike a retail store, your competitors are from all across the world instead of from just within your city.
Darryl Stevens wrote an informative piece for anyone preparing to start an e-commerce store. But, once you are up and live, all you should focus on is a more targeted audience for your website, and then think of ways to convert them into paying customers.
I truly believe that SEO is one of the most powerful tools available at our disposal to help drive the most qualified traffic back to your websites.
Every detail matters when it comes to SEO for e-commerce – whether it is UI, UX or other technical aspects like XML sitemap, redirections or content, and link building.
I recently wrote a very detailed post on Moz where I shed light on how you should be capturing the hearts and minds of your visitors through your e-commerce product pages.
The above is a two-year revenue chart for a fashion e-commerce site. In May 2014, their monthly income was 39.5K per month, which swiftly rose to 59.5K per month by the end of the same year.
During this seven-month period, we experimented with A/B testing, landing pages, removing duplicate content, quality blog posts, the speed of the site, and made sure each product description was unique and valuable for the audience.
From January 2015 to date, we have been focusing on building quality links that point back to the website and have successfully managed to increase their overall revenue to 115.6K per month.
In this post, I will shed light on the kind of link building tactics we have implemented to increase the overall revenue by almost 100 percent.
Note: We also tried some PPC to test certain keywords, but revenue from this method was less than 3 Percent of the overall income. The rest of the revenue was generated from either organic, direct, social or referral traffic.
So here, in no specific order, are the link building tactics I have used extensively to increase website conversion rates by over 100 percent per annum.
Yes. I know what Matt has said about it, but if you are choosing your site carefully by measuring quality first, guest blogging will give you tons of referral conversions as well as link value.
This is how we did it. We extracted a big list of industry relevant blogs from citation lab’s link prospector and manually filtered them to pick quality blogs that targeted the same persona as us.
The next thing we did was to reach out to these chosen bloggers and offer them the content of the highest quality to obtain links that point back to our website.
With our guest blogging tactic, we managed to get links from websites like Clever Dude, Lovely Bride, Just Luxe and Bloglovin. The best thing about these blogs is that they are active and focus on the kind of audience that is willing to buy from our online store.
Steps we took: Here’s what we did.
- Offer only the best content that will excite people, and encourage them to share it within their social circles.
- We used guest blogging to become a household name for many of our target visitors. We answered their comments, shared our posts on social media, and above all, we became regular contributors to several online portals which helped people trust us more.
- We always wrote content keeping the audience in mind. In fact, as we were writing the pieces, collecting links were the last thing on our minds.
Things we strictly avoided: Here are a few things we avoided altogether, with no exceptions.
- We avoided any blog that had a SPAM score of more than ‘3’.
- We never focused on specific anchor texts (either branded or keyword based) so links came to us with diverse anchor texts.
- We strictly avoided links from any blog that asked for money in exchange for a link.
What did we learn?
We learnt many things. First, guest blogging, if done the traditional way, can break a brand and in some cases, kick you right out of the search index.
Unless you have content of the highest quality, strong relations with bloggers, are open for various anchor texts, and whether the links in your post are no- followed or do-followed, you should avoid guest blogging only to attain links for your website.
Google recently asked bloggers to provide no-follow links whenever conducting product reviews, and I’ve seen quite a few people literally stopping reviews altogether.
We did quite a few quality product reviews for our products, and I will continue to do so regardless of whether the link is a follow or no-follow.
That’s because there are two very important reasons behind it. One, product reviews are not just about links. If you choose the right bloggers, you can easily get lots of referral traffic that can potentially convert into paying customers. Here’s a proof of it:
Content syndication is another reason. Often, when a blogger writes a product review, it gets re-shared by different blogs. There is a strong possibility that that link is do-followed. With similar content, the website might not be able to rank in Google, but it will pass the link value (whatsoever…).
As I said earlier, with this client’s website, we never really focused much on product reviews for link building but instead got some quality links via product reviews.
Steps we took: We made some ground rules when it came to product reviews for our client’s website:
- We targeted quality bloggers with a huge and loyal fan following, so we could get the most out of our product reviews.
- We invested a little on paid social to boost our product reviews once they had gone live. The idea was to get more people to share them.
Things we strictly avoided: We avoided the following.
- Avoid any fashion blogger that has low to no fan following at all on Pinterest and Instagram.
- Again, avoid all bloggers with a website SPAM score of more than ‘3’.
Things we learned:
If you spend time on building good relationships with bloggers, there is a possibility that you win links from websites like the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed.
Tap other relevant industries
I know that quality links are the ones that come from a blog or website that is relevant to your industry. For instance, getting links for a fashion website from a fish blog is almost useless. But, other industries share some relevant commonalities for a fashion brand, for instance, travel sites, mom blogs, lifestyle, makeup, celebrity gossips among others.
For our client, we delved deep into other industries and managed to get links from websites like USA Today, Tweak your Biz, Design Beep and others. They might not be the greatest sources of links, but they sure are good links that increase not only rankings but also conversions for our client.
Steps we took: We selected other relevant industries carefully. Here’s what we did.
- We only picked those websites that had clear link profiles and a SPAM score of less than ‘3’.
- We were open to diverse link building tactics. We built some links via guest blogging, while others via business listings and broken link building, ego baits, infographics and more.
Things we strictly avoided: Here’s what we avoided; No paid links. We said no every single time we were asked to pay for a link.
- We avoided links from articles that were irrelevant from the fashion perspective. This means we got links from travel sites only when an article discussed travel and
What we learned:
When tapping into other relevant industries, make sure that links have a relevant context. Otherwise, you might end up having a potential customer bounce off your website, never to come back again.
Competitor Link Analysis
This is an idea that is being utilised by almost all webmasters. But, doing it right can create bigger revenues.
While working for one of our clients, we checked out competitors who had huge link profiles. We filtered the profile data by first excluding every link that had the spam score of more than ‘3’. Next, we discarded every link that was from their partners’ or manufacturers’ websites. As a result, I was left with a refined list of links that we could potentially copy and follow up.
Although the number of links we achieved was not high, but the links we did acquire helped us increase our rankings and traffic to a huge extent.
Steps we took: Here’s what we did.
- First, we built relations with the webmaster or blogger before we asked for a link.
- We preferred to go for links that did not require content in most cases, but if some did, we, of course, provided that too.
Things we strictly avoided:
- We avoided all links that used tactics like forum commenting, blog commenting, article submission and the like as they fall into the grey category.
What we learned:
If you pick a competitor who is also an industry leader, you might not be able to copy a huge percentage of their links. A smarter approach is to make sure that the competitors you analyse should be bigger than you, but not as big as industry giants such as Walmart or Target.
These were the four link building ideas we have used over the year consistently, and we managed to lift our rankings to more than 5k key phrases, and out of them 250 plus keywords are on the first page of Google.
At the same time, our organic traffic and revenue both increased by 100 percent in a year.
Obviously, there are tons of other tactics as well that we are planning to use in the future, but the purpose of this post is to let people know that it’s not only the tactic that is important but how you work it. That can make all the difference.