Learn how to build a foundation of authority for your startup eCommerce website using tried and true white-hat link building tactics.
About the Tactic
Links are integral to your success with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They help Google and other search engines find your site and content for index and ranking, AND they pass “authority” or strength to your site to help boost organic rankings. This tactic will guide you through the process of planning a link building campaign for your startup eCommerce website in order to lay a foundation for future success. You can find more tactical plays like this one in Inflow’s eCommerce Marketing Playbook.
Who’s It For?
Marketers working with a startup eCommerce website
When to Use It:
Use this play when you are working with site which has little to no incoming links and organic rankings are in need of a boost.
How to Execute “The Foundation”
The foundation is a play whose execution will be split into monthly tasks over a three month period.
The first link building tactic in this play is Guest Posting. Guest posts can provide valuable rank boosting links as well as expose your new brand to a new group of relevant consumers. I recommend following Inflow’s Alex Juel’s guidelines for finding guest post opportunities, though you may also find value in different approaches such as this one.
The goal will be to obtain 4 guest post opportunities each month for the next three months (1 per week). This is a slower pace than many other content marketing agencies recommend. We prefer to focus on quality over quantity. You’ll need probably need to identify 25 or so prospects and then do outreach to each one pitching your ideas. This is the most time consuming of the link building tactics in this play, but it is also one of the more valuable as well. If you’re not sure what to write about, or don’t like writing, outsource it!
Donations and Sponsorships
Next we’ll be using the foundational tactic of donations or sponsorships to build some links in our first few months. In order to build links using this tactic you’ll identify nonprofit organizations, charities, and events relevant to your products or company mission that provide a backlink to your website for a donation or sponsorship of some sort.
As an example, let’s say you are starting an online bike shop. You can look for organizations like Bike Houston, which are working to improve biking in their communities for everyone, but also offer a link back to your website as part of a sponsorship package.
Ideally you’d build a total of 2 donation/sponsorship opportunities per month for the next 3 months (6 total). As a startup with potentially restricted cash flow, the total amount may depend on your budget as well as the cost of the opportunities you identify.
Using the eCommerce Sweepstakes tactic to build links also involves utilizing previously existing blogs, which again exposes your new brand to an existing and relevant audience. In addition, this tactic scales better than guest blogging since you don’t have to write the content.
The way this tactic works is you’ll be asking bloggers to write a blog post which mentions your products and follows a certain theme. For example, if you have a site dedicated to replacement parts for appliances you could reach out to DIY bloggers offering an entry into the sweepstakes. You’ll be asking them to write a post on an easy household fix or maintenance tip that of course mentions some of the products you sell.
You’ll need set up a landing page on the eCommerce website with the rules and entry form so you have somewhere to send the bloggers you’ll be contacting. The goal would be to run one of these sweepstakes campaigns during your three month foundational campaign period. Alex has more detail on this tactic and others here.
If you successfully complete the above campaign you’ll have 12 guest post links, 6 donation sponsorship links and approximately 25 contextually relevant deep links as a result of the eCommerce Sweepstakes. Those 35-45 varied links should provide a great foundation to start your site with earned SEO authority while exposing your brand to new audiences along