Discover 5 content types that will help you build eCommerce backlinks reliably and effectively, from guest blogging to expert roundups.
Should you be delving into digital marketing, discussing backlinks is nigh inevitable. Backlinks are fundamental to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies and an excellent exposure tool for website marketing. They offer social credit, as they effectively act as endorsements, and, when contextually substantive, provide a better customer experience (UX). But what exactly are backlinks, and what exactly gauges their value? Most importantly, in the context of this article, how can one build eCommerce backlinks, which are demonstrably harder than most? Let us use this article to answer these questions and hopefully help pave your way to success.
A brief introduction to backlinks
First and foremost, let us briefly explore backlinks themselves. For the uninitiated, doing so will provide a rudimentary definition. For all readers, it will help contextualize which backlink types offer value and how to approach link-building dilemmas.
Backlinks, then, are inbound links from other sites to yours. They act as a form of digital word-of-mouth marketing, typically providing more value to the linking sites’ audiences. That’s why content that typically earns backlinks more easily is of such types as:
- Research and reports
- Deep, informative articles by authoritative figures
Understandably, then, link-building can involve different amounts of effort on your end, for different returns. To elaborate, let us delve into two main dilemmas that will factor into your efforts toward building eCommerce backlinks.
Follow versus NoFollow backlinks
An initial split occurs when discussing backlink types. The two fundamental ones, in that they affect SEO, are Follow and NoFollow backlinks.
Most links are Follow links by default, unless otherwise specified. In HTML code, Follow links will look like this:
“<a href=”https://example.com”>example anchor text</a>”
These are the most coveted backlinks, since Follow links allow for the aforementioned “endorsement” function. That is, Follow links allow for PageRank transfers; authoritative sites linking to yours boost your own authoritativeness. This metric is called Page Authority (PA), and SEO practitioners dub this phenomenon as “link juice transfer”. In turn, accumulated PA and other factors enhance your Domain Authority (DA), benefitting your SEO efforts on the whole.
In contrast, a NoFollow link will look like this in HTML:
“<a href=”https://example.com” rel=”nofollow”>example anchor text</a>”
The difference, then, lies in the rel=”nofollow” tag that sets the two apart. Put simply, NoFollow links prevent the aforementioned “transfer”, by refusing to “endorse” the linked content. This is, of course, a statement visible to search engines, not average readers. Therefore, readers won’t be discouraged from clicking on NoFollow links and finding their way to linked pages.
Understandably, link building will value Follow links more than NoFollow ones, given the SEO benefits. However, it is also notable that Google values natural-looking profiles; leaning too heavily in either direction may incur penalties. Moreover, both types will generate referral traffic, so NoFollow links are by no means useless or unworthy of your attention. Thus, you should ideally strive for both as you build eCommerce backlinks.
Backlink quality versus backlink quantity
Along similar lines comes another dichotomy, that between quality and quantity. Many people have this dilemma; should one build few quality backlinks, or many less valuable backlinks?
This is not an argument of Follow versus NoFollow backlinks either. “Value” is often gauged by the linking sites’ DA, even if all backlinks in question are Follow ones. But precisely because high-DA sites value their authoritativeness, earning backlinks from them entails more work.
Unlike the above dilemma, where balancing both backlink types is arguably a healthy outlook, there’s no universal answer to this one. Especially when building eCommerce backlinks, it is your own criteria that will determine your course of action. Consider the following, among others:
- Is your immediate goal to boost your rankings, or to generate traffic?
- In turn, is the linking site’s DA or traffic more valuable to you?
- Can you afford to invest the effort the more valuable backlinks require?
The final factor is particularly important, as we’ll discuss just below. There are ways to ensure an optimal effort/value ratio, but typically you will need impeccable content value for those high-DA Follow links. Moreover, everyone’s content strategy will differ, especially in these trying times, so your practices will need to differ in turn.
Ways to build eCommerce backlinks
Nonetheless, regardless of your content strategy, you may entertain various types of content that produce backlinks more reliably. Start with S.M.A.R.T. goals, define your backlink needs, and then examine your content strategy’s direction. Specifically, consider if it can facilitate the following types of content.
#1 Guest blogging
Starting with the most contested of all content types, you may consider guest blogging to build eCommerce backlinks. This type is indeed contested; declarations of its death have been circulating the internet for ages. For reference, Forbes reported on this discussion in 2017 – when it had already been raging.
Guest blogging is by no means dead, however, as Forbes pointed out. Going through Matt Cutt’s assertion that it is, we can deduce it is “spammy”, low-quality guest blogging that is dead. We can thus juxtapose his criticism and Forbes’s suggestions, and then combine them with modern SEO practices to extract guidelines:
- Offer valuable content. Guest blogging needs to offer relevant information to audiences to appease both webmasters and Google.
- Embed your backlink where it adds value. Nobody likes irrelevant self-promoting links that derail their research – not audiences, and not webmasters.
- Add more backlinks. To offer value, your posts should ideally link to multiple authoritative sources outside of your own.
Consider this very article as a point of reference. All the links in it seek to add substance to the topics discussed, in an effort to provide value. Would you appreciate “spammy”, in Matt’s words, links, which randomly advertised products or services? Then neither would your audiences.
#2 Ultimate/definitive guides
On the subject of value, then, few types of content offer as much value as “ultimate” guides. Others dub them as “definitive”, but the basic principles are the same:
- Massive length. No guide can proclaim to be the best without enough length to facilitate depth. Ultimate guides will typically range between 5,000 and 20,000+ words.
- Matching depth. Ultimate guides assert they are, in fact, “definitive”, so they can’t be long for length’s sake – or for ranking’s sake. Consider case studies, statistics, and other valuable, actionable, insightful information that provide depth.
- Proper formatting. Audiences value digestible content and prefer to scan long content for specific information. Thus, such guides need proper formatting, from headings to bullet lists and visual elements like infographics.
Understandably, this type of content is more challenging to produce than most. It takes considerable time and effort and requires notable expertise on the subject you write about. That is why such guides are often products of the “skyscraper technique”, and see comparatively less use.
However, if you’re striving for those high-quality Follow backlinks, they are among the best content to produce to earn them. Should you settle for less, all the other content types on this list should still produce backlinks with less effort.
#3 Comparison content
For example, consider comparison content. This classic content type follows the blueprint of the ever-present “Android vs. iPhone” articles, and adapts it accordingly. To build eCommerce backlinks through this content type, consider such examples as:
- Intel vs. AMD processors
- SEO vs. PPC marketing
- Facebook ads vs. Instagram ads
These examples don’t strictly discuss products; the first one does, but the others compare marketing assets. Still, such articles offer immense value to audiences that are invested in these subjects, because they offer side-by-side analyses. In principle, it provides a similar perspective as ultimate guides do, albeit more specific and refined.
To build Commerce backlinks through this type of content, consider the following:
- What resonates with your audiences? Comparison content backlinks still intend to convert, so your subjects need to interest your audiences.
- Which keywords are you targeting? Your content will still be your own, unlike guest blogging, so its keywords of choice must fit your SEO strategies.
- Does it answer the questions it poses? There is little value in inconclusive comparisons, so your content must provide solid answers for audiences to act on.
In this regard, it typically helps to compare products or services you are deeply familiar with yourself. This will both help ensure content quality and boost your SEO for keywords you’re already targeting. Moreover, producing this type of content may often reveal new content ideas to branch out to.
#4 List content
On the subject of comparisons, another valuable type of content to build eCommerce backlinks through is lists. Unlike comparison content, these simply list “the top 10 X” or “the most affordable Y” of a given product. And if any sites are well-suited for such content by definition, those are eCommerce sites.
Of course, list content is unlikely to earn you the best backlinks around; there’s an abundance of it online. Still, it can absolutely earn backlinks and traffic, with minimal effort at that. To illustrate both, let us break this claim down to its two components.
1. It’s effective.
The primary concern over this type of content is its effectiveness. If it’s so abundant, how can it remain effective?
Yet statistics prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Earned Links found that “lists posts on average receive 74% more links than any other content type”. That’s not to say all lists work, of course; “quality is king” in this regard as well.
2. It’s incredibly easy to create.
Moreover, such content is very, very easy to create. Curating lists of existing products takes less effort than creating content from scratch by definition, after all. David Schneider outlines this perfectly – so much so that he earned a valuable backlink from SEMrush in doing so, ours aside.
Finally, as with comparison content, list content can also reveal more content ideas you may consider delving into.
#5 Expert roundups
Finally, expert roundups are another excellent way to build eCommerce backlinks. Much like list content, those don’t start from scratch either, but build on existing content.
Still, expert roundups take a specific approach to work. Lean too heavily on your experts, and you may alienate them. Delve into broad topics, and your audiences don’t find specific value to act on. Ask too broad or too narrow questions, and your content’s value suffers. Thus, consider the following fundamentals as you delve into this type:
- Choose your experts carefully. Whether you’re aggregating your influencers’ opinions or those of industry pioneers, they need to be authorities in their niche.
- Choose your questions carefully. Typically, “yes/no” questions won’t yield valuable content – and neither will very broad questions that warrant lengthy responses.
- Project professionalism. As with all other content types, as cliché as it may be, “quality is king”. You should thus produce error-free, well-formatted, insightful content that promotes your store effectively.
Of course, this type of content cannot spearhead your efforts by itself. Expert roundups can absolutely enhance your link-building strategies, but they cannot be your primary content type. As such, it would be wise to combine it with other types for long-term viability.
To summarize, there are multiple content types through which you can build eCommerce backlinks. Guest blogging and ultimate guides will typically require the most effort but also yield the best results. Comparison content, list content, and expert roundups require relatively less effort but will earn valuable Follow links less often. Still, all of these content types will produce results – as data shows. Hopefully, at least a few of them can fit into your content strategy and help pave the way to success.