What’s easier than building new external links? Building links into your existing ones. You may be surprised at the effectiveness at getting more “link juice” (i.e., PageRank) to flow into key pages with this play. Find out more about the Link Link play below, as seen in our eCommerce Marketing Playbook!
About the Play
Linkbuilding for eCommerce is difficult, especially when it comes to earning a high-quality, solid link into category grid pages and boring product pages. The Link Link (AKA Meta Linking) doesn’t replace the usual linkbuilding efforts, but gets more out of the successes you do have.
Who’s It For?
eCommerce SEO Professionals
eCommerce Link Builders
When to Use It:
Let’s say you get a great link from a highly respected publication, but over time the linking URL gets buried in their archives and seems to be providing less and less value. Building even one link into that page will often be enough to make it appear more timely and relevant.
This play has the added benefit of separating your risk from the link you’re building. Depending on the competitiveness of the market, it would be possible to take more chances than you would when linking directly to your own site.
Consider anchor text when building links into pages that link to you. Even if the link to your site has “click here” or “Brandname” as anchor text, you can benefit from building a link with your chosen anchor text into that linking page.
How to Execute The Link Link
This play doesn’t lend itself well to step-by-step instructions, but the hypothetical example below should explain the basic framework.
You have a sporting goods eCommerce store. It’s tough to get links into a category grid page showing dozens of basketballs, each looking nearly identical.
One day an alert comes in notifying you of a new link to your Basketballs category page from none other than ESPN.com. Someone on their editorial team wrote an article about how expensive it is to have children in sports these days, and buried within the content is the following sentence:
“All three of my boys play basketball, and we’re responsible for buying their equipment. And it isn’t cheap! …”
The link goes directly to your Basketballs landing page!
There are a few things to think about here. First, there is no way that author is going to change the anchor text, no matter how nice your outreach email is. Second, it’s not exactly the kind of flattering link to which you’d want to draw attention.
However, it is a link from ESPN.com. And given the text surrounding it, chances are even with non-keyword anchor text, your new link has words like “basketball”, “equipment”, “balls”, and “sporting goods” associated with it. All it needs is some external links of its own.
Without any promotion or work from you it may or may not earn any links. And, over time, it will have less and less share of ESPN.com’s internal PageRank because it will get buried in the archives and taken off the main category pages.
With a little help from you, it could be providing much more value.
Guest posts are one of the few tactics that apply across most eCommerce niches. The problem is you wouldn’t want them to make up a significant portion of your link profile. Moderation is key in these things. It’s about quality over quantity. So you have lots of opportunity to guest post, but rather than always linking to your own site, use some of these opportunities (especially on the lower end of the quality spectrum you’re comfortable with) to instead provide a keyword-rich link into that ESPN.com page. Write a guest post about a similar topic to raising kids who play sports or the rising costs of sporting goods, and link over to ESPN but not your own site.
We find stopping at one level (green) to be sufficient, but as the graphic above illustrates, the boundaries can be pushed at scale. The key here is the separation of risk, but after a certain point it just begins to look like blackhat tiered linkbuilding, which isn’t what we’re going for.
We want to fortify our external links, not poison them.
In most content marketing campaigns, there is some strategy behind which pieces drive traffic and links into each other. For example, if we have a post on our blog about Content Audits, which gets linked to in a Search Engine Land article, we may include a link to that SEL article from a guest post we write, or from an article on LinkedIn. We may also include it in our newsletter and social posts to further enhance the credibility of that reference.
The Link Link Resources
Everett’s first article about this tactic in 2008. And it still works!
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