For e-commerce stores, online traffic is the lifeblood of business – and links pointing to your e-commerce site contribute significantly to your Google search rankings.
This is why link building is essential for success in e-commerce.
That said, link building specifically for e-commerce comes with unique challenges, including:
- Overcoming Google’s scrutiny for “YMYL” content.
- Maintain a high volume of content for multiple product listings.
- Work around customer reviews (which can be both a blessing and a curse for link builders).
However, that doesn’t mean that link building for e-commerce is a lost cause. Discount codes can help you.
Offering coupons isn’t new to the e-commerce world, but coupon codes do more than entice customers to buy from you. They are also an effective tool for building e-commerce links.
Coupons are great for driving traffic that links to your site from relevant, high-traffic pages, earning you links and improving your rankings. And link building for e-commerce sites can pay off big time.
Follow these steps to create an effective eCommerce link building campaign.
1. Identify Your Link Building Campaign Pages
First, start by researching and identifying the keywords you are going to target for your link building campaign.
You’ll do this by analyzing the SERPs and top-ranking pages, and then identifying what type of content is ranking for those searches.
Is it transactional, informational or directional?
Is it a coupons page or an e-commerce category page?
One of the best ways to optimize for keywords is to check out what works for high traffic and successful eCommerce coupon sites.
You can look to industry leaders like Groupon and Retail Me Not, or smaller sites that fit your particular niche.
This will help you decide which pages you want to link to.
2. Determine your anchor text profile
Build an optimized solution – but not more than-optimized – anchor text profile is a crucial step in link building to avoid landing in hot water with Google.
Using the same optimized anchor text in your campaign doesn’t feel natural to Google and can report manual actions (essentially a penalty on your site).
Coupon code link building works slightly differently than other link building strategies.
Typically, exact match anchor text (i.e., “Coupon Codes for Walgreens”) looks suspicious because it’s usually associated with anchor text manipulation.
However, for promo codes, the rules are a bit different.
An exact match is acceptable as long as the link includes a nofollow attribute. Otherwise, it may trigger a manual action.
There is no perfect distribution of anchor text. Instead, the keyword niche, like many niches, has different signal weights.
You can identify a page’s anchor text profile using a tool like Ahrefs.
- Find a page (Groupon, Retail Me Not, or the top-ranking page for your brand).
- Copy the URL.
- Paste the URL into the Ahrefs search bar (set to prefix).
- Filter results by Top Pages by Inbound Links.
- Click on anchors in the left menu.
In an average anchor text profile, you’d expect to see a split between branded, on-topic relevant, and call-to-action anchor text, as well as some raw URLs.
As you examine these top-ranking pages, you’ll want to aggregate and categorize the anchor text into these broad categories.
To build a natural link profile, your goal will be to mirror this distribution of anchor text types in your own link building campaign.
For a more detailed breakdown of this step, see the Advanced approach to selecting anchor text.
3. Prospect sites to place your content
Now that you have your anchor link profile, it’s time to find relevant sites that can place your content.
You can do this in several ways:
- Through good old fashioned manual research.
- Or by using an influencer outreach platform.
If you’re looking to tinker with your link building campaign, you can do your own research to find the sites and blogs you want to target for outreach.
When evaluating your options, be sure to evaluate the site to ensure it meets Google’s EAT standards. The content should also be relevant to your niche.
If you are new to Google search operators, this tip will make your search much easier.
Search operators are special commands you can use to refine your search.
For example, to find sites that allow you to submit coupon codes, you can search for pages that have “submit” or “add” and “coupon” in the title. In this case, your search query would look like this:
“keyword” intitle:submit intitle:coupon
Some search operators that you may find useful for creating coupon links are:
You can also use this method to find blogs that discuss coupons and brands you link to. Just contact them and ask them to link to your page.
Influencer Outreach Platforms
If manual prospecting seems like a chore, you can use a tool like Pitchbox to help you find sites.
An outreach platform can display a larger number of sites, all neatly organized with useful contact information you’ll need for outreach.
4. Write your pitch and contact us
Now is the time to present the sites you have identified for your link building campaign.
This is the stage where people have the most difficulty, which is not surprising. Think back to all the cold emails you’ve received in your life. Now try to remember how many you answered.
The answer is probably quite weak.
Bland, template emails are the norm, because you can send hundreds of them in bulk faster than you can write a few one-to-one emails. The problem, however, is that you risk exhausting your prospect list for just a few opportunities.
A study published in Fast Company detailed an experiment in which researchers sent out 1,000 emails, testing different optimization tactics to see what worked to increase open and response rates.
Of those 1000 emails and 10 email copies and subject line variations, only 12 people responded. The author reports that only one of these answers was actually helpful.
A response rate of just 1.7% is bad by any metric, and it shows that no matter what “optimization tactics” you use, there is no substitute for personalization.
When you start reaching out, be sure to tailor your message to the person you’re reaching out to. Be sincere and specific.
(You’re not convincing anyone by just saying you’re a “fan” of the site.)
Here are some general rules for cold approach:
- Include specific references to the person’s past work to show that you paid attention.
- Be honest about your request and what it requires of them. Provide the information they need upfront, but keep it skimmable.
- Your email may have been lost in the shuffle, so don’t be afraid to follow up. While there’s no consensus on the exact number of emails to include in your sequence, sending at least 3 emails in total should give you a chance to grab their attention ( and hopefully a link).
More ways to link with discount codes
But why stop there?
You can do more to make your next coupon link building campaign bigger:
Create coupon-related EAT content for your site.
Regularly creating fresh, authoritative blog content is key to both driving organic traffic and improving SEO.
Hubspot recommends blogging 3-5 times a week as a benchmark for small blogs. Creating blog content around major promotions and discounts is one way to fill your calendar with high-value content.
Add a coupon section or widget to your site.
Want to make sure your site appears in search results when people search for coupons related to your brand? Create a dedicated promotions page on your website for all currently available discount codes.
Redeem coupons with others in your niche.
Want to be the go-to source for new deals? Use your promotions page to list coupons for related products in your niche.
Then ask other sites to host discount codes for your trade-in products.
With a little creativity, you can start building links using coupon codes and other proven eCommerce link building strategies.
Don’t Discount Link Building Coupon Codes
Building links for an e-commerce site can be tricky, but the rewards are worth it.
In e-commerce link building, coupons are more than a way to earn quick one-time sales. They are a tool for driving traffic, building links, and improving your search rankings (which, of course, also helps you generate more sales).
Offering discount codes to shoppers actively looking to buy is a win-win for you and your customers.
Featured Image: Created by author, July 2021