So, you’ve launched your very own Shopify store and taken your first step in running a successful eCommerce business. When your page has gone live, you’ll want to bring customers to your site. If you don’t, what’s the purpose of having a Shopify store?
The best way to bring traffic to your Shopify store without spending money on advertising is through SEO. By optimizing your Shopify store, users will easily find your store and your products. Once your optimization efforts gain traction and bring more traffic your way, your sales should increase too.
While there are countless elements of a good search engine optimization strategy, one thing you can start doing immediately is getting backlinks. Backlinking is such a crucial part of Shopify SEO that it should be one of your everyday tasks.
As a business owner, you are probably busy enough as it is, but backlinking is definitely something you can do on your own. This article will break down the art of getting backlinks for your Shopify store so you can start building backlinks right away.
What Are Backlinks?
Backlinks, also known as inbound links, are links that come from other websites that link to your Shopify store. Think of backlinks as a form of word-of-mouth digital marketing.
The major search engines strive to recommend the most appropriate web pages to users based on their search. The search engines decide the most relevant pages using page content (determined by the on-page keywords) and these virtual recommendations known as backlinks. So, the more of these backlinks you have pointing to your Shopify store, the better chance you have of the search engines recommending it to anyone searching for relevant products.
Backlinks are nothing fancy, and they’re not technically recommendations. Search engines are simply looking for links to your Shopify store on websites across the Internet as one way to determine relevance.
It is important to note that certain links will have more value than others. Therefore, you will want to be careful of where your backlinks appear. When a search engine crawls the Internet, it will look for specific indicators of which content it will look at or ignore.
When it comes to backlinking, you must understand the differences between dofollow links and nofollow links
- Dofollow Links: These types of backlinks alert the search engine that the website where it is placed endorses the backlink. That is that word-of-mouth type of recommendation we mentioned earlier. The more dofollow links you obtain, the more value your Shopify will have.
- Nofollow Links: Nofollow links won’t offer the same endorsement. They introduce your Shopify store to potential readers who happen to come across that link. Nofollow links have little value and should be avoided.
When you begin this link-building journey, be aware of the types of links that you acquire. Always ask website owners to create backlinks that are dofollow links. Also, you should never pay anyone for nofollow links.
Be Aware of Scammy Backlink Opportunities
When you search for backlink opportunities, you’ll notice that many websites offer backlinks for a fee. Paying for backlink services is an easy way to quickly secure backlinks with little effort. Paying for backlinks is undoubtedly the fastest way to build your backlink profile, but it’s not necessarily an effective way.
Why? Because the search engines are pretty darn smart and they can discern between organic links and paid links, the same way that they can discern between high-quality content and spam content.
Having some paid backlinks from high-quality websites can be effective. However, if you have a bunch of paid backlinks on low-quality websites, you will no doubt harm your search engine rank because Google will think your site is spammy and that you cut corners to gain better search engine placement. That will ultimately result in your Shopify store being buried on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Several factors will make your backlink more valuable and far less scammy in the eyes of the search engines:
- Backlinks from quality, authoritative websites relevant to your Shopify store have a more significant positive impact on SEO than backlinks from unrelated, smaller websites.
- A new backlink from a website that has never before linked to your store will have more value than a backlink from a website that is already linked to your site.
- A backlink that features anchor text (i.e., “handmade jewelry”) is better than a link that is attached to text that is irrelevant (i.e., “click here”).
- A backlink from a website with many different, low-value backlinks will have less value than a backlink from a website with fewer links.
Of course, you’ll need to figure out exactly which websites are considered high-quality, which you can do by checking the website’s domain authority. Many free online tools make it easy to check domain authority. Website Authority Checker is one such tool. Websites with a high domain authority are the ones you should be focused on for backlink building because they have the most value.
Assessing Your Backlinking Needs
Instead of blindly diving head-first into building your backlinks, you should spend some time getting a feel for exactly what it is that your Shopify store is going to need to start ranking better on the SERPs. One of the best ways to do that is to check other websites selling products in your particular niche market and find out what it is that they have been doing.
Checking in on the Competition
For optimal Shopify search engine optimization and boost your rank on the search engine results pages, see what currently ranks well. If Google is favoring a particular website, whatever they’re doing is indeed working.
If, for example, you sell handmade sweaters through your store, you’ll want to see which websites are ranking for target keywords. You can use the Website Authority Checker tool that we mentioned earlier to assess a competitor’s domain authority, as well as view their backlink profile.
As a rule of thumb, if you want to appear at the same rank as your competitor, strive to mimic their domain authority and backlink count.
Following the Breadcrumbs
When you understand a competitor’s backlink profile, you’ll get a clear picture of your SERP competitors. You’ll be able to figure out the types of sites that you’ll need to be targeting through your backlinking campaign, as well as how many backlinks you’re going to need to gain similar search engine rankings.
The best way for you to replicate a competitor’s backlink profile is to see which websites are backlinking to them. One of the easiest ways is to use an SEO tool similar to Ahrefs, which starts at just $7.
With this excellent SEO tool, you can enter your competitor’s URL in the tab labeled “site explorer,” click on the “backlinks” tab on the left, and you’ll be presented with a list of the website’s backlinks. This list will show you precisely which websites to target for your backlinking campaign.
As you review the websites linking to the competition, determine which ones offer free backlinking opportunities through directories or guest posts. Be sure to search for any broken links, as this will provide an opportunity for you to suggest your own unbroken link instead.
Once you’ve got a clear picture of what the competition is up to and exactly where it is that their traffic comes from, as well as what anchor text they’re using, you can begin building backlinks for your store.
Four Easy Ways to Increase Sales and Traffic Using Backlinks
Creating your backlink profile is going to take some time, effort, and patience. The good news is that once you’ve figured out how backlinks work, you can start building backlinks immediately, increasing traffic and boosting sales in your Shopify store.
Several different methods exist for building backlinks. In this next section, we will discuss the four most common ones so you can begin building Shopify backlinks right away.
Backlink Building Method #1: Writing Guest Blogs
A popular and effective way to obtain inbound links to your Shopify store from other websites is guest blogging. Most bloggers love bringing in guest writers to keep their website content fresh, with little to no effort. Therefore, it is worthwhile for you to seize these opportunities and secure a valuable backlink with a guest blog post when the opportunity arises.
You’ll want to search for blogs accepting guest blog posts, but you’ll also want to make sure that these blogs have relevance to your own Shopify store and the products you sell. The more your backlink appears on relevant blogs, the more you’ll acquire “link juice” from backlinking and the better the chance that Google will see your site as trustworthy.
Searching through online blog directories is a great way to find guest posting opportunities. You can also choose the perfect blogging opportunity by doing a quick Google search. Using our handmade sweater example, use Google to search for fashion blogs accepting posts from guest bloggers. In Google’s search bar, you might type, “fashion blog + ‘write for us,’” and you’ll Google will return a list of fashion blogs looking for guest bloggers.
Once you have collected a substantial list of blogs that you can reach out to, create and send your email pitch. Your email pitch should be short, sweet, and friendly. It is good to start by complimenting their website or a specific post published there. That will help you develop rapport, and it will demonstrate that you have taken time to ensure that their blog represents a good fit. Many email pitch templates are available online if you’re having trouble crafting your email pitch.
Next, tell them you’re interested in submitting a guest blog post. Share some topic ideas relevant to the blog’s content and for which you have personal knowledge. Send along writing samples if you can.
The blog will usually allow the guest author to add a brief biography with their piece, and that is where you’ll be able to naturally backlink to your Shopify store and secure one of these valuable backlinks.
As a rule, certain blog formats will perform better, garnering more shares and clicks than others. Remember, the more engagement your post gets, the more guest post opportunities you’ll get. Of course, that increased engagement will make your backlink that much more valuable as well.
Those well-performing formats include:
- Create a List Post: Consider creating blog posts that are presented in a list format, either as a step-by-step guide or numbered list, like “5 Knitting Techniques You Should Be Using Right Now” or “3 Handmade Sweater Designs that are Popular this Winter.” These list posts usually have a high conversion rate, and readers love them.
- Write Catchy Titles: Catchy titles shouldn’t just be thought-provoking. Typically, a great title will reference a number, freshness, quality, or bargain. If you can find a way to include all four items in your title, expect a traffic boost of 20 percent.
- Utilize Power Words: Power words can evoke emotional responses from readers, which will make them more inclined to read your article. Use power words in your title to maximize traffic.
Backlink Building Method #2: Getting Links From Manufacturers
It’s common for eCommerce store owners to ask their product manufacturers to backlink to their store a directory. Most manufacturer websites feature a list of online retailers carrying their products. These lists offer retailers a valuable backlink to their websites.
To take advantage of this backlinking option, create a comprehensive list of every brand you are currently offering through your store. Go to each brand’s website, look for a store locator or directory of online retailers that carry their products. Contact the manufacturer via email and ask how to add your link to their guide. If the manufacturer does not have a directory, feel free to contact them and suggest creating one. Most companies will be open to the ideas because such guides are a win-win for everyone.
Backlink Building Method #3: Get Bloggers and Influencers to Review Your Products
Another great way to build your backlink profile is to send your Shopify store’s products to influencers and bloggers in your niche and ask them for a review. This method can quickly help you gain some traffic and backlinks. However, it will take some time and effort.
To find relevant influencers and blogs, you’ll need to figure out where potential customers are hanging out. Start by familiarizing yourself with these blogs and commenting on their posts. Be sure to share their existing content through your Shopify store’s social media feeds too. The more you engage their website, the easier it will be to convince them to review your products.
Once you have established a rapport with them, send an email and pitch your product. Your pitch should be short, friendly, and on point. Like any pitch email, you’ll want to personalize your message so that it demonstrates to the reader that you have taken time to familiarize yourself with their blog. You should be able to do all of this in several sentences.
Most reputable bloggers and influencers have a solid reputation that they need to maintain. So, they won’t just be reviewing your product, but the whole experience they had with you. Therefore, do your best to create a helpful and pleasant experience throughout each step of that process. Also, this attitude will help you to foster a deeper relationship that may prove invaluable to your Shopify store’s marketing efforts in the future. For example, if things go well with the product review experience, you might want to approach them about a guest post opportunity down the road.
Backlink Building Method #4: Utilize Engaging Infographics
Chances are, you have personally seen great infographics out there and have shared them with others in your circle. Infographics are fantastic because they are easily digestible bits of online content that can solve a reader’s problem and are easily shared. Easel.ly is a great online tool that can help you create a stunning infographic quickly and easily.
To create a helpful infographic, make sure it has relevance to your Shopify store and its products, offers a valuable way for readers to solve a problem, and that it hasn’t been overused. You’ll have a better chance of the infographic being shared on popular social media channels if you meet that criteria.
Once complete, you should submit the infographic to infographic submission sites and directories. Some of these sites require that you pay a fee to submit your infographic, but the rate is usually pretty affordable. The benefits you receive from these sites make it worth the price. Plenty of legitimate infographic submission sites exists that offer free submissions and submissions for a cost of less than $30. However, if the submission fee exceeds $50, think twice.
Since many significant websites and blogs will use these infographic directories to pull content, in addition to the backlink you receive from the source website, you can potentially secure dozens more in the future. Infographics are also very popular among Pinterest users, offering more free, high-quality, organic traffic opportunities. The more your content appears on Pinterest, the greater the chance of additional backlinking and sharing.
Final Thoughts on Getting Backlinks to Your Shopify Store
There is nothing quite like going live with your Shopify store for the first time. It is definitely an exciting moment, but it represents only the beginning of the eCommerce journey that you have chosen to embark upon. By investing time in building your backlinks, you will ensure that your Spotify store will be found more easily by your potential customers not only now but also in the months and years ahead.
Once those customers begin to find you through the major search engines, you’ll recognize it was well worth the time and effort.