How do you attract links to an e-commerce website? E-commerce is fundamentally different from other business websites, because the main point is to move products—and product pages just aren’t good link bait. Given that SEO still depends heavily on backlinks, that puts online stores at a disadvantage compared to informational sites or the online homes of physical businesses.
There are ways around this, however. The most recommended strategy for e-commerce sites is “content marketing,” but content marketing can mean many things. Luckily, a recent article by Stephan Spencer gets to the bottom of content strategies that work for online stores. Stephan offers a laundry list of ways to drive traffic, clicks and of course links. Today I want to highlight the most effective tactics on Stephan’s list, and offer some “don’ts” as well.
The Heavy Hitters
- Surveys. Surveys are usually seen as an indirect way to boost marketing, gathering information that could improve future campaigns. But done properly, Stephan suggests that surveys can also attract links and social shares. How exactly do you do that? One way is to package the survey as a “quiz” that’s fun to take, revealing something to the consumer once they’ve answered all the questions—for example, their “shopping style” or which “type” of gadget user (or foodie, shopper, etc.) they are. Stephan also emphasizes using a visual, intuitive interface. He recommends quizzes through VisualDNA, but for a free option I’m a firm believer that Survey Monkey quizzes can also be made fun). I would add that offering prizes or rewards for completing a survey can also boost shareability and backlinks.
- Product guides. This is one of the most effective, yet underused ways to drive traffic. A good product guide is written as an objective introduction to a line of products, different tiers of the same product, or several competing products. The aim is to help the consumer understand which one will best fit their needs. This can be a long form blog post, a static page on your website or a pdf download. Stephan suggests it can also take the form of a quiz (he loves those quizzes) that uses the consumer’s answers to recommend a product. That may sound like extra legwork, but it will result in the most useful product guide in your industry. It’s definitely worth the spend.
- Video content. I’ve discussed video content in detail, and Stephan agrees that it’s an excellent way to drive links. He also recommends making how-to videos as a simple link driver. (See our How To Video guide here.)
- Reviews & user videos. This overlaps with the previous suggestion, but it’s worth treating separately. Many e-commerce sites overlook the power of putting toys in the hands of bloggers and inviting them to video record the result. One time-honored way is to simply ask the blogger the write a review (or do a video review) of a free product sample. But to make the ask even easier, Stephan suggests requesting just an “unboxing” video. This is nothing more than a video of the blogger opening the product and showing what’s inside the box, along with their comments. Simple, yes, but they’re surprisingly popular.
Careful With That Copy
Stephan does offer one tip that I’d be cautious about:
“I still see most category pages featuring little copy, little explanation, and rarely anything but a series of photos and links to products. Your category page has so much more potential than that. It can be a place to reinforce brand appeal…”
I have a hard time imagining a product category page with so much brand appeal that bloggers decide to link to it en masse. The reason category pages feature little copy is because their job is to introduce the users to the products and get out of the way. Long paragraphs of copy might seem tantalizing, but they push the actual goods for sale farther down the page, for little gain. Leave category pages primarily for shoppers and do your content marketing on the informational pages of your website.
Still, Stephan’s tips are great and he has plenty more. I recommend reading the whole article. But don’t feel that you have to write all this content alone. EverSpark Interactive offers marketing, SEO and content creation services tailored to your needs. Get your free consultation today.