Link-building is what separates an average online store from a top-tier E-commerce juggernaut. 

Put another way, valuable backlinks are what help you secure a bigger slice of the $6.33 trillion E-commerce pie.  

Why is that?

It’s because authoritative, relevant backlinks are crucial ranking factors in search engines, especially Google. 

Therefore, if you want to extend your brand’s reach and increase your revenue, you need to rank in the #1 spot for keywords related to your products.

Google only ranks websites that it trusts, and backlinks are how you build that trust. 

According to research, organic search accounts for 41% of E-commerce traffic, which is why SEO is a necessity for online stores of all sizes. 

More specifically, link-building is your secret sauce for climbing higher in search results and getting in front of ready-to-buy customers.

And no, you don’t have to wait for links to come to you.

If E-commerce store owners are strategic with link-building, they can start reaping SEO benefits and more sales, pronto.

In this article, we’ll teach you 10 effective E-commerce link-building strategies, so read on to learn how to start ranking higher while generating more revenue.

Types of Links that Matter for E-commerce

Let’s kick things off by defining the different types of links that matter for SEO.  

A basic hyperlink directs you to another web page when you click on it. Hyperlinks can either use A) the ‘naked’ URL of the page it links to (i.e., or B) use anchor text to mask the URL and give readers a hint at what the link directs to (i.e., The HOTH Digital Marketing Agency). 

Both hyperlinks listed above direct to our homepage; it’s just that one uses anchor text and the other doesn’t. 

Also, there are two types of links you should know about: external links and internal links

External links will direct users to another website online, and are most commonly used for backing up claims with evidence.

Here’s an example of two external links we included in one of our blogs. 

We included them to provide readers with hard proof for the figures we provided, and they both link out to reputable sources. 

Search engines like Google notice when you link out to trusted websites, as it’s proof that you’re providing readers with accurate information. Therefore, relevant external links will help your search rankings. 

Internal links direct users to other web pages on your website. 

Here’s an example of an internal link we included in the same blog from before:

This link directs readers to the page for our official affiliate program. We included the link to give readers a quick and easy way to sign up as a HOTH affiliate. 

It’s crucial to include internal links in your content because:

  1. They keep readers engaged in your content loop (and on your site for longer) 
  2. They can direct users to product and service pages to land conversions (through calls to action)
  3. Internal links provide search engine algorithms with additional context (which helps search rankings) 

Both internal and external links are crucial for SEO, so you should include them both in your content

Understanding the importance of backlinks

A major part of SEO is building relevant backlinks from trusted websites. 

What are those?

A backlink is a hyperlink on another website that ‘links back’ to yours (which is where the name comes from). 

Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors on search engines like Google because they act as ‘credibility votes’ for the quality and accuracy of your content. 

Think about it this way: if a giant (and trusted) site like The New York Times starts linking to your content, it’s a strong sign that your content is also high-quality and trustworthy (otherwise, they wouldn’t link to it). 

As a result, SEOs are always trying to get respected industry websites to link back to their sites in an attempt to build clout. 

Take it from us; backlinks are often what move the SEO needle for our clients more than anything else. 

However, more links aren’t always better, which brings us to distinguishing high-quality links from low-quality links. 

High-quality links vs. low-quality links: How to know which is which 

Not all backlinks are of equal quality. 

For a backlink to positively impact your search rankings, it has to come from an authoritative website. 

What’s that?

A website is considered authoritative when it has:

  1. A large audience of regular readers 
  2. Top-tier content that attracts links from other websites 
  3. Backlinks from trusted websites 
  4. A recognizable brand name 
  5. A sizable library of content (that’s frequently updated) 

As you can see, quite a bit goes into a website’s authority, so it can be difficult to know which sites to target without doing extensive research into them. 

This is where domain authority metrics come in handy

Since Google keeps its authority metric a secret (but we do know it exists due to the recent leaks), SEOs use third-party metrics like Moz’s Domain Authority and Ahrefs’ Domain Rating

These metrics provide a quick and easy way to judge the ranking power of a domain via a score ranging from 1 – 100. 

Higher scores mean more authority, so it’s always best to look for websites with high DA scores to target for backlinks. 

However, sites with sky-high scores (80 – 100) are often legacy websites like Amazon and Wikipedia. This means most websites target sites with DA scores anywhere from 20 – 80. 

Besides domain authority, a high-quality link must hold some type of relevance to your content. Otherwise, it won’t impact your search rankings at all. The domain could cover the same topics as you, or they could run a one-time piece that relates to your brand (which would be contextual relevance). 

Lastly, the anchor text also determines the quality of a backlink. 

As stated before, anchor text refers to the text housing a hyperlink. Google doesn’t like to see keyword spam in anchor text, so you should avoid using target keywords as anchor text (at least include a few other phrases with them). 

Comparing high-quality links with low-quality links

Here’s a head-to-head comparison of high-quality vs. low-quality links to give you a better idea of what to look for/avoid:

High-Quality Links… Low-Quality Links…
Come from reputable, non-spammy websites Come from websites with low Domain Authority and/or high spam ratings
Use appropriate anchor text Use generic anchor text, like “Click Here”
Link to contextually relevant content Randomly inserts products into content with no contextual relevance

For example, let’s say you sell computer accessories. Ideally, your backlinks would be from computer-related websites since their readers are likely people who love and use computer gear.

You also want the links to use relevant anchor text to help search engines associate the link with your products. This might be broad text like “mouse pads” to link to a product category. Or “Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics card” to link to a specific product.

Why do you need backlinks? 

Still don’t believe us that backlinks are one of the most crucial ranking factors?

Challenge accepted! 

Here’s why backlinks are the real deal.  

Research shows that the top three organic search results receive the majority of the clicks, with the first position capturing approximately 28.5% of all clicks.

The reason for this is search engines like Google are designed to provide the most relevant and authoritative results first (ideally). 

How, then, do you get Google to trust your site as authoritative? 


Backlinks play a critical role in how search engines determine the quality and relevance of your content. Here’s why backlinks matter:

  1. Authority: Backlinks act as endorsements from other websites. When reputable sites link to your content, it signals to search engines that your site is trustworthy and authoritative.
  2. Referral traffic: Quality backlinks not only improve your site’s search ranking but also drive traffic directly from the linking sites, which can expose your content to new audiences.
  3. Crawling and indexing: Search engines use links to discover new content. A well-linked site gets crawled more frequently, ensuring that its content is indexed faster and more thoroughly. For reference, search optimizations won’t take effect until Google recrawls your content, which is how quick indexing comes in handy. 

However, not all backlinks are created equal. The quality, relevance, and context of the linking site are all crucial. A few high-quality backlinks from authoritative sites in your industry are far more valuable than a hoard of low-quality links.

10  Effective Link Building Strategies for E-commerce Businesses

Now that you know about the significant role link-building plays in E-commerce SEO, let’s unpack 10 proven strategies for generating high-quality backlinks that drive sales.

#1: Create high-quality, shareable content

One of the best ways to build backlinks is to create stellar content that other websites can’t wait to share. 

This approach is great because it doesn’t involve any outreach. Instead, you’ll gain backlinks from the strength of your content alone. 

Granted, not every type of content is suited for attracting backlinks, as some types perform better than others. 

According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, the following content types are the most effective for building backlinks:

  • Original data and research (70%). Read any blog post or news article online, and you’re bound to find links to research papers, surveys, and studies. Accordingly, producing original data and research for your industry is an extremely effective way to generate backlinks. For an additional punch, include internal links to important pages, like your product pages. Doing so will pass the ‘link juice’ (i.e., ranking power) from your original research to other pages on your website (which is what you want to improve rankings). 
  • Videos (66%). Coming in at second place is video content, which attracts tons of shares due to its visual nature. If you’re able to produce a high-quality video covering the same topic as a blog post, the video will always generate more shares – so put your director’s hat on if your goal is to generate backlinks. 
  • Infographics (61%). Once again, visual content reigns supreme for generating shares. Infographics are fun ways to deliver information, tell stories, and educate readers. Make sure you include social share buttons and a line of embed code to make your infographics especially easy to share. 

Content creation tips and tricks 

Remember that for your content to generate backlinks, it truly has to stand out. This means creating content that speaks to your target audience, which can be easier said than done. 

Here are some tips for creating outstanding content:

 Identify Competitor Link Magnets:

  • Use tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or our free backlink checker to analyze your competitors’ backlinks.
  • Look for their top-performing pages in terms of backlinks and organic traffic.
  • Identify the types of content that attract the most links (e.g., blog posts, guides, infographics, tools, original research).

Elevate Your Content:

  • Create content that surpasses your competitors in-depth, quality, and value.
  • Go beyond basic information – offer unique insights, data-driven research, interactive tools, or visually appealing formats (like videos and infographics).
  • Ensure your content is well-researched, engaging, and shareable.

Optimize for SEO:

  • Conduct keyword research to identify relevant terms and phrases for your content.
  • Optimize your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers for search engines by adding keywords.
  • Use internal links to connect your linkable assets to other relevant pages on your site (and pass the link juice).

Promote Your Assets:

  • Share your content on social media platforms, relevant forums, and industry communities.
  • Reach out to bloggers, journalists, and influencers who might find your content valuable and link to it.
  • Consider paid promotion (e.g., social media ads, sponsored content) to amplify your reach.

#2: Build Relationships to Build Links

Organic backlinks aren’t quite unicorns, but they can sure feel that way due to how hard they are to find. 

Instead of going nuts playing the waiting game, you can always reach out to other websites, blogs, or even your suppliers to see if they’re willing to link to your content.

This is relationship-based link-building, the new and improved (and lemon-scented) way of building backlinks. 

It trades cold outreach for warm requests, and you’re more likely to get what you want (with a little schmoozing).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a shortlist of websites in your niche with a high Domain Authority and low spam score.
  2. Get the name and email of the person to contact.
  3. Connect with them on LinkedIn and X to start nurturing the relationship.
  4. Ask, and ye shall (hopefully) receive! 

Bonus points if:

  • You have an article in mind you’d like to be included in, AND
  • You show them where they can include the link naturally, AND
  • You give them the URL and anchor text you want them to use. 

Basically, you should do everything for them except add the actual backlink. 

It’s a long game, but it can pay off in spades.

#3: Leverage Online Directories and Business Listings

Business directories and local citations are how you put your business on the digital map. 

These directories provide a home for your business details, like your NAP (name, address, and phone number). They’re basically the online version of the old-school Yellow Pages from the phonebook (speaking of which, The Yellow Pages is now an online directory, too). 

Or, as we like to call them … free links!

Here is why business directories matter for backlinks: 

  1. Enhanced local visibility: Citations in relevant directories help search engines understand your business’s location, which is crucial for local search rankings. When someone searches for businesses like yours in your area, you’re more likely to appear in the results. This is especially true for Google Business Profile, as it’s necessary for appearing in Google Maps. 
  2. Boosts website authority: Many directories provide backlinks to your website, signaling to search engines that your site is trustworthy and relevant. This can boost your overall search engine rankings.

Below are the must-have listings for any E-commerce business: 

➡️Google Business Profile (GBP): This free tool from Google is a must-have for any local business. It allows you to manage how your business appears in Google Search and Maps, providing essential information like your address, phone number, website, hours of operation, photos, and customer reviews. You can also make short posts on GBP to inform customers about upcoming promotions and events. 

➡️General business directories: Consider listing your business on platforms like Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foursquare, and Better Business Bureau.

➡️Niche directories: Look for directories specific to your industry or niche. For example, if you sell clothing or accessories, consider listing on platforms like Lyst, ShopStyle, or niche directories focused on specific styles (e.g., vintage, sustainable fashion).

➡️Local citations: Don’t forget about your local Chamber of Commerce or other city-specific directories.

Key point: claim your listings

If your business is already listed in directories, claim and verify your listings to ensure complete accuracy and control over the information provided. The last thing you want is for an old listing to give prospective customers the wrong address or phone number, so stay vigilant! 

Optimize your directory listings 

Once you decide which directories to use, you’ll need to optimize each listing for search engines (as always). 

Here are some tips to get it right: 

  • Be consistent: Ensure your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all listings. Any discrepancies can confuse search engines and harm your local rankings (not to mention confuse and turn away potential customers). 
  • Complete your profile: Fill out all available fields in each directory. This includes your business description, hours, categories, services, photos, and other relevant information.
  • Encourage reviews: Positive customer reviews can significantly impact your online reputation and local search rankings. Encourage customers to leave reviews on platforms like Google Business Profile and Yelp. Why bother? 72% of people say positive reviews make them trust a business more, and customers are willing to spend 31% more at a business with excellent reviews. 
  • Quality over quantity: Focus on high-quality directories with strong domain authority rather than just listing on as many directories as possible.
  • Keep it up to date: Regularly check your listings for accuracy and update them as needed.
Key point:  If you’re managing many listings, consider using a citation-building service to streamline the process.

#4: Unlinked brand mentions 

There are times when other websites may mention your brand name but not include a backlink to your site. 

These are called unlinked brand mentions, and they’re easy-win backlink opportunities. 

Why is that?

It’s because an unlinked brand mention is typically easy to sell to a site owner. They’ve already mentioned your brand in their content, so all they have to do is add a link to your website (which they may have intended to include but simply forgot). 

The primary challenge is locating unlinked brand mentions, but we know two easy ways. 

Here’s how to find unlinked mentions using Google Alerts:

  1. Set up alerts for your brand name, product names, and key team members (like your C-suite). 
  2. You’ll then receive email notifications whenever someone mentions your brand, team, or products online. 
  3. From there, it’s just a matter of reviewing the mentions to identify the ones without backlinks. You should also check the website’s domain authority to ensure it’s a suitable target for a backlink.  

Here’s how to find unlinked mentions using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer:

  1. Search for your brand name in the Content Explorer tool. 

2. Next, select the ‘Highlight Unlinked’ filter and add your domain.

3. Click Apply, and you’ll see a list of all the websites that mentioned your brand but didn’t link back to you. 

Bonus tip: Consider using a social media monitoring tool like Hootsuite to uncover unlinked brand mentions on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Sample outreach email

Once you’ve hunted down some unlinked brand mentions, you’ll need to reach out to the site owners. Outreach doesn’t have to be complicated, but it isn’t something you should ignore, either. 

Do your best to craft personalized outreach emails with eye-grabbing titles to ensure a high response rate. 

Here’s a sample outreach email you can use as a template: 

Subject: Quick Question About [Article Title]

Hi [Site Owner Name],

I hope this email finds you well.

I’m reaching out from [Your Company Name]. I recently came across your article titled “[Article Title]” on [Website Name], and I really enjoyed reading it.

I noticed that you mentioned [Your Brand/Product Name], but a link wasn’t included. Would you be open to adding a hyperlink to [Relevant Page on Your Website]? 

It would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your time, and keep up the great work!


[Your Name]

#5: Find unattributed images 

Ask any online store owner, and they’ll tell you that E-commerce has a serious problem with image theft. It’s commonplace for online stores to steal each other’s images, but you can actually use this to your advantage. 

By executing a reverse image link-building campaign, you can snag backlinks from online stores that are using your original photos without your permission. 

Here’s how to make it happen:

  1. Select original, high-quality images from your website (product photos, infographics, custom illustrations).
  2. Perform a reverse image search using TinEye. Paste or enter your image URL to find all instances where an image appears online. 
  3. Manually review each website that appears in the results and check if your image is used and if proper attribution (link to your site) is given.
  4. Find the website owner’s email address (often in the “Contact Us” section) or use a tool like to find email addresses associated with the domain.
  5. Craft an outreach email. Here are some suggestions for handling the email appropriately: 
    1. Be polite and professional.
    2. Explain that they’re using your image without permission.
    3. Offer them two options: add proper attribution with a link or remove the image.
    4. Provide the exact URL of the page where your image is being used.
    5. Include the URL of the original image on your website.

Sample outreach email 

Since reverse image outreach can be a tad awkward, it’s imperative to handle it professionally. 

Here’s another sample outreach email you can use as a template for websites using your images without your permission:

Subject: Image Usage on [Website Name]

Dear [Website Owner Name],

I hope this email finds you well.

My name is [Your Name], and I’m the [Your Title] at [Your Company Name].

I was recently conducting a search online and noticed that you’ve used one of our images on your website:

While we appreciate your interest in our work, the image is copyrighted and should be credited with a link back to our website: 

Please can you link to our site as an attribution for the image? It would be a great help to us.

We can also provide you with a different image to use, or you can simply remove it.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


[Your Name] 

#6: Influencer product reviews

Influencers are an E-commerce store owner’s best friend. Not only do influencer sponsorships build brand awareness, but influencer product reviews will also build backlinks. 


When influencers review your products and share their experiences with their audience, you can get them to link back to your website or product pages. 

Once they do, you’ll have valuable backlinks that will generate referral traffic and boost your search rankings.

Here’s how you can track down influencers in your field: 

  1. Identify the right influencers: There are several software tools available that can help you find and manage influencer collaborations: BuzzSumo, Upfluence or AspireIQIn the case of BuzzSumo, it will connect you with over 770k high-impact journalists and influencers on social media. It acts as a central hub for finding, pitching, and responding to influencers and journalists in your field.
  2. Reach out: Once you’ve pinpointed a few influencers you want to work with, craft personalized outreach emails to them. As with the outreach templates provided before, use the site owner’s name and mention a few details about their content/business that you appreciate. 
  3. Follow up: Send a gentle reminder if you haven’t heard from them in a week. Restate your interest and offer to answer any questions they might have.
  4. Send them a product to review: Make the unboxing experience as pleasant as possible for the influencer. Consider adding a personalized note. Also, don’t forget to include details about the product, usage instructions, and any promotional materials.
  5. Engage with their content to show your appreciation. 
  6. After the collaboration is over, take a look at the metrics (website traffic, sales, social media engagement).

#7: Get featured on a podcast 

You don’t have to have an audience the size of Joe Rogan’s to benefit from podcasting. 

Getting featured on podcasts in your niche, however small, is a great way to build backlinks (and your website’s authority in the process). 

Whenever you’re featured as a guest on a podcast, you can request that the host provide a backlink to your E-commerce store in the episode description. This provides listeners with a way to learn more about your brand and products. 

Sometimes, podcasts include resource links that the guest mentions. So, if you’re able to bring up specific products or blog posts, the host may include backlinks to those web pages too. 

Here are some tips for finding podcasts to get featured on:

  1. Start with Google. Enter your niche plus the term “podcast” and get searching! 
  2. Listen Notes is a podcast search engine that you can use to find podcasts in your niche. Here’s how you can use it:
  1. Identify relevant podcasts: Look for podcasts focusing on entrepreneurship, business growth, and e-commerce.
  2. Craft a compelling pitch: Tailor your pitch to highlight what unique insights or stories you can share that interest the podcast’s audience.
  3. Engage with the podcast community: Share the episode with your own audience and engage with listeners who comment or ask questions, driving further interest and engagement.
  4. Follow-Up: After the episode airs, follow up with the host to ensure all relevant links are included in the show notes and promotional materials.

Here’s an example of a podcast appearance:

Podcast example: The Tim Ferriss Show

Episode title: Tobi Lütke — From Snowboard Shop to Billion Dollar Company

In it, Tobias Lütke, the CEO of Shopify, details his journey from online snowboard shop owner to becoming the creator of a billion-dollar company. 

It’s an engaging listen that raises brand awareness for Shopify, and it’s an example of how you can use podcast appearances to build backlinks and get the word out about your online store. 

#8: Find resource pages to link to

As the name implies, a resource page contains a long list of valuable resources. In essence, it’s a web page containing a boatload of backlinks, and getting featured on such pages is a great way to build links. 

Yet, not every piece of content is resource page-worthy

If you want your content to get picked up by resource pages, it has to be truly valuable and useful. 

This is why you must start by identifying your strongest content:

  • Review your existing content and identify pieces that offer unique value, insights, or solutions.
  • Consider creating new content specifically tailored for resource pages (e.g., in-depth guides, original research, tools, templates).
  • Ensure your content is high-quality, well-researched, and relevant to your target audience.

From there, you need to find relevant resource pages. One of the best ways to do this is to use search engines like Google with targeted queries:

  • “[Your Keyword] + resources”
  • “[Your Keyword] + useful links”
  • “[Your Keyword] + helpful resources”
  • “[Your Keyword] + links”
  • “[Your Keyword] + roundup”
  • “best [Your Product/Service]”

Once you’ve found some resource pages, prioritize high-authority websites with relevant content and good user engagement. Also, look for pages that are actively maintained and updated, as Google will index them frequently. 

Lastly, check if your competitors are already listed on these pages (this could indicate a good fit).

#9: Link insertions

Link insertions have become a very popular way to build backlinks in recent years. 

They involve finding content relevant to your products and then reaching out to the webmasters to request that they ‘insert’ one of your backlinks into the piece. 

It’s a valuable technique because A) it doesn’t involve any content creation and B) you’re adding backlinks to content that’s already in Google’s index. 

Here’s how you can target link insertions:

  1. Search for blog posts, articles, or resource pages that discuss topics related to your products or industry. Look for content that’s already ranking well on search engines.
  2. Contact the website owner or editor and bring up the idea of adding a relevant link to your e-commerce site within their existing content.
  3. Tell them how this insertion will add value: Offer to enhance their content by adding valuable information, updating statistics, or fixing broken links.

The best way to find success with link insertions is to find content where your products fit right in. 

An example would be inserting a link to an online store that sells guitars in an article about learning to play guitar. 

In our case, we use our free SEO tools to target link insertions all over the web. Since our tools provide value to readers, they’re an easy sell for link insertions. 

Here’s an example:

10. Outsource Your E-commerce Link-Building

If you don’t have the time, skills, or knowledge to do something, someone else does. It’s true with plumbing, and it’s true with link building.

If you’d rather leave link-building to the experts, it’s time to enlist the help of a link insertion outreach service with experience in E-commerce. 

That way, you’ll be able to capitalize on their network of relationships, professional-grade tools, and the sheer amount of time they’ve spent perfecting the process.

You’re bound to get high-quality links from reputable sources, plus you won’t have to wade through a sea of rejections!

Start Your Journey to Link-Building Success

E-commerce link-building is an extremely effective marketing channel when handled properly. Top-tier backlinks will boost your search rankings and direct tons of traffic to your most important product pages. 

Do you not have the time or experience to conduct a link-building strategy for your E-commerce store?

Then, check out Hoth Link Outreach, which should be your next stop online. Our experts will take the entire process off your hands so you can get back(links) to business.