Four Easy but Powerful E-commerce Link Building Strategies

Link building for e-commerce can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be.

We all know that link building can benefit e-commerce stores, but many recommended link building methods online require significant time and effort. You could hire an agency or freelancers to help out, but the cost of link building can add up very quickly.

In this article, we will discuss four easy but powerful e-commerce link building strategies with simple and actionable steps to help you start building links today.

Why it’s important to build quality backlinks

Backlinks play an important role in search engine rankings for any type of website.

E-commerce is more competitive than certain industries, such as general content sites. This is because the pages and ranking terms for e-commerce sites have transactional value. 

The challenge with building links to an e-commerce site is that many websites don’t like linking to commercial sites, e-commerce sites, or pages with transactional value. This leads many e-commerce store owners to build low-quality and spammy links in hopes of ranking. 

When building links to your e-commerce store, you want to focus only on building links that drive long-term results and build value for the end users and the web. By focusing on long-term e-commerce link building strategies, you can gain positive brand visibility, rankings, and referral traffic.

E-commerce link building strategies

The strategies we will cover in the article include building .edu links, high-quality forum links, building links with data, and even getting coverage on popular news sites. 

The best part is that these link building strategies deliver value for all parties involved and are free.

1. Edu link building

Edu is short for educational and is one of the most challenging backlinks to build alongside government backlinks. Backlinks that are harder to build typically carry more ranking power. This makes edu links very valuable.

When building edu links to your website, you want to stick to long-term and scalable strategies. We recommend building edu links by offering discounts to your e-commerce store for university students and their faculty. 

This process to build these types of edu backlinks is pretty simple, and because you will be offering a discount, you can also gain direct conversions to your store. 

How to find edu link building opportunities

You can start by manually searching for terms such as:

  • inurl:edu + student discount program
  • inurl:edu + employee discount program
  • inurl:edu + faculty discount program
  • inurl:edu + alumni discount program

Searching manually takes longer, and many university discount programs are now handled by third-party vendors on intranet sites that are not open to the public. Edu discount programs not on the World Wide Web can still bring direct conversions but won’t help with SEO.

For the purpose of SEO and increasing search engine rankings, stick to listings that are on the World Wide Web and not on a third-party closed platform. 

To speed up the process of finding sites to get listed on, you can search the backlinks of a company that is commonly listed offering discounts on edu sites. 

Using your backlink tool of your choice, follow the steps below:

1. Find a popular site that often gets links from edu websites. For this example, we will use the company 1-800-Flowers. Then, hit the search icon.

Ahrefs site explorer page

Source: Ahrefs

2. Next, search the site’s backlinks by selecting “Backlinks” under the “Backlink profile” section.

Ahrefs site explorer search results page

Source: Ahrefs

3. Next, type “.edu” into the search filter with the default “Ref. page URL” selected on the dropdown option and hit enter, then “Show results.”

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Ahrefs backlinks search page

Source: Ahrefs

4. Explore which options are a good match and submit your company details. You will find other sites that are commonly listed on these educational websites.

Make a list of them and repeat the steps above to find more edu websites that you can build backlinks to.

How to submit your company information

The requirements to get listed to offer a discount to students and faculty at the universities vary, but it typically requires you to have a certain discount percentage and a unique discount code for that particular educational institute.

Some sites require that your business is local to their area. 

Read the requirements before submitting your company. You will sometimes have to email someone on their staff or submit a form manually to get accepted.

This process can be time consuming, but the links are very powerful, so it’s a worthwhile e-commerce link building strategy.

2. Forum link building

Forum link building is often associated with a bad reputation because it is commonly used as a spam link building method that delivers little to no value to the web and the end users.

Our strategy allows you to steer clear of spamming the web and only build long-term links that deliver value to everyone.

Every day, thousands of people turn to forums looking for advice from other folks on topics such as:

  • The best products to achieve a certain goal such as shoes for hiking, climbing, and running. 
  • The best and most affordable products in a certain category such as cell phones, televisions, or couches.
  • The longest-lasting items for categories such as razors, clothes, and battery life on a phone. 

All of these questions people ask present good opportunities for e-commerce companies to create valuable content around those topics and share it with the users on the forum.

This delivers value to the users and backlinks for your e-commerce company as well as potential buyers. 

How to find forum link building opportunities for e-commerce

To get started, head to Google and type in “your keywords + forum.”

This will show you a list of results of people asking for advice in your niche. For example, “best running shoes + forum”:

Google search results page

Source: Google

Repeat this step for all your keywords and make a list of the forum posts that you want to respond to.

Below, we can see an example of someone asking, “What is the best long run shoe?”

LetsRun search results page

Source: LetsRun

Here we can see someone asking for advice on “running shoes for people with flat, wide feet”:

Singletrack World search results page

Source: Singletrack World

Now that you have some posts that you can respond to, you can move on to the next step. 

How to respond to forum users 

You must consider a few things before responding:

  • Check the current responses to make sure that the advice that you will offer has not been mentioned already
  • Only respond with something of value that adds to the conversation and directly addresses the original poster’s question 
  • Do not be overly self promotional and offer other resources that are helpful besides your own

Only link to product pages if the product page you are linking to matches what the user is looking for, not general product pages. Preferably link online to items such as guides, infographics, listicles, videos, or blog posts your company has built to answer the user’s question.

For example, if you created a guide on the best long-distance running shoes that includes an infographic on what makes a great long-running shoe, link it with your response. This offers practical advice to the user and earns you a backlink and potential buyer to your site.

A good sample response might be:

“To determine the best long run shoe for you it’s important to consider x, y, z (include three important educational points from your content). Here is a link to a guide (insert your link) that covers (x,y,z) and shows you how to find the best long-running shoe for you. 

You might also want to consider (insert another important topic related to the main question). Check out this YouTube video (insert a link to a third-party piece of content that is valuable) that covers that topic in more detail.”

This response adds value to the conversation, the user, and your e-commerce company. This type of e-commerce forum link building awards you for helping others and can also help you reach new potential customers for your stores. 

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Forum link building tips

You can focus on new posts by using the tools section on Google and only focusing on newer posts by clicking on “Tools.”

Google search results page

Source: Google

Then select the drop-down on “Any time” and select the time period you want or pick a custom range.

Filters drop down menu

Source: Google

You can focus on new links, but responding to old posts is okay because other people might still be trying to find answers to that question. You can also focus on building the most powerful links instead. 

To focus on the power of the links, you can either use a search overlay tool and find the pages or domains with the most links and ranking power.

Google search results page

Source: Google

You can also drop popular forums into a backlink tool and search the organic keywords it ranks for in your niche. For example, searching on Site Explorer.

Ahrefs site explorer search results page

Source: Ahrefs

Then select “Organic keywords” under the “Organic search” section.

Ahrefs organic search drop down menu

Source: Ahrefs

Next, select the “Keyword” drop-down and search for keywords such as “best running shoes.” Click apply, then click “Show results.”

Ahrefs keywords search results page

Source: Ahrefs

Now we can see 941 keywords that Reddit is ranking for on terms related to best running shoes. 

Source: Ahrefs

The last tip is to keep a spreadsheet to track your response. This way, you avoid responding to the same forum post twice, and by having a spreadsheet, you can go back later and see if your post comment got approved. 

3. Build links with data

Data and research link building is a strategy that leverages data and research to attract links. If you create a valuable piece of content that uses data, it’s also an easy type of content to promote and share.

Data is a powerful tool to build links. Link Assistant did a survey and found that data and research were considered to be the “most efficient type of content for building your link profile.” 

The common problem is that data and research can take time to build, but you don’t have to use your own. There are many ways to use public data sources to gather insights and stats used to create a data-driven post. 

How to create data-driven content for e-commerce

You can use a tool like Google Trends to gather data for a post. Sticking to the example of shoes, if you own an e-commerce store, you can create a post on the “most popular running shoe” brands. 

The top research results at the time of writing this article do not include any data or research statistics. We only see stats when searching for something like “most popular running shoes survey.” This means there is an opportunity to add value to searches looking for more in-depth data. 

Create a post for the most popular running shoe brands using items such as search volume from a keyword tool, as well as including a chart like the one below. The chart below shows that Hoka shoes gained popularity around 2022 and have been on an upward trend.

Google Trends chart showing the popularity of Hoka shoes over the years.

Source: Google Trends

You can even drill down to the specific shoe models. 

If you prefer to have someone gather the data for you, you can search on freelancer platforms for “infographics.” Plenty of people offer infographic building services, including the research to build those types of resources. 

The last step is to promote your post.

Data-driven posts naturally attract more links, but if you need ideas on promoting your content, you can check out this content promotion strategies guide to learn more. 

4. Build links by helping reporters

Reporters and journalists regularly request expert advice to quote articles they are working on.

These types of requests are often referred to as PR requests or journalist requests, and they present a powerful opportunity to showcase your expertise, help a journalist, and gain a backlink. 

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With the rising use of AI, many people are using tools such as ChatGPT to write responses to journalist requests, and they are getting inundated with responses. This is bad for journalists, but it can be a good opportunity for you to stand out from the inundation of canned AI responses. 

Journalists don’t want to quote an AI bot, so if you have expertise in your niche, you can share your feedback, and it will be more likely to be selected over an AI-generated response. 

How to find reporters looking for advice

There are many reporters looking for advice daily. One common source to find journalist requests is HARO, which is short for “help a reporter out.” It’s free to sign up and submit responses. 

Most requests fall under categories such as business, tech, lifestyle, or education, but many are for general advice, as shown in the example below.

HARO categories

Source: HARO

Search the request for reporters looking for advice in your niche. Below is an example of someone asking for advice on shoes from a fashion expert or podiatrist. 

HARO search results page

Source: HARO

If you run an e-commerce store and have a fashion expert writer on staff or a podiatrist that you work with, this would be a good opportunity to respond. 

As we can see below, the request is coming from a site called StyleCraze, and they have some impressive stats, including millions of monthly visitors.

Ahrefs stat overview for StyleCraze website

Source: Ahrefs

The types of sites that request experts vary in popularity but often include popular news sites and publications. There are many free and paid alternatives to HARO that you can use.

Try a few out and see which one works best for you. 

How to respond to reporters’ requests

Reporters are usually on very tight schedules, so you must pitch them in a particular way. Save them time by formatting your response to showcase your expertise and make your response easily quotable quickly. 

Below is an example of how you might respond to a journalist’s request:

Hello (insert the name of the journalist) 

I have been working in (name your niche and occupation) for (insert x number) of years and (include qualifications such as education and unique reason why they should quote your advice). Below is my response to your question (insert the question). 

(Respond to the question with a quotable text) 

(Offer to answer any follow questions or request for additional information) 

After your response, insert your social media handles, a short bio (maximum 200 words), and a link to your headshot as many platforms don’t allow attachments.

Helpful tips


Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind when responding to journalist requests:

  • Keep your responses short and quotable
  • Only respond if you have expertise and value to offer
  • Link to third-party sources that are useful if relevant
  • Don’t just respond for self promotion, if you have time, respond to queries that won’t result in a link if you have value to offer 
  • Treat the platforms with respect and never use AI to generate responses

Focusing on long term link building benefits

It’s easy to build links to your e-commerce store when you have actionable steps to follow.

Make sure to focus only on creative, high-quality links that add value to the end users and the web. It’s important to never spam the web because the search engines will not reward you for it. 

Focus only on long-term link building strategies, and don’t overuse any one particular strategy. Over time, focus less on building links and instead shift your focus to building high-quality content that earns backlinks naturally. 

If you don’t have a blog for your e-commerce store, then start one. Blogging is an easy way to start gaining more traffic and links. 

Learning how to write blog posts well is important, and with practice, it gets much easier. Plus, high-quality blog posts will build value for your e-commerce site in the long run.

Learn how G2 built a scalable link building program from scratch and explore the strategies and challenges behind our journey.

Edited by Jigmee Bhutia