Link building

Creating Coupon Links for Ecommerce: A Step-by-Step Guide

For e-commerce stores, online traffic is the lifeblood of the business – and links to your e-commerce site contribute significantly to your ranking in Google searches.

This is why link building is essential for success in ecommerce.

That said, link building specifically for ecommerce comes with some unique challenges, including:

  • Overcome the more intense Google 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 ecommerce link building is a lost cause. Coupon codes can help.

Giving coupons isn’t new to the ecommerce world, but coupon codes do more than entice customers to buy from you. They are also an effective tool for ecommerce link building.

Coupons are great for driving traffic that links to your site from relevant, high-traffic pages, earning you links and improving your rankings. And building links for e-commerce sites can pay off big.

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Follow these steps to create an effective ecommerce link building campaign.

1. Identify the pages for your link building campaign

First, start by researching and identifying the keywords you are going to target for your link building campaign.

You will do this by analyzing the SERPs and the top ranking pages and then identifying the type of content that ranks for those searches.

Is it transactional, informational or directional?

Is this a coupons page or an ecommerce 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 environment – but not more-optimized – Anchor Text Profile is a crucial link building step to avoid landing in hot water with Google.

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Using the same optimized anchor text in your campaign doesn’t feel natural to Google and may generate a report of manual actions (essentially a penalty on your site).

Coupon code link building works slightly differently from other link building strategies.

Typically, exact match anchor text (i.e., “Coupon Codes for Walgreens”) looks suspicious because it is typically 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 manual action.

There is no such thing as a perfect anchor text distribution. Instead, the keyword niche, like many niches, has different signal weights.

You can identify the anchor text profile of a page using a tool like Ahrefs.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Look for a page (Groupon, Retail Me Not, or the top ranked page for your brand).
  2. Copy the URL.
  3. Paste the URL into the Ahrefs search bar (set to prefix).
  4. Filter results by Best pages by inbound links.
  5. Click on Anchors in the left menu.

In an average anchor text profile, you would expect to see a split between branded, thematically relevant, call-to-action anchor texts, as well as a few raw URLs.

As you review these top ranked pages, you will want to aggregate and categorize the anchor text into these broad categories.

To create a natural link profile, your goal will be to reflect this distribution of anchor text types in your own link building campaign.

For a more detailed breakdown of this step, check out 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 some relevant sites that can place your content.

You can do this in several ways:

  • Thanks to some good old-fashioned manual research.
  • Or by using an influencer awareness platform.

Manual search

If you are looking to DIY your link building campaign, you can do your own research to find the sites and blogs you want to target for dissemination.

When evaluating your options, be sure to evaluate the site to verify that it meets Google’s EAT standards. The content should also be relevant to your niche.

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If you don’t already know Google search operators, this tip will make your search much easier.

Search operators are special commands that you can use to refine your search.

For example, to find sites that allow you to submit discount codes, you can search for pages whose title contains “submit” or “add” and “coupon”. In this case, your search query will look like this:

“keyword” intitle: submit intitle: coupon

Some search operators that you may find useful for coupon link building are:

You can also use this method to find blogs that deal with coupons and brands that you link to. Just reach out and ask them to link to your page.

Influencer awareness platforms

If manual prospecting sounds like a chore, you can use a tool like Pitchbox to help you find sites.

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One outreach platform can bring up a larger number of sites, all neatly organized with useful contact information that you will need for outreach.

4. Write your pitch and reach out

Now is the time to showcase the sites you have identified for your link building campaign.

This is the stage where people tend to struggle the most, which is not surprising. Just think about all the cold emails you have received in your life. Now try to remember how much you actually responded to.

The answer is probably quite low.

Bland, patterned emails are the norm because you can send hundreds of them en masse faster than you can write a few personalized emails. The problem, however, is that you may run out of your prospect list for a few opportunities.

A study published in Fast Company detailed an experiment in which researchers sent 1,000 emails, testing different optimization tactics to see what worked to increase open and response rates.

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Of those 1,000 emails and 10 email and subject line copy variations, only 12 people responded. The author reports that only one of these answers was really helpful.

A response rate of just 1.7% is bad in every way, and it shows that whatever “optimization tactics” you use, nothing beats personalization.

When you start to reach out, be sure to tailor your message to the person you’re reaching out to. Be sincere and specific.

(You are not convincing anyone by simply saying that you are a “fan” of the site.)

Here are some general rules of thumb for cold sensitization:

  1. Include specific references to the person’s past work to show that you have been paying attention.
  2. Be honest about your request and what it requires of them. Provide the information they need up front, but keep it skimmed.
  3. Your email may have been lost in the shuffle, so don’t be afraid to follow up. While there is no consensus on exactly how many emails should be in your sequence, sending at least 3 emails in total should give you a chance to get their attention ( and hopefully a link).

More ways to link with promo codes

But why stop there?

You can do more to magnify your next coupon link building campaign:

Create coupon related EAT content for your site.

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Creating fresh, authoritative blog content on a regular basis is essential for 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.

Do you want to make sure your site shows up in searches when people search for coupons related to your brand? Create a dedicated promotions page on your website for all currently available promo codes.

Redeem coupons with others in your niche.

Want to be the go-to source for new offers? Use your promotions page to list coupons for related products in your niche.

Then ask other sites to host promo codes for your products in exchange.

With a little creativity, you can start link building using coupon codes and other proven ecommerce link building strategies.

Don’t discount coupon codes for link building

Linking for an ecommerce site can be difficult, but the rewards are well worth it.

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In ecommerce link building, coupons are more than a way to earn quick one-off sales. It’s a tool for driving traffic, building links, and improving your search rankings (which, of course, also helps you drive more sales).

Offering coupon codes to buyers who are actively looking to buy is a win-win solution for you and your customers.

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Image credits

Featured Image: Created by Author, July 2021


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