How To Build Links To Product Pages Without Looking Like A Spammer

Every speaker at the online version of BrightonSEO this year brought something interesting to the table from the world of digital marketing. We learned from one of the experts in link building, Laura Slingo, and here’s what she has to say about perfecting the art...

In the current digital climate, it’s quite difficult to build specific links to products pages without looking spammy or forced. Slingo described the pre-2012 landscape as the “wild west of webspam”, where poor link building practices were followed all over the web. These practices included reciprocal linking (“I’ll link to your page if you link to mine”) and guest blogging, an old SEO tactic to build backlinks to your page by writing for another site. 

The Google Penguin update was initially released in 2012, and it set about primarily focusing on rewarding the high-quality website which didn’t rely on linking schemes and keyword stuffing. It worked so well that in 2017 it became part of Google’s core algorithm, which means that link building practices have to always be above board.

This also means that SEOs now have to go about link building a little differently than the ‘grey hat’ techniques which we used before. White hat practices are above-board in terms of the Google algorithm, while black hat practices aren’t. So grey hat SEO is basically defined as practices that could either benefit your site’s ranking without any consequences, or it could cost you thousands in lost traffic. 

So when you’re looking for sites in your link building quest, it’s important to look out to see if a potential linking site is toxic we can do this through a four point checklist. 

  • Look into a site's purpose - If there are all sorts of articles with loads of mixed information, this isn’t the site for you. The traffic which might come from your link almost certainly won’t be relevant.

  • Do they have an ‘about’ page? - If there’s zero information readily available on the people who run the site, it’s very likely that it’s used purely for linking schemes.

  • Look at the visuals - There are loads of sites which use basic Wordpress tile designs, affiliate widgets and mention guest posts. These are all typical visual elements which suggest a site which may actually give you a toxic backlink.
  • Check the metrics - Using Ahrefs site explorer, you can instantly access a site's domain rating, organic traffic and their backlinks. All this information can paint a picture of what type of site this is. For example, you can see what top countries visit their site, from this you can see if this site appeals to your target audience or not. Another key identifier is if there are a high amount of backlinks with a DR of 0, this makes it more likely to be a toxic website. 

The most important thing to consider when searching for potential sites to aid in your link building efforts is relevance between the site and your product. It’s extremely necessary for the link to look natural and add value for the users and the content on the site. 

This can be achieved by using creative linkable assets such as tools, blogs, imagery and video marketing where relevant. The more natural the link looks, the more likely that you’ll be able to achieve organic traffic. For example, a food brand could produce a recipe video that links back to their site. 

When doing a backlink audit or link deficit analysis, you can apply those techniques to find what keywords to rank for (and therefore find your target keyword). A backlink audit can help you find out what keywords you should be targeting, you can do this by completing a competitor backlink analysis. Starting with four or five of your direct competitors, export their backlinks and see what type of websites they have links from. This can instantly give you a list of potential contacts. 

A link deficit analysis is where you can analyse how to rank for your target keywords. This is done by extracting core metrics from the top 10 search results pages for your target term, then you cross reference them with the product/landing page target. If there isn’t much quality in depth content here or sites with many backlinks, this gives you a window of opportunity to fill the gap and rise up the search rankings with high-quality backlinks and content. 

Before you go forth and look into your backlinks and internal link building techniques, here’s a final (final) checklist to make sure you know what you’re doing.

  • Find your ‘link builder’s eye’ - Get to know how to identify toxic websites, what linkable assets add value and always audit to ensure relevance.

  • Don’t forget the tech stuff - These include backlink audits, link deficient audits, and DR gap analysis.

  • Always be creative - What’s your story? What’s trending and relevant to your audience and site? Think about tactics to get links and find opportunities to create linkable assets. 

There’s a handy checklist available online to help you make sure your link building is up to scratch. If you want to make sure they’re perfect, we can help. Get in touch today and find out how we can boost your SEO.

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