"What are the best ways to promote my store?" is the question that we are asked quite often. The topic of link building naturally comes up in those discussions. We try to post some tips and advice on this topic on forum and address it through Bootcamp. However, this is not an easy topic to understand and there are always a lot of little details you need to consider, when you embark on the task of promoting your store online. So I wanted to summarize link building best practices and the key points that you need to keep in mind when you think of link building.
- Google's Rules
Google doesn't really want anyone to build links, or what they call “unnatural” or “artificial” links to their sites. And their definition of what constitutes an “unnatural” or “artificial” link is quite broad: “Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme”.
This doesn't mean that link building is illegal and that everyone should quit link building all together. Not at all! Nobody gets good positions on Google's search results pages without a good link profile. However, you need to be very careful with link building now days. Here is a good article, an interview with Matt Cutts from Google - Link Building is Not Illegal (or Inherently Bad).
Link relevancy is Google’s way to determine trust. Google is now placing a lot of importance on domain and document-level link relevancy. So stay close to your topic (craft) and don't just accept any links from anyone that offers them to you. Here is a good article on this topic - "Link Building: Get Relevant or Die Trying".
To stay "natural" you have to have a variety of links with a variety of anchor texts. So don't always get links from similar blogs with the same anchor text. That's the worst thing you can do. That will definitely be viewed an unnatural by Google.
Reach out to other crafting communities and forums, niche sites related to your topic, try to get interviewed by other crafters or journalists covering craft show and events where you are a frequent visitor, stay active on social media etc.
Social media contribution to search ranking factors has been on the rise in the past few years. So don't underestimate it's importance. At least, setup your social media profiles (Google +, Facebook and Twitter are the leading sites at the moment) and post your updates there once in a while and use our social feeds feature to automate your store updates for you.
- Creating something Link Worthy
If you have any knowledge/experience related to your craft that you could share with others - that's a great way to get noticed and to acquire a few links without actually asking for them. Be creative and think what others might be interested in. Sharing quality content online is always rewarded with links.
- Placement of Links
With recent Google updates, site-wide links, sidebar links or footer links can get you in trouble. So don't get excited when someone offers you to place your links in those spots, as it looks like you are getting a lot more links at once. Actually, one link in the body of the page is much more valuable.
Also, it's better if your links are placed on more permanent pages (Category pages, homepages etc), rather than transitional pages, like blog posts, which will move to archive pretty soon (though there is nothing wrong with those links).
And make sure you choose quality sites for your links. Here is our post on how to separate Good Sites from the Bad.
- Don't Buy Links
And last, but not the least, don't buy links! That's against Google's policy and they don't worth the risk.