Using Anchors As A Link Building Tool On Ecommerce Sites


Cash for clunkers!

Clunkers courtesy of 92wardsenatorfe

Not all niches are created equal when it comes time for a link building tool. Sometimes you’re working with a clunker. In my world, I seem to end up with more clunkers than potential rock star clients, so you end up thinking outside the box to figure out any way to get someone to toss you a link. But hey, we’re link builders and this is why people pay us money, so sometimes you’ve gotta figure out how to get the ol’ jalopy back up and running and out on the road.

I am not about to amaze you…

While you may not have thought about using anchors as a way to get links (I will get to that, I promise) you are probably going to roll your eyes when I tell you the key element of this strategy is – useful content. Now, before you pull out the tar and feathers, let me clarify. You already know you need good content, but what if you could drop that good content on product and category pages in an ecommerce site? Yes, you can write blogs and make awesome resource pages on your ecommerce site, but what if you had good content on the actual product pages themselves?

Of course priority number one in any ecommerce site is conversion. So you obviously can’t glob up your prime page real estate with product videos, comparisons, calculators and such or you won’t sell. But if it’s buried at the bottom of the page, people likely won’t find it or wouldn’t think to link to it if it’s buried under a ton of standard product information. That’s the beauty of anchors.

New to anchors?

Ron Burgundy courtesy ofdavemott

If you’ve never used an anchor before, here are the basics.

  • Allows you to link to different areas of a page. In html it looks like this: <a name=”takemehere”>This is where you’ll link to</a> when you place a link somewhere that has that page’s URL with #takemehere on the end of it.
  • So if you wrapped the first three words in this line with this html you’d have <a name=”takemehere”>So if you</a> and you could link to that section of the page from anywhere by using this link
  • Got it? If not, you can read more at some place like this which was likely written by someone with more formal training in web design and development than I (this wouldn’t be hard, my degrees are in film and video and marketing…not web design).

Okay, so how do you actually use this to get links?

I’m a huge fan of broken link building, so what I would do is try to find a dead resource similar to whatever product or service you’re trying to get links for. So, let’s look at an example in the pool industry – not particularly exciting at the product and category page level usually. But what if you had a useful resource on a page that helped you figure out how to save money or be more environmentally friendly? I actually found a great example of an anchor on a page on a pool store here – that has energy saving tips for pool owners. If you scroll down you can find it…or you can just link to the anchor (try this link) There’s nothing special about this page at first glance, but this could be a big time link target if you think a little bit outside the box and use an anchor.

By adding an anchor we’ve essentially made this appear to be its own independent page. Now I can go find some outdated or dead resources for money saving tips around the house or pool maintenance tips on a page like this and start emailing target sites that link to these dead resources and pitch them the anchor included link. Sure, some savvy webmasters will not want to link to a product or category page like this, but some of them will…and considering how difficult it can be to get links to product pages, even converting a small amount of these could be a big difference maker in competitive markets.

This is where I’m supposed to link to other useful stuff

  • If you wonder about the value of anchor links, there’s a great post on the YouMoz blog by (and I’m not making this up) Frank the Tank.
  • Since Anthony D. Nelson basically included everything ever written on the subject in this post, I won’t bother you with more reading.
  • So here is the original Anchor Man trailer, just because it’s awesome. And if you don’t know, they’re making another one!

Image credits:

Adam Henige is managing partner at Netvantage Marketing, a Michigan SEO firm servicing clients across the globe with search marketing and social media services.