E-commerce businesses looking to improve their SEO and search rankings often wonder whether to focus more on on-page optimization or link building.
The truth is, that both are crucial for SEO success. As an e-commerce SEO agency, we’ve used this exact approach to dramatically expand organic traffic, lower CPC, and boost revenue for e-commerce brands across diverse verticals.
However, here’s a deep dive into the importance of on-page SEO versus link building for e-commerce sites.
On-Page Optimization Matters for E-commerce SEO
On-page SEO refers to optimizing individual web pages to improve their ability to rank in search engines.
For e-commerce sites, some of the most important on-page factors include:
- Page speed –Faster loading pages have a ranking boost in Google. Optimize images, minify CSS/JS, and leverage caching.
- Mobile optimization –With mobile driving over 50% of e-commerce traffic, having a fast, mobile-friendly site is essential.
- URL structure –Use descriptive, keyword-rich URLs like com/blue-dress-shirt. Avoid messy parameter-heavy URLs.
- Title tags & meta descriptions –Craft compelling, keyword-focused title tags and meta descriptions to click through in search.
- Headings & Content – Use strategic headings (H1, H2, etc.) and content to target key terms and inform users.
- Product schema markup – Implement schema markup for products to enhance listings in Google.
- Internal links –Link relevant products and categories together to aid discovery.
- Media optimization –Optimize images with descriptive alt text and compress images for faster loading.
- Site architecture –Make it easy to navigate to relevant content with intuitive IA.
As an e-commerce SEO agency, we often see dramatic improvements in organic traffic and revenue simply by optimizing these on-page factors.
For example, one client improved mobile speed by 300% and saw organic revenue grow by over 50% in 12 months through on-page optimizations alone.
Link Building Remains Critical for E-commerce SEO
While on-page SEO establishes a strong foundation, link-building is still crucial for e-commerce SEO success.
Backlinks signal trust and authority to Google. The more quality links you can earn from relevant websites, the better your search performance will be.
Some of the most powerful link-building tactics for e-commerce sites include:
- Content marketing – Creating high-quality blog content targeting buyer keywords that other sites will want to link to.
- Influencer marketing –Getting product reviews, mentions, and links from relevant bloggers, YouTubers, etc.
- Guest posting –Writing and publishing guest posts on trusted publication sites in your industry.
- Partnerships –Partnering with complementary brands to earn co-branding links.
- Roundups – Getting featured in relevant roundups, lists, and “best of” articles.
- Giveaways –Running competitions and giveaways in exchange for links and social shares.
- HARO –Responding to reporter requests on Help a Reporter Out to earn media links.
- Niche edits – Updating your brand’s Wikipedia page, online directories, etc.
- Link reclamation –Reaching out to sites that have linked to you in the past but removed the link.
Our agency has used strategies like these to acquire hundreds of high-authority backlinks for e-commerce clients.
In turn, this has resulted in 5x growth in organic keywords ranking on page 1, lower cost-per-click, and a major bump in organic revenue.
The Key is Combining On-Page SEO and Link Building
To summarize, on-page optimization establishes a strong SEO foundation while link building fuels ongoing growth and visibility.
Relying solely on on-page SEO will only get you so far. And focusing exclusively on link building without a technically solid site will limit your success.
The key is combining these two strategies to maximize your e-commerce SEO impact. First, build a fast, mobile site with optimized pages.
Then, leverage content, outreach, and other tactics to systematically build quality backlinks at scale.
This 1-2 punch is the recipe for dominating the search results for your most valuable buyer keywords.