E-Commerce Link Building: Types of E-Commerce Backlinks

How much of your marketing budget do you believe E-Commerce Link Building Should Take Up?

Twenty-five percent of marketers, according to Aira, Spend Between $10,000 and $25,000 a month on SEO—more especially, link building. That budget probably covers tools and resources for building links, as well as sponsored links.

Thus, what is the best way to build links for the least amount of money?

by concentrating on the same kinds of backlinks that are commonly used by well-known websites in your industry.

I’ll talk about backlinks for e-commerce in this post. This will include an in-depth study of real-life data from two e-commerce platforms.

Above all, I will address the following queries: Which e-commerce backlinks are being utilized by well-known websites? And how can you benefit from the same kinds of links?

There are two options available when adding a link to your website or having one of your links posted to another: dofollow (also known as follow) and nofollow.

Links marked as “Dofollow” Transfer “link juice” from the referring domain to the destination domain. Simply said, link juice is the equity or value that is transferred from one website to another.

This listicle’s dofollow link transfers link juice from modernfellows.com, the referrer, to prana.com, the target.

Dofollow links are the gold standard of backlinking since they pass value and are more valuable for search engine optimization. The default setting when adding a link to your website is dofollow.

Conversely, Nofollow links are those that transfer very little or no value from the referring domain to the target domain. These aren’t as useful as dofollow links, but they still have advantages, which I’ll discuss in more detail later.

The two other primary link qualities that fall under the category of nofollow link designations are sponsored and user-generated content (UGC).

Advertisements, sponsored posts, and other paid placements are the intended uses for sponsored links. Links from user-generated content are meant for forum or blog articles.

Paid links (also known as sponsored links) had to be marked as nofollow before to 2019. However, sponsored links can now be identified as “nofollow,” “sponsored,” or “nofollow sponsored” due to the introduction of the sponsored attribute.

Even though sponsored and user-generated content (UGC) link qualities have been there since 2019, they are still not widely used on the internet, particularly in e-commerce.

What link kinds are available is now known to you. Still up for debate: what kinds of backlinks from e-commerce sites should you target?

Observing major players in the industry can serve as a source of inspiration for your strategy. To learn how my team at NP Digital accomplished this, view this analysis.

My team examined two e-commerce brands, Prana and Alo Yoga, to see which e-commerce backlink kinds are being employed and how.

When investigating these sites, we had the following queries in mind:

What kinds of backlinks do these brands have (e.g., dofollow versus nofollow)? Regarding domains, why do they link to them? Above all, how do the brands’ SEO rankings benefit from the composition of their backlink portfolios?

My team used Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to find the answers to these queries.

Note: We did not examine the backlinks of subdomains during this process. We thoroughly analyzed the primary domain for the latest 30 days of backlink data.

Let’s examine the backlink information that my group gathered for Alo Yoga and Prana.


First up is the American apparel brand Prana, which is a division of Columbia Sportswear.

Upon initially viewing the Ahrefs Site Overview section, we discover that Prana possesses 124K backlinks in total.

This undoubtedly contributes significantly to Prana’s Ahrefs Domain Rating (DR) score of 73. The strength of a target backlink profile in relation to the other websites in their database is known as the domain rank (DR). A 100-point logarithmic scale is employed.

But analyzing 124K backlinks is a big job.

Subdomains were excluded as a means by which my NPD team addressed this. That is, extra portions of a website that frequently serve a unique purpose and have their own hierarchy. In the instance of Prana, their subdomains include global.prana.com and catalog.prana.com.

We narrowed down our list of backlink targets to 41,157 backlinks to examine by eliminating subdomains.

It’s still a lot, but it’s definitely more doable than 124K. It’s time to get started now.

Thirty-108 of Prana’s 41,157 backlinks are categorized as dofollow.

Not surprisingly, Columbia Sportswear Company is the most popular link (based on page traffic). Actually, it’s right there in the navigation on their homepage.

However, Prana’s dofollow backlinks fall into three categories outside of Columbia.

The first type of content are listicles or “best of” pieces, which frequently feature multiple businesses. For instance, check out Clever Hiker’s article on the Top 10 Women’s Hiking Pants of 2023:

Customers further down the purchase funnel are the target audience for these articles. As Prana’s customer is still weighing her alternatives, these kinds of backlinks might eventually directly help her. However, it’s by no means a guarantee.

Which takes us to the second category: e-commerce backlinks that highlight Prana’s advancements in materials and sustainability. An example of one such link is this one from an article on polyamide fabric that mentions Panaprium.

A portion of these articles about sustainability and materials focus on the funnel’s consideration stage. especially the ones that are list-based. With stories about Prana items and materials, however, we start to see a shift from the middle of the funnel (consideration) to the bottom of the funnel (intent).


For instance, consider this Outdoor Gear Lab assessment of the Prana Stretch Zion II pants:

Serious buyers would be interested in learning more about the performance and quality of the pants, and this third-party article goes into great detail about both. Before making a purchase, customers want to know everything they can about the product’s durability and quality.

You can see, then, that these dofollow links have a more direct impact on conversion. However, it was the listicle dofollows that ultimately got the buyer to this stage.

Another category that includes a large number of Prana’s dofollow links is catalogs.

Although Prana has a separate subdomain for its catalog, some dofollow URLs linked to the catalog still point to prana.com:Prana dedicated subdomains.

When a customer is in the awareness stage of the funnel, this kind of dofollow link is closer to the top. It’s likely that a potential buyer has a need that your product line can address if they are taking the time to obtain a catalog.

An additional point of dofollow links is anchor text.

That is, the text that links to the desired website, which is:

Caption: In this Modern Fellows listicle, Prana is only one instance of anchor text.

The brand name itself serves as the anchor text for most of Prana’s dofollow links. This is not unexpected and adds to the domain authority building process.

Prana has a large number of dofollow backlinks. As of the time of this investigation, that leaves us with 11,019 backlinks that are nofollow.

The nofollow links can be divided into two groups, just like the dofollow links.

Sponsored links come first.

These inform Google that the link is sponsored by the target domain and is not organic.

Let’s examine an illustration that was posted on Travel + Leisure.

It appears on the page itself as any other hyperlink would:

However, if you look a bit closer, you can see that the website is informing Google that the link is sponsored:

Prana paid for 322 sponsored nofollows in total.

Why pay for something that gives your domain no link equity, you might wonder. Visibility is the straightforward solution.

Let’s examine one of Outdoor Life’s sponsored blogs about them:

We must first assess the quality of the domain in order to determine whether they gained anything from this nofollow link:

Given that Prana obtains 5.5 times more organic traffic than she does, we can conclude that the money paid on this sponsored nofollow link was wisely spent.

And then there’s Outdoor Life’s intended audience. These aren’t your average athleisure shoppers. Outdoor Life caters to outdoor lovers and survivalists seeking to buy top-notch equipment. Prana purposefully used this sponsored link to broaden its readership and highlight its assortment of durable outdoor clothing.

Under UGC, Prana’s second type of nofollow links is classified. As of the time of this analysis, they have 175 UGC links.

The SEO rank of a website is not significantly affected by the UGC characteristic.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

As previously indicated, the UGC property may reveal that individuals are writing about a certain company. One excellent example of social evidence is these links.

Alo Yoga

Another American athleisure company, Alo Yoga, was founded in Los Angeles in 2007.

Since then, it has been well-known among influencers and celebrities as one of the top companies for yoga gear.

Alo Yoga has around 130K backlinks, according to the Ahrefs Backlinks tool.

One significant difference is immediately apparent when we omit subdomains, as we did with Prana: Alo Yoga’s backlink profile only slightly declines when backlinks to subdomains are excluded, compared to Prana, where the number of backlinks is reduced by three times.

So let’s get started straight away and examine the remaining 125K backlinks.

98,609 of the 125,087 backlinks that Alo Yoga has are dofollow links.

The most common types of links that we come across for Alo Yoga are review articles and listicles. Consider this Dmarge piece, which offers a strong brand highlight:

These hyperlinks, which come from fashion blogs that specialize in yoga clothing or from yoga establishments, are mostly focused on yoga.

Several of Alo Yoga’s dofollow links originate from brand reviews as well, including this one about Lululemon on The Yoga Nomads:

It is unlikely that Alo Yoga has paid for this link placement because it is a dofollow link. After all, that is a Google penalty. Even though they were not part of the advertising, Alo Yoga does just so happen to gain from such a dofollow link.

Remember that customers who search for “lululemon” rather than a more general phrase (such “yoga pants” or “athleisure”) have probably previously found Lululemon while doing their research. They are starting to go farther into the stage of intent.

An article such as the one above presents Alo Yoga as a feasible choice and may entice readers to reconsider.

26,040 of the 125,087 backlinks for Alo Yoga are nofollow links.

Once more, listicles rule this space. Although they don’t give Alo Yoga any link equity, the brand benefits from the increased visibility. Just consider the advantages a website can receive from a link from a reliable source, such as Verywell Fit:

More variety than with links to Prana may be found in the kind of websites that connect to Alo Yoga. Namely, yoga studios and fashion websites.

Sponsored links make up around 1% of Alo Yoga’s nofollow links (2,556).

Their strategy seems to have a clear goal, which is to move away from yoga clothes completely and into gear and accessories:

Just glance at some of the companies that are running these sponsored connections. For instance, the following InStyle article on belt bags demonstrates how Alo Yoga is expanding into accessories:

One important non-SEO advantage of sponsored nofollow links is this. They give you the opportunity to experiment in markets where you don’t already have a significant presence but where you intend to grow.

In the instance of Alo Yoga, this is done to increase the brand’s association with yoga mats and belt packs.

Alo Yoga has 50 backlinks, which is a UGC nofollow link.

This doesn’t necessarily mean anything; it merely indicates that Alo Yoga isn’t spending as much time attempting to market their brand in forums and in blog comment sections.

Dofollow links are the way to go if the only thing on our minds is what kind of backlinks are optimal for SEO. These transfer link equity to the target domain from the referring domain. The target domain, its domain authority score, and its SERP ranking may all directly benefit from this.

This is corroborated by my team’s analysis of Alo Yoga and Prana. Their domain rating ratings are 73 and 74, respectively, and the bulk of their backlink profiles are dofollow links.

You might now wonder if nofollow links are beneficial to SEO.

Nofollow links are useful when you take into account that there are a lot of indirect factors that affect SEO.

You may employ sponsored nofollow links intelligently, as you can see with Prana and Alo Yoga. They can expose your company to a portion of your intended market, bringing in more visitors to your website. Even if the traffic is acquired by unnatural means, it still has the potential to raise your domain authority.

More than that, nofollow links have advantages outside of SEO. More traffic can result from that visibility, and traffic is frequently closely correlated with revenue and conversion rate. Just be careful to stay away from bad links, which are links that don’t adhere to Google’s rules (such as sponsored links that are dofollow or links that come from link farms, etc.).

It’s evident from the study we conducted above that every e-commerce backlink has potential value and ought to be taken into account when developing your backlink profile.

So, how can you begin building your plan and building backlinks? The following are some link-building tactics for e-commerce to think about:

  • Create pertinent pages. Which kinds of pages are receiving backlinks from other websites in your niche? pages of products? pages in a category? Blog posts? Make sure to create those kinds of pages for your own website, whatever the general consensus may be.
  • Make use of guest blogging strategically. In addition to being a useful strategy for reaching out to new readers, guest blogging naturally generates backlinks. Send a pitch about a topic idea to websites in your niche that have an active blog. To sweeten the pot, you might even give them the chance to write a guest blog post on your website.
  • Engage in social media activity. Social media has a different function in addition to increasing nofollow links to your website: connecting people. To network with people in your niche, make use of your social media channels. Moving forward (for example, in regards to a guest blog post or link roundup opportunity) will therefore be simpler as a result.
  • Make use of the broken link approach. Contact the website owner to request that they replace any broken links on pertinent websites with your own, whether you found them by accident or through search. Both you and the website owner will benefit quickly from this quick fix!
  • Request should be compiled into pertinent roundups of links. Sometimes asking is all that is necessary. Examine link roundups in your niche, then write an email to the editor or owner of the website explaining briefly why your link should be included.


Networking with site owners in your industry and producing high-quality, relevant content are the best ways to get more dofollow links. You might wish to think about sponsored link placements for nofollow links. These can assist you in reaching a larger audience or entering a new market, even though they have little SEO worth. Additionally, sponsored links increase website traffic, which could lead to conversions.

Dofollow links have a proven track record of immediately enhancing SEO. The Dofollow links raise the domain authority and page rankings by transferring link equity from the referring site to the destination domain. Dofollow links will assist you the most directly, however nofollow links can aid in SEO indirectly by increasing traffic to the website.

The primary distinction between internal and backlinks is their source. Backlinks are connections to your website made by other websites. Internal links are connections on your website that go from one page to another. Both are useful for SEO, but because backlinks are harder to get by, they are valued more.

In summary

Your link building plan should be centered on backlinks, but are you focusing on the appropriate kinds of backlinks for e-commerce?

According to the data, nofollow links do have certain non-SEO advantages, even if dofollow links should make up the majority of your backlink profile. They can introduce your brand to a new segment of your audience and primarily increase traffic to your website.

Therefore, bear the aforementioned in mind as you strive to align your e-commerce backlink profile with those of other e-commerce sites, regardless of how it now appears.

Pictures Are Used Directly From neilpatel.com


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