Creativity is a source of good ideas for e-commerce link building campaigns. There are many ways to get links, including using coupon codes. These are especially useful in link building because they are designed to be shared.
If an affiliate or influencer sees and likes your offer, they’ll share it. Then more will share it, and you get more links pointing back to your pages. To use coupon codes for link building, consider the types of coupons, the landing pages, and how you’ll distribute those codes to get links.
Types of Coupon Codes
Coupon codes fall into three categories on e-commerce sites:
These are the coupons used to drive traffic and build rank to your main landing page. It will be a general coupon for anything related to your brand rather than specific products. These are the codes to use if building brand recognition and home page ranking is important.
A category coupon code is more specific and is used to direct links to your category pages. If you sell yoga gear and supplies, for instance, a category code might be for any yoga clothing. Use this code to target links from yoga or fashion blogs and influencers.
You can also get more specific and target a coupon code directly to a product page. A coupon for your site might direct to your newest yoga pant, for example.
Types of Offers to Consider
You’ll also need to decide on the type of discount or offer for a coupon code link:
- A flat amount for a discount, like $10 off, or a percentage discount are pretty standard.
- Free shipping is also a popular choice.
- A freebie offer is a free gift for anyone who orders at or above a certain amount.
- A first purchase discount is for new buyers at your site.
- Seasonal discounts can be used for holidays and special occasions, like Christmas or Mother’s Day.
Once you have an idea of the types of coupons and landing pages for your campaign, you can plan the outreach strategy. There are a few powerful and proven ways to build links using coupon codes.
Work with Influencers
This is a tried-and-true method of getting links with coupon codes. Giving influencers access to coupons should be your primary strategy for this kind of link building. The idea is that you find people with a lot of followers who will be interested in sharing information about your product with those followers.
An influencer can do a lot for you:
- Improve brand awareness
- Generate links through coupon codes
- Drive traffic to your site
- Boost sales for a particular product
- Increase your social shares
A coupon code is a great way to work with influencers because it gives them something of value. You both get something out of the exchange: a discount for them and their followers, additional links and shares for your brand and products.
Finding and Vetting Influencers
To make this strategy work, of course, requires finding the right influencers. You’ll find influencers on social sites like Instagram and Twitter. But there are many influencers on YouTube as well.
It’s not necessary to get an influencer with a million followers. Just look for those individuals who have a greater reach than you do and an audience that is a good fit for your own.
How do you find these influencers? They’re in a few reliable places:
- Blogs. Use a site like Feedly to aggregate news and blogs on your topics. Set up a feed that will help you follow and organize relevant blogs.
- Social media. Start following influencers for your target audience and get to know them. By following more and more social media profiles you’ll begin to see which accounts are more popular and receive more retweets etc.
- Online communities. Things like Facebook Groups can be a great way to find your target audience and their favorite influencers.
- Podcasts. This is a great place to look for influencers in a specific niche with a dedicated audience.
- YouTube. Search with your most important keywords and identify the vloggers who are focused in your niche, whose videos have active comment sections and who are prolific and have thousands of subscribers.
Finding a list of influencers isn’t difficult. The real work is sorting through them to find the best candidates for your coupon links. First, you need influencers with an engaged group of followers that match your target audience. Engagement with the right people is more important than a huge number of unengaged followers.
Also look for influencers that share content on other sites. Getting a link from their personal blog is good, but a link from the blog they posted on a bigger domain is even better.
Focus on Your Niche
Influencers actually have to influence people for this link building strategy to work, but that doesn’t mean you need to go far and wide. Don’t waste time trying to land a huge influencer with a broad audience. Instead, focus your efforts on your niche, even if that means working with micro-influencers.
As long as they target the people who will buy your products, these smaller influencers can have a big impact. They’ll be interested in your products and coupon codes, add links to them, and be happy to share.
For selling yoga clothes and gear, try digging deep into a niche that goes beyond fitness and wellness: fashion blogs, a mindfulness channel on YouTube, a travel fitness influencer. Always keep your audience in mind—who will buy my products?—when choosing influencers and targeting niches.
Tools for Finding Influencers
You know where the influencers are, but it’s a lot of information to sort through to get to the right ones. These tools can help:
- Buzzsumo’s top content search will show you who is sharing content related to your target audience on Twitter. Those with the highest average retweet are good at amplifying content.
- Use Ahrefs Content Explorer. Input a site related to your niche and find the pages with high organic traffic. You should find authors that show up regularly. Put that name into the tool and see how big their reach is.
- These tools are specifically for identifying influencers: Listen Notes, Influence.co, Hype Auditor, and Followerwonk.
Use Affiliate Links
Affiliate marketers are people who set up content—blogs, social media pages, YouTube channels—and include links to products. When a reader clicks on that link, the affiliate marketer earns a commission. You’ve probably seen the disclosure on a blog, something along the lines of “I earn a commission when you click on these affiliate links.”
Working with affiliate marketers is a valid strategy for getting links back to your site. Create a coupon code, find the right marketer to target your audience, and approach them with your offer.
It’s a natural arrangement that works for both sides. The affiliate marketer gets an opportunity to earn more commissions, and you get natural links back to your site. The downside to getting links this way is that you can end up with links from spammy sources. Also, it takes money and effort to set up an affiliate link program.
Always require a nofollow link attribute on affiliate links, as required by Google.
Try Couponing Sites
Sites like Groupon, Retailmenot, and Savings.com can be a source for link building with coupon codes. These sites offer promo codes and deals to consumers. The main reason businesses use them is to attract buyers, but they can also boost your SEO.
Groupon is a popular choice and a high-quality, high-authority website, perfect for backlinks. When you set up a Groupon deal, you get a link from the site to your product or brand page.
Be careful when using this as a link building strategy, and only use it sparingly and with the best sites. Getting thousands of links from coupon pages does not necessarily help boost rank. If the sites are seen as spammy, it could hurt you. Only use trusted, authority coupon sites.
How to Choose the Anchor Text
When creating a link for a coupon code, the selection of anchor text is a little different than for other types of links. Normally you would not want an exact match. This makes links look suspicious. But with coupon codes, a high degree of specificity is acceptable as long as the links have a nofollow link.
A nofollow link attribute is required on all links in which you have the ability to specify the anchor text. Failure to require this link attribute could result in a Google penalty (technically known as a manual action).
Target keywords in your anchor text but also be specific. For example, a coupon code for your yoga pants might use the following anchor text: “10% off compression yoga tights.” And don’t forget the nofollow link attribute.
How to Post Codes on Your Site
Now you have the coupons, the influencers and affiliates, and the links, but where do they go?
Set up your coupons on your pages according to where you want users to land. Brand-based coupons might be on your home page, for instance. These links will help improve your brand page rank.
If you have coupons for specific categories or products, set up those promos on the right page. An apparel coupon should go to your yoga clothing category page, while the yoga pants coupon should go right to that product page. Another option is to set up a coupon code page. This is a page that collects all of your coupons in one place. Update and rotate coupon codes and you’ll get more clicks from users returning regularly to check on sales.
When Discounts Really Count
Offering discounts on products is not a new concept in sales. But in the world of e-commerce, a coupon is more than just an enticement. It’s a tool with multiple functions. When you use coupon codes to build links to your site, you get increased traffic, improved search rank, and more sales.