According to a recent Washington Post article, one company accounted for roughly half of all online retail sales as of 2018. Say it with me: Amazon. Unfortunately for smaller merchants, Amazon’s stranglehold on ecommerce is only getting tighter, thanks in large part to a simple yet remarkably effective search strategy.
Of course, Amazon has the budget to dominate paid search, display and shopping ads on Google. It casts an enormous net covering its vast keyword universe of product terms. The biggest problem for competitors, however, is that the ecommerce giant is dominating organic search as well. Amazon’s SEO is so good that you can basically count on the company being listed at or near the top of the search results for any product listed on its platform.
So, what is an entrepreneur to do?
Chasing a page 1 ranking.
There are hundreds of factors that go into a webpage’s search ranking, and you can’t control them all. Historically, Google’s algorithm has been powered by PageRank, which ultimately determined how important a webpage was. The algorithm prioritized pages based on the quantity and quality of links that were pointing to the webpages, which reflected the way scientists measured the “importance” of scientific papers. Links still play a key role in how pages are ranked today, meaning a solid backlink strategy is critical for any company seeking visibility online.
As the leader of a company with a long history in the SEO industry, I’ve seen time after time that quality trumps quantity when it comes to securing links. Moreover, in my experience, the companies that achieve the most SEO success are the ones that incorporate backlinking into their larger business strategy.
For example, if you look at the list of the top 500 domains, ranked by the number of linking root domains, you’ll find it’s heavily populated with news sites. That’s because reporting on the news tends to require linking to sources, and as news spreads, it drives more links. All of the largest social media sites are on the list, too, as users on those sites share content with one another via links. You’ll also notice that sites like Bit.ly, which base their entire business models on link-sharing platforms, garner a huge amount of links.