Links are a major part of SEO, but that has also made them quite a deep topic. Many people get so caught up in a straightforward link-building campaign that they forget some more subtle link schemes, especially when it comes to getting links to a product page.
While you might think that the best external link strategies for a product page are going to involve getting more links to that page itself, that is not necessarily the case. In a lot of instances, linking to informational pages can actually be better than placing a link to your product.
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Internal and external links all matter. While internal links build up your site architecture, external links draw SEO value from valuable pages on other sites. However, this sometimes creates a feeling that building links needs to be “direct” – link equity has to go from page X to page Y directly.
Remember: any link-building efforts matter as long as they are boosting your site’s ability to rank. While targeting them at a specific web page would push that page higher in rankings, sometimes that is not what your product pages need.
Links Rely on Content
All links – both internal links and external links – need content behind them. This could be product pages, blog posts, service pages, or even a category page. Of course, the content on these pages provides both relevant keywords and the greater context of those various links.
Search engines take this content into account when handling rankings on search engines. If the content is relevant to search results and receives a lot of relevant links, that page is going to rank higher for search results in that niche.
Links Drive Users
When you link to your product directly, you are driving users to a page optimized to sell a product. Even if you are not using those links for organic traffic, link-building for product pages would be nudging those product pages higher in search engine results pages.
In theory, this means that building relevant links to those product pages would send referral traffic their way and boost their search rankings. This can be a mistake that many people fall into when first exploring what SEO and link building can do.
There are several reasons why building links direct to product and service pages can be a problem.
Product pages are designed to do two things: display a product and allow users to purchase it.
Notably, this means that most product pages lack the same nuance as blog content, articles, or even an overall service page that breaks down what a company can do. While there might be high-quality content there, the only thing it can really talk about is that product.
This means that the page and links are more specific but absolutely destroy its search visibility for anything that is not almost exactly related to the product or service page.
Poor Linking Opportunities
Other websites do not generally want to link to your product. This makes external linking much harder in a link campaign unless, again, it is specifically about that one product.
This also removes a lot of link relevance. A page about bathroom furniture is broad, but a page about a specific piece of bathroom furniture can’t get nearly as many links.
Keyword research can only take you so far. If your links need to center around product and service pages, then you are stuck with keywords that directly relate, and those usually are not that broadly used.
This might not be a bad thing, but it does mean that you have fewer overall unique keywords to play around with.
Smaller Customer Base
Promoting one product only gets you referral traffic and rankings from customers who are looking for that product or service.
This misses out on a range of other audiences: people who do not know they want your product, people who do not know the product’s name or people who are in-market and do not even know that the product exists.
Since most pages only appear when a user searches for something relevant, being so specific eliminates a massive amount of potential for organic search results.
In general, linking to blog posts and articles is always going to have better benefits in the long term.
If you want to get the best results from your marketing campaign goals, then it is important to understand why you should promote content like this instead of product and service pages.
Blog Posts Offer Easy Opportunities for Multiple Links
Product and service pages are generally focused on only one topic, but an informative blog post can be much more versatile.
You can still include a call-to-action to try and drive sales, but you also gain more variety in your external link-building strategy.
For example, a blog post about furniture could be linked to using a huge range of furniture keywords, which means that you could theoretically gather links from any site or page that talks about furniture.
Articles are More Linkable than a Product Page
Not only do informational pages provide more reasons why a site would want to link to your content (such as reference links for information hosted on your website), but most sites are also much more willing to link to information than link to your product pages.
More backlinks mean greater rankings for your entire site, so gaining many links from an article is often better than gaining a few from product pages.
Articles Earn More Organic Links
Organically-earned links are a valid part of any link strategy and are actually the intended way that links are meant to be earned under most search engine guidelines.
Useful and valuable articles are going to be linked to much more often. Other sites may want to use them as a reference or as third-party cornerstone content that supports other content on their own site.
How many links you have in your total backlink profile contributes a lot to your site’s overall authority, so seeing these pages earning endorsements and extra link equity benefits your entire site.
Most Search Engines Prioritize a Blog Post
Search engines want to give users answers to their search queries first and foremost. This means that informative and important links usually eat up the first page of search engine results.
Using blog posts and articles is a good business strategy because of how much Google values them. If potential customers are looking up terms about DIY work, a blog post that explains those terms is going to appear more often than a product’s page would.
If you build links to the article to increase its page rank, you can drive both substantial referral traffic and organic traffic there. And once users are on your site, you can focus on pulling them into your sales funnel.
Articles Can Still Feature Links and Calls to Action
With an audience on your site, you can use the article itself to drive more traffic to your products. If your newly created blog content mentions a product you sell that could resolve a problem related to the article, users may naturally go and check it out.
By sending users through your informational articles rather than dumping them straight into product pages, you get a more effective link strategy that puts your most valuable pages in the foreground.
While you might lose some potential customers due to the extra click required, doing this the correct way can minimize that risk and maximize the number of users (and links) you are getting.
Internal linking (where you link within your own site) is often overlooked by new arrivals to the world of SEO. However, in this kind of context, internal linking can be very powerful.
Notably, internal links pass equity from any backlinks that the original pages are getting. This means that they can serve as a “middleman” between your incoming links and product pages.
Articles Can Have a Lot of Internal Links
Since these pages tend to be more versatile than a product listing, you can often sneak in relevant and not-too-frequent internal links to converting pages that you want to boost.
This allows you to leverage internal links to spread link equity to a range of other pages rather than individual product or service pages.
The Internal Link Can Keep Changing
A call-to-action in an article does not have to be the same internal link forever, either. If that piece of content remains relevant in the future, you can update the internal link to the newest version of whatever you are promoting.
As long as the internal linking is still relevant and properly handled, this gives you a long-term link strategy that allows you to swap out a link each time you need to promote something different.
Internal Linking with Articles is Less Forceful
While this is not always agreed upon, it is obvious that users do not like being put under pressure.
If you try to drive substantial referral traffic to a product listing, most users are going to see you as an ecommerce website – and many will back off because they want information instead.
With internal linking, you can help those pages rank higher through shared link equity and ensure that users are not being driven away as soon as they arrive – which itself helps your rankings.
More Content Means More Visibility
A product listing page is generally one-and-one. If you link directly to it and boost its presence, then that single page is ranking high but will only ever appear once. However, the more high-ranking pages you have, the more often search engines can present your website to users.
The black-hat link schemes Google refers to in their guidelines mean anything that tries to manipulate search results. However, this is not manipulation – you are not re-using the same content but creating a range of new pages that could all be relevant.
If you build links to a range of articles that lead to converting pages with internal linking, each of those pages becomes a potential search result. In some cases, this might mean that your free content dominates all three top spots in a search.
You Can Always Make More Content
It is important to remember that content can basically be an endless flow of opportunities.
As long as you keep up keyword research and avoid mistakes like gated links (which block content until users sign in or give up information), you can basically produce more content forever and take advantage of any articles that get traction.
The more content you have, the more of a presence your site has. More importantly, it means even more chances to gather both internal and external links.
While it is fine to keep a few pieces of cornerstone content (especially if they stay relevant for years), producing regular content can be just as powerful.
Why Does This Matter?
SEO works best if your content is linkable, valuable, and relevant. On their own, product pages may be relevant, but they are not going to receive many direct links and do not offer much value to people who are not already looking to buy.
By using articles that capture your audience (whether they are informative, entertaining, or simply interesting), you can create a middleman with much more linking potential and overall search presence – then do it again, and again, and again.
Whether you are a small site looking to build a presence or an established service company that is struggling to promote a new service page, this technique can be incredibly powerful if handled correctly.
Searcharoo is a Link Building & Content Marketing company run by SEO’s based in the UK.
Our goal from the start has been to provide premium links and content services, at fair and affordable prices.