Editor’s note: This is a chapter from Search Engine Journal’s Illustrated Guide to Link Building.
Creating link-worthy content take a lot of time, planning, and strategy.
The types of link you really, really want – editorially-given links (i.e., natural links) – are typically the hardest to get.
Editorial links are the best kind of links, the kind Google wants you to build.
But anything worth having is worth working for, right?
So let’s talk about how you can start creating link-worthy content.
What Is Link-Worthy Content?
Link-worthy content is, simply, useful content. Link-worthy content typically comes in four forms:
- Informational: This is typically the latest news.
- Inspirational: Any content that inspires people to take action, such as self-improvement or supporting a cause.
- Educational: This type of content teaches people something that’s new to them.
- Entertaining: This type of content typically provides amusement and plays on the emotions of consumers (e.g., happiness, fear, anger, sadness, surprise).
Ultimately, you want your content to be the best answer to a question being asked by someone in your target audience.
If you’re like me, when you’re writing content, you have no intention to creating a final product that nobody wants to link to.
However, there’s no denying there’s a lot of mediocre content on the web. Most content fails to gain any traction – few (if any) views, shares, or links.
Content, Content, Content
Creating awesome content that attracts links isn’t easy.
This is quite sad considering that 71.9 percent of marketers are focused on creating content, according to Search Engine Journal research.
The content competition is fierce. You’re competing with blog posts, infographics, videos, and so many more types of content for attention and clicks.
All too often, great content fails or is outperformed by something inferior.
Why? Because it wasn’t marketed properly.
Think of content an asset. Just like a rental property or stocks, your content has the potential to generate valuable links that will help your SEO.
But creating link-worthy content is only half the battle.
Establish Relationships with Influencers
If a piece of content is published on the web, but nobody links to it, does it make a difference?
You can create and publish amazing content, but if nobody can find it, it’s all wasted time and effort.
Unfortunately, great content doesn’t guarantee you links.
That’s why you need to establish relationships with influencers.
When you work with influencers, you aren’t just adding one more person to your network. You’re also adding their entire network.
Any influencers you work with should be a natural fit. It makes sense for your audience, and the influencer’s audience.
A recommendation from a true influencer can instantly make your content more appealing to a whole new audience.
Influencers may have a loyal following on social media (Twitter, Instagram, etc.). They may run a blog or website. Or they may be a journalist.
When it comes to identifying influencers, think in terms of quality, not quantity – just as you would with links.
How to Create Link-Worthy Content: 11 Ideas
The concept of linkable content has existed for more than a decade.
Creating something that is engaging, relevant and link-worthy takes time, skill, and money.
Here are some tactics to make your content more worthy of links. Try one or two out and see what happens!
1. Create Evergreen Content
News content has a short shelf life. You might be better of focusing on topics that are more evergreen.
Think of evergreen content as a resource that remains useful and relevant long after it’s published. It rarely changes and is always in-demand from your audience (and searchers).
This could be:
- How-to posts
Do you best to give it sexy (but optimized) title to attract lots of clicks.
2. Start a Podcast
Guess how many links SEJ’s Search Engine Nerds page has?
More than 20,000 links.
A podcast will naturally attract links because every time you interview a guest, they will likely link to your page. Plus, you’ll attract links from other industry sites and blogs if your podcast earns a great reputation.
3. Create a Resource Center
In addition to publishing and promoting your content, you have to organize it in a way that will make sense for your audience as well as new visitors. A content resource center might be the perfect solution for you.
Creating guides, case studies, webinars, whitepapers, and checklists is a lot of work. Some people would rather just link to your resource center rather than invest the time and budget creating their own.
Read more: How to Get Backlinks with Resource Pages
4. Be a Thought Leader
Even if you aren’t considered a thought leader right now, start writing like one.
Do things to make you stand out, get you into people’s heads, and help establish you as an expert in your field.
- Be confident. You know your stuff. Demonstrate it!
- Be original. Don’t just rewriter or regurgitate the same old tired ideas. Lead, don’t follow.
- Be authentic. Just be you. Show some personality.
- Be interesting. Demand people’s attention with your ideas and insights. Never be boring.
5. Expert Roundup
Content Marketing Institute’s 50 Best Social Media Tools From 50 Most Influential Marketers Online is a great example of a link-worthy (851 backlinks!) article.
The post features a squad of well-known marketers, using quotes from the marketers.
Instead of the author having to gather all the content himself, he used quotes from these thought-leaders to generate buzz with their name. Naturally, these marketers will share and link back to this article.
It’s pretty magical. This examples from Content Marketing Institute is just one way to create link-worthy content.
6. Partner with Another Brand
In a world where it’s all about who you know, it’s easy to wonder: Should I partner with another brand?
The answer is yes.
Co-authoring through your partnerships exposes your piece of content to a new community/audience. It’s time to share the link love.
I like to think of co-authoring as the SEO equivalent to ride-or-die BFFs – they never disappoint.
But it doesn’t end there.
When I co-author a piece of content, I work paid amplification into my contracts. Meaning, both parties agree to spend equal cash flow on paid amplification.
By utilizing both teams for paid amplification, we’re utilizing different target audiences with our content syndication partnerships, social ads, and native ads.
If the article takes off, then consider repurposing your content into a video, webinar, or infographic to continue riding that trend.
7. Target & Optimize for Relevant Keywords
Take a page from Larry Kim. In an interview with Conductor, Kim discussed how he built WordStream by creating content based on relevant keywords:
In the early days of WordStream, we mapped out a taxonomy of tens of thousands of keywords that we thought were relevant to our company.
And we created content around those groups of keywords. Today, our blog does millions of views per month from organic search, which proves that this approach works.
8. Add Visual Content
Images. Infographics. Data visualizations. GIFs. All of these visuals can help tell your story.
Rather than recap what others have said already here on SEJ, I’ll point you to some great resources:
9. Formatting Matters!
Nothing is more off-putting to readers than a blog post that looks like a giant block of text. Use:
- Subheadlines (H2s and H3s) to break up text.
- Short, simple sentences.
- Bulleted lists.
- Block quotes.
- Bolding and italics.
10. What’s Your Angle?
What makes your content unique from all the others published on the topic?
Can’t answer this question?
Well, hate to tell you, but you may not have link-worthy content.
Rework your content until you find your own angle.
11. Would YOU Link to Your Content?
This is probably the ultimate test.
You know your audience, your industry/niche, and what they want, right?
So – would you honestly link to your own content?
If you wouldn’t link to it, why would you expect anybody else to?
Timeframe: Every 3 months
Results detected: 2-6 months
Average links sent per month: 40
- Google Trends
- Google Consumer Survey
- Brand partnerships
- Link-worthy content attracts more links in the short term and long term.
- Link-worthy content builds positive relationships inside and outside of your community. It positions you in a thought-leadership role.