How To Create Content That Keeps Earning Links
Link acquisition is one of the most difficult aspects of search engine optimization. Unfortunately, obtaining backlinks is also one of the most important and effective tactics that can be used to gain more targeted traffic.
Let’s take a look at how most white-hat digital marketers obtain links:
- Find a target keyword with low competition
- Create content around the target keyword
- Earn links to the new piece of content via outreach and networking
- Rinse & Repeat
This process works well, but there is an obvious problem here. The backlinks stop coming in when you stop actively promoting the content.
Fortunately, there are a few changes that you can make when it comes to content creation that will help you earn natural backlinks even after you have stopped actively promoting the content!
Provide New Information
People love to link to content that contains new, unique, or updated information that isn’t found anywhere else. We can use this knowledge to our advantage by actively creating content that answers those questions that have been nagging your audience for so long.
To get started with this strategy, we first need to know what our target audience needs to be answered. This information can be quickly obtained by scanning the online communities that your audience uses to find common questions that have not yet been answered.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Answer The Public
- Topical Forums
These type of communities will open your eyes to the needs of your audience.
Once you have a good idea of what your readership needs answered, you can go ahead and start creating your content. A few content types that work well with this strategy include:
- Case Studies
- Skyscraper Articles
- White Papers
If you effectively provide new information that your audience needs, you will find that your content will continue to earn natural backlinks over time.
Integrate Interactive Content
If you have ever used an online calculator, you know all about interactive content.
Games, tools, widgets, calculators, polls, and quizzes are all fair game here. They help engage your audience, reduce bounce rate, and earn backlinks naturally.
Here are a few examples for inspiration:
Adobe Keyboard Shortcut Visualizer
This visualization tool allows users of Adobe’s products to quickly find all of the keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.
As of August 2017, this visualizer has generated approximately 237 backlinks from 105 referring domains.
SportingCharts.com Stat Charts
SportingCharts.com is an entire website dedicated to providing interactive content related to sports statistics. Users can quickly sort data in a number of different ways with just a few clicks. The utility of this is immeasurable.
The domain has over 175,000 backlinks and has earned at least 1,000 referring domains per month over the past 90 days.
Website Grader, by HubSpot, is a simple and effective online tool that provides a cursory overview of your website’s performance, SEO, and security. It provides helpful information for free and is a fantastic lead generation tool for HubSpot.
To date, the tool has over 660,000 backlinks pointing to it and has earned over 750 referring domains in 2017 alone.
Simply put, people LOVE interacting with content on your website.
Share Curated Content
Content curation is nothing new. It is the process of combining several pieces of content from various sources that your audience will find useful into a single, new piece of content.
This is a link acquisition goldmine.
Take a look at this piece of curated content from the New York Times:
All they did was amalgamate all of Donald Trump’s insults from his Twitter feed into one giant piece of content.
The post went live at the tail-end of 2016 and has since generated over 4,000 referring domains.
The best part about this tactic is that it can be used over and over again. Once you develop the knack for identifying the “best” content on a single topic and representing it in a unique way, you can then create regular content that earns links well after you stop promoting it!
Update Your Content Regularly
No one ever said that it’s a requirement to constantly create brand new content in order to generate natural backlinks. Google has stated that “freshness” is a ranking factor. Updating old content with new information is a fantastic way to keep people coming back to your site while generating backlinks to an old asset.
Here are a few content types that can benefit from regular updates:
- Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly Reports
- Charts & Graphs
- Tutorials & Guides
In short, any data-based content where the data may change over time is prime for ongoing updates.
Here’s a great example from ESPN
Their NFL Injury Report is constantly updated with news about football player injuries. This information is highly valuable to fans; especially those involved with fantasy sports.
According to Ahrefs.com, this page generates over 35,000 views a month and has earned approximately 8,400 backlinks.
If you have a piece of content that is based on data or information that changes over time, try updating it with current information from time-to-time. Share the updated versions throughout your channels and watch the links flow in!
Speaking of tutorials & guides, this next tactic goes hand-in-hand with updating your content regularly.
People LOVE instructional guides. Just take a look at these websites that make their living off of tutorials:
This strategy revolves around creating comprehensive guides on a particular topic within your industry.
The idea here is to create somewhat of an “online desk reference” that people can revisit over and over again when they need guidance for a specific process.
Here’s an example from Backlinko that we can all relate to:
Brian first published this keyword research guide a few years back. It is one of the most comprehensive keyword research guides for white-hat digital marketers that you can find. It has been referenced to by hundreds of other websites in the industry and generates approximately 6,000 views each month.
The guide currently has approximately 2,120 backlinks from 847 referring domains (240 of which have been generated in the last 30 days).
Another great example would be this Fallout 4 Guide from IGN.com:
IGN.com puts out massive guides for popular games that include tutorials, cheats, walkthroughs and more. Their Fallout 4 guide generates about 2,000,000 views each month and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Since being published in May of 2017, this guide has earned approximately 5,500 backlinks from 408 referring domains. In the past 30 days alone, the evergreen tutorial has generated backlinks from 20 new referring domains!
As you can see, comprehensive tutorials that are regularly updated are pure link magnets.
The Bottom Line
Creating content that earns backlinks well after you stop actively promoting it really isn’t that difficult at all. Putting in a little extra effort during your content preparation phase is all it takes to generate natural backlinks over the long term.
Here’s a quick summary:
- Provide new or unique information in your content that answers common questions
- Create interactive content from public data sets that users will want to use again and again
- Constantly update old content with the most current data
- Create comprehensive guides on a particular subject so that your readership has all the info they need in one spot
Try to integrate these tactics into your content strategy and let us know about your results in the comments below!