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Want Authority Backlinks? 5 Strategies for Creating Link-Worthy Content

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Want Authority Backlinks? 5 Strategies for Creating Link-Worthy Content

Jawad Khan
Want Authority Backlinks? 5 Strategies for Creating Link-Worthy Content

As an SEO and content marketing professional, you already know that backlinks from relevant, high-authority sites are crucial for landing the top spots in Google Search results. The importance of quality backlinks is underscored by the findings of Ranking Factors 2.0, a study by SEMrush on Google ranking factors:

google ranking factors

The study found a direct relationship between search rankings and the number of referring domains, meaning a site that has more backlinks than its competitors is more likely to rank higher in search results:

semrush1.jpg

But getting links from high authority sites is difficult, and it won’t get any easier as Google’s ever-evolving search algorithms force site owners and webmasters to carefully consider linking to any website.

So how are you supposed to get high-caliber backlinks when everyone is wary of outgoing links?

By creating link-worthy content.

Content that’s so useful, so comprehensive, so engaging, and so credible that other sites feel compelled to link to it.

Not sure how that happens?

Let me explain.

Understand Why People Link To Other Sites

To earn backlinks to your content, you first need to understand why webmasters and site owners link to other sites.

In 2016, Dejan Marketing conducted a study on the linking behavior of over 2,000 websites. According to its findings, the top reasons why sites use outgoing links (excluding affiliate or promotional links) include:

  • To make their content more comprehensive and provide additional resources for their readers

  • To add credibility to their content by citing well-known sources

  • To share examples

  • To reference images, data or infographics from other sites

  • To share something that’s related to the primary interests of their audience

  • To build SEO relevance by linking to niche leaders

In short, site owners and webmasters use outgoing links when they see a real need for it, and/or a benefit from it.

The longer version: when they think that linking to a piece of content will make them look more trustworthy, or increase their reader engagement, or build their relevance, site owners and webmasters will choose to link to that content.

Every webmaster, including the top sites in your niche, has this need.

So your task is simple.

To get backlinks, your content must fulfill this need. It should help other sites improve their own content. Because when it does, it becomes link-worthy and sites link to it because they need it.

Let’s have a look at some of the most common ways to create link-worthy content.

1. Use Infographics, Images, and Videos

I don’t know about you, but I can’t read an article for long if it doesn’t have any images or visuals in it. Research shows that the human brain processes visuals almost 60,000 times faster than text.

brain process visualsSource: HubSpot

Clearly, visuals make your content more engaging and easier to understand.  

But a study by MOZ shows they also help you get more backlinks.

link-worthy-content.jpgSource: MOZ

The study found that articles including relevant images and videos earned more backlinks as compared to plain text posts.

By images, I’m not referring to the generic stock photos that many sites use. They’re pretty useless in my opinion, as they don’t add any value to your content.

The visuals that generate backlinks are usually infographics, screenshots, graphs or images with relevant information that other sites can use in their own content.

For example, look at the graphs and the images I have used in this article so far.

All of them are useful and add value to the content.

You don’t have to create full infographics every time. There are other creative ways to spice up content with engaging visuals. Just look at how this cryptocurrency blog used real-time price graphics to present otherwise boring information to its users.

unblock1.pngSource: Unblock

It is an embeddable graphic so it’s bound to attract links from other websites in its niche.

If you can’t do something as elaborate, you can use free tools like Canva, Pablo or Visme to create images and infographics for your content by simply gathering information, numbers and other relevant data from reputable sources.

And here is my favorite tip:

If you don’t have the time to create your own infographics, use the Evernote Chrome extension to capture a small portion of a relevant infographic from any site in your niche to include in your post, as I've done here (don’t forget to link to the original source):

evernote1.pngSource: SEMrush Ranking Factors 2.0

You don’t own that image, but you will be surprised to see the number of sites that actually link to your article instead of linking to the original image source when citing the image in their content.

I have seen this happen a million times, and it always works.

2. Use Original Data, Research, and Survey Results

As marketers, we love data because it helps us make convincing arguments. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that a recent study found “data/research” as the leading type of content that marketers leverage to earn backlinks:

content-types-advance-seo-768x418.pngSource: Link Building Survey

There are a number of ways you can find relevant data for your content, such as:

  • Fetch statistics from sites like Statista, Pew Research or industry-specific research bodies. They have huge libraries of data and studies on virtually every topic.

  • Gather data from different sources and publish it in a single post. Not only does this help readers get all the relevant stats on a particular topic in one place, it usually results in dozens of backlinks. Here’s a good example:

OptinMonster COntent Marketing StatsSource: OptinMonster

  • Survey your own website audience (or partner with another brand) and publish the original results on your website, ideally in a visual format.

  • If you don’t have a large enough mailing list or site audience, you can run opinion polls on niche-specific forums or social media sites like Twitter or Facebook, and publish the results on your site:

twitter-poll1.png

If you offer content with original, research-backed data using any of these methods, you are likely to attract backlinks from high-authority sites.

3. Add Expert Interviews, Quotes and Roundups To Your Content Mix

Adding interviews with industry experts or quotes from authority sources to your content has nearly the same impact as using data and original research. Like data, expert comments and insights add credibility to your content, making it more link-worthy for other site owners and webmasters.

For instance, an article about SEO would be much more credible if you were to include an original quote by Rand Fishkin or Brian Dean.

Another link-worthy content asset is expert roundups. An example is this roundup post sharing the thoughts of more than 37 experts on a singular topic:

nichehacks1.png

A quick search in SEMrush shows that this post earned more than 40 backlinks, including links from authority sites like Backlinko.

roundup1.jpg

If you can’t create a full roundup, including even two or three expert quotes in an article may do the job for you.

Thanks to Twitter, it’s much easier to create roundups and pull quotes from even the busiest of influencers.

If you follow an influencer and regularly engage with them, you are likely to get an answer to a question with a direct tweet, such as this exchange:

rand1.jpg

But if you don’t have time for relationship building, your best chance to get original quotes is through Twitter chats.

Many mid-tier bloggers, influencers, and even niche leaders participate in industry-specific Twitter chats. You can look for their responses to questions on topics you're interested in, or directly engage with them.

#SEMrushChat is a great example:

semrush3.png

Acquiring original quotes from influencers requires perseverance and hard work, but it can pay dividends by adding credibility to your content and increasing its chances of getting authority backlinks.

4. Share Experiments, Case Studies, and Success Stories

Another effective strategy for attracting links is to share your own experiments and case studies, as real-life experience lends credibility to content.

If you have helped a customer achieve success by using your services or product, publish a case study detailing the whole process and the results.

If you’ve run an experiment to verify a popular theory, share your results.

If someone found success by following your advice, share their success story.

Using any of these strategies will help showcase your brand and build its relevance, as well as create a link-worthy content asset.

For example, here’s a case study by Robbie Richards in which he shows how one of his blog readers who followed his SEO strategy realized an 11,065% increase in organic traffic within six months:

casestudy1.pngSource: Robbie Richards

It’s a detailed post that also shares how to conduct keyword research using SEMrush. It has attracted more than 70 backlinks from many high-authority sites, such as GrowthHackers.

Similarly, here’s a massive case study that compares 6 leading e-commerce solutions based on different parameters, and shares the results for each.

casestudy2.pngSource: Ecommerce Platforms

It has earned backlinks from Entrepreneur, Content Marketing Institute, The Huffington Post, Search Engine Journal, and many other leading sites.

Both of these cases studies represent rich resources that most people haven't the time or inclination to create themselves.

Other sites link to them because it adds value and credibility to their own content.

And this brings to the last point on my list.

5. Create Detailed Content, Step-by-Step Guides, and Tutorials

When it comes to earning natural backlinks, detailed, well-researched and actionable content always trumps thin content with no fresh insights. After all, why would anyone link to content that has no real value?

Usually, such link-worthy content tends to be relatively long. 

A study by HubSpot found that out of all their blog content, posts that were longer than 2,500 words garnered more backlinks than shorter posts:

blog-word-count-vs-ave-linking-domains-copy-copy.pngSource: HubSpot

A second study based on joint research by Moz and BuzzSumo analyzed more than 1 million articles on the web, and found a strong correlation between content length and the number of referring domains:

moz-long-form.pngSource: MOZ

On average, the number of backlinks to content with over 10,000 words was found to be 11.07, as compared to 3.47 for content shorter than 1,000 words.

Both studies clearly show that sites prefer linking to longer content, as it’s typically more comprehensive, detailed, and actionable.

What’s Stopping You From Getting More Backlinks?

There you have it.

If you want your content to become a link magnet and acquire organic backlinks from the most credible and high authority sites in your niche, keep this post in mind.

Make each of the components mentioned a part of your content strategy. It requires hard work and effort, but the results are worth it, likely earning your site's content higher search rankings and lasting credentials for being a reputable resource.

Have questions about this?

I would love to answer them in the comments section.

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Jawad Khan is a content marketing consultant, a certified inbound marketer and a freelance blogger. He helps SaaS companies, tech startups and entrepreneurs find their voice online and connect with their target audience using high quality content. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ and his blog, WritingMyDestiny.
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Daniel H.
Interesting correlation: "Both studies clearly show that sites prefer linking to longer content, as it’s typically more comprehensive, detailed, and actionable."

Value Value Value.... add value for your readers and things will happen naturally.
Charmsruddy
This is a WOW content and certainly will be useful for me as i begin my journey as an SEO intern....But i have a question

- What is the usefulness of NoFollow backlinks is there anything to benefit from it while building backlinks to one's site

- While building backlinks does it have to be niche specific eg i'm to optimize and build links for our travel focused website[link removed by moderator] can i build backlinks for it from other sites / blog that are not travel agency focused or does it has to be blogs and websites that are travel focused.

Thanks
Daniel H.
Charmsruddy
In regards to the Travel site. It is highly recommended to only build backlinks from sites with similar content. This adds to your DA and PA.
SEOReseller
These are all actionable tips and ideas - thanks for sharing. Marketers have access to so much data that can be turned into content ideas, such as research data & survey results to add value to your piece. The quality matters -- data rich content that is relevant & built for the user will be appreciated
Marco Diversi
You are so right!

These are the most powerful techniques because they will grow your backlink portfolio completely organically, and that's what search engines are looking for.
Daniel H.
Marco Diversi
Exactly. Stay away from BlackHat link strategies.
expert always suggest to build backlink through guest post. But now days every reputed website doesn't allow to write for them or if some are allowed that asked the money.

Can you suggest what to do for backlinks?
Jawad Khan
Shilpa Verma
Guest blogging is a great way to get backlinks.

But as I said in the post, to get links you first need to create link-worthy content on your own blog (content that has data or visuals or succes sstories/case studies)

Then link to that content in your guest posts in a natural way and in the right context.

It still works.

No editor will let you link back to your homepage or product pages. Cant do that anymore
Daniel H.
Jawad Khan
Great point Jawad. "first need to create link-worthy content on your blog"
Nikola Roza
Shilpa Verma
The answer to that is simple- change the way you think.

Now you think how you could write an article and post it somewhere, so YOU can get a sweet backlink to your money site.

In other words- you need them.

The solution is to start thinking how THEY are loosing out for not having you contribute to their blog.

Think that it doesn't matter, act like you don't care, and above all, craft awesome articles as perfect showcases of what you could do, if given a chance.

Take this approach and before you know it you will be asked to guest post, even by blogs that firmly state "we don't accept guest posts, so don't ask"!

Hope this helps:)
RankWatch
No matter where you are getting links from, a higher DA site or a lower DA site, you have to focus more on creating content that is valuable to the users. They come first. And if you write valuable content, it will not only be useful to the users and build your reputation amidst them, but also your content will automatically become a link magnet.
Daniel H.
RankWatch
Correct. Value is fundamental.
Nikola Roza
Hi Jawad, I really enjoyed reading your post. It's actionable, comprehensive and easy to read.

it also treats the subject of link building, which is by far my favorite topic to read about.

So thanks:)

I like your point that site owners link out to others to make themselves look good, and to help themselves.
And that if you want to get links you must understand and accept that. This is business (for most of us) and there is little place for altruism (though I love it when it happens out of the blue).

I'd just like to add that other crucial aspect of successful and long-term link building campaign is creating timeless posts and timeless value.
This is based on the topic, and your willingness to update the content when needed (especially relevant for our SEO industry)
When you have those two largest pieces of the puzzle figured out, you find that other pieces assemble on their own.

Thanks Jawad, and have a nice day:)

Nikola Roza
Jawad Khan
Nikola Roza
Hey Nikola,

Glad you liked the article :)

Did you learn anything new from it? Any point that surprised you?
Nikola Roza
Jawad Khan
Hey Jawad,

You asked me two questions and the answer to both is (dramatic pause)... Yes:)

So I learned that you can make a data rich post to be a link magnet, without being a huge company with limitless resources.

I'm encouraged by this, because, recently, I listened to Matthew Barby on Skill Up podcast (the episode about link building); and there he says that publishing data- rich content is extremely rewarding (for attracting links), but also extremely expensive to gather and prepare.
And they can do it because they're HubSpot.

So I thought that as a one man team it was out of my reach.

Bottom line: I'll have to check out Statista and Pew Research:)

Thanks.

What surprised me is that there are bloggers who link to the article that uses some image or infographic, and do not link to the original source of that image.
I thought bloggers knew better.
Still as long as there is some credit given, all is good.
Cheers!
:)
Dan Richardson
Nikola Roza
In the UK you can also make data requests under the Freedom of Information Act for very useful data for free.
Nikola Roza
Dan Richardson
Hi Dan, thanks for the tip. But I'm not in the UK, but in Serbia.

I wonder, when you say in UK, do you mean you have to be their citizen, and then give a formal request to some government body about the specif info you need, and why you need it?

That information is not freely available on the net, right?