This article was originally published on the Single Grain blog.
You’ve probably noticed that a lot of link building and SEO guides focus on creating high-quality content. There’s a good reason for that: it’s far easier to build links to top-quality content because that’s what gets shared. Businesses and individuals are in search of quality material to link to so that they have something of value to offer their website visitors, and if you’ll notice, few people link to a homepage, product page or shopping cart.
Of course, there’s a difference between creating content that is simply stuffed with keywords and links, and creating top-notch blogs and articles that are specifically geared towards helping you build authoritative links to your website. And just to be sure that we are speaking the same language, here are two important definitions:
Content marketing is when you create and share content (articles, blogs, infographics) for the purpose of driving traffic to your website and navigating visitors through your marketing funnel in order to acquire new customers.
Link building is when you get other websites or blogs to link to your web page in order to improve your search engine rankings. The engines crawl the web looking for links between your web pages and other websites to decide how valid your content is and thus where your page should rank in their search results.
As far as the search engines are concerned, if your website or blog contains a lot of authoritative links plus receives a lot of links to it, then you are not only considered popular, but valid, too. And search engines are constantly evolving their algorithms to discern the spammy links from the trustworthy ones, which means that valuable content and inbound marketing are more important than ever.
Because 93% of marketers use content in their marketing strategy and 42% of them regard their content marketing skills as effective, this is an area where you don’t want to get left behind! In this guide, we’re going to share tactics that will help you create linkable high-quality content for your website as well as use that content for link building to your website.
Part 1: Creating Linkable High Quality Content
In the introduction, we explained that linkable, well-crafted content is that which is specifically geared towards helping you build links to your website. But let’s step back for a moment and explain what exactly quality material is.
High-quality content is made up of:
- Well-researched and accurate information
- Extremely valuable material designed for your target audience
- Impeccably-written copy
- Supplemental images, graphs, videos or infographics
- The most complete and up-to-date information at the time of publishing
By incorporating these five points, your work will stand heads and shoulders above the crowd.
The first thing to do is start the process with in-depth research. Find the top pieces of content about your subject and determine what each one of them is missing. You’ll probably find that out of ten posts, each one covers something different. If you combine all those ideas into one piece of content with your own unique take on the subject, you’re already well on your way to success!
In addition, aim for meaty posts with over 1,000 words. Studies from analyzing a million articles have shown that content that is 1,000+ words tends to get the most social shares and backlinks.
If you’re not a writer, don’t worry. There are plenty of freelance writers that you can hire to create content for you. Just be sure to find someone who is an expert in your particular niche and who loves writing (trust me, you’ll be able to tell the difference in the finished product!). The fastest way to do this is to look at the top online publications in your niche and see if any of the bylines belong to freelancers. Or just do a search like this on Google:
This search will give you the top writers in your niche along with some samples from their portfolio, which you should definitely read to ensure that their style of writing is appropriate for your brand. Run the search for sites that produce the type of content you are looking to create in order to find writers who already have a handle on the topic and are experts at crafting high-quality content.
Once you have hired someone to create some really cream-of-the-crop writing, it’s time to add the elements that will transform it into linkable material. Here are the elements that you will need in your content and how each will help you get links:
It’s one thing to say that Facebook is the most popular social network on the planet, but without the numbers to back it up, it just comes off as opinion. But when you write that with 1.55 billion active monthly users, 83.5% of which are outside of the US and Canada, Facebook is the most popular social network on the planet, this is no longer opinion; it’s fact-based writing with the statistics to back it up. This is what separates the experts from the amateurs.
Cite specific sources for every one of your claims throughout your article so that readers instantly get that they are looking at a well-researched piece of content. This gives them a reason to trust you and link to your content rather than content written by others. It also allows the readers to dive deeper into the subject to which you sourced if that interests them.
Another way to add credibility to your writing is by using quotes. For example, I could say that link-building methods of the past will no longer help your website. But again, that’s just opinion, and unless you already consider me an expert, you won’t necessarily pay heed to it.
On the other hand, if I say that John Mueller of Google suggests that webmasters should focus less on link building as it’s been done in the past and instead focus more on creating high-quality content that is easy to link to, I have now added expert opinion from Google, a source that most people trust. All the better if I can use word-for-word quotes that are hyperlinked to the source.
Even if someone has never heard the name John Mueller, the fact that he is from Google makes him an instant expert in the area of SEO. When you can’t find specific research or statistics, expert quotes are the next best thing to back them up.
In addition to making your content higher quality by adding in expert opinion, you have also added influencers to the article who might actually help you promote it. Even if Mueller doesn’t link to your content, he might share it with his 14.4k Twitter followers, which may in turn prompt one of his fans to share it with their own audience or link to your content.
Last, but not least, are resources. Look for opportunities throughout your content to mention specific resources. For example:
- Don’t just say that people should try various SEO tools. Recommend your favorites, like SEMrush for paid search advertising research and Monitor Backlinks for link profile monitoring.
- Don’t just say there are tons of great beginner’s guides to SEO. Provide a few examples, like Moz’s Free Beginner’s Guide or Buffer’s Complete Beginner’s Guide.
- Don’t just say there are lots of SEO experts. Mention the ones that you frequently refer to, like Bruce Clay, Loren Baker, Dr. Pete Meyers, and John Rampton.
Better yet, don’t just include links; include images that show what people will find when they click through to one of your recommendations, like this quick peek at a report from SEMrush.
For the average reader, this adds more value to your content because you are giving them additional resources that provide substantial information. Remember, you’ll stand out from the competition by doing this because so few people take the time to give their readers this kind of value.
You have also added more opportunities to connect with people to let them know that you have featured them, their resource or their product in your latest piece of content. Resulting shares based on “ego-baiting” (creating content that features an influencer for the purpose of getting a link or share from them in return) have the potential to result in links.
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