Many linking tactics have shriveled into a slow death, but earning links remains crucial to your content. Otherwise your chances to rank high in Google are slim. Read on for tips to create linkable content.
Based on Backlinko’s findings, Google considers backlinks as a critical ranking factor, with a site’s overall link authority being connected to higher rankings. However, much like other tricky subjects, there are certain nuances. For example, it’s better to receive 10 links from 10 different websites than having one single site give you 10 links.
Or that the domain where your page exists means more than the page itself. Also, Buzzsumo recently conducted research that confirmed that the majority of content online gets zero links and only a few social shares, except for authoritative research and reference content that manages to stay afloat by gaining links over time.
With that being said, not every content piece deserves to be included in a pitch and receive links. On behalf of those who demanded this topic to be clarified, I’d like to share a couple of techniques to help your content make a mark.
What makes content unordinary
To create helpful, attention-grabbing and linkable content, you definitely need to cut through the noise. Some of you may say, “Easier said than done.” True, although there are certain types of content and uncanny techniques you can take advantage of to be original.
Researches, in-depth how-tos, and case studies take the cake
All of the content types I mentioned below have the right to get links. The only problem is the price tag—it’s costly. However, there’re a few ways how you can bypass this roadblock:
- Robbie Richards knows the ropes of how to deliver an affordable type of research by asking industry experts and creating a list of tools across various digital marketing niches. Looking for a tool for checking backlink data? He’s got quite a list ready for your convenience.
- Run a poll on Twitter with an additional boost targeting the right audience. FollowerWonk, for instance, will let you get your message in front of your competitors’ followers, industry influencers or anyone else who is relevant to your survey. (Note: you’ll have to get your hands dirty with spreadsheets and numbers.) Another way is to export and target users with ScoutZen. Twitter lists with popular blogs and businesses present many opportunities to expand your target audiences. To get an idea, take a look at who the Content Marketing Institute has on their Twitter lists. Depending on how much you’re willing to splurge, Twitter ads may cost you somewhere from $100 to $300. And that could get you anywhere from 200 to 500 replies. The biggest downside is that you only get to ask one question. That may not be enough to create comprehensive research. However, it’s a strong addition to an otherwise average post that talks about tips or strategies.
- Write how-to articles based on specialists’ experience. A great way to do so is through a good-old interview. Tell your interviewee that they’re going to be featured in a piece that will rank well in Google because that’s your main goal. Even if those experts aren’t on the same level with Rand Fishkin or Larry Kim, the overall value of your article will be beyond mediocre because those people know the topic inside out. For example, SEJ regularly delivers guides that are solely comprised of the knowledge kindly shared by numerous experts.
Cover fresh topics
Sadly, to come up with something truly unique you need to know what has already been done before. Imagine going through an entire timeline of an industry or a trend? This requires extensive and thorough research–unless you’re an industry veteran who understands what kind of content is typically produced and what’s left out. To give you an example, it was a brilliant idea to ask marketers about their previous jobs and how they got on a path that led them to the digital marketing industry.
Another source of inspiration could be revealed using SpyFu. It helps you find content pages that are ranking extremely high in Google.
Go to a report with the most valuable keywords (for a domain). It will show the search terms that bring your competitors a good number of organic visitors.
After that, you need to export the data and work with it in a spreadsheet.
Once completed, build a simple pivot table that will show the total number of clicks (e.g., number of visitors) that each page generates on a monthly basis.
After you built a pivot, don’t forget to sort the values of the column with monthly clicks from Z to A to see the most visited URLs first.
Rekindling the content
Let’s say the content masterpiece you’ve just birthed meets all the basic requirements of a good article but doesn’t have anything unique about it. If you aren’t in a position to target the type of content that can stand out from the pile, you still have a chance to get links. Make sure thatf your post has the following features:
The minimum length of 1200 words
When it comes to digital marketing, there’s a common belief that the longer your article is, the better it will perform. A lot of current leading experts jumped on the bandwagon, with such names as Brian Dean or Neil Patel. The latter argues that you have to arduously create long-form content to match the increasing savvy of web users who search with long-tail keywords.
Neil also says that users have become allergic to short-form content. By creating longer articles you’ll get noticed, generate business leads for a longer timeframe, and will make waves across your online audiences by skyrocketing your engagement rates.
However, it’s worth noting that slapping together paragraphs of words won’t do you justice. A longer article has to be well-structured. If organizing a written piece of content isn’t your biggest virtue then don’t go down that path.
You don’t need to create content for the sake of creating content or chasing a certain number of words that will be left unread. And if no one is reading your posts, then your bounce rate will continue to grow. With that, expect your traffic to be continuously straining away from your website.
2. Eye-catching visuals (including a cover image)
Don’t use stock images. I can’t stress it enough. By doing so, you automatically downgrade the quality of your post. Besides, it affects the overall credibility of your website.
Screenshots and custom-made images are always a nice addition to an article. And the great thing about it is that you don’t need a professional designer, thanks to tools like Canva or Design Wizard that are winning the hearts of thousands of marketers. Both of these tools have tons of templates ready for the taking.
3. Check your grammar, and provide a clear structure
Not only does it undermine your reputation (internet never forgets), but it also interferes with content perception. Oh, and Google can’t stand those things either. So no matter how you look at it, it’s always a bad idea.
Using H2/H3 header tags contributes greatly to a digestible content structure and helps your readers navigate through your post.
With instant gratification driving the user intent, people skim through pages rather than meticulously read them. And this is especially true when blog editors are looking for a post to link to. They don’t have time for disorganized nonsense.
4. Use expert quotes
Nothing will add more trustworthiness and authority to your article than a quote from an industry leader. Plus, you’ll be known for working with professionals and may even be thought of as one.
Any blogger knows who’s who in the industry. And by including the words of the brightest minds in your niche you’ll demonstrate how good your connections are. Additionally, this will spark people’s interest. With more and more readers willing to link to your article, organically creating you linkable content.
It shows that you know people and can help others establish relationships with those influencers.
However, if your emails were left unanswered and you couldn’t get a quote from anyone, not all is lost. Here’s a lifehack:
Include one of the older quotes you already have, but do let the person whose words you’re resuing know about this. Why? So that they could share your content and learn more about your brand or your product, which won’t hurt.
5. Be creative
To better explain myself, I invite you to take a look at this content piece by Rankwatch. A seemingly bland roundup post has been turned into an engaging and eye-pleasing article. It has beautifully drawn out pictures of experts who shared their thoughts and opinions. The presentation of content is its special sauce; take it away— and you have just another roundup.
Here’s a great example from Pitchbox. An image is worth a thousand words, especially when many well-known personas are in it wearing Halloween costumes.
If you think you need a massive load of creativity to dawn upon you, you’re wrong. Guys at Pitchbox simply quizzed the experts about what they’re going to wear for trick-or-treating, hired a designer and came up with custom-made images of each expert they reached out to.
To wrap up
I hope some of my recommendations left you inspired and ready for action.
Typically, there are two scenarios: you create amazingly great content right off the bat, which can be a research or a how-to article, or, alternatively, take a path of least resistance. With the second scenario, your somewhat average content could be improved a little bit by adding expert quotes, including nice visuals and using stellar copywriting.