Link building is one of the most important aspects of off-site optimization.
Links are seen as an indication of trust and quality by search engines, hence the constant efforts of online marketers to obtain quality links that point back to their website.
But why does a site deserve links in the first place?
What type of content would be considered link-worthy?
And how do you become a reliable resource for link backs?
What it means to be link-worthy
Basically, link-worthy content earns links organically from different websites or blogs. It is as simple as, website and blog owners discovering the content and linking back to it from their posts or website pages. They do it for free, because the content is relevant and they like it – i.e. they deem it worthy of linking to.
Content that gets links this way is original, trustworthy and relevant. It needs to be of high quality, fit a certain niche, and be backed up with facts and accurate information. It’s safe to say that all of these characteristics should be met in order to link to an external resource.
After all, links create a web effect between the various blogs, sites and social media accounts they are shared on. Reputation is important in the online world, and everyone strives to have good company. The quality of links does reflect back on the person or site that posts them, so making sure content is link-worthy is definitely worthwhile!
Link-worthy vs. shareable content
Although link-worthy and shareable might seem like similar terms, if we’re talking about content distribution, these two types of content are quite different. Link-worthy content gets links, while shareable content gets social media shares. Despite the fact that both bring traffic to the source, links and social shares aren’t viewed the same way by search engines. This means that links and shares have quite different weight and effects in terms of SEO.
Shares can drive lots of traffic in a very short amount of time, especially if the content goes viral.
Links, on the other hand have more influence on search engine positioning of the site so we can view them more like a long-term investment. Links will keep sending traffic over a long period of time.
BuzzSummo and Moz teamed up and decided to analyze the performance of 1 million articles. They found that although shares are difficult to get, links are even tougher. In fact, a large portion of content goes by without any attention at all!
“In a randomly selected sample of 100,000 posts over 50% had 2 or less Facebook interactions (shares, likes or comments) and over 75% had zero external links.”
Two main obstacles were defined as reasons for such low performance:
- Poor content quality
- Failure to amplify content
Factors for achieving worthiness
Knowing a thing or two about the concept of link-worthy content and the factors that affect link-worthiness will help achieve better results in your online marketing efforts. Here are some guidelines that are going to help you create content that deserves links.
Focus on quality
Over the past few years, the focus of online marketing has shifted to spotlight the user experience. Users are no longer tolerating fluff; they want trustworthy and useful information. This is the most important characteristic of content that is link-worthy. If you’re looking to get away with simply scraping together something for the sake of a new post to publish, and just spray the text with desirable keywords, you’re wasting your time. No one will share content that has no quality. This will, in fact, have a negative effect on your site, blog, business etc.
85% of content in the same research had less than 1000 words, which might be one of the reasons for such low performance. Based on the SEO guidelines, content of considerable length, ranging from 1000 to even 3000 words or more, gets more value in the ranking system. Plus, longer content performs better when it comes to obtaining links. Next time you sit to write something new, bring a cup of coffee and get ready to warm up that chair. Make an effort for length, and you’ll be awarded for it.
Moz’s research also investigated how the format of the content affects its potential to get links and social shares. The most-shared format of content are entertainment videos, surveys/quizzes, and lists. These have been consistently gaining more links and shares, so think about these formats next time you’re writing an article. Opinion-forming journalism and research-backed content also earned lots of links and shares as noted in the same study.
Add media to enhance content
It has become fairly common knowledge that content with images gets more shares and links. When it comes down to it, content with media added in is always more appealing!
As people scan through the text, they’re paying attention to pictures first and text seconds. If a user can’t figure out in 3 seconds if the page they’re looking at is relevant to the query, they’re very likely to move on to the next site. Enrich your page with a couple of images, screenshots, or even videos relevant to the topic and watch how this small improvement increases performance significantly. The user will be able to immediately figure out if the content fits their needs, just by looking at the pictures.
In addition, content with media files looks visually appealing when shared on social media, as a preview is generated automatically.
Expert Tip: Make sure that you don’t add pictures of cats (no matter how cute they are!) inside an article about flowers. Images should always reflect and/or enhance your content!
If you are backing your story with resources, statistics or definitions, make sure you use credible sources. Your article is only as good as those sources you link to. If you want to obtain links yourself, you must not link to spammy websites or useless resources. This shows a lack of credibility and signals low quality to those who would potentially link to your content.
In the online world, reputation is everything. Building a good reputation and a name that stands out in a certain niche is going to help you tremendously with link building. Though you could become famous overnight, that is very unlikely. For most, it takes years before you gain such a reputation, so the work will pay off on the long run. If you have a reputation of an authority and influencer in your industry, your content will naturally gain links as soon as you publish something new.
Wrapping it up
All of these factors influence the content performance and the process of naturally increasing the number of inbound links. When you create content, you want the attention – visits, shares, links, etc. You want to improve your reputation and gain benefits from traffic. These benefits might be in the form of new leads, sales, signups, etc. and publishing link-worthy content is the way to get the attention and the benefits.
Why don’t we experiment with something?
Take a moment and think back to the last 3 posts you shared via social media, or the 3 most recent sites you linked back to on your blog or website (if you have one).
Now, try to see if there is a common theme. Did every single one have a survey or an image? Or how about a video?
Share in the comments and let’s see if we can find a pattern!
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This was a great article. I am a few weeks into blogging and building an online presence. What is your best first steps to engage an audience online for newbies?