6 Content-Driven Link Building Strategies for a Better Backlink Profile

Every digital marketer alive today knows and understands the importance of high-quality content in search engine optimization, and everything else. However, creating content for the sake of content alone is not enough.

Content creation needs objectives. Or, in this case, is going to be used for improving your company's backlink profile.

The landscape of link building and SEO always changes, and in 2019, the importance of having a good backlink profile for your website is even more apparent. 

You need backlinks to thrive online and to continuously give your website a chance to climb the search engine rankings (or stay on top if you're already on the first page of search results).

Fundamentally speaking, there are two ways search engines use links:

  • To know how well a page should rank on the results.

  • To find new web pages.

Paddy Moogan from Moz explains how backlinks function pretty easily:

"Once search engines have crawled pages on the web, they can extract the content of those pages and add it to their indexes. In this way, they can decide if they feel a page is of sufficient quality to be ranked well for relevant keywords (Google created a short video to explain that process).

"When they are deciding this, the search engines do not just look at the content of the page; they also look at the number of links pointing to that page from external websites and the quality of those external websites. Generally speaking, the more high-quality websites that link to you, the more likely you are to rank well in search results."

But what is it about content that makes it a competitive method to gather high-quality links that your brand would need?

A Content-driven Approach to Link Building

Any content marketer who understands the value of writing high-quality content knows how challenging it is to produce relevant content that is helpful. The internet is full of content, and differentiating the noise from the sound message is hard work.

But there is no better way to get high authority backlinks to swarm your brand than with said high-quality content.

The content-driven approach to link building involves three general steps:

  • Search the right keywords for targeting

  • Writing really good content centered around that keyword

  • Promote content on social media

In addition to building backlinks, creating relevant content is all about generating assets for the business (digitally speaking, of course). It's an opportunity to build relationships with other content marketers and website owners.

Site owners should approach link building with longer-term goals in mind.

6 Content-driven Link Building Strategies

Well-crafted content, and content that is linkable is required to build your website's backlink profile. But what does high-quality material look like, exactly? Relevant content:

  • Is exceptionally written copy.

  • Speaks directly to the target audience.

  • Makes use of graphs, images, infographics, videos, etc when it's appropriate.

  • Gives accurate information and is well-researched.

  • Is updated and complete, and also evergreen

With these qualities of high-quality content in mind, it is a requirement to begin your content writing process with in-depth research.

And without further ado, here are some of the strategies you ought to implement for a content-driven approach to link building.

1. Publishing Ultimate Guides

Ultimate guides are like magnets...

A couple of browses across the internet will reveal ultimate marketing guides left and right. There are complete guides for marketing on Facebook, how to do SEO, how-to do social media marketing, etc.

The common issue that people run into is that with the sheer number of blogs out there, how is it possible to create ultimate guides when there are already tons of blog articles for just one given subject?

The first step lies in finding a topic for your ultimate guide. This is crucial because you need to choose a topic that's popular, but also one that hasn't been extensively covered again and again already. It would be counterproductive to publish the 20th ultimate guide to a single topic.

Next thing you need to do is outline the subtopics you have to include under your larger topic. So let's say for instance you're writing about the ultimate guide to onsite optimization, several topics you can include are: anchor texts, content, technical audit, etc.

And when you're writing your topic, never hesitate to cover a topic extensively, and discuss everything that there is to know about the topic.

Doing this will ensure that your guide would be the immediate go-to resource.

Other things you need to remember when writing an ultimate guide include:

  • Subscribing to different blogs: Ultimate guides are a success when they're about trendy topics or evergreen ones. Subscribing to lots of blogs in your industry can help keep you updated.

  • Reading posts about your topic: No matter how well-covered you think a particular topic is, push through with your ultimate guide. This is because there will always be things that have changed or factors that an author failed to cover. In addition, you can always explain information in a clearer or a different way.

  • Jot down what's missing: If they missed it, then it's your job to cover it. When you find something missing, note them down and cover them in your ultimate guide.

  • Plenty of screenshots: Ultimate guides need good screenshots. Generic stock photos would oppose the purpose of writing an ultimate guide. You want to inform people as extensively as ever, so show how to do technical things using your own screen.

  • Real life/personal examples: Keep it as real as possible. Always look for real life examples to illustrate your point. Or if you have experience in said subtopic, tell your readers all about that.

  • Proper crediting of sources: Lest you want to be labeled a plagiarist, give credit to where credit is due. That's applicable for every facet of your ultimate guide writing -- especially where factual data is concerned.

Round-up Resource Articles

Resource pages are one of the best link building strategies brought to digital marketers. Resource articles are pages that exist solely to link out to other sites.

Much like the first number, you need to choose a single topic. For instance, let's say you're going to write a round-up resource article for conversion optimization.

And to make this a success, start looking for comprehensive articles about conversion optimization. Choose resource articles with high domain authority.

Gather articles. 100 article posts about conversion optimization would be good. And what you can do next is segment the articles into subtopics -- just like writing an ultimate guide.

Take for instance, this 100 round-up resource article we posted on Dlinkers' blog. The topic was about conversion optimization, and was divided into subtopics based on the articles we found. There are articles about conversion rate, CRO tips for e-commerce websites, boosting sales and ROI through CRO, CRO techniques for web pages, etc.

It was an article that got attention from people like Larry Kim and Shane Barker, even without the email marketing yet. 

Writing a round-up resource article is like giving your readers an easy-access library. In addition, you also have the opportunity to build relationships with other site owners, bloggers, and digital marketers.

Backlinks pour in when the article is shared extensively and promoted on social media platforms. 

Providing Sources for Bloggers and Reporters

There's a free service available on the internet, called Help a Reporter Out (HARO). And this white hat backlink tactic can help you place on Google's first page results.

Now, back to HARO. The free service focuses on connecting people that need sources -- mostly journalists and bloggers -- to people willing to share their expertise and knowledge. And of course, by extension, gives the opportunity to build links and gain exposure.

Stick with Content Formats that Generate Links and Social Shares

Certain types of content have been proven to do great compared to others -- according to research published by BuzzSumo.

The study involving 1 million blog posts and articles revealed stats that proved that 75% of all online content gets zero links. However, content formats that tend to do well in backlink gathering are:

  • Listicles/ list posts

  • Quizzes

  • Why posts

  • How-to posts

  • Infographics

  • Videos

And since 2015, dozens of marketers have tested the technique to great success. And while it didn't work for others, you have to remember that the success of groundbreaking link building strategy depends on your approach.

The gist of The Skyscraper Technique is that it you improve existing and popular content, make it better, replicate the back links, and get better results. In a nutshell, here's how it works:

Find pieces of content with lots of backlinks

Make the article more comprehensive

Reach out to the people linking to the original piece and pitch your superior content instead.

In Brian's own words, the tactic invests on our natural human tendency to be attracted to the very best.

For this technique, you can use a variety of tools (Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, etc) to track the best performing articles. And once you've found the content you want to outrank, start doing your own in-depth research to make it even better. The creator of the technique personally recommends that you improve on all four of these content aspects:

  • Freshness: If the article is outdated, fill yours with to-date information. Get newer screenshots, videos, factual data, etc.

  • Design: Make sure how your article is laid out and designed stands out too. Visual appeal matters plenty to today's consumers.

  • Length: If the most popular post lists 25 tips, beat that number by adding more.

  • Depth: For the sake of catering to people's attention spans, there are some articles that would keep things vague. If you chance on one, fill in missing details and make your posts actionable.

But don't just improve on these four aspects for the sake of doing it. For instance, adding 25 mediocre tips against 25 excellent ones won't do you favors.

The key is to add more value... In other words, make your article extra helpful.

And when you finally do your outreach, make sure to reach out to the right people. Also, don't forget to promote your work to the people or sites you've used as references to your post. In addition, reaching out to them means avoiding being spammy or coming off as overly pushy.

Guest Posting

Guest posting is a tactic that has been around for ages and has stayed relevant even today. In general, this classic link-building technique is effective in two ways:

  • Sending relevant referral traffic to your website.

  • If you contribute valuable content, it builds authority in your niche.

Guest post articles that are stuffed with target keywords are considered spammy. So, for those looking to build links via guest posting, you need to keep your efforts laser-focused on producing valuable content. Value comes first, and relevant linking comes second.

The Takeaway

Search engines' algorithms are in a constant state of evolution. It's all for the purpose of delivering the highest-quality content for users' queries. And as far as the search engines are concerned, web pages that receive high volumes of quality links from external sites suggest that content is more trustworthy.

So try to implement one or two of these 6 strategies and see what works for your website. Doing it right will help you ensure that your brand has a stellar backlink profile and a library of high-quality evergreen content other people can use.

Al Gomez is a Digital Marketing Consultant at Dlinkers and Sagad. With more than twelve years of digital marketing experience in search engine optimization, paid search and email marketing, he has contributed to a variety of online publications including Moz, Semrush and Wordtracker.