Link Building is Easy When You Start With Content

Link Building is Easy When You Start With Content

Austin, Texas –

In a backlash against shady SEO techniques that use automation and spam, many of the biggest names in the industry have proclaimed that link building is supposed to be hard. On a certain level, they are right. The easiest links to get are also the least worth your time. The type of link that anybody can get is the type of link you shouldn’t bother with at all.

Despite this, getting the “hard” links can actually be surprisingly easy if you start with great content. While relationship building is a crucial skill for optimization, you may find it surprising that it’s also increasingly unnecessary the better your content is to begin with.

A Content-Driven Strategy

As with previous methods discussed on this site, this strategy is only one of many, and shouldn’t be taken at face value. Adapt it as you see fit. Focus on why it works more than what the steps are. This strategy is based on developing a piece of cornerstone content, something that goes far beyond a typical blog post.

1. Choose a Topic – Rather than focusing on a profitable keyword or an ultra-focussed one, focus on a subject that sites like to link to. The end goal should be to improve your domain authority, not necessarily to rank for any particular keyword.

Try doing a search for broad industry keywords like this: “[keyword] resources” or “[keyword] links.” If you come across a wide variety of authoritative sites with pages devoted to sharing websites and web resources on your topic, you’re headed in the right direction.

Authoritative is key here. The pages of links you come across should reference extremely high quality material. The pages should actually be worth visiting by human beings.

2. Research the Competition
– Take a look at the types of pages these sources are linking to, as well as the front page of Google for your keyword. What do these pages look like? Focus on how you can bring something new to the table, rather than merely repeating what they have to say.

From this point forward, your goal should be to create the most comprehensive, unique, interesting, entertaining, and helpful piece of content on the subject as possible. Write with the “linkers” in mind. What kind of people run these sites? What are they interested in? What will strike them as original, and what will get their attention?

3. Research the Topic – This is key. It is what gives you the authority to speak on the subject with the kind of certainty necessary to impress people enough to link to you. You can not research your topic merely by reviewing the top sites on the subject. You have to dig much deeper. Here are a few places to find information.

– Google Scholar – Go to and search for your topic. This is where you will find raw data from genuine experts on the topic that isn’t mentioned on the other popular pages. The material is dense, and it will take serious work to find the interesting material and translate it into terms people will understand, but the payoff is worth it.

– .Gov and .Edu Sites – Search for relevant keywords with “” or “” Again, this will put you in touch with raw data that others haven’t used.

– The Library – Yes, it still exists, and yes, it’s still relevant. All kinds of information can be found in hard text that was never digitized. There’s gold buried in there.

– Experts and Insiders – Not all experts on a subject make a living out of publicizing what they know. In fact, most don’t. Try seeking out the researchers, scholars, employees, and other experts who have all the knowledge but live a day-to-day existence making no effort to get the information out there. Many of them will be flattered to hear from you, but citing them will make you far more authoritative and put you in touch with information you can’t find any other way.

4. Presentation – Distilling your research and presenting it in a way that people can relate to isn’t easy, but it’s another incredibly important part of the process. Here are a few pointers.

– Use Graphics – Transform your information into visual metaphors, infographics, charts, and so on. Humans are visual creatures and this makes the information much easier to absorb.

– Tell stories – Use anecdotes. While raw data is much more reliable and trustworthy, it’s also boring. Pepper your content with stories that emphasize your points and color them with emotion.

– Use numbers, bullet points, and subheadings – Make it easy to skim through your content and find the takeaways. The type of people who might link to you will want some assurance that it’s worth reading the whole article before they do. Content that is easy to skim makes a much better first impression.

– Don’t be too formal – Write the content as though you were speaking directly to the type of person who would link to you. Being too academic puts a wall between you and them. Being too informal makes you seem silly and untrustworthy.

– Give backstory – Every once in a while, give the reader a little peak behind the scenes. Let them know how you came across information, what made you think to explore a particular topic, and even if you ended up changing direction. This makes you more relatable and reminds readers that there is a human being behind the content. It can also subtly give readers an idea of how much effort went into the content.

5. Outreach
– Once the content is finished and published, the next step is outreach. All it takes is to contact the people who maintain the link resources you came across earlier. Let them know you would appreciate any feedback they can give and you’d love it if they included your resource in their list. A surprising number of them will respond positively if the content is good enough. Take their feedback to heart as well, and use it to improve the content.

Have you tried a content-driven link building strategy? What else has worked for you?

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