The #1 Reason You Don’t Have Any Backlinks

Linkworthy Content

I spend a little time browsing different internet marketing related forums, and read through tons of marketing blogs. One of the most common questions people ask and answer is "how do I get backlinks?" 

Here's the thing. Everyone wants to learn tactics. Whether it's Guestographics, broken linkbuilding, the skyscraper technique or good old fashioned email outreach, people want to know how to get sites to link to them. Bloggers spend days going through all these linkbuilding guides step by step.​

But even after implementing all these different techniques, they don't get any type of results. The problem is most bloggers overlook the single most important step in the process.

Why Nobody's Linking To You

The reason you're not getting backlinks is because you don't have anything worth linking to.​ I've received countless emails from people asking me to link to their post. When I go to check out their article there's nothing special or spectacular about it. It doesn't stand out whatsoever.

Asking people to link to mediocre content only works if you're sending out thousands of spammy outreach emails and a few people who don't care about quality reply to you. And getting 10 links from low quality sites that'll link to anything won't do much for your SEO.

If you want high quality backlinks, you need to stop looking for the quick and easy route. This isn't 2008, you can't just have 1,000's of article directory links pointing to your site and expect to get results.

The first step in any link building campaign is to create linkworthy content.

What is Linkworthy Content?

Linkworthy content is a piece of content that serves a utility, is an industry resource or something that's so amazing that people feel obligated to share it.

Linkworthy content is the cornerstone of Brian Dean's Skyscraper Technique. In case you're unfamiliar, the Skyscraper Technique is a linkbuilding tactic that goes like this:

  1. Find a piece of existing linkworthy content from your competitors.
  2. Create something better.
  3. Reach out to people who shared that original piece and other people likely to share it. Let them know you've created something better.
  4. Earn links.

On his site, Brian provides a case study from a brand that used the tactic with awesome results.

Skyscraper Technique Results

Pretty amazing right? 

But most people don't achieve this level of results because they're not creating a piece of content that's linkworthy enough to get this type of attention.

So now, let's take a look at some examples of linkworthy content.

Examples of Linkworthy Content​

Linkworthy content comes in all sizes and forms, so I'll give you a few different examples to get your creativity flowing. Keep in mind the only thing I'm going over is the content. The outreach and content promotion side of things is equally as important.

All the backlink data is from SEOprofiler, an SEO tool I've been testing out recently. I've really been digging it so far.

​1. BootstrapBay's Free Stock Images Post

This is the post from Brian Dean's case study I mentioned earlier. Bootstrap Bay used the Skyscraper Technique to create a piece of content that generated over 250 backlinks from unique domains.

BootstrapBay Skyscraper Content Backlinks

Why This is Linkworthy Content

You can read through the full case study for the details, but essentially BootstrapBay created a piece of content that was more in depth than the other pages ranking for the topic of "free stock images."

Instead of just making a list of 100 sites people can get stock photos from, they vetted a bunch of sites and only listed the highest quality ones.​ Then they gave a description of each site, plus went the extra mile of letting you know what type of licenses came with the photos.

The reason I love this example is because there's a misconception that linkable content means writing an 8,000 word guide. While those posts can do well (as you'll see in the next example), BootstrapBay's post proves you don't have to do all that.

They just simplified the information that was already out there and organized it better. 

See the post here: https://bootstrapbay.com/blog/free-stock-photos/

2. Quicksprout's Advance SEO Guide

If you've ever Googled "SEO Guide" or dozens of other SEO related searches, you've probably come across Neil Patel's Advanced SEO Guide.

It's one of the best free resources you can find on the topic, plus it's extremely well-made. I don't even want to guess how much he had to spend to get that thing made.

​The hard work resulted in over 600 backlinks from unique domains.

Quicksprout Advance SEO Guide Backlinks

Why This is Linkworthy Content

Aside from being placed on one of the most authoritative SEO sites there is, this guide stands out for a lot of other reasons. For one, it's freaking beautiful. Tons of custom graphics, well organized and just all-around nice to look at. 

On top of that, it's extremely in depth. He didn't just write basics like "include keywords in your meta title." He goes over crawling your site, canonicals, making your site multilingual and a ton of other advanced tactics that don't get talked about in most SEO guides.​

There's nothing online you'll find for free that comes close to the level of detail in this guide. So naturally whenever people want to reference how to learn SEO, they're likely to link to Neil's guide. That's why the post constantly gets mentioned in "best SEO resources" lists.

Not everyone will have the resources to create something quite on this level. But I wanted to include it to show you what going above and beyond really means.​

Check it out: https://www.quicksprout.com/the-advanced-guide-to-seo/​

3. PetBreeds.com Directories

Petbreeds.com is a project from the semantic technology company Graphiq. In normal people's terms, Graphiq takes large chunks of data and makes it presentable so that everyone can understand it.

This particular site is a huge database of different pet breeds (dogs, cats, and horses) and has earned backlinks from over 140 sites.

Petbreeds Directory Backlinks

Why This is Linkworthy Content

This site takes a bunch of data that's available on plenty of other sites and organizes it better. There are plenty of other sites with similar databases, including the AKG which has a lot more backlinks (over 1,600 links from unique domains). But Petbreeds.com still ranks on the first page despite having less links and authority.

With the exception of the excessive ads on the site, the directory itself is amazing. You can filter breeds by size, temperament, trainability and tons of other criteria.

With some promotion, this site could easily rank number one for breed related keywords because it functions better than the sites ranking above it.  

Check it out: http://www.petbreeds.com/​

4. Nerd Fitness Paleo Diet Guide

Nerd Fitness is one of my favorite sites ever. Not just because of the health and nutrition advice, but it's one of the best examples of how to succeed in a competitive niche.

This post in particular is the most linked to content on the site, excluding the home page, with over 500 links from unique domains. 

NerdFitness Paleo Guide Backlinks

Why This is Linkworthy Content

The Nerd Fitness guide worked well because it was created when the Paleo Diet was really starting to take off and become mainstream. So everyone was looking for info like what it is, how it works, what foods they could eat, etc.

By being one of the first reputable sites to come out with a mega guide on the topic, Nerd Fitness was able to become the go-to resource.

On top of that, the guide is well written in plain English, so you don't have to be a fitness expert to understand it. That made it easier for people to link to.

On top of that, Steve (the owner of Nerd Fitness) also included his signature custom images with Legos and toys to illustrate what going Paleo is all about.

Caveman cooking with fire

I've written about how powerful ultimate guide posts can be, and included it in my 4-week blogging program. One of the most important things to keep in mind with ultimate guide posts is to make them as robust as possible.

A lot of people call their content "Ultimate Guides" but they're just 1,000 word articles that barely skim the surface of the topic. When you call something an Ultimate Guide, or even a Beginner's Guide, you need to deliver. Otherwise it's just another post.

Check it out here: http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2010/10/04/the-beginners-guide-to-the-paleo-diet/

5. Runner's World Shoe Selector

If you've ever tried to get into running, you know the difference your shoe makes. The problem is unless you're an experienced runner, you probably have no idea what shoe to get.

Runner's World made a tool to make that process easier, and earned links from over 100 sites as a result.

Runners World Shoe Selector Tool Backlinks

Why This is Linkworthy Content

The biggest reason people link to this tool is because it solves a problem. It takes the hassle out of reading hundreds of reviews from people who don't have the same shaped foot as you. It also saves you the time of having to buy and return a bunch of different shoes to find something that fits.

It's also a pretty fun to use. You answer the questions and fill out your info, and get suggestions for what to buy.

The lesson you can take from this example is to find one of the biggest struggles your audience has, and create a piece of content that helps them solve it.

If you want to make a tool but aren't a developer, you can always try outsourcing the work. Or, just make a detailed written guide.​

Check it out: http://www.runnersworld.com/shoeadvisor/

The Reality of Creating Linkworthy Content

Creating linkworthy content takes work. From doing keyword research to coming up with your idea of what to make and then actually creating it, there's a lot of time and effort that goes into it. Then you have to actually promote it.

But that's what makes these pieces of content stand out and get such great results. Most bloggers and online marketers aren't willing to do it. That's why you don't see a ton of posts like Neil's SEO guide or Graphiq's dog breed directory. ​

If creating linkworthy content was easy, everyone would be doing it. ​

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