Search engine optimization is a field susceptible to frequent change. SEO professionals are in the state of constant struggle with search engines and their need to change their algorithms often. These algorithm changes can sometimes drastically affect SEO best practices. A couple of years ago, keyword and link stuffing have been the go-to practices for getting good ranking in search results. Today, things are much different.

Two of the most important search engine ranking factors right now are content and backlinks. If you want your website to rank well, you need to have quality content, and you want other websites to have links leading back to your website. The good news is that you can get both at the same time by creating linkable content. The bad news is that it is not always easy.

Thinking beyond the quality of content

Businesses and marketers use high-quality content for various reasons. You know that it is good for SEO. You can also use it for branding, to inspire customer loyalty, or increase conversion rates. High-quality content is the closest thing there is to a digital marketing panacea these days.

If you want your content to be worthy of linking to, you have to adopt a slightly different approach. You should not forget about quality. But you will have to understand what are the common reasons websites link to other websites’ content. Then, you will have to find a way to create content editors and writers will want to link to.

Filling the content gap

No matter how much content is uploaded every day, the digital world is always hungry for more. Whether it is eye-catching and interesting or data-rich content, it will always be in demand. Even the websites that produce their own content rely on other websites’ content for various reasons. Sometimes, the eye-candy factor is the most important. Other times, it is the fact that they don’t have the information they need to create their own content.

If you want to create linkable content, you have to fulfill other websites’ need for the content they don’t have. So you should either create content that looks great or content that contains information that can’t be found anywhere else. Neither of the two is easy to pull off.

For example, infographics work great as linkable content because they provide information and are visually attractive. However, a quality infographic will require a lot of work on the design end as well as the data-finding end. You can follow the guidelines for making content creation easier. But you will still have to put more effort than usual when creating linkable content.

The content that works best

You should separate your linkable content into two groups — one for visually striking and potentially viral content, and another for information-rich content. You can sometimes combine these groups with great effects, like when creating explainer videos or infographics.

With visually striking content, you are counting on the fact that people prefer storytelling and visual content to textual content with lots of data. So even if you are using data for your visual content, you will still be packaging it in a way that makes it easier to consume. And be careful when allowing other websites to embed your visual content. It could come with a penalty from Google, so make sure you follow the appropriate guidelines.

For the information-rich content, whether it is textual or not, you have one simple goal. You want to be linked to as a source of information. That requires a certain level of exclusivity in your content, which means you will probably have to do original research. Conducting a survey or a study is a good start.

You can then use the information you get to create a white paper, a report, a guide, or a long-form article. Original research is difficult and time-consuming, but it has its benefits, too. For example, a white paper that took one month of work can yield you backlinks for the next couple of years. And there is no limit to how many different websites can link back to your content.

You should produce linkable content sparsely, as it is a labor-intensive and often expensive process. If you want to get your feet wet with linkable content before committing to it fully, there is one thing you should try. You can create articles that serve as aggregates of statistics.

You don’t have to do original research for them. You just have to find a great number of credible sources whose data you will use, with appropriate linking and credits. These types of articles are potential link magnets, and they are less expensive and labor-intensive than original content.