How To Get More Links: Create Data-Driven Content
The “skyscraper technique” has been the go-to strategy in SEO for years. But if you’re just searching for the most popular content, you are losing links to competitors. This post shows how using data to find “overachievers” is helping SEOs outsmart the competition, create better content, and earn more links. The skyscraper technique—where marketers find “the best” content and improve on it—is often the starting point for content creation in the SEO world. The problem is that most digital marketers think “the best” means “most shared or most liked”.
Is that really the truth? If you’re struggling to earn more links, then it could be because the foundation of your content strategy is based on incorrect assumptions.
The key here is context. Using context can help you identify the real “best content” to base your strategy on.
Check it out….
“The Best Content” is Usually Just OK Content on Great Websites
The truth is that decent or outright bad content will earn far more links than it deserves if it’s on a very popular website. A post could easily go viral if a company:
●Already has a large audience
●Has a strong domain
●Has a massive and developed social media presence
●Pays to promote it
Vice versa, great content on poor websites (or sites with lower authority) will punch way below its weight class.
If you really want to find the absolute best content (you should), then the devil is in the details. Adding context and mining a bit of data could help you discover the real hidden gems and earn WAY MORE links, shares, and likes.
Attacking from a data-driven angle will put you way ahead of the competition.
Case in point: A 1,000 word article about planning for retirement on Forbes earned more than double the links of a 5,000 word magnum opus on the subject from a well respected (but relatively unknown) financial website. Which piece do you think was actually “the best” on the subject?
How to Find Overachievers
If you want to create the most authoritative content on a subject, you’ve got to add context and delve into the data a bit to find overachievers. Once you find content that is earning way more links than you expect based on certain criteria (we explain which criteria next), you’ve found the real “best” on the subject.
Note: If you have certain tools like Content Explorer, this process can become even more refined. However, this is just for back of the napkin calculations you can do rather quickly.
1. Determine How Authoritative a Site is: Major sites like Forbes, CNN, etc. all have a lot of authority and therefore their content is likely to outperform its quality (not saying it’s inherently bad, though).
2. Check Their Social Media Following: Do they have a massive social presence? Are they regularly churning out content that’s getting likes and shares?
3. See if They are Running Facebook Ads: Check their paid ads to see how much promotion they are doing. This could be a major contributing factor as to why their content is doing well.
Now, make note of how many referring domains there are to each piece of content. With this extra information in hand, you can properly handicap content coming from authoritative sites with major social media presences. Now you can see the content in the proper context.
For example, an article that has 40 links to it on a major site with a huge social following most likely isn’t as good as an article with 20 links to it on a site that has no business having 20 referring domains. Congrats, you’ve found a diamond in the rough.
How to Further Refine Your Content with Data
If you analyze the top performing content from the most authoritative sites, you’ll see a lot of them are “10 tips on x, y, z” topic. But once you add in context, you’ll see that most of those articles are popular because they leech off the power of the domain rather than the substance of the content itself. If you refine the data, you’ll see many readers care about other, more nuanced topics.
For example, the content lead for a major online company wanted to generate ideas for a client based around “retirement planning”. After analyzing the best performing content, he found the most popular articles were mostly “10 tips to save for retirement” type articles. But once he refined the data and added context, he found that those articles were popular solely because they were on popular sites. The “real” best content was content that focused on “net worth”. So while competitors are wasting time and money producing 10 ways to save for retirement articles, he’s finding success writing articles such as “how much net worth to retire at 60 (in your dreams!)”.
Here at Scott Keever SEO, we’ve used context to help identify content creation opportunities and produce high-quality, relevant content for clients that earns more links than competitors. Of course, this is isn’t our only strategy and it might not always be the right one to use, but context is a fascinating topic to discuss. Once you find the real “best content” to use as your foundation, you’ll take your content game to the next level while everyone is still copying mediocre stuff!