Backlinks are the number one search ranking factor, as proven by numerous studies by Moz, Ahrefs, SEJ, Backlinko, etc., over the years.
Most recently, an in-depth study by SEMRush found a direct correlation between the number of unique backlinks to a page and its position in search rankings.
But here’s the million-dollar question.
Why do you, and most other B2B content creators, struggle to get backlinks despite running expensive outreach campaigns?
The answer is simple.
Your content isn’t link-worthy.
If you’ve never heard this term before, this article is for you.
In the following sections, I’ll tell you exactly what link-worthy content is and how to create it so that you never have to worry about building backlinks again.
What Is Link-Worthy B2B Content?
Link-worthy content is content that deserves to be linked to and cited as a resource.
Why can’t every piece of content get links from high authority websites?
Because linking to a third-party site is risky. When a site links to an outside source, it effectively gives a vote of confidence to that site and vouches for its credibility.
If Google algorithms determine that the linked site is low-quality and irrelevant or violates its search guidelines in any way, the sites linking to it can be penalized.
This is why authority sites in every niche are very picky about who and what they link to.
Moreover, this is why you’ll find it hard to build links to your content unless it is link-worthy.
To create link-worthy content, you also need to understand what motivates people to link to third-party sources.
According to research, most website owners link to other sites for one of the following reasons.
If you look at those reasons, one thing becomes clear.
Authority websites won’t link to you unless there’s a strong reason for them to do it.
And this is where you need to become aware of one of the biggest mistakes that B2B SaaS marketers make—trying to build homepage and brand name links only.
You can’t get backlinks to your homepage with nothing but requests like “review our great tool on your site!”
Your product might be interesting to you, but other sites will only link to it if there’s something in it for them (I’m not talking about paid promotion techniques).
The study I’ve shared above shows that sites link to outside sources because it adds value to their content in some way.
However, SaaS product homepages rarely do that.
This is why you need to rely on your blog content for link building and transfer the link juice to your homepage with smart internal linking.
But what qualities should your blog content have to get backlinks easily?
We’ll cover that in the next section.
7 Traits of Link-Worthy B2B Blog Content
Creating link-worthy content isn’t rocket science, but it does take research, hard work, and a lot of time.
The results, however, make all the effort worth it.
Here are the main qualities that can make any piece of content link-worthy.
1. In-Depth, Detailed, And Actionable
People read content to learn new things, find answers to their questions, and get actionable insights they can apply immediately to get results.
You may have noticed that high authority sites like Entrepreneur, Forbes, Healthline, etc., mostly publish list posts covering multiple topics in moderate detail.
However, they frequently link out to more comprehensive and in-depth articles published by reliable sites, allowing their readers to dive deeper into a topic if they want.
It’s a great opportunity, but you can’t grab it by publishing 500-word articles that barely scratch the surface of a topic.
If you want other websites to link to your content as additional reading material for their readers, you need to publish in-depth, detailed, and highly actionable content.
Instead of covering a dozen different points in every article, go for the vertical content approach: choose one topic and go deep.
Cover everything about a topic so that your article becomes the ultimate resource for anyone looking to learn about it.
I’m not saying this without proof.
Hubspot analyzed all of its blog content (thousands of articles) and found that the posts with 2500+ words attracted the most backlinks.
Notice how the number of backlinks gradually increases with content length and shoots up once the average word count is higher than 1750 words.
Does this happen to other sites as well?
A much broader study by Backlinko suggests that content length is indeed directly related to links.
Nevertheless, creating in-depth posts involves more than simply putting together fluff to reach a certain word count.
Your content needs to be valuable to your readers and answer the most significant questions about the topic you’re covering.
The “People also ask” section in Google Search results is an easy way to find the questions of your target audience. Search for any topic on Google, and it’ll give you a list of the most common questions people are asking about it.
Choose questions relevant to your topic, make them a part of your article, and answer them in detail.
Also, study competing pieces to see what subtopics they’ve covered and how you can improve on them.
Here’s an example worth following.
Zendesk, a leading customer service software & sales CRM, published an in-depth resource about customer service and its impact on business performance (almost 5000 words). It answers all the popular questions about the topic and represents an ideal resource for other sites to link to if their readers want to learn more about B2B customer service.
As a result, the page has dozens of backlinks from numerous sites, including several high-authority niche sites.
In short, the more useful, in-depth, and actionable your content is, the easier it is to get backlinks to it.
2. Backed by Data Evidence and Scientific Proof
We’re living in the age of fake news, where websites and blogs are popping up like mushrooms, publishing anything they want.
As a result, people around the world are concerned about the accuracy of the information they see online.
A global study by Reuters and The University of Oxford has found that, on average, 56% of people are unsure about fake and real news on the internet.
This proportion is much higher in the USA, where 67% don’t trust online information.
As a content creator, you need to look at this as a huge opportunity.
Let me explain why.
Writers, journalists, and contributors for different leading sites are always on the lookout for reliable scientific evidence, studies, and data to back their arguments and boost their credibility.
If you want to get backlinks easily, make sure every argument in your content is backed by solid data evidence.
It’s great if the data comes from your own studies, surveys, or other primary sources. They will get you thousands of links from different publications in your niche that cite your data as evidence for their arguments.
Naturally, I’m not saying this without proof.
A detailed study by SEO Powersuite found that using data/research in content is the most efficient way to earn backlinks.
Many leading publications use this approach to get links. For example, the Content Marketing Institute publishes an annual survey that shares global content marketing benchmarks and other key findings from the industry.
The report has thousands of backlinks from numerous high authority publications.
If you have an email list or social media following of around 2000 subscribers, consider producing interesting studies by sending them surveys once or twice a year about any popular topic in your niche.
But if that’s not an option, make a habit of using stats in your content from third-party research sites like Pew Research, Statista, Nielsen, or any other reliable sources in your niche.
This approach has two main benefits.
You’ll have a good chance of getting links with email outreach because your content would be more credible.
Additionally, many sites will cite your article as the source of a stat instead of the original research.
In any case, data and hard evidence add value to your content.
To learn more about how we use research and studying competing pieces to create great , link-worthy content, read our guide Content Research: 3-Step Process for Creating Better Articles
3. Catches the Eye With Engaging Visuals
Unfortunately, B2B content can be really dull.
To avoid that, make sure to include engaging visuals like product images, illustrations, videos, and even funny GIFs.
According to a study, instructional content like How-to’s and tutorials is 323% more useful when it includes both text and illustrations/visuals.
Visual content is not only great for reader engagement, but it also helps you get more backlinks.
Just look at this article that you’re reading right now. I’ve included screenshots and images from so many different sources. Under each image, I’ve linked back to the original source.
Writers and content creators source images (with a backlink) from third-party sites all the time.
Creating engaging visuals takes time, so it’s much easier to just source it from a site that has already invested in visual content.
If you invest in creating high-quality visuals for your content, numerous content creators in your niche will use them and link back to your site.
If you have an in-house designer or have the resources to hire a freelancer, creating visuals won’t be a problem.
But if you can’t hire someone, use visual designing tools such as Canva or Visme that come with different templates you can use to create images for your content.
What type of images should you create?
Based on my experience, here are a few things you should try.
- Run surveys on your audience or get raw data on a particular topic from a reliable research site and turn it into an eye-catching infographic.
- Turn plain text data into share-worthy images. For example, if you find a study that says: “Email marketing has an ROI of $42 for every $1 invested,” create an image about this stat and use it in your content.
- Use a screenshot tool like the Evernote Web Clipper or Skitch and use screenshots in your content to explain different points you make. Don’t forget to add annotations to make the screenshots more useful.
Once you’ve published visual content on your blog, there are a couple of ways to get backlinks with it.
First, reach out to different freelance writers who regularly write for the leading sites in your niche and tell them about your resource. Writers love to use new infographics and visuals in their content.
Next, write guest posts for the leading sites in your industry and use the visuals from your blog in it. Don’t forget to link back to the source (i.e., your site).
4. Offers Useful Tools and Resources
People love to use free tools (or free versions of premium tools) and content creators love to talk about them because it gives their audience an easy way to implement their advice.
There are other superior backlink analysis tools, but since they only offer premium plans, you’d rarely read about them (unless someone’s promoting them as an affiliate).
B2B SaaS startups can get backlinks by either launching a free version of their product or offering one of its features for free.
Sometimes, a tool doesn’t even need to be from your core product to get you links.
For example, Co-Schedule is a popular marketing tool, but it has thousands of links to its free Headline Analyzer that isn’t even a part of its core features.
Similarly, Hubspot has a free blog idea generator that gets them dozens of links every month from all sorts of websites.
If your product isn’t ready yet or you don’t have any features that you can offer for free, there is another approach for you to try, one that’s worked for many B2B websites.
Offer templates, worksheets, toolkits, or any other resources that help people achieve their objectives faster.
Promote these resources in your content and guest posts, and you’ll be surprised how many sites link to them and talk about them to their audiences.
This content calendar template by Convince And Convert is a good example.
Here’s another example from outside the marketing niche.
Freshbooks is a leading invoicing tool that offers free invoice templates to attract users, subscribers, and backlinks.
As a B2B SaaS owner, take a good look at your product and try to develop a free tool or resource that you can use to spread the word.
Once you have something to offer, frequently mention it in your content and use email outreach to tell people about it.
5. Quotes Experts and Niche Authorities
If you don’t have subscribers and social media followers to run surveys or can’t offer any tools or resources for free, there’s another way for you to make your content link-worthy.
You can interview the top experts in your niche or create roundups compiling the points of view of multiple authority figures from your industry on any given topic.
To put together a successful round-up post, make sure you send a very focused and specific question to as many experts as you can because you won’t get a 100% response rate.
If you reach out to 50-60 experts, hardly 10-15 will respond, especially if your website is new and not many people know about your brand.
But take whatever comes your way and compile it into an article like the one Drip have published on their blog.
Even if you don’t conduct complete interviews or roundups, original quotes by even one or two experts are enough to make your content link-worthy.
Still, to pull it off, you’ll need to plan.
You’ll need to shortlist the experts you want to target and identify the platforms where they’re most active. These days, Twitter is a pretty good place to get answers from even the busiest of people.
For example, here’s John, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, busting a popular myth in the SEO world in response to a Tweet.
You can use the responses from such interactions in your content to make it more interesting for your readers.
And it’s easy to see why such posts get backlinks.
Quotes and opinions by industry experts carry a lot of weight, since marketers are always looking for original thoughts to feature in their content.
I’d even recommend that you make quotes a mandatory part of your content creation process. While planning a new article, reach out to a few experts for their opinion that you can include in your content.
This, along with data evidence, will make your content super high-authority and a valuable resource everyone would be happy to link to.
6. Shares Examples, Case Studies, and Success Stories
No matter how good your product is, people want to see it in action, producing results for your customers.
This is why sharing case studies and your clients’ success stories is a powerful way to attract new customers and earn high-authority backlinks.
Why do case studies and examples work so well for link building?
Original content offers proof of concept, which is something every content creator loves to talk about when discussing a new idea.
Few brands do case studies as well as Shopify.
Their blog is full of detailed accounts of how ordinary people became millionaires and brand owners by using their eCommerce platform.
They have a section dedicated to case studies, full of inspirational success stories that routinely help them bag links from top niche sites.
OptinMonster, a leading email marketing tool, uses the same approach on its site, with a dedicated case studies section that regularly features new clients.
If your customers are getting results with your product, try diving into their processes to find out how they’re doing it and what role your product plays in their success.
Still, always remember that an engaging case study or success story is never focused on your product. Instead, it outlines your customers’ journey and explains how they achieved results with your help.
To inspire others to use your product, and also earn backlinks, let your clients narrate their story in detail instead of you bragging about your features all the time.
Once you have a few case studies/success stories from your clients, mention them in your blog content/guest posts as proof of your product’s effectiveness.
7. Stirs Controversy or Challenges Conventional Wisdom
This particular strategy doesn’t work for everyone.
It’ll only get you backlinks if you’re a well-known expert in your niche or if you can produce undeniable proof of your argument.
After you meet any of those conditions, occasionally publishing controversial content that challenges the established norms of your industry will get you a lot of backlinks.
For example, TravelMath, a travel portal, got a large number of backlinks to a study in which they proved that the most popular five-star hotels are also the dirtiest.
The study generated a lot of debate and got links from several high authority sites because it challenged the long-held belief in the travel industry that five-star hotels maintain a high standard of hygiene.
Here’s another example from a different industry.
Private Blog Networks (PBN) constitute a controversial topic in the SEO industry, and most mainstream SEOs stay away from it.
Matthew Woodward, a leading blogger in the SEO niche, took this topic head-on and proved that PBNs can prove results if done the right way (by the way, I still don’t recommend them).
Since it’s a popular topic, it generated tons of debate and brought dozens of backlinks to Matthew’s site.
If you have the right data to prove your point, adding a controversial touch to your content can increase your chances of getting backlinks.
Are You Ready to Create Link-Worthy Content?
Getting links is hard, there’s no doubt about it.
But your chances of getting backlinks (both through outreach and naturally) improve significantly when your content is truly epic and has all the required ingredients to make it link-worthy.
Always remember that to attract links, a piece of content needs to offer clear value to the linking site.
The seven qualities I’ve covered in this article do precisely that, though in different ways.