Will This Get Links? – How to Determine Viability Before Investing in Content

It is one question that we get asked time and time again. It is a completely justified one because frankly people want to know that they will be getting value from investing in the content creation. Furthermore, will this piece attract links passively over time?

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The sweet-spot is targeting a keyword that is:

  1. Top of funnel (and may bring in qualified traffic over time thereby making the pursuit of the ranking commercially viable)
  2. Has scope for outreach
  3. And will passively attract links over time.

We can’t ever say for certain whether something will actually get links but what we can do is determine whether there is business potential, scope for outreach and possibility of passive link attraction which can at least justify the investment.

Let’s look at how you can assess each of these factors:

Commercial viability?

Conducting outreach to secure links to a landing page with nothing but commercial intent is close to impossible.

I’ve mentioned this before but when you are earning placements through merit rather than manipulation it is vital that you put yourself in the shoes of the person you are contacting and objectively consider whether there is a reason to link to the piece of content you are suggesting.

Whilst there is merit in creating purely informational content (where outreach friction tends to be lower) as a way of supporting your overall domain authority, the closer we can get to your funnel with the content the better.

The way we work at Skyrocket is to start with your “money pages” (the ones that drive business results e.g. lead form, product page) and gradually zoom out from there.

You will have intimate knowledge of the problems your customers are facing and if you lift your head up from the day to day grind you’ll likely be able to identify numerous informational content opportunities that sit just a few steps from conversion but are close enough to be considered top of funnel.

A good example of this would be an online school that offers web development and programming courses. Their goal is to sell access and get bums on seats but the problem is that there are plenty of companies out there offering this kind of education. Conducting outreach to promote a course information page may yield some links but it is unlikely to be big volumes. If we zoom out from this day to day focus for a second we can see that one problem potential students are likely to face is which programming language to learn. By producing a piece of content that provides a quick overview of the programming languages, their potential applications and future career prospects we are creating a top of funnel piece that is incredibly useful to students and is therefore likely to be considered linkworthy during outreach. That’s a true story by the way 🙂

Scope for Outreach?

You can use Google to determine whether the content that currently ranks attracts links. Just Google the phrase and related phrases then plug the content into Ahrefs, Majestic or your preferred backlink explorer.

You need to initially determine whether the pages that rank get links and then consider the context so have these pages attracted links serendipitously or could this be replicated?

To do this, look at some of the pages that link to the content. In what context was the link given?

A fair qualifier of context is the extent to which the link itself is the focus. So as to say, without the link would that page still exist? If the answer is no then there is likely to be good scope for outreach as there is a reasonable chance that there was some kind of proactive outreach which led to that piece of coverage. For example, a write up of an infographic where the visual is the main focus of the coverage likely resulted from proactive outreach. This likely suggests outreach scope in the market.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a link may have been included within a broader piece to add some additional information or context to an argument the writer was making. This may mean it is less likely you’ll be able to replicate that kind of coverage.

This isn’t binary, if the focus isn’t the link then it doesn’t automatically rule out outreach in the market. Talk to us if you’re unsure.

Filthy Linking Rich?

I’ve long been a proponent for targeting prospects when they are most receptive using a technique I call “the moment” where you attempt to engage with people who will link at the point they are doing research and collating resources to link to.

Many of you will be familiar with Robert T. Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad – it’s worth a read if you haven’t. The premise of the book is that the rich don’t work for money but rather have money work for them, Robert explains he effectively had two dads growing up (one actually being his friend’s dad); one who died a multi-millionaire, and one who died broke despite having had a decent job and a good education. Long story short, you get rich (and subsequently richer) by thinking differently than everyone else.

There are comparisons that can be drawn between what the book is talking about and most things in our daily lives; the fit get fitter, the rich get richer, bestsellers sell better and so on and so forth. When it comes to SEO, it’s no different.

In fact Mike Grehan wrote a paper which discussed this concept specifically in relation to links and search engines. He highlighted; “…how great the bias is for high ranking pages which are fundamentally ordered on link based algorithms, to attract more links.”

In essence, those pages that rank prominently strengthen their lead naturally because they attract more links as a result of ranking at the top. This is how smart marketers can turn some links into more links.

You are ultimately looking to identify queries that are underserved. Picture yourself in the shoes of both a potential customer and a fellow content creator. Do you feel you can find what you are looking for with the current results that are returned on query X or Y? If not, why not? And how can your planned asset fill that gap? If you can reach both of those types of users then once you’ve given the asset that little initial nudge, the content itself pays its own way for life.

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