How can you make your content link-worthy? Per my previous post, Link Building – Should I Do it?, you need to make sure your content has one, two or (ideally) all of the following attributes:

  • Unique
  • Well organized
  • Viral
  • Timely
  • Resourceful
  • Outside the box

For the sake of structure let’s hammer these out one by one:

Unique Content

Unique content is the cornerstone to a link-worthy website. Content in this case does not have to be limited to words; it can be images, video, diagrams or documentation. What they all have in common is that no one else has them (or you were the first to have them or display them in a special way). You can find some great examples of sites with unique content if you read some popular blogs. Blogs can be text or video based, they can be dominated by images or be comprised of small written accounts of daily happenings. Blogs can help establish you as a thought leader in your field by answering questions, voicing your opinion or by simply aggregating the most important content.

A collection of my favorite sites for unique content:

http://www.seomoz.org/blog – professional

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ – business

http://theoatmeal.com/ – entertainment

(look at how link-worthy these sites are, they each received one link from me!)

Well-Organized Content

Well-organized content is also comprehensive. Organized sites that offer comprehensive information are linked to frequently because they are great resources. One of the best examples of this is www.imdb.com (Internet Movie Data Base). IMDB makes it extremely easy to quickly find all things relating to movies or actors. They offer movie trailers, photos of the movie, photos of the actors and actor filmographies. Visitors can view an actor’s entire body of work or filter an actor’s body of work by producer, director or writer, making this a true resource.

Practical application: Let’s say your industry has a catalog or documentation that is difficult to find because it’s scattered, incomplete or just plain bad. You may be able to create link-worthy content by aggregating it on your site and organizing it in a way that is convenient for your visitors. Now that would be a good resource. To make it a great resource that would surely get links, put it in an organized format that is easy to navigate but also make it better by adding images, how-to videos and links to other resources. Is that going to be a lot of work? Yes. But it’s worth it.

Here are a couple examples of organized and comprehensive sites:

www.hulu.com

www.webmd.com

Viral Content

Viral content is content that becomes popular through social sharing. This is probably the most difficult (but coveted) type of content to cultivate because you can’t predict what will go viral. And in many cases your content is just not conducive to being viral. Most viral content is in the form of entertaining videos or images, making it very difficult for non-consumer companies to excel at this. And no, I wouldn’t recommend going to your boss with an idea for a viral video that involves a cute cuddly cat and ball of yarn (unless your boss is someone who really like cats). The fact of the matter is that viral content is not a great linking strategy because there is no formula for success.

But when you hit that magical bullseye at the cross-section of timely, unique and just plain awesome, there is no strategy that can beat it.

Some examples of viral content:

T-Mobile – Life is for Sharing

Coca-Cola – The Happiness Machine

Timely Content

The early bird gets the worm with timely content so keep your ears open with Google Alerts, social media mentions, industry publications, etc. Usually the first source that breaks the story will get the links (that is of course if that source is reputable – discussion for another day).

Here are examples of timely sites that get linked to:

www.cnn.com

www.nbcnews.com

www.seomoz.org

www.perezhilton.com

Resourceful Content

This type of content can be included in the well organized section, but there are other types of resources that are neither organized nor comprehensive. Online tools are extremely resourceful and happen to be very link-worthy content. For example, one tool that I use daily as an SEO is the Link Research & Analysis tool that gives insight into a website’s linkscape. Other tools include online calculators for niche industries, research tools or simple reference pages. One very simple reference that I used a lot when I was designing email campaigns was an RGB color chart. It’s simple but offers the information I need quickly whether I need to look up a color or find a new one.

Here are some other great resources that get links:

http://oracleofbacon.org

http://goproconstruction.com/helper2.html

Outside-the-Box Content

This type of content can be pretty much anything that draws attention. It doesn’t have to be useful, improve the user experience or timely. Outside-the-box content is in line with viral content in that you don’t know what people will find viral or outside the box. I also don’t recommend this as an effective link-building technique because these strategies don’t usually have legs. They are extremely short-lived. If you plan to use an outside-the-box strategy, I recommend you pair it with another, more useful content attribute such as timely or resourceful. These strategies usually come in the form of crazy web design, wacky graphics, or videos covering topics not normally associated with the particular industry.

Here are some outside-the-box sites that get links:

http://taggalaxy.de/

http://www.dodgedartregistry.com/

Creating dynamic, link-worthy content, even though it takes time, is the most effective form of link-building you can engage in. If it meets one of the criteria listed above, great. Better yet if it achieves a cross-section of two or more.

Do you have any examples of link-worthy content? Share them in the comments section!

Keith-G+-ImageKeith Mayer is the Director of Search Engine Marketing at Dynamics Online.
You can reach him by calling (216) 292-4410.