How to Create & Use Data-Driven Content for Link Building

Sounds technical, but Data-Driven content for link building is so powerful, because it’s simply creating content that people actually want to link to.

Data-Driven Content for Link Building


Despite being one of the top two factors when it comes to influencing Google SERP rankings, link-building is still an underutilized SEO tactic. 


That’s too bad, because not only is link-building important for SEO, but it can provide a number of other benefits too if used correctly.

In fact, the nr #1 result in Google typically has 3.8x more backlinks than the #2 – #10 results.


There are many link-building strategies out there, but today we want to focus on one specific one: link building using data-driven content. This type of content has a number of characteristics that make it especially valuable for link-building efforts – if used correctly.


So, let’s see how you can maximize your link-building campaign using data-driven content.

What is Link Building? Why is it Important?

So, what exactly is link building? And, why should it form part of your marketing strategy?


First of all, the act of link building is when you earn links to your content from external sources, such as websites or blogs. In SEO-speak, links from external sources are called “backlinks.”


You can think of backlinks to your site as the internet’s equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing. In this way, link building is a trust signal used by search engines to evaluate the probable quality and relevance of your content.


Google will take a few factors into consideration when evaluating what rank to award you as a result of incoming links:

  • How relevant is the content/topic of the linking website(s) to yours
  • The domain authority, traffic, and ranking of the linking website(s)
  • The variety and number of websites linking to your content


In short, if your content is good enough for others, particularly other highly ranked websites, it must be good enough for your visitors as well.


SERP rankings aside, link-building offers a number of other benefits as well:

  • Funnel more traffic to your website, especially traffic from relevant sources. 
  • For sales or product pages, this increases the likelihood that you’ll get visits from visitors who are more likely to be converted or for lead capture.
  • Building your brand awareness, industry authority, and reaching new platforms/audiences
  • Build industry relationships that will open up future opportunities

How to Create Linkable Data-driven Content

By keeping this tips in mind when developing your next data-driven content piece, you’ll be able to take full advantage of your link-building opportunities:

Do Your Research

Before you jump into creating your linkable data-driven content, you should first do your due diligence. That means establishing:

  • What are the current trends? What are people interested in right now?
  • What are your competitors doing? How can you learn and distinguish yourself from them?
  • Where will you publish/market your content?
  • What resources or data do you have available to create the content from?


By answering these questions, you’ll be able to map out the scope for your project. You’ll also be able to identify an appropriate and trending topic that’s more likely to capitalize on the existing interest of your peers and internet users.


Finally, by analyzing your competitors, you might not only gain some inspiration but can also find ways to improve on what’s already out there or to create something unique that no one else has. All of this will help set you up for more link-building success.


Link-building services like this one here can help you conduct a successful competitor analysis in order to identify the top opportunities in your industry.

Collect Meaningful Data

Sure, you can simply search the web for interesting facts and statistics and, using the Skyscraper, create the biggest and baddest form of long-form content out there.


However, remember that any internet user can effectively do the same. What will make your content stand out and be more “linkable” is being in a position to provide unique, actionable, real-world data. Instead of finding sources, BE the source.


This might be easier to do than you might think. If you already have a mailing list, you can blast out a simple questionnaire to answer a few simple questions.


If you work in a company or team, you can ask some of your peers or gather information from one of your real-life projects. If you have more time and a bigger budget, you can even conduct sit-in interviews or do guerilla testing by hitting your local co-working joints.


Getting creative will help you be able to produce a more interesting data-driven piece that will stand out.

When in Doubt, Go Long

A content study by Backlinko showed that the longer your content is, the more links it encourages. In fact, content over 3,000 words received on average 77.6% more links than content under 1,000 words.


Other studies have also shown that longer content tends to get higher SERP rankings with the average result on the first page of Google results being 1,447 words.


It may be because longer content may appear more authoritative or is more attractive because it provides more information on a given topic in a single place.


While no one knows exactly why this is, it’s clear that long-form content is the way to go for link acquisition and search rankings in general. 

Pick the Right Format

There’s a common misconception that a listicle with hundreds of bullet points with statistics and facts is the only way to create data-driven content. However, that’s simply not the case.


In fact, there are five main ways in which you can present data-driven content:

  • Case studies
  • Interviews
  • Infographics
  • Whitepapers
  • Public relations


Sure, many of these will be harder to generate. For example, you may need to create your own case study based on a real-world project you or your company undertook or conduct your own interviews with consumers or industry experts.


However, going this route will also provide a number of benefits:

  • The content will be more authoritative as it’s not just based on easily “Google-able” facts
  • You will be able to bring something unique to the table that none of your competitors have
  • You will get more links from relevant and authoritative sources


Listicles have the distinct advantage of being one of the most “shareable” formats on social media, so keep that in mind. However, one of these alternative options can help you create something more interesting and valuable.

It Doesn’t End There

We wish that we could tell you that by just following these steps, you’ll reach link-building success. However, the truth is that 94% of all content doesn’t generate any external links.


This is not always because the content is low quality, irrelevant, or uninteresting. A lot of the time, it comes down to content creators not actively promoting their content but expecting it to be found naturally. 


Unless you already have a widely known brand with a huge following, you can’t rely on your reputation alone to generate links. Instead, you’ll need to strategize and formulate an outreach campaign to publishers, industry authorities, or influencers to help spread the word and create a foundation of high-quality links to your content.


However, as Google says, “content is king” and it all starts with creating linkable unique, relevant, and valuable data-driven content.