What is a Linkable Asset and Why Does It Attract Links?
Ranking ahead of your competition in the search engine result pages (SERPs) has never been more important for your business than it is today. Just one or two positions lower than your largest direct competitor can mean thousands or even millions of dollars in lost revenue per year.
A recent study from backlink.co found that the number of domains linking to a page correlated with rankings more than any other factor. Keeping this in mind, growing a site’s backlink profile should be a top priority for any business that depends on website visits for generating revenue.
There are many link development strategies that agencies use to grow their clients’ backlink profile. However, if you aren’t working with an agency that pushes to create strong, linkable assets on your website, you probably won’t be very successful in growing your backlink profile in the long run.Just one or two positions lower than your largest direct competitor can mean millions of dollars in lost revenue. Click To Tweet
What is a linkable asset?
A linkable asset is an exceptional piece of content that’s likely to acquire links. Linkable assets traditionally share the following characteristics:
- Non-Promotional: The most important part about creating a linkable asset is to keep it audience-focused and not brand-focused. Webmasters are much less receptive to the idea of putting a link on their site if there is a lot of branding on the content.
- In-depth: Creating long-form assets that are well researched, in depth, and cover a specific topic is great for earning links. The findings from a study by Moz and BuzzSumo supported that content receives more shares and links if the content is 1000+ words. There is no “magic” word count number, but the data leans towards long-form content being beneficial for both links, shares and rankings.
- Useful: If visitors can take something away from your website and put it to use, then they are far more likely to share and link to that content. Great examples of this type of content are checklists, white papers, free guides, infographics, templates and other practical content forms.
Why are linkable assets important?
At Vertical Measures, we work with clients in a wide range of industries. When our link development department first engages with a new client, we always push to start the engagement off with a link strategy. This linking strategy helps inform us about our client’s brand, their competitors and the industry that they’re in.
90% of the time, our strategies identify that clients don’t have the necessary assets to improve their backlink profiles at a satisfactory rate. And, if they’re not willing to create new linkable assets, they will have very few links pointed towards their site for anything besides their homepage.
Why are linkable assets important? There are only so many link development tactics you can benefit from without them. When those initial linking opportunities run out, odds are, you won’t be able to grow your site’s backlink profile.
If the competitors have great linkable assets on their site and leverage them correctly, they’re most likely crushing you in the SERPs.
What are the different types of linkable assets?
Linkable assets can be created in an infinite amount of ways. The most common, and often the most effective method, is simply creating a blog with in-depth articles about your industry. Start with the most common questions you receive from your customers and answer that question with as much detail and valuable information as you can.
In 2009, Marcus Sheridan of River Pools, created a piece of content titled, “How Much Does a Fiber Glass Pool Cost?”. Marcus does an excellent job running through the process of installing a fiber glass pool with all the different options that will change the overall cost.
With Marcus Sheridan’s experience with building pools, the article itself probably didn’t take much longer than a couple hours to create and post on his site. However, to date, this single post has attracted almost 300 backlinks and Sheridan attributes the post to over $2 million in sales alone. The post also launched Marcus Sheridan into a successful career as a content marketing guru and speaker in high-demand.
As Marcus Sheridan proved, a blog is the best place to start for creating linkable assets. However, there are many different types of assets you can create, some being more effective than others depending on the industry you are in.
What are the most effective types of linkable assets?
Resource centers are a great way to attract links if they are well maintained and provide users with a lot of great information about the industry you’re in. If you are an industry expert, they should take a relatively short amount of time to put together. Just think, “What are the most valuable pieces of information across the internet for my customers?”
- Time Investment: Medium to high
- Cost: Low
If your business is diligent about collecting and analyzing data, a case study might be the right type of linkable asset to create. Case studies are effective in showing those in your industry that you are subject matter experts that make calculated decisions for business success.
- Time Investment: Medium to high
- Cost: Low
Infographics are a great way to visually share information and webmasters are typically receptive to the idea of posting on their site if they deem it valuable for their visitors. In 2011, VM’s very own Dan Dannenburg created an infographic titled, “The Authority Building Machine”. Since its launch, the infographic has generated 56 total links without ever being promoted by our link development team. While the initial investment tends to be slightly higher with infographics, their long-term payoff will typically justify the cost.
- Time investment: Low (if you aren’t designing the graphic)
- Cost: Medium to high
Scholarship pages are one of the most effective ways to acquire high-quality links for one reason: Educational websites love to post scholarship related content.
What does this mean for you? Multiple .edu sites with high domain authority, linking to your site.
We recently conducted a link development strategy for one of our clients in the weight loss industry. At the start of our preliminary research, we identified a weight loss website that created a scholarship titled, “The Future of Bariatric Surgery Scholarship”, that offers $1,000 to students that are interested in entering the field of bariatrics. The page is very simple, yet it has attracted 172 backlinks, 73 of which are from high-quality .edu sites.
- Time investment: Low to medium
- Cost: Medium to high
Interactive content can be a great linkable asset for acquiring links. However, between ideation, creation and leveraging, it can be a time consuming and costly piece of content to launch. If the interactive content is created well, it can be an excellent way to drive qualified traffic to your site, often converting into leads. The New York Times launched an interactive quiz in 2013, titled, “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk”. This very simple piece of content has attracted almost 600 links to their site.
- Time investment: Medium
- Cost: Medium to high
While the assets listed above are most common, there are other options to choose from. When we conduct our link strategy at Vertical Measures, we use the following checklist to identify existing assets as well as opportunities for linkable asset creation.
How much does it cost to create a linkable asset?
Just as Marcus Sheridan couldn’t place a final number on the cost of installing a fiber glass pool, we too cannot place an exact figure for how much it costs to create a linkable asset because of all the factors involved.Every agency should take proper steps to ensure linkable content will work in the specified industry. Click To Tweet
It mostly depends on who is taking charge of the ideation and creation, the type of asset you are creating, and the industry you are in. If you have a subject matter expert on your team that can write and has limited knowledge of WordPress, the cost could be next to nothing. However, if you’re in a competitive industry where your competition is creating link assets that are in-depth and ahead of the curve, they will take a considerable investment to not only create, but leverage and promote.
Before you ever engage with a digital marketing agency to create content, make sure that they are taking the proper steps to ensure that the content they’re proposing will work in your industry. If the agency you choose haphazardly proposes different types of content to create, they likely aren’t doing their homework and the link asset will likely not be effective.
How long are link assets useful?
Seriously! Once you’ve created a solid link asset – in the words of Mr. Wonderful – it can live on your site in “perpetuity”. We recommend creating “evergreen” link assets that won’t need to be revisited. However, it’s always a good idea to continually create new, fresh assets, on different topics that you can leverage to different sites. Think outside the box and you will be rewarded for all your hard work!
Need more help?
Wondering how you can leverage that awesome linkable asset? Read our post, “How to Leverage a Linkable Asset” and follow the three basic principles. You’ll be capitalizing on your content in no time!
Want to Create Visual Content that Attracts Links?
Work with our creative content team to design stand-out infographics, videos, whitepapers, and content visualization pages that attract traffics, links, and leads.
About Billy Adams
Billy Adams started his career in 2011 working for a marketing agency in Boston, MA where he worked closely with clients such as Toyota, Verizon and UMASS Football. Since joining the Vertical Measures team in 2015, Billy has moved from a Link Development Specialist to SEO Specialist and now heads up the entire Link Development side of the business.