Marketing October 2, 2018 Last updated September 29th, 2018 2,304 Reads share

3 Examples of Why Data-Driven Content Is the Holy Grail of Link Building for SEO

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The phrase “content is king” has built up a strong association with content marketing and SEO throughout recent years in a post-Penguin era.  The logic behind this statement is that a higher calibre of online content created in the most appropriate format- whether it’s an e-book, infographic, landing page or PR story – and with users’ best interests at heart is a healthier approach to adopt to SEO gains.

I’d like to take “content is king” one step further based on my own experience working within the SEO industry. I’m going to explain how high calibre content can lead to achieving better rankings and online visibility using three examples of under-utilised content formats.

The three examples all share one common characteristic: they are data-driven.

  • Interactive calculators
  • Comparison charts and tables
  • Maps

Why should SEOs and content marketers care about data-driven content? Because data lends itself to newsworthy stories. News publications – such as New York Times, Guardian, Mashable – are the holy grail of link building because not only do they wield the highest domain rating of all website types, but they can open the floodgates to insane traffic and user engagement via on-page backlinks.

Google views these actions as a vote of confidence and factors for ranking in SERPs. So content may well be king, but in this context it’s nothing without a hard news angle.

Let’s take a look at how brands are successfully executing our three-chosen data-driven content formats:

1. Interactive calculators

Yo Tipster! – Fight Gain$ Calculator

Link building to top tier media in a niche industry is no walk in the park. The field of contact targets is narrower than mainstream news due to the limitations of the publications covering topics and the number of reporters looking for stories.

That didn’t faze fight sports news website Yo Tipster!, the brand behind the Fight Gain$ Calculator. This crafty interactive tool calculates how long it takes the best pad athletes and personalties in boxing and UFC to earn the wage of the average person on the street.

Success arrived in the form of a catalogue of coverage and backlinks from fights sports websites, forums and threads within social platforms, such as Reddit, the front page of the Internet. Consequently, the Fight Gain$ Calculator is also ranking for a umber of broad keywords relating to this content theme.

Source: Yo Tipster!

Missy Empire – Who run the world?

Timely content is key to pitching in a story to influencers within the online media space. Miss the boat and your content may never make the headlines; get ahead of the curve and you’re one step away from creating a viral effect, as seen with Who Runs the World by Missy Empire.

This international fashion brand played to the interests of reports and journalists leading up to International Women’s Day by producing a calculator that highlights famous women in a “power couple” relationship who earn more than their partner. This tool is interactive in that you can explore the salary chasms of up to six well-known couples.

As expected, a host of online lifestyle magazines and national news websites ran wild with this story. Missy Empire reported that this landing page accrued over 100 backlinks (and counting). And furthermore, you can anticipate this content piece to be doing the rounds on International Women’s Day for many years to come.

Source: Missy Empire

Hillarys – Sleep calculator

Another key takeaway for brands behind content marketing campaigns is: give back something of value, help the user improve their life through insightful messaging. Hillarys spearheaded the Lost Sleep Calculator to remind newbie parents of the relationship between caring for their bay during the night and going without sleep.

This tool from Hillarys struck a chord with a wide brood of mummy bloggers and parenting pages within online news publications who all reported on the statistics based on hours of sleep lost. If the execution of the content is simple enough to speak for itself, like in this case, then it eases the burden of the influencer and media pitching process.

Source: Hillarys


2. Maps

Treated – London Underground Calorie Map

Back in 2015 online health website used content to capitalise on a forthcoming London catastrophe, in the way of a pending city transport strike. As more news about the strike came to light, a greater sense of panic ensued. As an authority on healthy lifestyle choices, took it upon themselves to offer a radical solution to the problem: design a London tube map that charts the number of calories burned and steps taken for the exact same routes on all major London Underground Lines.  The pay-off for the consumer being that if you can’t get to work by train, go by foot and see what a positive impact it can have on your well-being.

UK news papers lapped up the story and this map found it’s way into every major online news portal, earning a sizeable number of backlinks and traffic that raised the profile and SEO rankings for the brand. As a follow-up, then launched US and European versions of the calorie map to run as a series and gain further momentum for its link building strategy worldwide. It was a shrewd move that any agency operating on an international level can mimic to broaden it’s net of opportunities.


Credit Card Compare – Literal Map of the World

The most recently published content piece within this selection is the Literal Map of the World, created by Credit Card Compare. What’s fascinating about this inclusion is the visual representation of brand in a rather dull and corporate industry as a colourful and highly stimulating work of art. It’s a strategy masterstroke, and one that the client should be rewarded for on signing off on.  Here is evidence of what happens when a content marketing agency is entrusted to develop a concept that has viral appeal.

The Literal Map of the World is self-explanatory. It answers the question: what do the names of countries translate to in their native language. Depth of research combined with an artistic design proved to be a winning combination for this outcome. The content piece flooded the Internet within a week and reaped coverage not only in travel and lifestyle pages of online news portals, but within esteemed travel magazine sites alike. This media buzz will no doubt have a clear knock-on effect on the rankings for the brand for months to come.

Source: Credit Card Compare

3. Comparison charts

Indago Digital – Periodic Table of Link Building

Online marketing agency Indago Digital used content as a vehicle for educating it’s audience on the power of one of it’s main services within SEO, link building. Many brands try to walk this path but end up repeating the same information that already exists on the web. And that doesn’t make for a newsworthy angle. So what did Indago do differently?

By modelling its concept on an idea called the Periodic Table of SEO – a famous industry reference tool – Indago rewrote the guide by including each link building tactic that had come to their attention throughout existence. Each strategy was labelled as a tactic and given an opportunity score from -1 to +2. This system allowed the brand to teach content and SEO specialists what methods to avoid and where to focus more of their time. The outcome saw Indago’s table rank on the second page of Google for “link building” on account of high traffic volume and coverage via gust posting.

Source: Indago Digital

Robert Half – CEO Tracker

Want to become the next CEO of your company? Check out recruitment specialist Robert Half’s guide to the DNA of a CEO and see if you have what it takes. This content piece is a classic example of utilising enormous realms of data and presenting the insights that paint a clear and simple picture for the reader to take value from. The CEO Tracker compares the backgrounds and lifestyles of current CEO’s in Australia to highlight the most common qualities, characteristics, credentials and traits that a captain of industry can be defined by.

By running a mass comparison Robert Half produced an endless list of potential news angles for reporters to run with. National newspapers – who know of and have relationships with – the companies referenced with Robert Half’s data were more than willing to publish their own interpretation of these insights. As stated above, multiple pieces of coverage sparks mass engagement.

Source: Robert Half

GoCompare – Director’s Cut

Link building for life insurance sounds like a hard sell. What brand could hope for more than 100 referring domains and over 25,000 sessions to a landing page about death? GoCompare made a play for an evergreen topic to bridge the gap between this sombre industry and mass consumer appeal. It chose to author a comparison for the movies which included the most deaths from opening scene to end credits and portrayed this information as a death tool. The unique data-driven content piece gives the user full control to switch between movie genres, movie year, and explore the research behind it.

Director’s Cut turned the heads of all the right influencers, including the likes of Guardian, Mail Online, Mashable and many more. Suffice to say, immence traffic and backlinks helped the brand to raise it’s online visibility and strengthen it’s position for life insurance related keywords in SERPs.

Source: GoCompare

Tom Willis

Tom Willis

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