I originally published this post on 08/15/2012 on my friends’ site CopyPress.com. They are no longer using it, so I have brought it back to life here. Enjoy!
So we have all heard time and time again, “to attract backlinks you need to build great content“. But very few actually talk about what good content looks like. That’s because good content can come in many different forms. But bad content (that doesn’t attract links) usually follows some of the same patterns. Below are 10 reasons why your content might not be attracting links.
1) Bad Title
A bad title is often times the first barrier to attracting links. The title pulls the audience in and makes them want to learn more. Without a good title most users won’t even click. Also good titles can set the tone for the rest of the content and define what type of back links you want. For example if you are looking for the term “tennis shoes” to be used as anchor text in back links, you better make sure to include it in your title. People that link out pull from the original content for ideas when linking, so include all the right terms in a snappy title to attract the right links.
2) Bad Design
I know you are probably confused with this one, but the truth is, pages that have bad designs or poor user experiences attract less links. People usually only link to pages that have an established sense of authenticity or trust. Bad designs destroy a user’s trust. User interfaces that have clean white space and well-formed navigation tend to attract more links.
3) No Hook
How do you pull a fish out of the water? You use a hook. You can also use hooks to pull in links. A hook is anything that peaks a readers interested to learn more and share it with their audience. This can be talking about a new idea, taking a controversial stance, or telling a good story. Either way without a hook most won’t link out.
4) No Point of Difference
So you wrote a post about iPhone apps for real estate? Awesome! The only problem is that so did everyone else. If you want your content to attract links you need to make sure there is a clear point of difference. This means offer something that no one else does. An example would be for this iPhone real estate post would be to ask a handful of successful real estate agents their favorite iPhone apps, compile their responses into an interview style post. Now when someone is looking for a post about iPhone apps for real estate, they are likely to choose yours because it’s different.
5) Too Long
We now live in a world of 140 characters and text messaging. Unfortunately, our attention spans are dwindling and as a result it is incredibly hard to attract links to content that is overly long. Now, don’t get me wrong if it’s well organized and all really good quality, then long content can attract links. But if you have little to say then brevity is key.
6) No Social Traction
“If you build it, they will come.” No, you aren’t Kevin Costner standing in a corn field! And because of that you need to start driving traffic at your content if you want links. Having great content alone won’t build links, you need to also make sure it has traction in social media to get it in front of the right people. Otherwise it will sit on your blog unread, and invisible to those that link out.
7) No Unique Voice
If you have ever read anything by, or spoken to Lisa Barone, you know she has a unique voice in her writing, and her speaking. This unique voice is in part the secret to Lisa’s success. Her ability to write in a way like no one else captivates her audience, and builds a brand that people regularly link to. When creating content, if you can sustain a familiar “voice” coupled with high quality, readers are more likely to link to your content because you have built a familiar trust.
8) Bad Topic
Do you know how many people are talking about Doctor Who online? A Lot! And how many are talking about “Cat Organs“? Not very many people at all. Therefore, you would have a much better chance attracting links with a post about Doctor Who, then a post about a creepy instrument made out of cats.
9) Not Engaging
Which post do you think would get more links: “Joe Hall Eats 23 Hot Dogs in One Day” or “How To Eat 23 Hot Dogs In One Day”? Unless you know me personally, then you are likely not going to care very much about reading the first blog post. But the second post is engaging because it teaches the reader how to do something. Engagement is all about making your content personal. Talking about yourself or your company doesn’t engage anyone. Engagement = More Links.
10) Not Focused
Have you ever read a blog post title that reads like a random list of words? For example, “What Skittles, The IRS, Katy Perry, and Jazz Music, Taught Me About Breast Feeding”. Seriously? If your content reads like a free flow of your inner thoughts no one is going to link to it and very few are going to read it. Content that gets linked to is focused on one, or two topics.
One last final point that needs to be remembered: If you are writing content to attract links, focus on giving bloggers a reason to link to you. If you can zero-in on a specific reason, and leverage it correctly, then building links should be easy.