Linkable vs. Shareable Content: What You Need To Know
February 16, 2022
Publishing content is important for SEO and lead generation. Each piece of content you publish can rank in the search results and drive more organic traffic to your site.
However, there’s an important distinction between two types of content — linkable and shareable content. Understanding the differences will help you craft a more effective content strategy.
In this article, we’ll explain what linkable and shareable content are and provide examples for each. We’ll also look at the factors that distinguish these types of content.
What is linkable content?
Linkable content is content that you create with the intention of attracting backlinks. Some examples include in-depth guides, original research, and free tools.
When you create something of value, others are more likely to link to it. This is essential because backlinks from other websites are one of the most important ranking factors for Google.
In fact, one study found a strong correlation between the number of backlinks a site has and its rankings.
Pages in the first result had 3.8 times more backlinks than pages in the lower positions. While Google considers hundreds of different factors in its algorithm, backlinks continue to strongly impact rankings.
However, building backlinks isn’t always easy.
The study above found that 95% of all pages have no backlinks. Other websites won’t just link back to yours unless they have a strong reason to.
Creating linkable content can help you attract more backlinks, which can boost your rankings and drive more organic traffic to your site.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can just create a guide and expect backlinks to start rolling in. You’ll still need to promote your content to spread the word. You’ll just find this to be easier when you create something linkable.
Types of linkable content
An ultimate guide isn’t like your typical blog post. These are resources that provide an in-depth overview of a topic and cover practically everything that someone would want to know.
This guide that answers the question “what is an enterprise data warehouse?” is a prime example of linkable content. It’s clear and written in a way that everyone can understand.
The guide covers everything that a visitor would want to know about data warehouses, including what they are, why someone would need one, how to evaluate one, and more. It’s exactly the kind of resource that others would link to.
Creating comprehensive guides is a painstakingly long process, but it can help you generate quality backlinks when done right.
Content creators are always looking for resources to support their views. You’ll have an easier time proving a point if there’s data to support it.
Publishing original research is an effective way to attract links. When you publish data, you create a resource that others can use and reference in their own content.
This report on the State of Backlinks for SEO is an example of original research. It compiles data from over 800 marketing experts and includes quality graphics that can help readers understand it.
Just look at the number of backlinks it has:
Publishing original research is extremely effective for generating backlinks, but it can also take a long time to create. You’ll need to collect raw data, conduct an analysis, and put together a cohesive report. The entire process can easily take weeks or even months.
Long-form content is great for generating quality backlinks. These types of articles typically range from 1,000 to 2,000 words or more.
HubSpot found a correlation between word count and backlinks.
Articles over 2,500 words earned the most links, while articles from 249 to 499 words and 500 to 749 words earned the fewest.
Of course, just writing articles that are over 2,500 words provides no guarantee that you’ll attract backlinks. You still need to bring value to your visitors.
Take this article about predictive lead scoring as a great example. It does a great job at helping visitors learn more about lead scoring, including what it is, how it works, and more.
Aim to be as comprehensive as you can when creating long-form content.
Infographics use engaging visuals to break down complex information.
Creating these types of content can help you attract a ton of backlinks. What’s more, visuals like infographics are easy to share on social platforms and tend to get high levels of engagement.
Check out this infographic on meal delivery trends:
It provides a visual breakdown of what people are spending monthly on groceries and takeout. This infographic takes complex information and makes it easy to digest.
Even if you don’t have any design experience, you can use tools like Canva or Piktochart to create engaging infographics for your website.
Resources like tools, checklists, and templates have the potential to attract a ton of backlinks because you’re providing something of value.
Here’s an example of an online tool that allows visitors to calculate air and sea freight costs:
This freight calculator has almost 1,500 backlinks, according to Ahrefs. The page also ranks on the first page of Google for the keyword “freight calculator.”
It’s worth mentioning that creating resources often requires a significant investment. You may need to hire a developer to build a tool for your site. But these resources can be valuable parts of your link building strategy when done right.
What makes content linkable?
So far, we’ve looked at different types of content that can help you attract backlinks. But what makes them more linkable than others?
Linkable content has one or more of the following characteristics.
Evergreen content typically revolves around topics that have sustained levels of interest. In other words, it never goes “out of date” as there are always people interested in it.
This article on what makes a great logo is a good example. It covers a topic that’s always relevant. Countless people start a business each year, which means they’ll need a new logo.
So how can you tell if a topic is evergreen? One way is to use Google Trends, which shows interest over time based on search volume.
The following chart shows search volume for the term “strength training” over a five year period:
The keyword has a fairly consistent level of interest throughout the year, so it would be a good example of an evergreen topic.
Another key component of linkable content is its educational value. This is why content like ultimate guides and long-form articles are practically magnets for backlinks.
Even product reviews can be educational. For example, this Credit Saint review helps people learn more about credit repair services and how they work.
If you publish mediocre content, it’ll have difficulty attracting links. You can increase your chances of building a linkable asset by improving its educational value.
Presentation is key. Even if you create an ultimate guide or helpful resource, you’ll have a hard time attracting links if they’re poorly designed.
Whether you’re creating an ultimate guide, infographic, or resource, it’s worth investing in a sleek and professional design.
What is shareable content?
As the name suggests, shareable content is any type of content that gets shared through email, messaging apps, and social networks like Facebook and Instagram.
An online quiz that tells you which character you are from a popular TV show would be a great example of this. While they sound silly, they also have the potential to spread like wildfire.
It’s worth noting that there’s some overlap between linkable and shareable content — linkable content like infographics can go viral on Facebook, and shareable content like listicles can attract a ton of backlinks.
However, one of the key metrics you’re focusing on with shareable content is social engagement or shares. The distinction is important depending on your marketing goals.
For example, if you’re a B2C business, you might use social media to raise brand awareness. In this case, creating shareable content can increase your reach. But if you’re a B2B business with a more complex product, creating linkable content may be a better investment.
Types of shareable content
Just as certain types of content naturally attract backlinks, the same is also true for shareable content. Let’s take a look.
Quizzes offer a fun and interactive way to pass the time. Spend just a short time on Facebook, and there’s a good chance you’ll see them in your feed.
According to SharedCount, this quiz from BuzzFeed has been shared over 300 times on Facebook and has over 1,000 comments:
The quiz asks you to check a list of celebrities you recognize, and it will guess your age based on your selections. You can then share your results to your Facebook or Twitter page.
Quizzes are an excellent addition to any social media strategy. They’re also fairly easy to create with tools like Qzzr.
Listicles are articles written in list format. Each heading includes a short description or a few paragraphs underneath.
Each heading includes the title and singer of a song, along with a video and short description. This is exactly the type of content that gets shared on Facebook.
Controversial articles tend to get a lot of attention because they trigger emotional responses. These reactions (for better or worse) result in many shares.
The contributors take a hard stance on a controversial topic and explain why. This article has been shared over 2,000 times on Facebook and has over 4,000 comments.
Controversial content can drive social engagement, but you also have to be careful with this approach. No matter what stance you take on an issue, you’re bound to upset some people. So think long and hard before you publish any controversial articles.
Running a giveaway is an effective way to increase social engagement. The way it works is straightforward — you offer a prize, determine eligibility criteria, and announce the winner when the giveaway ends.
Here’s an example of a giveaway that IPSY ran on Instagram:
The above post offers a good example of the results that giveaways can deliver.
If you decide to implement this strategy, make sure that you adhere to the rules for each platform. For example, on Facebook and Instagram, you have to make it clear that your giveaway isn’t associated with Facebook. There are also certain restrictions on what you can offer.
Finally, another way to generate more social shares is through memes — images or videos that are often accompanied by a witty description.
Here’s an example of a meme that Gucci posted on Instagram:
Depending on the products or services you offer, memes can help you spread the word and increase engagement.
What makes content shareable?
Spending hours on a piece of content only for it to generate a handful of shares can be disheartening. So how can you encourage people to share your content?
Shareable content tends to have one or more of the following elements.
Content like quizzes, listicles, and memes are fun and entertaining. They also don’t take up a lot of time as you can take a quiz and share your results in just minutes.
While shareable content may not always relate to your products or services, it can go viral and potentially reach millions of people.
Content that elicits an emotional response tends to drive more engagement. We’ve seen that controversial content, while extremely divisive, can earn a ton of shares. But content that elicits emotions like happiness, sadness, and surprise can also go viral.
Here’s an example of a Twitter post that tugs on the emotions:
Creating content that connects to your audience emotionally can help it attract more likes and shares.
Content doesn’t have to entertain or tug at your heartstrings to be shareable. Creating informative articles can also help you increase social engagement.
As an example, students can share this article on the FAFSA deadline with their parents to educate them and ensure they have everything they need to submit an application.
Linkable content can help you earn more backlinks, while shareable content can increase engagement on social networks like Facebook.
Which types of content you should create largely depends on factors like your industry and the products you offer. However, a healthy mix of linkable and shareable content can increase your reach and drive more sales for your business.
No matter what kind of content you create, it’s important that you track and measure your results. Just because some brands have used memes to great success doesn’t mean that you’ll see similar results.