Sometimes I do stuff without realizing just how crazy successful it will be.
They’re really just happy accidents.
On the other hand, I do things that I think will be a smashing success only to be a dud.
Often my happy accidents result out of a desire to create something really cool just because I want to do something the best.
I use Ahrefs which among other data, tells me which content is getting links from where. I spend quite a bit of time analyzing naturally acquired backlinks because I can then figure out what type of content will attract links.
1 Type of content that attracts links naturally
One type of content that attracts loads of links are simple custom graphics created for product buying guides. Not necessarily infographics, but just plain, old useful graphics that communicate or demonstrate something effectively.
In fact, I’ve crashed and burned with a $4,000 infographic. Maybe the concept was bad… I don’t know. But that was a massive waste of money. I did piles of outreach with pitiful results.
On the flip side, I’ve attracted dozens of links with no outreach creating super simple grid graphics – either illustrations created by my Filipino VA or get this… illustrations found on Shutterstock. I’m not kidding.
What is a buying guide?
Lots of sites publish buying guides. They’re in-depth articles that fully analyze a particular type of product listing out:
- available features,
- what to look for,
- where to buy,
- pros and cons of different categories within the product line,
- technical specifications,
- history, and
- whatever other information you can provide to help explain options.
Within the buying guide you incorporate custom graphics.
You can easily find buying guides for pretty much any type of product. Go go Google and search “product line buying guide”.
Example: I searched “Camping tent buying guide”.
Many options came up. Here’s one I like (although it lacks the custom graphic I’m talking about, but the site did create a buying guide video):
Camping tent buying guide example (83 referring domains to that single article as reported by Ahrefs).
Example of a linkable graphic for a buying guide
I’ll return to the camping tent niche.
I’m not a big camper, but I know enough to know that there’s quite a variety of tents. So many that perhaps a simple graphic setting out the main types and their purposes may be useful for readers.
In fact, you can get a starter version on Shutterstock here. I’ll save you going to another site… here’s the graphic:
Example graphic at Shutterstock
I wouldn’t use that as-is, but it gives you a starting point.
However, if you find several different such graphics on Shutterstock, you can cut, crop, cobble together and create a pretty cool graphic. Just add some text explaining each and you have something decent.
You can then split it up into individual tent graphics for your article on the website. At the bottom (or top) of the article you place the full graphic and encourage people to pin it and embed it.
Did you notice it’s not an infographic?
An infographic is technically a data-driven graphic. Personally, I think most are way too noisy/busy. I like simple and that’s why I love using simple graphics that simplify concepts such as “the different types of tents”.
Also, did you notice that this concept can be applied to highly commercial topics that promote products?
Almost every product line has so many options, a simple graphic as part of a “Buying Guide” can simplify it for readers and you help them buy with affiliate links.
And yes, these graphics as part of a well written buying guide can attract links. At least they do for me… even my early ones created by yours truly. I have very poor graphic design skills but managed to cobble together okay looking grid graphics.
Don’t forget the text
I’m droning on and on about the graphics, but I don’t recommend simply slamming a graphic in a post and calling it a day.
The graphic is part of the post. You should include plenty of text crafting an outstanding article. Returning to the camping tent example, you would do an in-depth buying guide explaining tent buying options.
For each tent you discuss, crop out from the main graphic individual tent illustrations. The main long graphic with all tents can either be at the beginning of the article as an overview or at the bottom as a wrap-up section in the article.
What if you can’t find what you need on Shutterstock?
That’s not a problem.
I hired 2 Filipino graphic designers. The two graphic designers I hired can illustrate anything from scratch and their rates are a tiny fraction of what I’d pay a graphic designer in the USA.
My graphics team has delivered many high-quality custom illustrations that do well on Pinterest, attract links to my site, distill complicated topics into simple graphics and so much more.
How do you go about this?
Returning to our tent example, you could provide a Filipino graphic designer a whole host of real tent pictures. Ask her or him to create simple illustrations of each tent showcasing the various design differences. That’s all there is to it.
Even if you can’t hire a Filipino full time, perhaps you can hire them on a project-by-project basis. A decent graphic designer should be able to complete it in 10 to 25 hours which will cost you about $25 to $50 USD.
Scaling This Type of Linkable Content
This concept is scalable. I’ve punched out quite a few and have many more planned. I’m adding them to older content and incorporating them into new content. The effort and expense is worth it because they work great.
Even if, on average, each graphic attracts just two links, that’s approximately $25 per natural link, which is really good compared to paying $100 or more outsourcing guest posts.
And keep in mind I don’t bother with outreach… although I should and may start. If I did a bit of outreach promoting these graphics, I could probably get more links.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.