You can’t build good, relevant links to your website unless you have at least one linkable asset. In the old days of link building, you could spam directories and engage in every link scheme under the sun in order to increase your search engine visibility, even though you had absolutely nothing on your website link-worthy.
These days, you have to create something worth linking to.
Keep that in mind while you consider the following scenario:
Imagine you’re a model train enthusiast and an exclusive invitation arrives in your mailbox for a private model railroading event. The invite is printed on nice cardstock, and you’re intrigued by what it promises: free hors-d’oeuvres, fancy cocktails, one of the largest model train setups in the country, and a chance to chat with some of the world’s foremost model railroad hobbyists.
When you arrive at the event, it’s not in a hotel ballroom or a swanky bar. Instead, it’s a dingy basement that smells like mold, with a few folding chairs wobbling in each dark corner. There are scattered cans of store-brand cola and some vienna sausages on a three-legged card-table, along with a plastic train someone bought at a flea market. The only other person in attendance is a marketer in an ill-fitting polo shirt, who looks at you sheepishly.
How would you feel in that situation?
When your site has no linkable assets, that’s the exact feeling webmasters have when they open your outreach, read your link request and then visit your website.
You have nothing to offer them.
Not only have you wasted their time, but their trust has been violated. They’re probably a bit weirded out, too.
Unless you’re a sociopath, you don’t want to make anyone feel like that. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
So, what’s the solution?
Creating a linkable asset.
What is a Linkable Asset?
I’m glad you asked. If you don’t already know, a linkable asset is a piece of content on your site that’s worth linking to. Just as most people don’t share photos of their garbage or upload videos of paint drying to YouTube, most webmasters aren’t interested in linking to blank space or junk.
And for the most part, they also aren’t interested in linking to your product or service pages, or pages where you’re telling the world how awesome you are.
Let Jason Acidre explain:
“Basically, a linkable asset is any part of a website or organization that its target audience will genuinely perceive as worth citing/referencing to. It could be people, content, events or anything that can be really interesting to a specifically targeted market.”
In that same post, Jason mentions that linkable assets do the following:
- They keep attracting links to your website
- They strengthen your expertise, authority and brand presence
- They generate an audience, leads and brand advocates
- They increase your search engine visibility, social media visibility and website traffic
You’re already providing a great product or service and you’re ready to grow your business. You want more leads, and you want to get them directly through your website. That requires traffic, which in turn requires search engine visibility.
Search engine visibility requires healthy, relevant links, and you can’t get those links if you don’t have anything to link to.
You can reach out to other webmasters until your fingers grind your keyboard into a fine layer of plastic powder, but no one’s going to link to you unless your site offers something valuable to your audience beyond your product or service.
How Can I Create Linkable Assets?
If you’re just starting out and your resources are limited, you could start with something relatively simple.
Consider your audience and your customers to discover:
- What are their common questions?
- What problems can you solve for them?
- How can you make them into better versions of themselves?
- What advice can you offer them?
As Eric Ward puts it, “useful content gets linked” and “the less useful your content is, the less likely you are to ever receive a link to it”.
Usefulness can include content that is helpful, educational or entertaining. A linkable asset should never be overly self-promotional, which is a common mistake many people make.
- If you own a record shop or other retail outlet, you could put together a ‘diary series’ chronicling funny, strange and absurd experiences you’ve had with your customers. People love stories. This would fall under the ‘entertainment’ category. If it’s memorable and it makes people laugh, they’ll link to it.
- If you run an automotive repair shop, you could put together a series of short videos about common problems you see all the time. The kind of stuff your potential customers might be inclined to fix themselves. Those videos would fall under the ‘helpful’ category, and people would gladly link to it. It would also establish you as a generous person and an expert.
- If you run a veterinary clinic, you could interview a wildlife biologist, zookeeper or a TV personality from Animal Planet. That’s interesting content, and it also falls into the ‘educational’ category. People love interviews, and they love hearing from people with fascinating jobs. People share and link to content that makes them think and teaches them something.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. Start small and create something cool.
Examples of Linkable Assets
We’re based in Lakewood, NJ, so here are a few examples from some local businesses in our area. None of these businesses work in particularly glamorous industries, but they all feature content worth linking to.
Let’s get those brain gears turning.
1) By Design Landscaping has two great linkable assets: an extensive gallery with amazing photos of their landscaping work, as well as a blog that’s actually useful for homeowners.
People love photos of beautiful homes, and they’re especially shareable on sites like Pinterest and Houzz. If BDL found landscaping or gardening enthusiasts, they could easily reach out and request a link. They are, after all, a resource.
2) The Ocean County Veterinary Hospital has a couple of linkable assets. As shown here, they have ‘new pet’ care guides for both dogs and cats in PDF format; this is great content. They also have a “pet of the month” section, which is a great way to attract links and social shares from pet owners.
3) Finally, we have the simplest of the three. Ironically, it’s also the one that might get the most links, shares and traffic. Mulberry Street Italian Food Center features a list of recipes for food they actually serve. That’s it; it’s that simple. People love recipes, especially from chefs, restaurants and caterers they trust.
The bottom line is that you can’t build links unless you have something valuable to link to, but people try regardless. When you don’t have any linkable assets, you’ll spend hours on outreach and promotion without achieving any results.
If you want other websites to link to you, you have to give them a reason.