Revealed: The 3 Types of Blog Posts That Earn the Most Backlinks, According to HubSpot‘s Link Building Expert

Are you tired of publishing blog post after blog post, only to see them disappear into the internet void with barely a backlink to show for it? You‘re not alone.

Earning high-quality backlinks is one of the biggest challenges content marketers face today. But it‘s also one of the most important, with backlinks remaining a top Google ranking signal. According to a 2020 study by Ahrefs, the number of domains linking to a page correlated strongly with higher rankings:

Number of Referring Domains Probability of Ranking in Top 10
0 6.7%
1 17.6%
5 27.6%
10 33.3%

So how can you craft content that actually attracts links? As HubSpot‘s resident link building expert, I‘ve analyzed thousands of blog posts to uncover what separates the linkable wheat from the unlinkable chaff.

While many factors are at play, I‘ve found that certain content types and characteristics show up again and again in our most linked-to blog posts. Here are three of the most powerful:

1. Posts with Original Research and Data

When other sites and influencers are deciding what content to link to, they look for authoritative sources with unique information that isn‘t available elsewhere. That‘s where original research comes in.

Blog posts that report new data, insights, or analysis give others a compelling reason to cite you. Some examples of research you can use in your posts:

  • Survey results
  • Proprietary data analysis
  • Case studies
  • Experiments
  • Industry benchmark reports

For instance, Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios publishes an annual survey of 1000+ bloggers about their content marketing practices. With fresh data on important topics like blogging frequency, length, and promotion tactics, these reports have earned links from over 600 unique domains:

Orbit Media blogging statistics

To create your own original research content:

  1. Identify burning questions in your niche that aren‘t well answered by existing data
  2. Collect data through surveys, customer interviews, or analyzing internal metrics
  3. Present your findings in an engaging format with clear takeaways
  4. Make it easy for others to reference your data with charts, graphs, and embeddable assets
  5. Promote your research to journalists, bloggers, and influencers who care about the topic

2. Comprehensive Guides and Tutorials

In-depth, definitive guides are magnets for backlinks, especially on complex or confusing topics that aren‘t well-covered elsewhere.

Think about it: When a blogger or journalist is writing about a topic and wants to link to a useful resource for their audience, are they more likely to link to a surface-level listicle or a meaty, authoritative guide? Almost always the latter.

For example, my colleague Pamela Bump wrote a comprehensive guide on How to Use Instagram for Business, packing in tips on everything from setting up a business profile to running ads and measuring performance. The result? Over 400 backlinks from nearly 200 different websites.

The key to creating link-worthy guides is to cover the topic soup-to-nuts, making your post the best resource available on that subject. Shoot for a high word count (at least 2000 words), break up the text with plenty of headers, images and examples, and provide actionable tips readers can implement.

Some telltale signs of a comprehensive guide:

  • Dedicated landing page
  • Table of contents with jump links
  • Downloadable PDF version
  • Supporting visuals like infographics and video tutorials
  • Frequent updates to keep the information current

Remember, your goal is to be the definitive "hub" for your topic, so cover it from every angle and make the piece worthy of bookmarking and referencing often.

3. Expert Roundups and Interviews

Featuring insights from respected thought leaders in your industry is an effective way to add credibility to your content and attract links from participants and their followers.

There are a few ways to incorporate expert insights into your posts:

  • Quote roundups with tips from multiple experts
  • Long-form interviews with a single expert
  • "Ask Me Anything" style Q&As
  • Prediction/trend roundups with expert input

One example is our post on 2023 Marketing Strategy Tips, which features insights from over 20 experts. The post has attracted 80+ backlinks from 40+ unique domains, with several experts linking to it from their own sites:

Marketing strategy roundup

To create an expert-driven post, start by identifying thought leaders and practitioners with unique insights to share. Look for people who:

  • Have a strong online presence and engaged following
  • Are active on social media and frequently share content
  • Have been quoted or featured in other publications
  • Publish thought-provoking content of their own

Once you have your list, reach out with a clear and compelling pitch, making it easy for them to contribute a quote or answer a few questions. Be sure to let them know when the post will be published and how you‘ll promote it.

When the post is live, email participants with a link and pre-written social copy to make sharing a breeze. Most will be happy to amplify content that makes them look good and shares their insights with a new audience.

Bonus: 5 Characteristics of Highly-Linkable Blog Posts

While the three archetypes above are great starting points, any blog post can be link-worthy if it has the right characteristics. Based on my analysis of thousands of high-performing posts, here are five qualities to aim for:

  1. Depth and comprehensiveness: Cover your topic in serious depth, leaving no stone unturned. Shallow content rarely attracts links.

  2. Originality: Share a fresh perspective or new information not found elsewhere. If you‘re saying the same thing as everyone else, there‘s little incentive to link to you.

  3. Trustworthy sources: Back up your points with data and insights from authoritative sources. Linking to dubious or low-quality sources hurts your own credibility.

  4. Engaging formatting: Break up walls of text with subheadings, bullet points, images, and other visual elements. The easier your post is to read and reference, the more link-worthy it becomes.

  5. Practical utility: Include actionable tips and insights that readers can implement immediately. The more useful your post is, the more people will bookmark it, link to it, and keep coming back.

By keeping these principles in mind and experimenting with different research-driven, definitive, and expert-driven content, you‘ll be well on your way to earning more high-quality backlinks for your blog.

But remember: None of this matters if you don‘t invest in promotion. Even the most link-worthy content needs an initial push to get in front of the right people.

Share your posts on social media, notify any experts or sources who contributed, and consider targeted blogger outreach to kickstart the linking process. The more people who see your content, the more opportunities it has to earn links organically.

Wrapping Up

Building backlinks is hard work, but by being strategic about the types of content you create and how you promote it, you can start to see real results.

To recap, here are the three most link-worthy blog post types according to my analysis:

  1. Posts with original research and data
  2. Comprehensive guides and tutorials
  3. Expert roundups and interviews

And here are the five characteristics that make any post more linkable:

  1. Depth and comprehensiveness
  2. Originality
  3. Trustworthy sources
  4. Engaging formatting
  5. Practical utility

Now I want to hear from you: What types of blog posts have earned you the most backlinks? Do you agree with my assessment or have you found success with other content archetypes?

Let me know in the comments, and happy link building!