Content Marketing
How to Earn Quality Inbound Links with Content Marketing

How to Earn Quality Inbound Links with Content Marketing

February 8, 2022
10 min read

Improving your organic search presence isn’t for the faint of heart. Ranking in top search results is getting harder, and 77% of marketers say it could take up to 6 months to see results.

What does this mean for you? B2B marketers need to be savvier in developing a link building and content developing strategy.

Search engines cater to users, not your website. With evolving algorithms and new ranking guidelines, search engines work to serve quality content that matches the queries of their users. As far as they are concerned, earning a high volume of valuable links from external websites suggests your content is credible and relevant for the user.

If you’re focusing on search engine optimization (SEO), earning links through content marketing is the best way to create a solid link profile for your domain.

However, content marketing can mean a myriad of things for B2B companies. Guest blogging? User-driven data? Where are you supposed to start? Fortunately, there are so many ways you can approach content for link building to drive qualified traffic to your website.

Let’s look at how you can pair content marketing and link building to create more optimized and strategic marketing campaigns for your B2B.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Link building sends trust signals from your website to the search engine so you’re able to rank higher in result pages.
  • By developing relevant and high-quality content, you’re more likely to earn links through other websites that view you as credible.
  • Create content in different formats—case studies, whitepapers, surveys, etc.—to better understand what your industry prefers to consume.

What Are Inbound Links?

An inbound link is a link from another website to your own website. Inbound links usually occur when another site is linking to your content as a relevant resource — as part of a blog post, for example. The opposite of an inbound link is an outbound link, which is when you link to another website from your site.

Let’s look at an example.

Below is a screenshot from one of my recent blog posts on perfecting your calls to action. You can see here that I included a hyperlink to the source of the statistic in the copy about how CTAs boost lead conversion rates.

MIG inbound link example

That hyperlink sends readers to one of HubSpot’s blogs, which covers the research behind the 200% statistic. For Marketing Insider Group, that link is an outbound link. It’s a relevant resource for readers of my blog post. But for HubSpot, it’s an inbound link, a source of traffic to their site and one of the ways they have built such high domain authority.

Why Do You Need Inbound Links for Content Marketing?

Inbound links are an important driver of SEO rankings. When other quality websites are linking to your content, it tells Google and other search engines that your site is a reputable authority on that particular topic. Inbound links are one of the ways that Google looks beyond common tactics like keywords to determine the true value of your content. Over time, they help you rank higher across the board within your niche.

Inbound links are also a source of high-quality referral traffic. In some ways, they’re almost like an endorsement. Think about it this way: if you’re reading a blog post on a website you know and trust, and that blog links to another website, you’re likely to trust that new site as well. You might even explore their other content, or browse their offerings.

What is Link Building?

Link building is the process of earning authoritative hyperlinks from other websites to your content. Each link you acquire endorses your website and signals search engines that your website is trustworthy. Once a search engine crawls your website and indexes the link, they will determine if your webpage offers enough valuable information to rank for particular keywords.

Generally, the more quality websites that link to your website, the more likely you will rank higher in search engine result pages (SERP). In fact, links have always been the top criteria within Google’s page-ranking algorithm.

Increasing the number of links to your website can significantly increase your chances of ranking well and driving valuable conversions for your business. Beyond high rankings, link building also benefits your business by:

  • Helping you build relationships with other influencers and professionals in your industry
  • Sending more referral traffic to your website to capture more leads
  • Building your brand awareness and further establishing you as an industry leader

Creating High-Quality Content for Link Building

Before jumping into content formats, it’s essential to understand how to develop high-quality content to acquire links. Content marketing refers to the development and sharing of content, such as blogs or infographics, to drive traffic to your website and move leads through your marketing funnel.

Content marketing and link building go hand in hand. With 41% of experts believing that link building is the most important part of search optimization, it’s more important than ever to drive acquisition through a content marketing strategy.

To develop quality content that offers value to other industry professionals, it must be:

  • Well-researched with accurate information
  • Directed to your target audience and speak to their needs
  • Characterized by advanced story-telling – a compelling copy
  • A content that uses images, videos, graphics, and more where applicable

Once you’re able to create desirable content, other websites are more likely to link to your own. Let’s look at five types of engaging content you can create.

1. Case Studies

Do you have a library of customer or product success stories that are gathering dust? It’s time to tell the world all about them. Your peers will be intrigued to understand the success of your work, and putting together a well-thought-out case study often provides valuable resources for the industry as a whole.

By developing data-driven and detailed case studies, you’ll likely earn link building success from industry publications. If you have a great story to share that includes in-depth knowledge and statistics, many editors are more apt to share the insight with their readers as well.

Source: App Annie

2. Interviews

While interviews are time-consuming to develop and review, they help you build relationships with complementary industry experts who are likely to link the content back to their website. Why? You’re featuring their knowledge and value alongside your own.

However, when running the interview, focus your questions on themes that your target audience would also be interested in. If your guest can speak on relevant insight, guidance, or tips, reach out to industry publishers who would be interested in these as well.

Remember, the end goal of any content is to provide value to the users, so the interview needs to be relevant. Building links is a bonus.

3. Infographics

People love infographics. In fact, using data visualizations like charts, diagrams, and timelines within infographics tend to be more engaging on social media platforms than any other content. For your infographic to prove worthy of a link, it needs to include considerable takeaways that look aesthetically pleasing and digestible for users.

Here are a few tips for creating link-building infographics:

  • Develop an eye-catching headline.
  • Use accurate statistics and research.
  • Earn visibility through your distribution channels.
  • Embed social media links so they’re easily shareable.
  • Optimize the graphic with SEO-friendly copy.

4. Whitepapers

If you’re able to conduct your own research, developing whitepapers is an excellent way to highlight your authority and earn industry-specific links. Whitepapers allow you to speak in-depth on a new topic and provide extended insight to your audience.

Not only can you earn links. Doing your own research also allows you to prove your service or product’s value for the industry with data-backed evidence, which could lead to more conversions. Using a wider target audience, distribute a survey to build unique data that backs your claims and tells an authentic story. Alternatively, consider teaming up with a local university to test focus groups on your brand.

With statistical content, you’re able to position your content as highly attractive and engaging for industry publications to leverage throughout their website.


5. Public Relations

Even if you’re a small or mid-sized B2B business, focusing on local public relations (PR) can lead to big returns for link building. Local publications and online platforms focus on sharing success stories and are easy to work with when you provide well-written content. Their resources are also typically stretched thin, so developing high-quality content increases your odds of being published.

While it’s easy to overlook the local arena when you’re trying to reach a wider target audience, local links are easy to win over and still hold a strong level of authority on search engines.

How to Build and Earn Inbound Links with Content

So how do you earn inbound links? The truth is, there is no quick and easy way to do it. Earning enough inbound links to drive real results takes time and consistent effort. But there are ways to do it, and I’m going to explain 6 of them that I recommend.

An active blog

Consistency is one of the keys to content marketing success. It contributes to earning inbound links, too. Research done by Hubspot found that companies (of all sizes) that published 11+ blog posts each month earned twice or even 3x as much inbound traffic.

graph showing frequent blog posts earn more inbound traffic

Image Source: Hubspot

There are a few reasons behind this. First, publishing a higher volume of optimized content earns better organic search rankings over time. This helps to increase brand awareness and overall presence.

Once your brand is more visible, that deep library of content indicates authority, thought leadership, and reliability to users and other brands that visit your site. It makes them more likely to see your content as trustworthy and shareable for their own sites.

Evergreen content

Evergreen content is optimized SEO content that has no expiration date. It is built around your core content pillars and, when crafted the right way, stays relevant to your target audience for years to come.

Evergreen content can serve as the backbone of your larger content strategy, establishing your authority on the topics and themes most important to your brand and earning compounding traffic over time.

graph showing compound effects of evergreen content

Image Source: Cognitive SEO

Evergreen content can help you earn more inbound traffic because other brands love to share content they know won’t quickly become outdated or irrelevant for their own audiences. It also establishes your reputation as a go-to resource for topics in your niche, meaning sites that share your content once will likely return again when they need resources for other content.

Trending topics

One savvy way you can earn a boost in inbound links is to create content around trending topics in news and pop culture. Specifically, creating infographics and other visuals related to the topic can be a sure way to get people sharing your content. Why? Because they’re creating their own content related to the same topics, and your visuals can add to it.

The key is to find an authentic way to link the trending topic to your industry and your audience. Let’s look at an example. When Marvel comics was gaining huge popularity as the movies were released, organic search agency Fractl created an infographic for real estate resource website Movoto that showed the homelands of famous Marvel superheroes.

The infographic absolutely took off — it gained exposure for Movoto on sites like MTV, Yahoo, Business Insider, People, Glamour, The Huffington Post, and more.

example of movoto earning inbound links with infographic

Image Source: Fractl

This tactic not only earns inbound links but it’s also a fun and creative way to diversify your content and engage new audiences.


Speaking of infographics, they’re one of the best strategies for inbound link building no matter what topic they’re covering. Infographics have the much-needed ability to make complex content understandable and easily digestible for users. They’re a great tool for sharing detailed statistics, step-by-step how-to material, highly technical information that needs visual support, or a high volume of information in one place.

They’re also a way to get your content directly in front of additional audiences in addition to the link you earn back to your website.

Marketing Insider Group decided to take the infographic approach in our guide to creating the perfect blog post. With so much information to share about both the anatomy of the perfect blog post and our 20-step checklist, we knew we needed visual support in order to include all of the information in one post.

Both infographics are downloadable and easily shareable, meaning other brands could both link back to the post and share the images directly on their own sites.

perfect blog post infographic
Image Source

Downloadable tools and templates

Brands create content to help their audience solve problems and accomplish important tasks. One of the surest ways to do this is with actual tools and templates they can use in their own roles. That’s why list posts that link to downloadable content is so popular — there is high demand for it and it creates tons of value for the user.

And guess what? Every one of those tools and templates included on a list post is an inbound link for the brand that created it.

Marketing Insider Group creates list posts like this all the time, most recently for content marketing templates and content calendars. These tools and templates may not all be created by us, but if our audience knows they can come to our blog for needed resources like these, they’ll keep returning for more. That’s why they’re worth publishing, and why creating tools and templates that fit into posts like these can earn you inbound traffic.

Guest posting

Guest posting on other sites in your industry can be a really effective strategy for inbound link building. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, too. You’re providing value to the site you partner with and to their audience, gaining exposure for your brand and building authority, and earning an inbound link back to your site.

But how do you start guest posting? This is where it gets tricky.

Ideally, you’ll be asked to guest post on other sites for brands who you’ve built a relationship with or who know you as an expert on a topic they want to cover. But this takes significant time and an established reputation.

Another way to start guest posting is to reach out directly to other brands to see if they want to feature your content. Lots of people take this route, and it’s not a bad strategy if you do it right.

Or you might find broken links on other sites, reach out to the owner, and suggest one of yours.

The biggest key to success here is to make sure the content you’re offering to guest post is high quality and relevant to the site you’re pitching. But there’s much more to it. Neil Patel put together a really helpful guide to guest blogging that I recommend checking out for a deeper dive.

Own Your Niche

Making inbound links something you earn consistently and at high-volume really requires owning your niche — the relevant topics that are most important to your brand and your audience.

While the tactics I covered above are all actionable ways to earn inbound links, there are some larger strategic steps I recommend taking as well. These will give you a more holistic understanding of the content landscape for topics and themes you want to build authority and earn inbound links for.

First, performing a competitive analysis helps you understand where your competitors are beating you out for rankings — and thus likely inbound links, too. SEMRush’s ultimate guide to a competitive content analysis is a great resource that takes you through the process.

Once you know the content your competitors are creating, you can use the skyscraper method to create better versions of it. For this, I recommend the in-depth guide from Ahrefs.

Pair these strategic steps with the tactics outlined in the previous section, and you’re sure to start seeing results — AKA more inbound links from sites you’d recommend in return.


Marketing Insider Group’s team of writers and SEO experts can deliver you optimized, ready-to-publish content every week for an entire year (or more!). Check out our SEO blog writing service to learn more or schedule a quick consultation with me to get started!

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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