Zero to a Hundred: an SEO backlinks case study

Last year, I created the ROI of guest blogging research.

This post was strategically built with two goals in mind:

First of all, I wanted to share original data about the value of guest posting in marketing.

The data was shared by 20 of the best global SEO experts including Rand Fishkin, Mark Preston, Alexandra Tachalova, Lukasz Zelezny, Julia McCoy, and many more.

It worked because I got data from 379 guest posts which makes it a relatively good sample, very strong in terms of results and trends discovered.

The post now ranks #1 on Google for "ROI of guest posting".

Second, I have built that content with the purpose of attracting links and social shares from those experts who participated in my survey.

And this also worked. I got 100 referring domains from 102 different IP addresses linking back to that research, and 245 referring links.

Why did I create the ROI of guest posting research?

If you work in SEO, you have probably a few guest posts under your belt. It's common knowledge that they are one of the best ways to build backlinks.


Not really, according to the data that I have collected.

However, guest blogging is still one of SEO's favorite methods to attract backlinks (at least according to Google).

If you don't want to pay for acquiring backlinks, or can't do a Digital PR campaign because they are expensive, then your best bet is to become a guest blogger. You write for other, large websites in exchange for a link back to your resources and pages.


Yes, you have got a new link. Sure. This is very well done. But the problem is this one:

How do you scale the process?

This is when original research from surveys comes to help. Original data and statistics tend to get more links than any other type of content. They are often not updated. And the participants tend to share your research.

This means that statistics and original data posts are the best candidates for attracting new links on scale.

Let's dig into the topic.

1. Original data posts tend to receive more links

Every original data post, as long as the data reveals something interesting, gets tons of backlinks. If you check for example this post from Hubspot on the preferred story platform, backed by original data, you see 136 backlinks:

This normally happens because bloggers, guest bloggers and journalists cite statistics from these types of posts into their blog posts.