SEO Case Study: Acquiring Backlinks Organically with Content Alone

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By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Effective Content Types: Data-oriented content such as statistical posts, case studies, and tools are effective in attracting backlinks organically. These linkable assets are valued by other content creators for their dense, authoritative information.
Content Impact: Over four years, publishing 18 statistical posts, two case study round-up posts, and three original case studies resulted in a domain rating of 40 and 308 backlinks from 215 linking websites, without active link-building efforts.
Success Examples: Notable achievements include attracting high-profile backlinks from sites like (DR 91), (DR 86), (DR 90), and (DR 79) through posts on buyer personas, blogging statistics, and interactive video statistics. Another success was a post on LinkedIn video statistics earning links from (DR 82) and (DR 70).
Long-term Value: The quality of backlinks tends to increase over time as the referring domains grow stronger, enhancing the sustained SEO value of the original content.
Strategic Advice: Creating a variety of linkable assets consistently is recommended to maximize backlink acquisition organically. Start building these assets as soon as possible to reap long-term benefits.

What Type of Content Works Best for Acquiring Backlinks Organically and Why?

Content designed to attract backlinks, aka linkable assets, are data-oriented pieces of content such as statistical posts, case studies, tools, calculators, infographics, checklists, etc.

They attract backlinks because they are information-dense and require significant effort to produce.

For these reasons, linkable assets are often used by other content creators who need information or data to support their claims, typically resulting in a linked mention within their content.

Types of Linkable Assets I Created on My Website

Over the last 4 years, I’ve published 18 statistical posts, two case study round-up posts, and three original case studies on my website.

Of the 18 statistical posts, 16 sourced data from third parties (with proper credits) and two involved original research.

In two round-up case study posts, I compiled various case studies on the same topic into a single comprehensive post.

And, in my original case studies, I have used exclusively my own findings and insights.

Case Study Results

Before examining some individual linkable assets and the backlinks they attracted, let’s review the backlink profile for

As you can see, my website has a Domain Rating (DR) of 40 with 308 backlinks from 215 linking websites, according to Ahref’s free backlink checker tool.

It’s notable that I’ve never engaged in active link building; all backlinks received are solely from the content I published.

A vast majority of these links point to my linkable assets, effectively attracting high-quality backlinks.

Here are some individual posts and the backlinks they garnered over time.

Example #1:

This buyer persona case studies round-up post attracted links from one of the most influential marketing-related websites – (DR 91).

At the time, it was the only article featuring multiple buyer persona case studies on the same page on the internet and it garnered some very powerful backlinks over time.

Example #2:

This statistical post was the first on the internet to focus exclusively on interactive video statistics.

While you could find statistics on interactive videos scattered across the web, no one had compiled them into a single, comprehensive post until then.

At the time, interactive video was generating buzz in marketing, and that’s where I got the idea.

It clearly paid off, as high-domain-rating websites like (DR 90), (DR 80), and (DR 79) found the article valuable and linked back to it.

Example #3:

Here’s another statistical post where I leveraged the growing interest in video content for marketers to create a focused post on LinkedIn video statistics.

It earned backlinks from sites like (DR 82), (DR 70), (DR 62), among others.

Example #4:

This statistical post on blogging faced strong competition across the internet.

Many influential marketing websites had created similar articles over the years.

Despite this, my article managed to secure a phenomenal backlink from (DR 86), making it all worthwhile.

This goes to show that if you cast a wide enough net, you’re bound to catch something.

Example #5:

Continuing with the theme of statistical posts, here’s another one on buyer persona statistics that managed to attract backlinks from website like (DR 81), (DR 60), and (DR 49).

Example #6:

This bite-sized statistical post on Instagram Reels was one of the first of its kind on the internet.

Instagram Reels launched in Aug 2020, and I published the original version of this article as soon as I started noticing the first statistical insights about Reels.

The article snagged links from (DR 60), (DR 49), and (DR 44).

Not too shabby for a post that didn’t require a lot of effort at all.

Example #7:

I have to throw in this article on content marketing ROI statistics because this backlink from was the first major backlink my website ever acquired.

It was right then and there when I fell in love with creating linkable assets as a way to gain trust and authority by attracting highly relevant backlinks from the domains in the same industry.

Foleon was then a DR 60 site and now they’re a DR 81 site.

This goes to show that the backlinks you get typically become even more powerful with time as the referring domains become stronger.

How the Site Performed Over the Last 16 Months

I’m sure you’re wondering how my site is doing as a whole by now, so here’s a chart from my GSC going back 16 months (as far back as GSC allows).

As you can see, my site isn’t an industry juggernaut by any stretch of the imagination.

But it’s also going steady and even picking up steam as of late.

Going back 4 years since its inception, the site has never been hit by any algorithm updates.

It did lose rankings for a single keyword that was bringing over half of the entire traffic to the site at the time, which resulted in a big decline at some point in 2022, but that’s a part of the game and a lesson that even minor ranking losses can impact websites disproportionately badly if they’re reliant on a small number of pages for the majority of their traffic.

How You Can Take Advantage of Linkable Assets for Building Backlinks

Today, you’ll often hear it’s impossible to gain backlinks organically, meaning for free.

It is possible, and I’ve demonstrated a proven method to reliably do so.

And just to dispel any doubts you might have about this method working today, here are some of the backlinks my site acquired in the first 4 months of 2024 alone.

This method of acquiring backlinks takes time and effort, but it works.

I’m not saying it’s a silver bullet and it’s the only way of getting backlinks you should focus on, but you’re missing out if you don’t include it in your link building arsenal.

This method is replicable in any niche or industry.

I heavily leaned on statistical posts and, to a lesser degree, case studies, but you can try any other type of linkable asset and get results.

Just remember, because it takes time for the results to start coming in, your best bet is to create a lot of linkable assets and create them as soon as possible.

The best time to start creating linkable assets for your website was yesterday and the next best is today.

I hope this SEO case study inspired you to decide the next few pieces of content you publish on your site are linkable assets.

If you need any help or want me to create linkable assets for your website, feel free to reach out.