The best sources of free data for content marketing and link building campaigns

free data sets

Producing content that presents data in unique and clever ways is almost guaranteed to earn you links. To get started though, you need to know where to find that data.

If you’re unable to generate interesting and significant data in-house, then your other option is to go hunting for relevant data that is already in the public domain. It might not be new and unique information, but if you can present it in a unique way and use it to draw conclusions that others in your industry find interesting and significant then it can be a great way to build links.

Below we have identified the best sources of free information to get your creative juices flowing…

Google Dataset Search

Google have built a search engine specifically to find interesting data sets, which features data that has been correctly marked up using the schema.org framework.

Although it’s not an exhaustive list of all the data available on the internet about a certain topic, it’s definitely a good place to start.

Google Dataset Search features an intuitive search box that displays some of the available datasets automatically:

Google Dataset Search bar example

When you click through to search, you get a full list of all the datasets related to your search term showing who published the data, when it was last updated and a link to the source.

It’s best to be specific as possible with your search term, as Google Dataset Search will show 100’s of results for broad topics.

 

EU Open Data Portal

With over 13,000 datasets available, the EU Open Data Portal (EU ODP) is a great option for finding topical and interesting data sets.

The EU ODP gives you access to all open data published by EU institutions and bodies.

EU ODP

As you can probably imagine, the datasets available on the EU ODP are quite dry and “bureaucratic” – but that just means there’s loads of scope to present the data in more interesting ways.

You will find datasets on the following subjects:

  • Information on crime, transport, health, the environment, and science research
  • Geography
  • Finance
  • Statistics
  • Election results
  • Legal acts

 

Data.gov.uk

For UK-specific data the data.gov.uk site is a must. The site has recently undergone a redesign, with a lot of old datasets removed. What’s left is therefore fully up-to-date open data from UK government departments for you to do with as you please.

data gov uk

You can see from the categories above that this is an extensive library of datasets for you to get your teeth into.

 

The World Factbook

Produced by the CIA, The World Factbook provides a wealth of information about every country in the world.

You can find data about populations, language use, economy, religions, economic data, energy usage and a lot more.

The World Factbook

The World Factbook is updated on a weekly basis, so is a great source of up to date information about any and every country.

 

r/datasets on Reddit

Reddit in general is a great place to go looking for interesting data and ideas to inform your content. Just find the best subreddit for your niche/industry and get searching. If you need help with getting started, check out this list of all the best subreddits.

If it’s ideas on how to present data, then the r/dataisbeautiful subreddit is full of great examples you can use for inspiration.

You can also use the r/datasets subreddit to find data that redditors have either submitted themselves or have requested. You can even make your own request to ask where to find a specific data set.

datasets subreddit

As Reddit is all user-generated content, you need to approach this with the caveat that the data you find may not be totally reliable – but if you’re struggling and need a bit of help finding the right data this can be a great place to get back on track.