Link building is the most important factor in SEO – we see that time and time again – study after study. In short, we can not stress how important links are when ranking a website – particularly organically won links. This is where link bait comes into play.

Link Bait: What it is?

Link bait is the practice of publishing any type of extraordinary, unique, valuable, perhaps universally entertaining, and evergreen in nature content on your website that is sure to generate lots of organic backlinks.

Link bait basically describes the act of publishing content with the aim of attracting links. While some content you publish on your website is designed to generate traffic, leads, conversations, and sales conversions, link bait content is specifically published to attract the eyes of the internet’s influencers and compel them to link back to your website.

Link bait by its very nature need to be creative, and creating it can be surprisingly fun. Some content types that can fall under the link bait classification group include:

– Infographics

– Videos

– Comprehensive buyer’s guides

– Information about how to avail of free access to a valuable tool

The main purpose of link bait is to increase the number of organic backlinks to your website so that your website’s ranking on SERP for competitive keywords improve. Knowing how to create and use link bait effectively is an essential part of any successful 2019 SEO strategy and here is how.

Effectiveness Requires Focus

To be most effective, you generally want to keep your content centered around your target, the person/influencer or brand you want to link to you (Justin explains more about the process here). Although it can be tempting to cast your net wide, the most lucrative outcomes typically occur when a focused approach is used. Keep one or two targets in mind and shape your content around their audience demographics. Don’t try to create content that appeals to everyone, as you will inevitably end up pleasing no one.

While universal appeal is important to some types of link bait content, there are always exceptions to the rule. Here are a few examples that spring to mind (feel free to post your own thoughts in the comment section below):

– Your content or subject matter is just by its very nature intrinsically universally applicable. While such a circumstance is somewhat rare, there really are some forms of content that can transcend all boundaries and have universal appeal. Information about Facebook updates, for instance, is one example of content that can have universal appeal.

– Exhaustive guides that cover a topic in deep detail from every angle can receive links from multiple unrelated sources when done well.

Be Clear what you want to Achieve

You need to understand that creating link bait content should also have some benefits to the readers and your brand independent of its organic link juice value for SEO purposes. The content you generate should always relate back to your brand’s products or services in some way so that it can also serve as lead generation copy. Creating link bait content for the sake of building organic backlinks to your website to improve SERP rankings is all well and good, but don’t be afraid to go the extra mile and create content that serves dual purposes. You want to create content that has monetary value and attracts real potential customers to your business.

Your objective when creating link bait content can be to inform, showcase, educate, connect, influence, spark debate, entertain and more, but you should always bear in mind how you are going to monetize the audience of said content beyond the SERP position boasts for your website’s domain.

The Qualities of Great Link Bait:

– Interesting, entertaining, shocking, informative, unique, or otherwise differentiated from mass-produced sales pitches. If it isn’t based on a strong heartfelt idea, the execution of your link bait will fail.

– Has a unique selling point. If link bait is not somehow related back to your brand, it’s guaranteed that another creator will repurpose it.

– Powerful SEO potential. The content needs to be centered around the right topics and focused around your targeted keywords.

– Resourceful. Creating high-quality link bait content requires an investment, as you need to provide some value to readers; otherwise, you will fail to see good long term results.

– Strong design. The content of your link bait is just one aspect of it; it also needs to be visually appealing and professionally presented. If your content appears amateurish, it won’t be consumed seriously.

– Keeps outreach in mind. You need to plan for your link bait content going viral. When that happens, what is your outreach plan? Without planning for viral success, your content distribution marketing techniques will be nothing more than chaotic and ineffective.

Make it Clear Why they should Link to Your Site

Before we start talking about creating effective link bait, it’s worthwhile remembering what type of marketing strategy you are about to engage in. The great thing about link bait is that when done properly, other websites won’t even think twice about directing their audiences to your website. Why would they do that? Primary because promoting you bring them some benefits. People are always inclined to share content that elevates their social status – they want to be the ones that first introduce their audience to great content as it reflects well on them. By sharing high-quality, exclusive content from your site, they can provide their readers with what they want without doing any work. The link back to your website ensures that you get paid for the content in the form of traffic, leads, and sales. As you probably understand by now, you need to give brands and market influencers a reason to want to send their audiences in your direction. You need to create content that stands out.

Different Types of Linkbait

– Humorous Linkbait: This type of linkbait is a form that almost everyone is familiar with. It’s the type of content that gets quickly shared on social media networks, blogs, and forums because it’s funny. Common examples include crazy videos, humorous rants and photoshopped images. People like to laugh, so humor can be a great weapon in the arsenal of online marketers.

– List Posts: Articles that feature top 10 lists of various things can be incredibly popular online. They can get hundreds of thousands of social shares. It’s possible to make lists on just about any topic, so the content is easy to generate.

– Controversial Content: Any types of content that creates controversy and sparks debate has the potential to go viral. Such content can often prove to be somewhat of a double-edged sword for brands, so you should use it with caution. Calling out your competitors via an entertaining rant can certainly be a way to generate lots of attention.

– Gadgets, Online Tools, and Widgets: When you create a free online tool that provides real value to the lives of others, it can quickly attract lots of backlinks. Some examples of this type of link bait include industry-specific calculators, embeddable sidebar widgets, daily deal widgets and more.

– Guides: Individuals use online search engines to get answers to their questions. If you can provide content that answers lots of questions and compile it into an easy to read guide about a particular topic, you will have just created valuable link bait fodder.

– Infographics: An image can convey a thousand words, and people love flow diagrams and infographics. Graphics can help to make incredibly complex information easier to understand. A talented infographic designer can break down the most technical topics into easy to digest graphics that grab an audience’s interest.

– Whitepapers, eBooks, and downloadable PDF resources: Any type of long-form academic content has the potential to be great link bait. If you can provide an invaluable resource to your industry, it won’t be long before it is shared far and wide.

– Videos: Video content is now more sought-after than any type of text-based content. If you can publish unboxing experiences, interviews, tutorials, webinars, and roundtable discussions in video format, you can go viral overnight. One long-term strategy to unleashing the power of video content for your brand is to team up with a market influencer.

– Research Findings: As long as you know how to lead into data results with a story, research findings can be incredibly powerful link bait.

– Contests: Everyone likes to win awards and get recognized for their work. If you can create a contest that features user-generated content, you give people lots of incentives to link to your webpage. Those who enter the contest will be interested in winning, so they are going to send voters to your website in order to increase their chances of winning. Always be sure the return the favor by linking back to the winner’s website.

– Interactive Content: Interaction is what keeps people engaged. So, you can take your website’s content a step further by encouraging user interaction. There are many different types of interactive content you could utilize, so use your imagination.

The Importance of Outreach for Successful Campaigns

Once you have created some link bait content, you need to focus on the outreach element of your SEO marketing strategy.

Who to Focus On

Assign one of your employees the task of finding websites and brands to target. For example, if you sell products specifically targeted towards the over 50s, you could assign the employee the task of finding bloggers that cater to baby boomers. Have the employee compile a database of potential websites and each site owner’s contact information. Also, have the employee include some basic metrics about each website, such as the age of the domain and link juice profile. Such data will make it easier for you to prioritize your outreach efforts.

While you might think that it is only worth targeting sites with thousands of backlinks, sometimes a SEO marketing strategy can be more effective when you work with smaller niche influencers. Keep in mind that many of the web’s most popular bloggers get their ideas from smaller blogs. You can leverage smaller blogs to get your brand noticed by the big players.

Evaluating Your Success

The most obvious metric to keep track of when engaging in any type of content marketing is the number of live links back to your website and the quality of those links. The better the page rank and domain rank of the sites linking back to your content, the better. Some other metrics to monitor is:

Traffic from Sources: Are the links back to your website generating more visitors to your website? What are those visitors doing once they get to your site?

Social Media and Mentions: Is your brand being talked about via social media mention on the likes of Facebook, Insta, Twitter etc., more?

Media Wins: How many connections to market influencers and influential journalists is your link bait generating?

Mentions: Mentions can be turned to links with some smart outreach – our advice is use mention finding tools to monitor for these mentions, outreach and see if they can be turned to links.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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