Linkbait: Creating unique, interesting, and/or controversial content (any media form) that other people will link to. Made for the main purpose of getting links.
The term “linkbait” is used to describe content on a website which is designed to generate incoming links from other sites. Some people disagree with the use of this term, since it sounds pejorative, implying that all linkbaiting is bad, while other people think that the term is perfectly accurate, even with the negative connotations associated with the word “bait.”
Almost every website participates in linkbaiting. Most people design websites with the intention of attracting readers, and as a result they try to generate material which is picked up and linked by other sites. However, there are varying degrees of linkbaiting, ranging from writing a useful guide to something to deliberately baiting the owner of another site by launching a personal attack on him or her. Some people who support the concept of creating linkbait frown on more aggressive tactics.
In addition to typically immediately increasing traffic to a website, linkbaiting also drives a site up in search engine rankings, as most search engines look at how many links a site and uses these links to assess the value of a site. Therefore, a piece of linkbait can also benefit a site in the long term, by moving it up in the ranks so that it will appear when people search for related terms. Webmasters must be cautious when trying to increase their links, however, as some search engines look at the authority of the site issuing the link and factor that into a search result; in other words, not all links are good.
There are two basic categories of linkbait: positive linkbait, such as a resource which other web users may appreciate, and negative linkbait, like attacks on other sites. Positive linkbait can come in a variety of flavors; it could involve something new and interesting, it could provide an incentive for visitors like a contest, or it could simply be insightful or intriguing. Many web developers, for example, write applications which serve as linkbait, because other web users link to these applications and their developers by extension. Negative linkbait, on the other hand, is focused on controversial or contentious material, and it can be highly effective, although some people find it distasteful.
Some people believe that effective linkbaiting is a great search engine optimization (SEO) tool. This idea has become so widespread that some SEO firms offer linkbaiting services, along with tips and tricks to increase links and traffic to the websites of their clients. Many bloggers especially also work hard to create linkbait in the hopes of making their sites profitable.
The term linkbaiting doesn’t necessarily reflect this aspect of organic growth on the Web; Linkbaiting is about gaining reputation, finding your niche, writing useful and creative content. The linkbaiting refers to Content, Videos, images or anything on the web that is created with the intention of increasing Links to a website.
Linkbait is essentially a piece of content placed on a web page. “Linkbait describes a variety of practices – all of which seek to generate incoming links to a website or blog from other sites.”
Linkbait is not manipulation.
Linkbaiting follows the scheme: a) Linkbait Launch, b) The Long Tail of Links, c) Residual Traffic, d) Search Engine Rankings.
Profound Rules of Linkbaiting
- Create original, unique, creative content. Choose topics that other people wouldn’t like
to touch and do it wisely. If you are making a claim or a counter-claim then back it up
with substantiated data. “The Cambrian House decided to buy 1000 pizzas to feed the
Googlers. They video taped their process and placed it on the web. This video resulted in
over 400 links and thousands of visitors in a period of days.”
- Create useful content. “When Aaron Wall released his SEO Firefox tool it brought in
over 2000 links as well as thousands of visitors in just a few days. Because so many
people linked to the tool with the word “SEO” in the anchor text, the SEO for Firefox
web page is now ranked on Google for the term SEO.”
- Make your content universally valuable, memorable and compelling. “The higher
quality the content you create and the more targeted you make it, the better your chances
for keeping a percentage of the traffic you initially attract and getting a higher number of
links from your effort.”
- Don’t sell products. Offer useful content. “Useful content gets linked. Products don’t. Publishing your posts, consider, why people should link to you.”
- Don’t spam.
- Understanding what content, features, and subjects are “in” is essential.
- Understand your audience. “Normally, you’re building content targeted to your site’s
visitors—people who want your products, services or content. But for linkbait, you need
to also appeal to an entirely different audience—one that can help your site achieve mass
appeal in the niche that you select. I advise reviewing the coverage you see for other links
in your area; using delicious tags and blog archives can help with this process.”
- Keep connected to your readers. Appreciate their feedback. “At least once per year,
ask your visitors what do they think about your website’s content. What would they want
to read more? What new facilities should you offer them?”
Writing-related Principles of Successful Linkbaiting
- Be appealing. “Creating some room for controversy or discussion can inspire more
- Encourage your visitors to link to you. “Encourage readers to submit your posts to
Digg and Del.icio.us, or more specific link sites depending on your subject matter.
Make people think. “Posts that force you to think and that tickle your intellectual buds
get linked to a lot.”
- Cover topics that need attention.
- Link intelligently.
- Use striking images. The image of the post can help to visualize the topic you’re writing
about and give an article a vivid, fresh look.
- Write efficiently. Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English.
Be positive, not negative. Never have only 4 rules.”
- Make it easier to link to you. In every post provide a short, precise description and/or
summary of the article.
- Help your content travel.
Tactics and Strategies of Linkbaiting
- Define your strategy and tactics wisely. Have a concrete plan for your blogging
activities. Write down everything, breakdown your ideas, evaluate content, mix and
match your content with your strategy and your concept list.
- Gain a reputation. “Linkbait is difficult to launch the first few times if no one on the
Web has heard of your brand. Once you’ve spent some time in the blogosphere and social
media space, you may find that a lot of your content goes viral without any effort on your
part. Thus, creating a reputation is an important part of making linkbait successful.” “A
strong profile at the social media profiles can make a huge difference.”
- First gain respect, then advertise. “Whether personal or professional, you wait until
your blog has achieved a level of success before you start advertising.”
- Maintain your good name.
- Share your knowledge.
- Reveal as much as possible.
- Post regularly.
- Consider the best times and locations to launch your idea.
- Select best timing for your post. Analyzing the preferences and habits of your visitors,
you can time your submission for maximum exposure. “Post on weekdays (especially
Monday in the morning), because there are more readers. Post on weekends, because
there are fewer new posts.”
- Create your networks. Make friends.
- Ask people to quote you.
- Respond to comments.
- Humor Hook. People love to laugh, especially at people in their industry or niche.
- Giveaway Hook. Offer your users something they can take with them – e.g. free
wallpapers, icon sets, themes, pdfs, templates, layouts.
- Research/Statistic Hook. Sometimes just compiled numbers, or any kind of scientific
survey, will get a lot of link love, especially in an under-studied area.
- The incentive hook. “If you give people a motive to talk about you they likely will.
Contests have worked for ages.”
- The interviews hook. Interview people who are well-known in your field of interests.
- News Hook. “Fast, up to date news on breaking topics with expert commentary on the
topic. Selecting topics, use niches to write about.” The news hook is
when you are the first to scoop a story; everyone who carries the story will then
(theoretically) link to you as the original source.
Use hooks for unique and useful content. “Content is only crowned as king when it has focus. A hook can help you keep this content focused and tight, and to fulfill the promise you made in the title. The hook has the potential to be the burning sensation that makes the article “write itself”.