How to Build Links by Creating Link Bait
Link bait is a term used to describe an article, feature, picture, post, or page that is
so good that it attracts links naturally from all over the Web. If you’ve ever read an
article that was so useful that you felt the need to not only add it to your browser’s
Articlemarks, but also stumble it, tweet it, and share it on FaceArticle, then you’ll
understand the power a great article can have to attract links. That is link bait.
Building link bait is not an easy task, but it will bring in an incredible amount of
traffic and links if you can get it right. You can start by brainstorming to come up
with ideas for content that would appeal to many readers and make them want to
share it with others. Here are some types of pages that seem to attract a lot of links.
If you compile a list of all of the best resources in your industry, you’re likely to get
some attention from the owners of the websites you include on your list. They may
link to your resource page, which will start to get the word out about it so that it
attracts even more links. Top 10 lists are probably the most popular of this sort of
link bait, that is, “Top Ten WordPress Plugins for Business Bloggers”.
Sharing a humorous story or article
People love to laugh, and if you can make them laugh, they will tell others about
you. Try to think of a funny story that you can relate to with respect to the topic of
your website. Funny stories and jokes probably get passed on and shared more than
any other type of content. Another option is to post a funny picture or cartoon.
Writing about current events
Try to find a way to tie the topic of your website into a popular news story, and
you might attract some links from other blogs, especially if you are one of the first
bloggers to jump on the story.
Writing something controversial
If you don’t mind being in the line of fire, you can get plenty of attention on the
Internet by writing a controversial article. If you are the one to start the discussion,
you will get links from both the sides—those who agree with you and those who
Interviewing an expert
Everyone wants to hear what the experts have to say. This tactic will attract links
from other bloggers who want to comment on what the expert says in the interview.
You’ll also get links from the people who learn something from the interview and
want to share it with everyone else. And, the expert gets the benefit of some free
publicity, so they are most likely to accept your request.
Giving something away
Giving something away is a great way to attract links, but the item you are giving
away must be worth linking to. It could be a free WordPress theme or plugin or
some type of software. It could also be a product that has a substantial value, such
as a laptop or other high-priced gadget. If you use a physical product, you can give
people entries in the give-away for doing things like tweeting about the contest and
including the URL. Generally, you’ll find that the more expensive the product is, the
more links you will get.
Do you have a theory about something that has yet to be tested? Do the testing
yourself and publish your results. Other people who are interested in your niche
will link to your page because it contains fresh, new information. Include images or
graphs to illustrate your results and make your page more attractive. Review sites—
sites that entirely comprise reviews of consumer products—rely on this technique
Developing How-to Information
Information that tells people how to do something is always in demand. If you can
explain things with clear, step-by-step instructions, people who benefit from your
instructions will pass them on. For even better results, create a series of articles on
the topic or a complete guide that shows every step of the process.
Creating video content
A good video can attract a lot of attention and a lot of links. Try to combine the use
of video with one of the other tactics for best results. For example, make the video
funny or use it to show someone how to do something rather than trying to explain
it with text and images. Better yet, do it both ways. Then people who have slower
Internet connections won’t feel left out if they are unable to watch the video. Check
out the “Will it Blend” series of viral videos—that company built an entire national
viral web campaign with the great idea of putting things like iPods and golf balls
into a blender and broadcasting the results in short video clips online.
A good quiz can qualify as link bait too. You can either make your quiz interactive
or put an answer key at the bottom to help people figure out what kind of wife they
are or whether they might have ADD. You can come up with a quiz for just about
Using a catchy title
No matter what type of content you use for link bait, you need to have a catchy title
to attract readers. Try to make your title stand out somehow so that people will
read the article or watch the video. If you have done a good job on the content, they
will want to share it, so try to make it easy for them. Include buttons your visitors
can click on to post on a link to FaceArticle, Stumbleupon, Digg, and other social
Examples of effective link bait
The best way to understand what a link bait is to take a look at a few examples. These
are pages that have been successful at drawing in links from all over the Internet. You
can get ideas for your own site by looking at what other people have done.
NxE’s 50 most influential bloggers
This page lists the website owner’s opinion of the top 50 most influential bloggers. As
you can probably guess, many of these bloggers linked back to this post from their
own blogs. They are not the only ones who linked to it though. This post has 169
trackbacks and Backlink Checker shows 300 links to this page from other websites.
Some of the more recognizable sites that linked to it are All Freelance Writing,
Copyblogger, Dosh Dosh, John Chow, and Shoemoney.
Fast lane—the slide
Pardon the ugly URL, but this YouTube video of a Volkswagen commercial has
1,759,515 views. It is a great example of link bait. It is something that is fun to watch,
and when people are done watching, most of them will share the video on their
FaceArticle page, share it through some other social media site, or e-mail the link to a
friend. The backlinks for this video include links from 22 .edu domains and 25 .gov
domains; these are the strongest links you can get.
The CMO’s guide to the social media landscape
This is an example of an infographic that is designed to convey information in
a visual way. CMO.com created this chart that rates the top social media sites
according to four factors in a colorful and easy-to-understand manner. Each site is
rated as “Good”, “OK”, or “Bad” for customer communication, brand exposure, traffic
to your site, and SEO. It allows you to see at a glance which social media sites are
most useful for each of these areas. Backlinks Checker shows 299 backlinks for this
page, including links from four .edu domains.
If you want people to notice your website, you need to do something to get them
talking about you. Whether you are creating a piece of content that is informative,
humorous, or just plain outrageous, the main goal is to make it stand out from the
crowd so that people will feel compelled to pass it on.