The viral nature of link bait makes it a powerful online marketing strategy. Though the term does sound slimy and evil, link baiting isn’t bad altogether.
Link baiting is “anything interesting enough to catch people’s attention and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing“, says Google’s Matt Cutts.
In the words of Copyblogger founder, Brian Clark, link bait is a “sexy term for high-quality content that benefits the reader“.
What is Link Bait?
Usually, you are down on your knees begging others to link back to your site. In contrast, link bait is a system where other sites link back to your content naturally because they found it is helpful, and not because you asked them to; the process is wholly natural and the benefits are endless.
For instance, the 101 Link Popularity Tips published on SEO Book is often quoted by bloggers and webmasters. This is an excellent example of link bait. In fact, I quoted it here. They just earned an inbound link to their site without doing anything. How cool is that?
Now, don’t be under the impression that all content published on your blog is worthy as a link bait.
Link bait posts are very detailed content on any topic the writer chooses to discuss.
Here are some of the ways using which you can create link baiting content.
Offer Tutorials or Guides
Detailed step-by-step tutorials or guides are massive crowd pullers. Take, for instance, this post on RSS written by Mark Nottingham in 2005. Even after almost a decade, the post is a ‘go-to’ tutorial for everyone who wishes to know about RSS feeds. The content is actionable and easy to understand.
Countless of bloggers have referenced this article over the years.
Offer a List
List-based posts are readers’ favorite. The 101 Tips post by SEO Book referred earlier is one such example.
Create an epic list. It should be something readers are eager to know about and your job is to close the demand gap.
Publish a Collaborative Study
The reasons why the Search Engine Factors published by Moz is beneficial link bait are:
- It is published on Moz, a reputable website in the SEO community;
- The depth of content and presentation is mind-blowing;
- From people starting in the SEO field to SEO professionals, this is a resource post to bookmark for eternity;
- It’s a collaborative post as more than 130 knowledgeable people contributed to its creation;
- It wasn’t promoted by Moz but by its collaborators;
- It is updated every year to retain its usefulness and relevancy
Now, tell me, how can a post like this not become popular link bait? It has all the characteristics of any link bait strategy.
Infographics is another popular link bait strategy. Create an Infographic on a popular topic related to your niche. Make sure you place the embed code below the Infographic so that people can share it on their own site. The embed code ensures that they link back to you. This is how you will gain links back to your site.
You may also reach out to bloggers (related to your niche) and ask them to share it with their audience. While you may have to indulge in the initial outreach phase, you don’t need to do it for a longer period once the Infographic goes viral.
Is Link Bait strategy possible in all Niches?
It is possible, but you’ve to be really creative. Suppose you have a blog on plumbing. What kind of link bait content creation is possible? Let’s say, an infographic about the history of plumbing sounds good. Or, an article describing the plumbing process in detail should work. You’ve to be creative.
Further, you must remember that your audience is of greater importance. Link bait on SEO will have huge exposure, but not on plumbing, right? The audience will be selective and small. It’s true, but the fact is you don’t need to own the whole world. Even if you can reach a significant percentage of all the people interested in plumbing, consider your efforts as fruitful.
While this post on Mashable says that link bait can ruin content marketing, it isn’t so if you’re aware of its true value. Don’t spam or misuse these methods. Create really good and useful resource for people.
Maybe you haven’t noticed, but there is a trend in what makes a piece of content function as link bait. Any guesses? It’s the evergreen nature of the content. The examples referenced above were useful and will continue to be useful in future too. To ensure relevancy, the link bait posts should be updated, as and when necessary, to keep it informative.