In order for any website to obtain any sort of search engine rankings, high quality backlinks are still necessary. Back in the day before Google updated its algorithm to get rid of spammy, manipulative link building practices, website owners could easily place their site in low quality directories or participate in some sort of link scheme to gain high rankings on Google.
Today’s link building has to be much more strategic, and you have to have content that webmasters want to link to on your site. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time and yours because they aren’t going to link to just any site. It needs to provide their readers with something valuable. In short, the strategy for gaining highly authoritative, .edu, or .gov backlinks is to create content that’s meaningful and considered “link bait.”
What is Link Bait?
Link bait can be characterized as creating content on your website that encourages web users to share or link to, also known as viral content. Since a lot of websites are competing for the top positions in search engines, many websites are beginning to see the importance of content marketing, even for the sole purpose of increasing rankings.
Examples of what link bait can entail:
- Blog posts
- Case studies
- How to’s
- Landing pages
- Interactive websites or features
- Product giveaways
How to Create Link Bait That Encourages Users to Link to You
Creating link bait can be simpler than you think. Don’t overthink the situation. What you must understand first is your target audience. Ask yourself these primary questions to help you understand your audience and how you can develop content that will speak to that audience:
- What is their primary problem?
- What is the solution to their problem?
- How can you help nurture them to reach that solution?
- What educational content can you develop to help them potentially solve their problem?
- What statistics can you provide to help sell your customer into learning more?
- What is your final offer?
Create Useful Content
Now that you have those questions answered, you should have a pretty clear understanding of what kind of content can be developed on your website that would speak to your ideal audience. It’s important to keep in mind that only useful content is going to gain any sort of visibility online. You have a lot of competition that has already been creating useful content.
If you’re still stuck on the type of content that’s going to attract the right users and be shareable for their networks, think about creating content that is educational and entertaining, such as ways you can add humor to it. Keep the content highly relevant to your industry, but non-promotional. The last thing users are going to want to share is a page on your website talking about your product or your company.
Create a Plan of Action for Your Content
Once you’ve developed a list of ideas for content, there needs to be a plan in place to promote this content so that it can start to receive the visibility it deserves. For example, if your link bait piece is an eBook, there are several things that need to be thought out in order for the promotion to be successful. Here is some additional collateral that can go into eBook promotion:
- Dedicated landing page with quality content and optimization. This will most likely be what your users will link to, so make sure this landing page is fully optimized and speaks to them.
- Where the content will be promoted throughout the website. If the eBook is relevant to a specific service or product you offer, promote the eBook on those relevant pages with a CTA.
- Create link bait with other forms of link bait. Think about other content that is going to promote this offer and where to promote it. If you’re a B2B business, think about B2B social networks that would find your eBook most valuable. Create a meme or statistic graphic to give users something enticing to click on and share when sharing the link to your eBook landing page. Consider other educational content that could be turned into a blog post, and, at the end of the blog post, have the eBook be the final CTA. Do you have email contacts stored that can be segmented into lists? Send an email to those contacts and show off your eBook.
- Promote your content in the right places. If you’re strictly targeting other business owners, think about where those business owners would spend their time online. What social networks might they be part of? What big brands might they be following? Make sure you have link bait visible to your audience in the right places online.
- Develop the right messaging for the eBook. You want people to link to your eBook, but you have to create the right message for users to want to link to you. What do you want people to take away from this eBook? This is where those statistics can be a big help with enticing users to share and learn more. Also, this is the perfect time to add a little humor to your message, because humor can really catch someone’s attention.
- Outreach to the right websites. Develop a list of websites that are relevant, have high authority in Google, and have trusted backlinks. Don’t be generic with your outreach approach, because everyone else is doing the same thing as you: trying to get a link. Don’t be naive and think these websites are just going to link to you when you approach them with a generic email. Be creative with the approach and have some key talking points ready about their website and EXACTLY where you see a fit for your eBook to be promoted. Whether you think a guest post would suffice or if there’s already a blog post on their site relevant to your eBook messaging, have an idea of how you’d like to promote your content on THEIR website. Being thoughtful goes a long way.
Include a Call to Action as a Final Message in the Content
Since the content shouldn’t be about your product or service, you can lead to a final CTA in your content. Every piece of content on your website should have an end goal, which is your final CTA. Make that CTA clear and concise so users are not only sharing your awesome content, but know how to reach an industry expert if they need more help. This works together with your sales funnel, nurturing website users to become qualified leads. Boom.
Creative Link Bait Campaign Examples
There are so many ways to create link bait on your website, and existing brands have already established pieces of content that have gone viral. Some examples of existing link bait from other brands include:
This content piece went viral because of the visual content developed by Moz’s team to showcase different Google algorithm ranking factors. This spiked the interest of many other SEO companies who have used this content in their own blog posts and articles as a valuable source for understanding Google’s ranking factors.
By developing this valuable piece of content, Moz has boosted the Page Authority, increased social indicators, and increased the total inbound links. You can say this content was pretty successful.
Every blog needs to have a RSS feed. The following How To tutorial walks you through how to set up a RSS feed and why these steps are so important for websites.
The success of this content lead to 2,403 backlinks, increased social indicators, and a domain authority of 74/100.
Understanding color psychology is important for any website designer or digital marketer to understand in order for websites to convert at a higher rate. showcases different colors and how they can effect moods, emotions, and more in a nutshell.
This specific infographic did better socially by creating more than 2,100 likes, more than 2,300 tweets, and more than 780 Google+1s.
This page shows more than 100 tips on how to conserve water usage to help educate the world about excess water consumption.
By creating an interactive way to educate the audience, the page authority alone is a 76/100 with more than 4,500 natural backlinks. That doesn’t even count the number of social indicators happening here. There are more than 7,900 Facebook likes, 8,240 Twitter tweets, and more than 5,500 Facebook shares.
Creating viral link bait is not an easy process. It definitely takes a lot of creativity, optimization, content marketing, and strategy development in order to attract natural backlinks. Many times, there is a lot of trial and error that goes into developing the right piece of content in the right form that’s going to attract the right audience. Once you’ve established the type of content users are going to share naturally and webmasters are going to link to without any issues, you can develop out your content marketing strategy to include this type of content more on your website, which leads to more backlinks and higher search rankings. The key takeaway is to create valuable content that users are going to share and want to interact with.