5 Link Bait Ideas

by Jason Acidre on June 2, 2011 · 34 comments · Content, Search


There’s no doubt that link bait is one of the most formidable SEO strategies – and perhaps the best – out there, given that it demonstrates the original model and ecosystem of linking over the web (when Larry Page first formulated Pagerank), where people would link to a site or webpage because they have found authentic value from it.

However, nowadays, anything that’s useful seems to be a perfect fit to be a link link bait ideasbait, especially when the content is published on a reputable website. We can find so many interesting materials through the Internet every day that are actually link-worthy, they vary in forms, but most have been standardized through what has been known to be effective, particularly when it comes to crafting a highly linkable content.

If almost everyone is doing it, then how can we compete? Creativity appears to be the perfect solution to this problem, as always, but it doesn’t stop there, because we will always need to move forward once others start to catch up with what we are up to. That’s what made me decide to create this post and share some of my crazy and semi-theoretical views and ideas. Let’s start out by identifying the types of approaches in performing a link bait:

  • Resource hook
  • News hook
  • Attack hook
  • Contrary hook
  • Humor hook
  • Tool hook
  • Widgets hook
  • Incentives hook
  • Ego hook

You can learn more about these hooks on Zarko’s post about Link Baiting – here.

Elements of a powerful link bait

  • Concept
  • Durability
  • Contact list
  • Headline
  • Visuals
  • Body
  • Unexpected hook
  • Socially engaging
  • Call to action
  • Precision in launching
  • Analyzing its results

You can read more about this list on my guest post at Single Grain – here.

Stages of Link Baiting

  • Research and conception of content
  • Gathering of contacts, which will be used for the email or Twitter outreach
  • Actual production
  • Quality assurance
  • Publishing the content
  • Marketing the content
  • Link and traffic performance analysis

Secrets of most successful link baits

Many have questioned its real strength, most on niches that are unexciting, in which most thinks that link bait is only effective to tech-related subjects. Although, I personally believe that this technique is very applicable to any niche, you just have to know how to “really” do it.

The real secrets to launching a successful link bait that have the absolute capacity to acquire voluntary links – in any field – highly depends on these 2 areas:

  • The ability of the content’s body to exceed its headline’s promise, and eventually exceed the readers’ expectations and compel them to take action – or what we can call the “unexpected hook”.
  • The persistence of the marketing end through continuous content outreach. Highly-linkable content cannot survive on its own, and its way to survival is unseen on its backend, wherein the content’s artificial prominence (right after publication – where people who were first to share it are really part of the process) is what really drives more links to it.

5 Link Bait Ideas

1. Crowdsourcing 2.0

Crowdsourcing is a type of content which aims to compile or gather answers from industry professionals to give solution to a certain question/problem. It’s basically a community survey that results to a content loaded with information.

With 2.0 (cant’ really think of any other cool terms to use actually), it could be a content about subjects that are still in progress, wherein users can continuously update the content by enabling them to contribute their answers (which should be moderated of course).

The catch: the page will give link attribution to contributors, and in turn can attract contributors to link to it and share it.

The outcome of the content is quite promising as people can watch how the content grow over time, and have high tendencies of naturally attracting links, seeing as it will contain large amount of information regarding a certain topic.

Example: Zarko and I are planning to build a user-generated content, which will be entitled “Top 100 Shocking Events in the History of Search” (more details below).

2. Infoanimation

Infographics have really made it far in the world of search marketing, and definitely one of the best guns in marketing your website through rich media (videos, webcasts, podcasts and slide presentations), but I haven’t really seen any who have tried to explore this avenue through animation (that would be really cool).

Flash-based web elements are known to be search-unfriendly, although there are many other alternative software – such as AjaxAnimator, OpenLaszlo and OpenOffice Impress – that you can use to create embeddable “infoanimation” and to be published on your site.

The catch: Same as infographic, it is certain to be informative but delivered in a more fashionable as well as visually appealing approach, which can extremely attract links as it very capable of engaging your target audience.

Example: The fact-filled credits of the film “The Other Guys

3. Go-the-extra Mile List

Lists need no further introduction when it comes to content marketing, since it has proven its efficiency so many times, knowing that the numbers itself on the headline has its own mysterious ways of enticing readers to click on.

The catch: This type of content do come in different sizes, the shorter the list, the more it is prestigious, whereas the longer the list goes, the more it can acquire links (mostly bookmarked), especially if the content is really of high quality.

If the list will be linking out to other websites, then that might just increase the content’s linkability and shareability, particularly if you’ve notified each listed site. You can as well create an embeddable widget and offer it to sites that will be featured on your list. Building the list may take time to complete it (research, production and outreach), but I believe that it’s worth the time and effort.

Example: “Top 1,000 Dog Trainers in the World” or something like that – or this: 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.

4. Trend Widgets

There are always trending topics/events that relates to any industry and you can always translate them to links if you can just think and act faster on how you can take advantage of those events. Events that are related to society, politics and activism are the easiest ones to seek out, as you can get ideas just by watching the news.

Say if there’s a new bill that’s being debated by lawmakers (that’s somehow related to your business), you can just simply act on it by creating a widget for pro or anti that bill (depends on what you believe in). Create a landing page for the widget, where you can formally discuss and disclose the purpose of the widget (which is awareness), then start contacting organizations who are fighting for the same cause as you are and perhaps propose or collaborate with them in making the public aware of the issue by distributing the widget.

You can also seek for bloggers (via Google search) who have written about the issue, then gauge if they’ll be interested to have your widget embedded on their blogs to improve its visibility.

The catch: If you’ll be able to collaborate with non-profit organizations or educational institutions, you might just get the chance of earning a permanent link from them.

Crazy examples: Elections – My vote is for Derrick Rose widget (for Chicago-based Travel website), Society – Let’s help feed the homeless widget (Food Industry), Environmental – We hate air pollution widget (Automotive industry).

5. Secrets

If exposing magic tricks can get you on TV, then it could probably get you some links. In this age of online marketing, you’ll need to spill some of your most kept secrets to truly deserve the high value links you desire.

Whether it’s about your secret to success or anything that can be very useful to others is always a remarkable content, particularly if no one else is providing the same information that you can offer. Though with this method, you should keep in mind the 2 secrets that I have mentioned above.

Example: Wikileaks.org

More Action

Kaiserthesage and Practical SEO are going to launch a collaborated content about the Top Shocking Events in the History of Search, and we would love to have you on board. If you know any disastrous events related to the Search Industry in the past 2 decades you may submit your contribution here. Just mention your resource(s), 1 – 2 paragraph description of the event and the link to your website. Examples:

  • Google panda update
  • Yahoo Site Explorer Shutting down in 2012
  • JC Penney penalized by Google
  • Google caught Bing copying results

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Image Credit: Scatty

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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