5 Link Bait Ideas

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 bait, 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 the Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive - a digital marketing agency based in the Philippines. He's also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre.

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34 replies
  1. Zarko
    Zarko says:

    Hey Jason,

    Thanks for including me so much in your posts, and thanks for starting the conversation and encouraging people to contribute!

    I have to say that the idea was Jason’s, so he gets the credit for that 🙂

    About the post, great ideas, the first one, Crowdsourcing, is one of the best ones at the moment. If you have the users attention you can get some valuable feedback and you can have hundreds of hours of research landing in your inbox daily. So this is a great tactic to engage users and at the same time create great content with high linking potential!

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      I also agree with that note Zarko, seeing as the more the content is able to attract people socially, the more it’s capable of generating links, as people are more willing to share the content 🙂

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. Valerie
    Valerie says:

    Hey Jason I like this everyone want high raking link from educational site and you have provide a way one could go about this successfully. I will be looking into trend widgets it sound interesting to me.

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Thanks for the comment Valerie. I’ve been also looking to try these methods in marketing this blog as well, hopefully next month 🙂

  3. Brian F@dedicated servers
    Brian F@dedicated servers says:

    Fantastic post, Jason. Since the Panda update, SEOs are really forced to come up with great content ideas to acquire the links they want. Creating low-quality content or getting non-contextual backlinks will not do anymore. Infographics is definitely something I want to start doing a bit more– and effectively, too.

    Thanks for your other suggestion on wikileaks and infoanimation. I’m definitely going to have to add that to my repertoire.

    – Brian

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Glad that you liked this list Brian. Content should always be the core component of link building, most effective link building techniques rely on the site’s content, because no one would really mind linking out to average or low quality pages.

      It’s great to have you here, hope you can visit again next time 🙂

  4. Susane D
    Susane D says:

    Hey Jason,

    Thanks for the very structured and practical article. Link bating is a buzz word and there is a lot written about it, but less practical advice. I’m going to take one idea at a time and implement it, to see how I progress. Thanks!

  5. Charlotte
    Charlotte says:

    Some good pointers there on successful linkbaiting. It can taker a while to craft something good. Even longer to do something that people will link to and not just retweet.
    But when linkbait is done well you get such a range quality, editorial links – not to mention the traffic – that it really is difficult to think of a better method.

  6. Kira Permunian
    Kira Permunian says:

    Another Excellent Work! I knew link baiting as the best natural link building method which Google have much love about. I believe it’s really hard to attract links but with compelling and authoritative content I think this would be possible.

    Thanks once again Jason! I’ve learned a lot from this post. 🙂

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Thanks and couldn’t agree more 🙂 Everything in this field of marketing starts with content, so better make sure that your content is up for the challenge of taking the number 1 spot of SERPs.

  7. Matt @ Qubok
    Matt @ Qubok says:

    Some all in all good ideas however, I have struggled to create successful link bait in the past. Having said that, I am now concentrating on writing longer content for my blogs and have seen people link to it by their own choosing, the only bad thing is they’re scraping my content! I think to really be successful here, you need a GREAT idea or to already have a half-successful brand.

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Agree on your last note Matt.

      Length of content seems to have great effects, particularly with search rankings, but of course it has to be genuinely helpful/useful. You should check out SEOmoz’s results on their recent survey about the search ranking factors for this year 🙂

  8. Francis from Eurocasino
    Francis from Eurocasino says:

    Go-the-extra Mile List if you want your content to go viral.it is not easy to do it.it takes time and how many have got the time and research strength to do that?

    I am working on the 3 dynamic Laws of SEO, maybe you can help out. The experiment is on but I will contact you at a certain stage to hear your opinion as an SEO.

    Great work Jason.

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Sure Francis, I do enjoy making case studies and in-depth researches, would love to work with you in the future 🙂

  9. Jason Gardose
    Jason Gardose says:

    Jason, this is one hell of a job. So much information in just 1 post. I guess I have to learn things from you since i’m an SEO noob. haha I’m thinking about starting my own blogsite. I hope I can catch up with you. Can’t get enough of your post, I spent all night long and the following morning reading posts on your blog. Best luck to you! Thanks for the add on facebook. Cheers!

    • Kaiserthesage
      Kaiserthesage says:

      Whoa, thanks, so glad to hear that, and really glad that people find this post useful. Thanks for adding me on Facebook by the way! 🙂

      Just keep on learning, applying what you have learned and share them! That’s the trick 🙂

  10. Noel Addison
    Noel Addison says:

    I’ve always wondered why it is called link baiting. I mean it is just providing good content as you said.

    What’s new to me is the hook. It’s not like you build it and they would come. You really have to make it easier for people to link to your content.

  11. Pascal
    Pascal says:

    The hook angle was very interesting and fresh to me. I must also say that the “Trend Widget” is so incredibly relevant to my own personal subject matter that I will have no choice but to code one. Thank you for the extra work 😉

  12. Jeane
    Jeane says:

    Link baiting has really gotten my attention lately as to how can my site’s marketing strategy could evolve into progression using this one. The article really makes a good source for my research and those tips are well appreciated. Way to go.

  13. Jeannette@cheapest days to fly
    Jeannette@cheapest days to fly says:

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but after browsing through some of the post I realized it’s new to
    me. Anyways, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back frequently!


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