What Is Link Bait?

Link bait, which sounds an awful lot like clickbait, is an SEO tactic used to generate more backlinks. And unlike its similar-sounding counterpart, it’s not at all a questionable one. 

What Is Link Bait?

Link bait is content created to attract backlinks. It is thus necessarily a high quality piece that will attract the attention of bloggers and journalists. 

There are several types of linkbait content: data and research, case studies, newsworthy pieces, in-depth guides or articles that express a controversial opinion. 

How Does Link Bait Impact SEO?

Creating pages that have the potential to earn a lot of backlinks is very good for SEO. As backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors, having lots of quality ones will help you climb up the search engine results pages.

If one (or several) of your pages attracts lots of links, the overall authority and credibility of your website will get a boost too. This will cause a domino effect, and your other pages will start to climb too. 

How Does Link Bait Work?

The premise of link bait is simple. You choose to write about something that will interest other websites in your niche or industry. You write a great piece of content. Others link out to you because they genuinely want to. You earn lots of backlinks. 

The best part about link bait content is that it’s highly scalable. The more links you have, the higher you will rank. The higher you rank, more people will see you, and you will generate even more backlinks. 

Link bait content often gets a lot of social shares too, exposing you to even more people who might share, comment or engage with your website in other ways. 

How To Create Link Bait

There are lots of ways to create backlink-worthy content. However, remember that it takes time for content to rank and get noticed, so don’t expect results overnight. 

You can also boost the chances of your link bait content getting noticed by building relevant backlinks to it yourself, as well as sharing it on social media and in your newsletter.

Create Visual Content

Visual content often gets shared and linked to more often than written content. 

Think infographics, graphs, sheets, any kind of downloadable asset that visitors can print out and use, like meal planners or habit trackers. 

This type of content will take a bit longer to create, but it can be worth it, especially if you post it across your socials. 

Make sure that the visual content you create is directly aligned with your business. For example, don’t do an infographic about the most popular cat breeds if you only sell dog beds. 

Or At Least Add Visuals To It

If you are creating a piece of written content, make sure to enhance it with visuals: bespoke images, charts or graphs, video content. In short, anything that can boost the visual appeal and the overall value of your page. 

Visitors don’t want to read, and bloggers don’t want to link to, content that looks boring. But they also don’t want to link to something that is disorganized or full of irrelevant images. 

Your goal is to create the best page you possibly can. Make it easy on the eyes, easy to read, and choose images that will fit into the context of your words. Don’t forget to add the appropriate alt text too! 

Create Ultimate Guides

One of the best ways to attract valuable backlinks is to create the best piece of content on a topic. Think ultimate guides, in-depth how-to articles, pieces that talk about a topic with expertise and authority. 

This kind of content is a great way to boost your E-E-A-T and establish yourself as a leading figure in your industry too. 

When creating this kind of link bait, carefully go through the currently top ranking content. Try to pinpoint an angle they are missing, or a piece of information you can contribute. If you merely rehash what others have already said, yours may not be the page everyone wants to link to. 

Publish Original Research

When writing articles, writers and journalists will look for statistics to support their claims. If you can supply it, you are highly likely to score a great backlink. 

This tactic may not work in every industry and niche. The SEO space is for example drowning in all kinds of research companies publish trying to generate links and authority, but only a handful of it is good. 

Consider your experience and expertise. What can you contribute that is unique and relies on your own knowledge? More importantly, is the subject likely to be interesting to your target audience and others in the industry?

Don’t write research just to be able to claim you have done so. Make sure it serves a clear purpose and has a specific goal. Also make sure it is likely to attract both views and backlinks. 

Write Something Controversial

This can be seen as a somewhat controversial piece of advice, but it is a good way to generate backlinks. Any controversial piece of content that is likely to spark discussion and make people take sides is likely to get shared and linked to. 

If you want to go down this road, carefully choose the controversy you want to generate. You don’t want to end up alienating your audience or smearing your brand name. 

Publish An Ego Bait

Ego baits are articles that aim to play upon the ego of someone of influence or importance. For example, an article on the top 10 SEO agencies in New York is an ego bait. 

The purpose of this kind of content is to get those mentioned to share and link to it. This tactic won’t always work though, and you may not get a backlink, only a social share. 

If you do want to create an ego bait, make sure you select individuals or companies who truly are the best of their kind, and who offer real value, otherwise you will tarnish your own reputation. 

Be The First To Write About Something

Scooping the competition is always a great way to ensure you generate lots of relevant buzz, traffic and backlinks. 

Depending on your industry, this may be more or less easy to achieve. If there is something newsworthy and new you can report on, make sure to do it as soon as possible. Don’t let the news get stale, and also reach out to relevant news outlets who can take the story up as soon as you hit publish. 

You can also apply this rule to non-news content. Is there something no one has written about yet in your industry? Are there topics you have googled but can’t find the answer to? Being the first to cover them can generate a lot of attention. 

Of course, make sure that people are looking for what you want to write about. Otherwise, there is little point to it. 

Make Something Interactive

Interactive pieces of content tend to generate lots of backlinks as well. Think tools or calculators, for example. If you are a roofer, creating a calculator that will help someone determine how much material they need for their house and how much it might cost can not only be a valuable asset, but great link bait. 

Other interactive content formats you can work with include quizzes, maps or games. 

Publish a Resource Page 

You can also reverse engineer the resource page link building tactic, and create a resource page of your own. This is essentially a list of something, often containing a lot of links, that pools together lots of available resources on a topic. 

For example, our post on the 11 tools  every link builder should know is a good example of a resource page. They can be much longer, depending on the topic. For example, you may see 50 ways to use leftover bananas as a recipe resource page. 

You can generate backlinks to this page whenever someone is looking to provide a valuable external link, without having to generate the list of resources themselves. 

Make It Emotional 

Finally, don’t forget that you need to give bloggers and journalists a reason to link out to you. Creating great content is one. Another one is establishing an emotional response. 

If your piece of content can make someone laugh, think or tug on their heartstrings, it is much more likely to generate backlinks than a dull, run-of-the mill article that moves no one. 

4 Examples Of Successful Link Bait Campaigns 

Let’s take a look at some examples of link bait, shall we? 

For a controversial piece of content, here’s a very old article about debunking the “content is king” myth. At the time, it generated quite the buzz, with 250 comments and over 4000 backlinks to date. Some of them have of course since been lost, but have certainly helped the blog gain new audiences and get lots of exposure. 

Here’s also an infographic about the reasons infographics are popular. It has generated 198.000 (!) backlinks during its lifetime, and is still being cited as an example of both the importance of infographics for content marketing, and the practical uses of link bait (case in point, they just got another link from us). 

If you are looking for an example of quality research link bait, look no further than Ahrefs. Their research on the amount of content that sees no traffic from Google has generated tons of backlinks, and they are still often cited as a source, even though the article is now almost 4 years old. 

A good example of how to make a calculator work as link bait is this dividends calculator from MarketBeat. They have over 23.000 backlinks to that page alone, which have certainly helped them climb high in the first page of search results for lots of financial topics. 

Wrapping Up

Now that you understand what link bait is and how to use it, don’t forget to also capitalize on this page by making it an integral part of your internal linking strategy

The internal links you add to a page that has lots of backlinks and traffic will pass on link equity and value. As always, you can use Link Whisper to help you automate parts of this process, and ensure all of your pages get the attention they deserve. 

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