How to Create Link Bait

Link-BaitCaption added to original image from Thomas Peschak

With the SEO world shuddering over the recent Google Update Penguin 2.0 many link builders now fear for their livelihood. Among Penguin 2.0’s targets are websites that appear to be partaking in questionably link building practices. The Google algorithm update will spend the summer slithering through the web identifying unnatural backlinks and stripping participating websites of their Page Rank.

The act of purchasing links on directories (especially ones not related to the industry of client website), trading links, buying online advertorials, and even guest posting anchor text heavy articles on submission sites will get you gonged off the stage. So what is a hapless website to do?

My advice? Create link bait. In essence, link bait refers to content that is interesting and engaging enough that it will be shared by others online (thus linking back to the original source – your website) without embarking on an extensive outward  link building campaign. The backlinks to a website that come from offering link bait are natural links – the kind of backlinks that Google LOVES and rewards websites for achieving.

6 Surefire Ways to Create Link Bait:

1. Keyword Research

Before you can even start churning out that link worthy content you’ve got to do your homework to make sure your content is being searched for. Then you must discover which keywords offer the best opportunity to get that content found on your website. For example, if you are a Hawaii based real estate agent and want to create link bait content for your website you need to find out what people are searching for in relation to real estate on the islands. After using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool and uncovering that 1,900 people are searching for Best Places to Live in Hawaii you now know to create content using that phrase as your title and keyword target.

2. Be Bold

Being safe won’t get you very far in a link baiting strategy. People are attracted to bold messages and are more likely to share content that has personality because what they share reflects on them too. Make definitive statements – don’t hang out on the fence. For example, our Hawaii real estate agent may sell homes exclusively on the island of Maui. In that case, they would create content such as “10 Reasons Why Maui is BETTER than the Other Hawaiian Islands”. Those that concur would be more than happy to refer to that content on their own websites/blogs. Touchy subjects can also make your content link bait and thus our agent may deliver “5 Ways to Snatch up Foreclosures on Maui before Everyone Else Finds Out”.

3. Create Lists

Content curators prefer to link to lists because itemized articles (e.g. “10 Reasons Why…”) alert readers as to what they can expect. Even if their visitors don’t have time to read an entire article they may still click through to the content because they know they can skim through the point form headings to get the gist of the content, potentially returning later to consume the whole thing if they like what they’ve seen. Create great lists (e.g. Top 5…, etc…) and people will link to it.

4. Complement Informative Content w/Rich Media

Your content won’t be linked to without using media to complement the text. Create unique images, graphics, and/or video when creating link bait to encourage other websites to link to you.  Infographics, eBooks, and instructional videos serve as perfect examples for gaining backlinks to your informative content. Our Maui real estate agent may create an infographic showing prospective vacation property investors the best path to identifying, buying, and turning a profit on their Maui vacation rental. Invest in the development of media rich informative content and you’ll see great success in your inbound linking strategy.

5. Making Sharing Easy

You could follow the above advice to the tee but unless your content is presented in a format where it can be easily shared it will remain only on your website. First of all, welcome users to share the content with a brief message at the end of its presentation allowing them to do so. Some curators fear copyright infringement so let them know it’s OK to share as long as they provide linked attribution. Second, install every relevant social network plug-in so that users can also share the content on their social media. Third, be sure to post the link to the content on your own social networks to increase the likelihood that it will be found.

6. Be Consistent

If a website / curator referenced and linked to your most recent content delivery chances are they will return to your website/blog within a week to see if you have anything new to offer. Be sure to have something ready and waiting for them. There’s little better than a return customer so be sure to create link bait on a consistent weekly basis (preferably on the same day) so that interested parties will return time and time again and link to your content time and time again.

Conclusion – Unnatural link building efforts will become a thing of the past soon enough while the creation of link bait will become the core strategy in obtaining backlinks. What this means is that thousands of so-called “link builders” will be run out of business, returning to their original jobs as telemarketers, leaving only quality SEOs, content creators, and inbound marketers to take the reins. Looking forward to it.

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