Link Bait /lɪŋk – beɪt/
- Website content created to gain links from other websites.
Creating link bait is not an easy process. It takes a well thought out plan and strong motivation to achieve link bait success. Winning the link bait game is the dream of every SEO. Once successful, link bait can achieve:
- Natural links
- Quality Links
- Relevant Links
- High Quantity of Links
- Facebook Likes, Twitter tweets, Google+ and other social factors
- Lots of other SEO goodies
So how do we go about thinking up awesome, creative ideas? We need to get into the right frame of mind first.
3 Questions to Ask Before Getting Started
These questions will help you frame how you go about brainstorming your link bait ideas.
1. What are my objectives?
The objective of link bait is getting links. Duh!
But why are we getting links? What kind of links do we need? Are we lacking authority links? Do we need quantity over quality? Do we need links from related websites? What keyword are we trying to rank for? Answer these questions before you start forming a strategy.
Use a backlink analysis tool to analyse your current link portfolio and find what kind of links you require. You want to have a natural back link profile. A healthy, natural looking link profile will have:
- Links from websites related to yours
- Links from quality and authority websites, not spammy looking sites
- Brand/product/URL type keywords in your anchor text, not solely keyword-based anchor text.
Think about the kind of links that you want to make your profile as natural as possible, and how the link bait content will fit in with that.
2. What are my assets?
Keep your budget in mind. Can you afford for a developer, designer, or copywriter to help you on your link baiting quest? If the answer is no, you might consider bringing in a freelancer. If you’re stretched particularly thin, you can try some really cheap, and some really, really cheap options.
Think about leveraging your personal and professional networks as well.
3. Who needs to sign this off?
How many different departments will need to give the OK for your link baiting project to go ahead? If you are agency side, you need to know your client exhaustively. Will this go through legal? 3rd party developer? Content writers? PR? This is important because you should be thinking of ideas that you know will get approval. I once had a client whose legal and PR department refused to have the words “grammar nazi” anywhere near the project – because of the client’s historical ties with the Nazi party!
With these three questions answered, let’s get down to business!
How to Come Up With Link Bait Ideas
A piece of good news: you don’t have to be a creative person or reinvent the wheel when it comes to link bait ideas. Snoop around the interwebs for inspiration. What are your competitors doing? What are your indirect competitors doing? I like to check what high ranking websites in other countries are doing. The US and UK SEO industry is ahead of the Australian curve – see what top websites in your industry are doing in Google.com and Google.co.uk. Can you steal adapt their ideas and improve on them? Use these tools to find out:
- StumbleUpon.com: Stumble through your industry to find interesting content. The best part of StumbleUpon is that the people sharing are net savvy users – people who are likely to share and link to interesting content.
- Reddit.com: Social sharing websites like Reddit.com are a goldmine for ideas. Go through the sub-Reddits to find your industry and niche. The sidebar on the right hand side is what you are after. Reddit moderators have collated the best guides and information on these sidebars.
- Google: Type in “[keyword/industry/niche] forum” to find relevant forums. What are people constantly asking here? Can you create content to answer these questions? What is a current hot topic where you can add some value?
- Theoatmeal.com: Matt Inman is the king of link bait. A former SEOmoz-er who creates fun and interesting content. Look through his website and see why people are linking.
- Delicious.com: What kind of non-tech savvy things, are tech savvy people sharing?
A Few Points About Link Quality vs. Quantity
- As Seth Godin said: good ideas come from bad ideas, but only if there are enough of them
- Brainstorming is a numbers game. You want to get as many thoughts and ideas you can come up with down on paper. Aim for at least 30 ideas per link bait project. We’ll filter them out later.
- 2 heads are better than 1. Use a team to help you brainstorm. Tell 3-4 people in advanced before sitting down and bouncing ideas off each other. This gives them time to come up with ideas individually before coming together. A different mix of skills would be preferable here. Remember that this is all about quantity at this stage, so don’t shoot people down and encourage as many ideas as possible.
- It could be helpful to get away from the office to brainstorm. Go for a coffee with the team and have a think outside the office environment.
And Lastly, Filtering Down
You’ve brainstormed and browsed for ideas, now it’s time to filter them down. Consider the following:
- Can ideas be combined?
- What works and why?
- Which ones are more actionable than the others?
- Will this idea achieve our objectives set out in the preliminary questions stage?
- Most importantly, who will link to this and why?
Share your ideas with everyone and ask for feedback. Get your client’s feedback. You want to come away with at least 5 core ideas that you can action.
Good luck! If you’ve had some successful link bait, let us know in the comments.