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Linkbaiting is a widely used term to describe strategies where new web content or services are created specifically to boost rankings through attracting lots of inbound links. 

Some argue that linkbaiting is an unnecessary term which just means 'great content'. Nevertheless, it is a neat term that prompts marketers to focus their minds on what makes for genuinely useful or engaging content

Let's take a look at 10 strategies for linkbaiting.

Attracting links

Linkbaiting is the practice of creating pages or resources which are deliberately aimed at attracting backlinks, particularly from other blogs. Everyone involved in SEO (and marketing, and content creation) should constantly be thinking about new opportunities for linkbait which will work best in their marketplace. 

Typically linkbait consists of useful content for a target audience such as an informative article, list of links, free tools, etc. An early post that explained the art of linkbaiting was written by Nick Wilson, who identified these five hooks: 

  • News hook
  • Contrary Hook
  • Attack Hook
  • Resource Hook
  • Humour Hook

Nick’s hooks were designed with blog posts in mind, but our options build on these to describe types of linkbait for commercial and also not-for-profit organisations.


10 linkbait strategies

  1. Advice. For example, ‘How-to guides’ create value. HowTo.tv has created an entire business around these videos, but how-to content can just be a list of practical steps to help with any process. You need to show credibility for your advice through links to other respected websites, customer reviews, research or highlighting your own credentials.
  2. Viral campaigns / Humour. Any marketing campaign with a strong viral element should attract links if it succeeds. Make sure these aren’t wasted if the viral is hosted on a standalone site. Link back to the main company site with topical links and when the campaign ends, setup a 301 redirect back to the main site. Consider the success of Will It Blend, which has attracted 30,000 backlinks following a winning viral video campaign.
  3. Controversy. A lot of political commentators generate many backlinks by courting controversy in the blogosphere. In the US, Andrew Sullivan’s blog is one of the most popular.
  4. Reviews, comparison and evaluation. Save others time by reviewing. Amazon purchased camera review site DP Review (which has over 500,000 backlinks) for several reasons: audience is one, saving affiliate commission is another, but targeted backlinks to the main Amazon site could be another.
  5. Applications and tools. Online services which solve problems will naturally generate links. Currency converter XE.com has around 1 million IBLs. Downloadable tools and plugins can be helpful too.
  6. Blogs. Companies who add a blog to their main domain will gain more backlinks as bloggers link to individual posts, but they may be insignificant. There are almost as many links to the Econsultancy blog homepage as the as the main Econsultancy homepage.
  7. News. Unique takes on news can help generate links. Try to be among the first wave (or the very first) to break news, follow a niche or add humour. All of these can also be done in conjunction with one another. Technology site The Register does this well. It is has amassed 800,000 links to its home page.
  8. Rich media. Images, video, webcasts or podcasts can create links from different sources. 
  9. Community: polls and surveys. We know from the success of social networks how web users love to relate to others similar to themselves. Short of creating a community, there are other actions you can take on this such as using polls and surveys. These can work really well for generating links from journalists and bloggers, especially if they hook into Nick Wilson’s five hooks. These can be a one-off or you can use a series of surveys (allowing for comparative trends).
  10. Top 10 lists. Or Top 20, Top 100, etc. Lists like this one seem to be popular since they are easy to digest and people can work through them like a checklist. It can be a top 10 of sites, experts, tips, any of the hooks. And if you build your top linkbait from other sites or bloggers then those you feature (flatter) will often want to link back to you. Social media sites like Digg live off a steady diet of top 10s. An entertainment blog I own called Hecklerspray.com regularly writes lists, and now has 304,000 inbound links. 

A six point checklist before you start...

  • Make it easy to link to your linkbait, either through providing code or social media widgets 
  • Think carefully about your title, and how you introduce your linkbait. An intriguing title will often encourage visitors to click through when they see the link on other sites, so you will gain direct traffic too. A descriptive title will have greater SEO benefits, especially if you attract lots of links.
  • Provide a home for your linkbait. Aaron Wall places his link on a subdomain to collect all the different tools he has developed which increases the chance that visitors will link to it: http://tools.seobook.com.
  • Develop different types of linkbait which will appeal to different audiences, for example journalists and media site owners, casual bloggers, pro-bloggers, the Diggerati, etc.
  • Review your web analytics ‘top entry pages’ for returning visitors to see which content is most popular and create more content like that.
  • Review the balance between inbound links for the home page against the site overall. For example, The Register has over 800,000 homepage links but nearly 2m overall. If the number of links for your home page is similar to the site overall it means you’re probably not doing a good job of creating other types of link-bait.

Adapted from our new SEO Best Practice Guide, compiled by Dr Dave Chaffey, which contains 300 pages of search engine optimisation advice. Thousands of people have downloaded it since the beginning of April. It's available to subscribers, or as a one-off purchase (which you will not regret).

Chris Lake

Published 27 April, 2009 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

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Bdr London

Bdr London, Internet Advertising Agency at BDR London

Great article, I think linkbaiting is one of the hardest parts of SEO. As a copywriter it can be difficult to come up with innovative content that people will want to link to. I will definitely be using this list.

over 7 years ago

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Greg

I'd be very careful with the strategy in point 2 - that sort of 'bait and switch' tactic could easily result in those acquired links being devalued..

over 7 years ago

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SEO Hong Kong

I believe Greg is onto an interesting point.  If you have a great piece of work and it gathers thousands of links, to redirect that to a corporate homepage after the campaign will render it void in the minds of many viral junkies.  Most of the videos work because they steer clear of the corporate brandages. 

Good point out Greg, and great post Chris, The new linkbait styles are definately different than two years ago, even 1 year ago. 

Cheers,

Derek

over 7 years ago

Jerry Okorie

Jerry Okorie, Search Consultant at UK

Great list..Like you said link building is a time-consuming task and should not be done to measure quantity. But rather quality (less can be more in some instances). I love writing and reading post with attractive but short titles. Thanks

over 7 years ago

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Zack Schneider

Every industry has the opportunity for quality links. It takes research and relationships. I have yet to come across an industry where we have not made a difference. If your market is small and only consists of 200 clients it actually makes it easier, because we know exactly who we are targeting. If you are interested in talking or learning more feel free to call 716.228.4946 Zack

<a href="http://www.15fingersllc.com" title="15 Fingers | strategic digital marketing">

over 7 years ago

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meditation blog

your article is great,I found a great make money site.
Best 15 ways to earn money by home,make money to easy ways at home.
http://greatmakemoney.blogspot.com/

over 7 years ago

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Walter Pollard

A very informative article. Online video campaigns are definitly becoming more prevalent when it comes to building links.

I especially like the 10 list concept. People love easy reads! This would work well across blogs and social media sites.

over 7 years ago

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san diego SEO

these strategies targets great points in search engine optimization. thanks for posting post.

-peter

over 7 years ago

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web design

Thanks for sharing this great article about. We specialise in web design and this will help us a lot.

over 7 years ago

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Medical Web Experts

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Hiring someone to optimize your website would be a really good idea if you have a new website and/or business venture. Using the services of an experienced Offshore SEO company will give you exactly the results you need. SEO companies are trained to generate a steady continuous flow of quality traffic in order to achieve more revenue for your business. This is one of those factors that many of the people are ignorant of. I am a physicist, and run my own clinic. Marketing was a part that generally doctors are unaware of. I made one website which I though would help me ameliorate my business, but it doesn’t make a great difference as it was far not found on search engines. Then, I came across a website designing and marketing company named as medicalwebexperts.com, with which I had a contract for advertising and optimizing my website to make it google-friendly. The main problem with my website was found to be improper website coding, which resisted my website to be listed in top most search. The company did well in reconstructing my website, making it popular using SEO techniques. The benefits are slowly coming into action. Website helped me getting a good sum of patients at my doorstep. Web marketing really helped my business work, making my investments in SEO worthy.

over 7 years ago

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Naveen

yes but its difficut to get ideas to all websites.

about 7 years ago

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Michel

Thanks for sharing this information , this helps to get good ranking in search engine listings

almost 7 years ago

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Website Promotion Blog

This is an insightful content, which by itself, is a very good example of link baiting. I was looking for "link baiting strategies" at Google and I found this page. So, this is another benefit of writing great relevant content!

I want to share another strategy I've used successfully: It's reading printed books and writing based on what you learn. If the topic is something less written about on the web, chances are you could write a comprehensive article on it and manage to attract attentions on the web. As a result, authority sites link to you and this brings a lot of credibility for you.

This strategy is worth following although it's time consuming. I've done it on a travel website a few years ago and it still brings visitors to my site who believe in my expertise at that site. Even other authority sites find it at those first authority sites and link to it like they've done.

almost 7 years ago

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high performance polymer

In my experience I have found that giving away something for free no matter how intangible has provded great link backs!

over 6 years ago

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SEO Specialist UK

It is a good list and link baiting is by far one of the toughest parts of SEO.

about 6 years ago

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MaheshSrinivasan

Being an Intermediate in SEM, Its hard to learn the hooks and corners of Search Marketing, especially the open loop of SEO. After reading this article on LinkBait, I have gained momentum in learning the SEO. I will practise the art of LinkBait. Thanks again.

almost 6 years ago

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Fireworks

Great list and thanks. Any help is always appreciated!!

over 5 years ago

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Web Design Dubai

You forgot one, make templates and link back to your site is another good strategy of link baiting.

over 4 years ago

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tony simpson

I stumble across this article and I found it very informative and useful. Thanks for sharing.

almost 4 years ago

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