Linkbaiting

Linkbaiting is one of the most universally effective tactics for promoting a site, both for search engine rankings and short-term traffic boosts. There's no special list of guidelines that sets linkbaiting apart from normal content building or promotion except the knowledge that you're creating something that's specifically designed to appeal to link-savvy bloggers and web content creators.

Creating Content

Understanding what content, features, and subjects are "in" with the technorati (the web-literate individuals, not the blog aggregation site) is a subjective, but important piece of the linkbait creation puzzle. Right now, for example, one could search through del.icio.us/popular and digg.com to find examples of sites and pages that are getting lots of press.

In order to bait a link, you need a hook. Hooks come in variety of types, some of which include:

  • News hook
  • Contrary hook
  • Resource hook
  • Humour hook

There are two main types of hooks - the nice hook, and the nasty hook. In most cases with a nasty hook, you can get away with a contrarian viewpoint, but not an attack.

The easiest, and safest, is the nice hook. Have a look at some examples of each type of hooks:

Resource Hook

  • A comprehensive list of blogs in your niche - link out, and links will come in
  • A practical/useful or even fun tool related to your niche
  • A 'How To' based on your niche
  • A compilation of news stories on a theme

News Hook

  • A genuine 'Scoop'. Get to the news first
  • A compilation of news, as above, it's a resource as well as a news hook
  • Expose a story for a fraud, or to be flawed. You really have to know your subject to do that, but links flow like water if you can debunk a popular story

Contrary Hook

  • Be the only one in your niche to find something to not like about a story, or like about a story/product
  • On the same theme, post "Why <insert prominent blogger name here> is WRONG about..."

Humour Hook

  • Search flickr, or photoshop a bizzare pic of your subject
  • Post "10 thing I hate about..."
  • Post "You know you're a <insert here> when..."

Funny things always get links, people never seem to tire of them.

Promotion

The second step in creating linkbait is the initial promotion. With lesser trafficked sites, it can be valuable to actually email some bigger bloggers or writers in the field and ask them if they'd offer constructive criticism. Don't ask for a link - bloggers hate that. Ask for their advice, tell them you respect their opinion and like their blog (if you don't, find someone whose opinions you do respect) and are hoping their feedback can help you improve. 99.99% of the time, if you implement some small changes they ask for and email them back saying you've made them, they'll write about it in public.

Once a great site, great application or trendy post is written about somewhere, it gets picked up and dragged across the web. Social tagging and popularity ranking sites (like the aforementioned Digg & del.icio.us) help to give the document massive visibility to hundreds of sheep-like content creators, who'll happily link to you (without any input). Linkbait is a beautiful thing and to those who become experts in applying it to industry niches where natural links are hard to come by (think e-commerce or pharma), a great reward awaits.

Ever found it hard to get other bloggers to link to a new blog? Sure you have, it's not easy sometimes. Even established blogs need to expand their traffic and influence on a regular basis, and linkbaiting is one way to do it. It's not without potential perils, but the time honored tradition of being contrary, in order to get attention is well proved, and done right, it's a killer way to break into a new area. There are also safer ways of linkbaitng, they're just less fun.

All of the above is utterly useless without being seen by your peers though. Link to them in your post, then click those links if you have absolutely no traffic. You need to get their initial attention.

Send emails, post to del.icio.us, myweb2 etc - just make sure that at least one prominent blogger in your niche reads and links to you and the rest will follow.

Last Modified: 22 June 2022
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