All You Need to Know About Link Bait

All About Link Bait

In the era of digital reality where retail, learning, socializing, reading, writing, and more can all be done on the internet, сontent is the King. 

Many of us are trying to drive traffic to our websites – customers, visitors, loyal users, you name it. Many of us are trying to create written content, videos, or photos and hoping for it to go viral someday (or at least build us a solid following). There is a lot of content online – even too much. 

For those who don’t want to get confused and lost while trying to navigate their way online, we’ve made this article to help you understand all there is to know about making your content: shareable, interesting, and effective so that you can attract as many people as possible! 

On a related note, for those wanting to learn more about SEO and want to level up their knowledge on the practices of digital marketing, here is a useful article on the best SEO conferences of this year. It might be worth joining one to dig deeper into the topic we’re going to dwell on! Moving on, here is our comprehensive guide on link bait and all you need to know about it. 

What Is Link Baiting? 

So, what is link baiting?

Link baiting is about link-worthy content that is attractive, creative, unique, and valuable. It is designed to: 

  • Produce backlinks: a backlink is a shared link from another website, blog, or social network platform to the linkbait content. The links themselves are shared willingly since the content is good enough to be referenced.
  • Serve SEO purposes: Good link bait can earn the content authority links, make the content more visible on search engines, and increase the authority of the website through Google’s PageRank.

Ultimately, link baits need to drive traffic, audience, and attention to the site it comes from – link baits are a form of digital marketing, and link baiting has been proven to be effective.

Moreover, link baiting is quite a popular technique. That becomes quite evident once you notice how many websites and platforms still use it. 

Different Types and Forms

What Is Link Baiting? 

Link-worthy content can translate to various forms. We’ve compiled some well-known link-baiting examples below. Evidently, they can all be mixed and used creatively.

  • Breaking News/News-worthy: link baits featuring news stories of the latest events. This could be in the form of a journalistic article where the writer covers the events that unfolded coherently and clearly.
  • Contests: this one is self-explanatory. These types of link baits can feature a giveaway, a competition, etc. It can be related to what the website offers, or maybe to the topic of the article. 
  • Evergreen: evergreen content features subjects and topics that are not time-sensitive. These topics do not rely on current events to attract an audience and have been typically used in journalism and broadcasting to fill in empty slots on slower news days. Money and how to make money, for instance, is a good example of an evergreen topic. 
  • Guides: link baits featuring guides feature well-researched or very detailed and long guides.
  • Infographics: a piece of infographics is a visual representation of information that is designed to help the audience absorb the information better. Visualization can make even complex topics easier to understand. 
  • Interactive Content: content in the form of tools, games, mini-quizzes, and so on. A good example of this is the numerous quizzes you see on Buzzfeed’s website. 
  • Lists: a list can feature anything but is effective and attractive because of how it breaks down information. People like lists because it’s easier to learn things in a list form – and the information presented in it is, for the most part, easier to retain. 
  • Photos or Videos: viral content in video or image format. 

Useful Insights 

An article from Moz features a study that analyzed a million articles demonstrating some important and useful information on what kind of content proves to be attractive and shareable to users. Do note that this was published in 2015 (unfortunately, they have not redone the study yet). 

We’ve compiled the key takeaways from the publication: 

  • The content that goes in-depth on a topic(s), backed with a substantial amount of research and opinion-forming journalism, leads to a high number of shares and backlinks. 
  • 85% of published content is less than 1000 words long, BUT content that goes beyond 1000 words receives more shares and links. It seems that long-form content is more likely to be shared and linked than short-form content.
  • For the most part, viral content such as videos gets a high number of shares but almost no links. The same goes for quizzes.
  • Lists and videos get a higher number of shares compared to other types of content. However, lists, in particular, get a higher number of referring domain links than other content formats.
  • The majority of infographics (over 50%) in this study obtained zero external links, which leads us to believe that infographics are less attractive than other formats. Or, the images are easier to copy and send to someone without attaching a link.

Effective Techniques and Tactics

SEO is tricky. It has been continuously changing like many other online practices, but knowing what works right now and for how long it will work is a weapon at any marketer’s disposal. 

So, what’s effective? What makes link bait content more attractive? 

  • Make the content visually appealing with great design: visual content attracts more audience than non-visual content. Moreover, make sure that the visuals’ designs are beautiful and well-done. There is no point in making sub-par content if the goal is to be as link- and share-worthy as possible. Go all out and all in.
  • Make it easy to understand: linkbait content should be well-researched, but it shouldn’t come off as rigid and inaccessible – like academic research papers. Use language that is accessible, coherent, concise, and readable.
  • Use lists: segment and categorize the information. Walls of text are a sure-fire way to bore people and scare audiences away. People love lists.
  • Use the power of influencers: influencers (the right ones) can make your link bait spread like a wildfire. Be careful, however, and only collaborate with the influencers who have an authentic following and reach. 
  • Use eternally relevant topics: some topics will always find an audience and be in demand – money, love, travel tips, celebrity gossip, politics, life hacks.
  • Make it controversial: use this technique sparingly (and tactfully). The goal is not to scare your readers away or to become detestable like a gossip column. The goal is to shake the internet masses, just enough to make the link bait content memorable. 
  • Use timely content: news, trendy topics, and so on. For example, Bitcoin, COVID-19, and remote work are all hot topics at the moment. Think “What’s on the radar right now?”
  • Establish the content as the go-to resource: this one is a bit bold, but it works if used correctly. 
  • Use giveaways: audience love free stuff – and really, who doesn’t? Be creative and include some sort of giveaway in the link bait content. Be sure to integrate this part properly.
  • Make sure to have social share buttons: this one is self-explanatory. Have a share button ready for all the social media platforms you can think of.

Useful Tools Online 

Backlink Checker by Ahrefs

This free-to-use tool is designed to check the number of backlinks on any site’s content piece. It also displays the URL rating, domain rating, and referring domains. We recommend using it to your advantage, as it really is practical. Marketers and everyone else can check the performance of their linkbait content in intervals to see how it’s doing. What’s not to like? 

Google Analytics

This one is a free web tool provided by Google, and it’s designed to analyze the traffic of your website. It is quite an extensive tool, but don’t fret, there are many guides on how to use Google analytics online – and for free. Just do a search! 

Google Analytics is perfect to use, especially if marketers are running search ads or social media ads. Websites, or social media pages, serve as the hubs for all digital traffic – and it’s important to understand where traffic is coming from. 

We’ll save you the details on how it works, the main point to know is that it is extremely useful. It clusters the data from analyzing your website primarily in 4 levels (so that you don’t have to):

  1. User level: related to the actions made by users.
  2. Session level: each individual visiting the website.
  3. Page-view level: each individual page visited on the website.
  4. Event level: button clicks, video views, and so on.

Google Trends

Another great and free-to-use tool by Google is Google Trends. What it does is analyzing the popularity of trending search queries typed in on Google Search – from various countries and regions, and in many different languages. Users can look at a graph produced by Google to visualize and compare the search volume of various queries.

Link Bait Examples

Want to see actual link bait content? We’ve compiled 11 examples of link baiting, varying in content and genre, so you can see what’s worked in the past and what might work in the future! 

The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, by MOZ 

Our first example is going to be Moz’s Guide on SEO for beginners. This guide has about 7 chapters, and each one is replete with information! Not to mention, there’s a glossary at the end. 

This guide works so well because:

  • The main topic is relevant and up to date with the times.
  • It is easy to read and has been categorized using bullet points, etc.
  • It is thorough! Moz really tried to put in as much information as they could, but it’s still coherent.

This guide has 13,276 referring domains and a whopping number of backlinks - 458,969.

What You Need To Know About Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT), by Forbes

An article about the new ongoing craze NFT. This article informs audiences about NFT. It gained attention as linkbait content because it covers a topic that is hot and trending.

This piece has 952 referring domains and 1,736 backlinks (we’re using Ahrefs’ backlink checker tool for this).

How to Meditate, by Mindful

This guide was authored by Mindful Communications (a Public Benefit Corporation), a group that is dedicated to sharing knowledge on the practice of mindfulness. They do this through written content, training, courses, and directories. 

They teach their audience effective techniques on how to live mindfully and share information about the philosophy that is behind this lifestyle and way of thinking.

This piece works because it is a very relevant topic. More and more people, especially in the western world, are becoming aware of the importance of having a stress-free and balanced life. 

This piece has 1,972 referring domains and 14,670 backlinks!

The Ultimate Guide To Dropshipping, by Shopify

Behold, Shopify’s ultimate guide to dropshipping. It works because dropshipping remains a popular retail business plan, and Shopify itself provides services for dropshipping! 

Not to mention, Shopify is a popular platform, and this definitely impacts their attractiveness to new audiences. This guide has 1,035 referring domains and 5,100 backlinks. 

Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Help Protect the Earth, by National Ocean Service

This listicle by Ocean Service features infographics, and an important and relevant topic – environmentalism. This piece has 371 referring domains and 1,043 backlinks.

66 Brilliant Photoshop Tutorials To Try, by Creative Bloq 

This article on Creative Blog is a great example of thorough, well-categorized, and well-researched link bait content. It works because it’s in long-form content, and it’s a guide. People love guides and tutorials (as we’ve stated before).

This piece has 343 referring domains and 1,983 backlinks.

How to Get High-Quality Backlinks in 2021 (7 New Strategies), by Backlinko 

Unsurprisingly, this guide by Backlinko about how to get high-quality backlinks has a decent number of backlinks itself. Guides are an efficient evergreen type of content. 

In a scenario where your website becomes the first-ever guide to a popular topic, it’s possible that you’d amass tons of backlinks and traffic! 

This piece has 1,167 referring domains and 4,438 backlinks.

Bloomberg Billionaire Index, by Bloomberg

Bloomberg’s index features profiles of the world’s 500 richest people. This page works since people are pretty curious about the wealthy. This profile, in particular, is about Jeff Bezos whose story is a hot topic of modern times, considering he managed to fly to space – just because he can. 

This page has 1,672 referring domains and 4,282 backlinks.

Radiation Dose Chart, by Xkcd

This one is an infographic on all the things (and places) that could possibly give you radiation. Not what you expected? 

The infographic/chart works well because of its size (it’s huge), colors, and a good balance of text and visuals. The topic itself is quite intriguing since we all live in a world ridden with technological devices, radio tower signals, and Wi-Fi.

This one has 2,811 referring domains and 22,292 backlinks! Take notes. 

How A Car Engine Works, by Animagraffs

This page shows why visuals are important. Not everyone’s a mechanic, but this particular page has been made extremely well, with a pretty impactful design. This animated infographic (with video) of how a car engine works has 511 referring domains and 2,616 backlinks. 

The Most Important Skill Nobody Taught You, by Medium

Our last example is a medium publication, which is one of Medium’s most popular posts. This one is a deep read and has very high-quality thoughts. The writer proceeds to write about Blaise Pascal’s final thought (a renowned mathematician).

The writer points out what Pascal said:

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

Food for thought.

This piece has 514 referring domains and 1,065 backlinks.

Conclusion

We hope our guide helped you understand all the relevant information surrounding link baiting. Creating link-worthy and shareable content will be much easier now that you’ve read through the important aspects of marketing techniques and tools as well as good linkbait examples. 

On the off-chance that you missed something; we’ve compiled the key takeaways from our guide!

  • Link bait is link-worthy content designed to get backlinks and drive traffic to websites.
  • Good and quality linkbait content can do wonders to the website that generated it. Websites can rank higher in search engines and will be easier to find. 
  • There are many forms of linkbait content but video and long-form written content seem to get the highest number of shares and links. Format matters!
  • Make your link bait more effective by being thorough, making it visually appealing, and readable.
  • People love lists, guides, and tutorials.
  • There are timeless (evergreen) topics that have the potential to generate a good number of backlinks – as long as the content is well-crafted.
  • There are free-to-use smart web tools, like Google Analytics!

Our last tip: enjoy the process of creating – we think this one is quite often overlooked, isn’t it?

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