Guest post by Jonathan Bentz
You've written all the articles related to your site that you can possibly stand. You've contacted your favorite bloggers and submitted guest posts to their sites. You've added your site to directories, tried to get your content cited on Wikipedia, even created a Twitter account against your better judgement and put links in there. And, after all of that...
You're still not at the top of the SERPs.
In some industries, link building really isn't that difficult - throw tons of blue words at your site from other domains and you'll show up on page one. In industries where the webspace is competitive, however, link building campaigns need to be taken to the next level to produce quality results that last.
How do the companies at the top of the SERPs reach that level? Link bait.
Link bait is a piece of content on a website that encourages other site masters and bloggers to point a link back to your site. Often, link bait is a blog post, an interview, a tool or resource. In other cases, contests or giving away free stuff can qualify as link bait.
While the contests and giveaways almost always go viral, they tend to do little more than build buzz on social networks. If that's the goal of your linking campaign, great! When it comes to link baiting for improvement in SERPs, however, contests or giveaways typically carry a short time span and/or limited audience, limiting their effectiveness in allowing your site to acquire quality links.
Below are five link bait concepts that I've found work in almost ANY situation. Throw around some ideas related to any (or all) of these products in your next brainstorming session to see what you can create to fit the goals of your link building efforts.
1. Free Downloadable Resources
If you're looking for quality links from blogs, trade sites, or news sites within your industry, then these products are perfect for your link building campaign. Writing a whitepaper, designing an infographic, or creating a database of universally useful information that people normally have to pay for is helpful... and the web loves sharing products that are easy to access and helpful to use from a trustworthy source. In industries where there are a lot of different ways to accomplish the same goal (SEO, for example), free resources are great because they provide education and a solution to a potential problem at the same time.
2. Interactive Tools
For businesses and industries that provide custom solutions, interactive tools make great link bait - especially if the focus of the tool is DIY or eco-friendly. Any business trying to generate more sales in a customizable industry with a long sales cycle (construction, for example) can turn their site into a web destination with the right interactive tool. From a link baiting perspective, an interactive tool will definitely be link worthy to blogs and industry-specific message boards if it provides a solution, is easy to use, and is presented in high quality.
3. NSFW Photo Galleries
For companies trying to target the most financially valuable demographic on the web - males 18-34 - and its highly engaged blog community, NSFW photo galleries are a no-brainer! The benefit to NSFW photo galleries are that they can generate a large amount of links in a short amount of time from a wide variety of websites - the essence of viral "link baiting." However, the downside is that they generally result in cheap clicks, unqualified traffic, and ware out their relevancy over a short period of time.
4. Popularity Contests
Democracy is a pretty cool thing. On the internet, people love expressing their opinions on almost any topic when its presented in the form of a poll. Host a poll related to a time-sensitive or polarizing topic in your industry, and do a little self-promotion across the social networks. Not only will people take your poll to contribute to its results, they will also often help spread it across social media networks and link to it if it's an interesting subject. Follow your poll up with a blog post detailing the results for maximum link opportunities.
5. Going Political
You'd be amazed how many blogs about politics there are on the internet. You'd also be impressed how many of your industry-leading blogs will link to you if you take a political stance on just about any issue. Polarizing topics (like politics) make great link bait articles because they create controversy - and controversy is often link worthy both in a positive and negative situation. Don't be afraid if someone agrees or disagrees with your stance. If the site is of quality and they link to your site - you've won no matter what they say about you.
About the Author
Jonathan Bentz is the Link Architect at ProspectMX, an internet marketing company that provides SEO services, PPC management, link baiting strategies, and lead follow up systems for companies nationwide.
back to SEO blog