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Link Bait: Bringing Big Catch or Wasting Your Time?

January 4th, 2011 | Link-Assistant.Com | Posted in category Link Building

Today we’re talking Link Bait – and this is the first post in the Link Bait series. We intend to make a thorough research to see whether the myths are true :) And then we’ll write several postings to cover what we’ll have found out. How to make a perfect link bait and whether it really works, where the big fish lives and what do’s and don’ts there are. We’ll love your input: please ask questions, share your stories of wins and failures, tell us your idea of a perfect link bait, or just discuss what you’ve just read.

Before you join us on the fishing expedition and share your link-baiting experience, let’s make sure everyone knows what we’re talking about. Okay? Let’s start!

link-bait

Link baiting has been a buzz on the Web for years now. But still not everyone knows what to make of it. Some folks consider it an illegal way of getting backlinks, some claim it to be the next step in link-building evolution. What is it after all?

To put it simple, link baiting is merely one of link-building strategies that means getting backlinks due to stunning, mind-blowing content as opposed to trading or purchasing them. Link baiting is creating some scandalous, breath-taking content that would make people share it via different social media, linking to it, posting it on their blogs, thus triggering a chain reaction on the Web.

The beauty of link-baiting is that, besides attracting a flood of natural one-way links to your site, it also brings a fair amount of direct traffic. Are you seeing the big picture yet? Link baiting is good for both – SEO as such and Internet marketing in general. Plus, successful link bait may keep on getting you links and traffic long after it was launched, which means its results are more long-lasting.

9 Simple, but Working Link Bait Techniques

There is no strict rule about what to use as a link bait piece. Different variants are possible, just think outside the box and come up with a fresh, original idea. Yet, here are some popular techniques people use to create knockout, can’t-miss link bait:

1. Break the News

Be the first to cover what’s new in your industry. This doesn’t mean being copy cat and re-writing what has already been said online. Look deeper into the matter – emphasize something that others might have missed. Analyze contrasting viewpoints and bring them to a common denominator. Summarize scattered bits of information on a topic and come up with a blasting coverage.

2. Educate

The urge for self-perfection and self-learning is inherent in human nature. Anyone would appreciate a good free piece of advice or a collection of curious facts. As an expert in your field, write a list of “how-to” tips, analyze common mistakes people make and suggest how to avoid them. Or conduct a small research and write about what things used to be a 100 years ago, and what they are like nowadays. Very often such research uncovers surprising, even stunning facts.  You can make a collection of facts like this one, for instance: Jonas Hanway was the first man in the 18thcentury England to use his umbrella to keep off rain and was bitterly ridiculed for that. At that time, umbrellas were basically used for the sun.

3. Discover Things

Go even further and perform laboratory kind of tests that have something to do with your goods or services. Have you ever watched Discovery Channel? Yes, this is what I’m talking about. Then share you findings online, add some pictures, videos, comments – a dazzling link bait piece guaranteed.

4. Create Controversy

Start a storm in a glass of water –select a controversial subject to write on and take an unpopular point of view. This is sure to enrage a great number of people, isn’t it? So, the better it is for you. But be careful not to overdo, being all the way negative will do you no good in the long run. First, provoke a discussion and then just maintain it in a decent manner.

5. Interview a Celebrity

If possible, interview a prominent person or an expert in your industry. Ask vital questions everybody is dying to get answers to. Wrap it up in a nice form and post it on the Web.

6. Organize a Contest

Run a competition with online voting that is relatively easy for all to take part in. Establish a luring prize for the winner. News about such events tend to spread at the speed of light, besides, with online voting, people will be asking their friends to visit your site to cast votes, and will likely share it on social networks and blogs. For example, my friend was marketing her site that sells clothing and accessories. They announced an online beauty contest. Any girl could upload her picture and take part. The winner was granted a paid photo session for their store’s advertising campaign. Girls of different ages were going gaga over the project, frantically posting links to their friends’ pages and urging to vote for them.

7. Give Away Free Stuff

Create a free web application or a tool that users can download for free. It could also be a free on-line test that gives you immediate results, a series of whitepapers or a collection of desktop background images, screensavers. In a nutshell, it should something useful that visitors won’t have to pay for.

8. Prepare the Humor Blast

Funny content is the most viral. It’s highly “explosive” and is a sure link bait piece. Make a funny video, take some weird pictures, write a hilarious story, make a collection of jokes – and you are certain to catch some huge fish. For example, have you heard of the “ElfYourself” video? This is probably one of the most successful humorous link bait pieces ever. Using a special program, you can create electronic images of your friends in tiny elf bodies, wearing funny costumes. And when you play the video, they start dancing a really side-splitting dance to Christmas music. The sight is so hilarious it brings tears to your eyes.

9. Make a “Top Things” List

Have you ever watched “The Most Extreme” program on Animal Planet? Now, here’s the deal –people love records, just think of Guinness World Records! They always want to know who is the fastest, the slowest, the shortest, the tallest, etc. Make a list of “Top 10 Most Poisonous Mushrooms”, or   “Top 7 World’s Safest Cars”, depending on what you sell. These are some remarkable facts that people are always eager to learn.

Ok, so far we’ve been looking on the bright side of link baiting and talking about how wonderful and beneficial it is. How about the flip side of the coin, are there possible drawbacks? Well, thoughtful and fair link baiting is very unlikely to do you harm. But some inappropriate “behavior” can be dangerous and may land you in trouble.

Rule one – do not overdo. What I mean is there’s a difference between being funny and being plain disgusting. If you get the feeling that something you are creating could be “bad taste”, just drop it. Reputation takes ages to deserve and a minute to destroy.

Rule two – do not tell lies. There have been cases in link-baiting history when marketers just invented sensational stories, like the infamous “13 Year Old Steals Dad’s Credit Card to Buy Hookers” piece of news. The story was picked up by some major media sites but eventually turned out to be a fake. Such schemes only damage your site’s reputation, and their success is short-lived. Not to mention, this is a sure way to get penalized by Google (if Google finds out your story’s made up).

Another possible downside is that sometimes link bait brings the wrong kind of users to your site. Well, whenever you create link bait, take a minute to think what kind of audiences you are aiming at. It’s best to come up with something related to your business niche, so that it attracts just the right kind of visitors.

Good and bad link baiting examples are all over the Internet, we see them every day. Some of those link baits hit the bull’s eye, some of them failed.

Now your input is welcome!

What about you guys - have you tried link baiting? Was your experience successful? What lessons did you learn?



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  • Redneck

    Did your last week's big seo cruise work as good link bait? ;) I got myself the Enterprise pack btw))

    Link-Assistant.Com Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Hehe, more or less )) Honestly, it was quite a good try. But what is best, we've seen many happy clients sharing the news just for the sake of sharing - not trying to get any value for themselves. Simply doing some little good to others at Holiday time, just as we wanted it to be.

    Link-Assistant.Com Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Hehe, more or less )) Honestly, it was quite a good try. But what is best, we've seen many happy clients sharing the news just for the sake of sharing - not trying to get any value for themselves. Simply doing some little good to others at Holiday time, just as we wanted it to be.

  • http://twitter.com/mmhemani Moosa Hemani

    Give me a one single reason not to share this post... is this link bait? yes, oh good! :) well i agree with most of the points! Thumbs up!

    Link-Assistant.Com Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Thanks Moosa!

  • http://www.blueclaw.co.uk/seo-blog moniclaw

    From experience - giving away free stuff works best for link bait. :) Everyone likes free stuff and will happily give away personal information or 5 minutes on a survey to get something free.

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