Search engines love when you do things that look naturally, and creating something that other people will link to all by themselves is just what they have in mind. Now, creating content that will serve as “bait” for links isn’t easy and almost never happens accidentally, but it’s possible if you follow some basic rules which are essentially very simple:
Check what your competition has done. It’s always a great place to start
If you think that the content you’re creating is going to be really interesting and useful, it doesn’t mean that other people will agree and hurry to share it, so it’s good to check for what others in your niche have already done. You can start by looking over your competitors’ links: which of their pages are linked the most, and find out what type of content is appealing to your niche.
This kind of analysis will also provide you with an insight on how and where you could promote the content you create, which will be very useful later on.
Keep your content focused on your target
While the idea of creating something that is universally shareable is tempting, your best bet is to identify one or two targets and focus on them and find out what they care about, what type of things they will respond to and what you can offer them. This is near to impossible to do if you are targeting all Facebook users (almost everyone who uses Internet), but quite achievable when you’re addressing to mothers to be.
Offer something new to the market
If you’re re-writing or scraping the content that’s already on the Internet, then why should anyone link back to you? It often seems difficult not to do this type of thing since it feels like every single topic has already been covered; but there are a few ways to do it and still be fresh:
- Come at the topic from a different perspective: if everyone is writing about how something is awesome, you can create a linkworthy content by arguing that it actually sucks. If you choose this approach, make sure that you back up your case with strong arguments.
- Provide new information: you can add value to the topic by providing your own data (sales numbers or user analytics), or by doing your own research. You can be sure that you’re on the right path with this especially if you needed the information based on a research, and you had trouble finding it – that probably means that someone else is in need of that kind of info too.
- Make a compilation of the data around the topic you’ve chosen. The data is already out there, but do your best to make the most comprehensive list out of it, which can serve as reference for others in your niche.
How to actually get links
The goal of linkbaits is to get links, and although it’s great to make the content that will go viral and get you exposure and branding, if it doesn’t acquire links, it didn’t to its job. So, the next step after creating your wonderful content is promoting it.
Use social media sites. By this we mean: submit your content to all the big ones (Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon), but also find as many niche social media sites as you can. With the smaller ones you have better chances to go hot on, but many of them also provide do-follow links back, which is neat. They will not send as much traffic as SU or Digg will, but the quality of traffic they send is much, much better.
Manually search for link opportunities: You can do this by contacting the people in your industry – bloggers, magazines etc, and asking them to take a look at what you’ve created, or by being a bit more creative: if, for example, you made an iPad user guide, you can Google search for “ipad faq” and easily find people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, and would probably link back to your content.
Instead of conclusion, just a tiny piece of advice. Many among you associate linkbaits with infographics. Although infographics have a tremendous potential of going viral, they are not the only kind of linkbaiting content (many of them never deliver on what they were designed to do). You can use any form you’re comfortable with – blog posts, videos, widgets like quiz or calculator… As long as it provides you with backlinks, it’s a linkbait, and it’s worth the effort!
Jeff Gross writes about social media, online marketing, advertising and more for nPromote, a SEO Company in NYC.