Get Links without Asking for Them, Link Bait 101

You all know what link bait is, an article, content, widget, tool, app, news or anything interesting to users that much that they will link to it and recommend it to others on their own accord. So there is no need to contact webmasters and ask for links, no need to research potential link opportunities, all you need to do is create a powerful link magnet and you are all set. I wish it was that easy.

Few years back it was not that hard to create a link bait, for several years list resources ruled the kingdom of link baiting, now they are just one of many potential candidates. There is a fine art to creating a link bait, a fine art indeed, and if you want to go down that road remember, though it may be rewarding, the path if full of thorns.

The thorns in this story is the already overcrowded market, so you need to come up with:

A)    Something new and original

B)    Not new and original but told or presented in a much better way

C)    Something useful and free, the main part lately is being free

This can be broke down in parts, the basic types of link baits can be broken down in three parts:

1.      Content

2.      App/Tool/Widget basically Software

3.      Interactive link bait (contests for example)

And the three main types of link bait can each go down one or more of the following paths or hooks as SEO’s like us tend to call them:

link bait

Resource type Link Bait or Resource Hook – lists fall into this category, but any type of content or even software can be created as resource for others to learn from or cite and reference in future.

News Hook or Fresh Link Bait – Now there is no need to wait for the breathtaking news to come out and be the first one to publish it, which is one way to go about it. You can also create a roundup of all the news, like Search Engine Land does or you can theorize or criticize some news. There are plenty of ways to play this card.

Award Link Bait or Incentive Hook – You probably know what this is; you create a contest and give out some eye catching and breathtaking awards. But it is not just about the awards, you need to make the contest interesting as well, that will do the trick, a bit of promotion and every contestant will be promoting himself and linking in no time, especially if you implement a system where others have to vote for the contestants.

Funny Link Bait or Humor Hooks – be creative, take a news story and make it fun. Rewrite something useful but make it funny, present a cartoon each week of famous people in your niche. Link baiting boils down to creativity, so be creative.

Controversial Link Bait or Contrary Hook and Attack Hook – In my book this two go hand to hand. There is a slight difference, the first one just presents a certain topic in a different light offering a different opinions, example are comments on one of latest’s Rand’s posts at SEOmoz. The attack hooks is where you do the same but in a flashier, angrier and basically a rude manner. Wouldn’t recommend this one unless you are 100% sure that you know what you are doing.


Useful Link Bait – Resource Hook Type 2 – And when we talk about apps, tools, widgets or any other type of software we usually say that it has to be free to be a link bait. No, it doesn’t, it helps, and the most important part is that it is useful and that people think they can’t go on without it. This is like content resource, but only for software that we are practically naked without.

Zac is a link building specialist and a seasoned SEO professional. He manages a team of link builders and actively promotes some of Australia's biggest brands. Zac is an active blogger and also maintains Dejan SEO's news and updates section.

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