Link bait (n): Link bait is any content put on a website
with the primary function of attracting links to that page or to another
page on the site.
The purpose of link baiting is pretty obvious, to develop incoming links to
your website. One thing that may not be clear however is how links to internal
pages on your site helps you rank highly. The benefits are divided into two
1. You will rank for more phrases. Building links to internal pages is a great
way to get those pages ranking for related terms. For example, if you run a
real estate site and you put out some great content on how to get a mortgage
in yourtown, somestate and who your visitors should use and provide a few useful
tools to help your visitors you can attract links to this page for mortgage-related
phrases. This will then help you rank for phrases such as “mortgages yourtown
somestate”, which in turn is going to drive traffic to your site.
2. You will boost the overall strength of your domain. Building links to internal
pages helps build the link strength of your overall site. The internal links
from the linked page to your other pages will be stronger and so, in turn, those
pages become stronger. Stronger pages rank higher.
So we understand what link baiting is and what its purpose is however, how
do you build it? This is a difficult question to answer as what makes good link
bait can vary from site to site and industry to industry. In short though, you
need to create something that others in your industry will find important, useful,
or even humorous enough to link to.
Let’s use an example we all know, YouTube. If you view any given video
on YouTube you’re going to find two ways to put that content on your site,
link to it or embed it. The link provides the link bait benefits, embedding
it provides the branding. They win either way. Now they have content to meet
any persons’ needs/wants, but what do those of us with fairly fixed site
Here are the steps for building link bait:
- Figure out what appeals to those you want linking to you. This is not necessarily
the same as what might appeal to your target market. When you’re doing this
try to think about the types of people they are (likely very similar to you).
Are they funny? Do they just want quick solutions to their problems? What
do the people who own websites related to your topic want to provide for their
- Build it. If you want to provide a solution to an information gap, write
up a great article. If you want to provide something humorous, do that. If
you want to provide a useful tool on your site, write up your specs, hire
a good developer and get it made.
- Test it. If you’re unsure as to how your new link bait will be received,
test it. If you’ve written a great article on a subject you know people are
interested in, try visiting a few forums and posting a link to it and see
what the reaction is. You can do the same for humorous content and tools as
well. Find out how they’re going to be received by your site visitors and
site owners you are hoping will link to it.
- Launch it. Now it’s time to add it to your site. In the Testing stage we
put it up on the site but didn’t link to it internally. Now it’s time to link
to it from inside your site. If you feel your potential clients will enjoy
it, why not add it to your navigation? If you feel it’s better for the people
you want to link to you but not as useful for your potential clients then
perhaps you’d be better of to build a resources page and link to it from there.
Or, if you have a blog you can simply announce its launch on your blog.
- Promote it. Now it’s time to get the word out. There are a wide variety
of methods for doing so and the most effective will vary by site category
and who you want to reach. Here are some of the methods we have found most
effective across a wide array of subjects:- promotion on your site: large buttons on the homepage, in the navigation
or other prominent spots- press releases: if it’s a service or information that a wide variety of
people will be interested in a press release is a great way to get the news
– forum posts: if what you are offering will help then why not tell them about
it in related forums. Chances are there are people looking for the solution
you are providing – post a link to it for them, and others, to see. This will
provide you with a link from the forum and potentially many more as people
find the information and feel it may help their visitors too
– newsletters: take out an add in an industry newsletter
- Monitor it. Now all that’s left is to watch your stats and backlink counts
to monitor the success. If you find you’re getting solid traffic, or backlinks,
or both it’s a sign you just might want to do more of the same. If the results
aren’t as spectacular as you were hoping then you’d do well to consider how
well you performed the five steps above, how they might be adjusted, and what
else you can do.
It’s important to note that building link bait is not a “one off”.
A successful site will continue to develop greater and greater numbers of incoming
links through a variety of methods. Once you determine how to successfully link
bait in your industry you’ll want to reproduce it periodically. Fortunately,
with the results you’ll see if done properly – you’ll be happy
to take the time to do so.
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