Creating Effective Link Bait
Getting incoming free one-way backlinks can be the lifeblood of your site. There are many ways to accomplish this. You can spend a lot of time commenting on blogs, purchasing links, linkbuilding or, you could just “attract” good quality links via link baiting. Creating effective link bait is not nearly as hard as it sounds, but there are some guidelines you want to follow in order to maximize your effectiveness.
Before discussing the effectiveness of link bait, it is important that you understand what exactly link bait is. As the name implies, it is “bait” to bring the “fish” (links, in this case) to your site. In order to get people to create one-way links and point to your site organically without having to pay for those links, do link exchanges or comment posting, you need to give people a reason (the bait) to send traffic your way. The simplest, but least effective, is to simply have very good quality content. This in and of itself will draw links in, but it is a rather slow process. What you need is something to turbo-charge this whole process and get links coming in by the dozens and quickly. For that, you need some real creativity and strategy.
By now, you should be intimately familiar with the necessity for quality incoming links in large numbers as being a cornerstone of SEO. Link Bait is an extremely effective way of getting tons of links for free and boosting your sites standings in the SERPs (search engine results pages). There are several ways of creating very engaging content that can draw more people in and get more links. The more effort you put into making your content compelling, the better the results you will have. Here are just a few examples: create an audio version of the article that can be linked to, encourage linking by making the process simple (there are lots of blog plug-ins that help with this), and add really compelling content – like interviews – and provide additional information that people can link to like downloads of the transcript of the interview. Alternatively, you can be pragmatic about it and simply give people what they want – humor. Marketing studies suggest that people are far more likely to share or link to things they find amusing or funny than anything else. You can achieve this via some clever cartoon style graphics added to your posts, for example.
Another great form of link bait is great “how to” articles. Pick a specific niche of subject matter that is searched on a lot (you can use some free search analysis tools to find good keywords) and create an entire section on your site with very informative articles that solve those issues people are searching on (that are related to your particular business – keep it relevant). This is a really effective way to build up links because you are establishing yourself as an expert and providing solutions to common problems – people eat that stuff up, and you’ll get a lot of good backlinks from it.
Don’t overlook the big social media sites as a method of creating links as well. There are dozens of different freely available plug-ins for your Wordpress blog that will encourage people to “tweet” your post or “digg” it, or bookmark it with any of dozens of different social bookmarking sites. The really interesting fact about social bookmarking sites, is that if you do a good job of “engaging” the social crowd with something clever or humorous (funny graphics, cartoons or short video clips can be great for this) then you can easily see it go “viral” on the social networks and drive hundreds or thousands of visitors to your site in mere minutes. If they like it and it goes viral, you can get tons of backlinks from that single post as they share it and link to it through their social network.
You can get even more creative by creating gadgets or toolbars that are custom to your site, product or services that users can download. These can serve various functions. They can be used to bring users back to your site by offering easy access to information via the click of a toolbar button, for example, and they can also be used to bring more people to your site as bait as well. You might add a little blurb at the end of a series of articles that you publish out to attract visitors by giving away your free toolbar or gadget. Make sure if you do this, to offer something of value that they are likely to be interested in, not just a selfish site promotional gadget – that won’t do you much good. Remember the basic rule of link bait – give first, take second. If you focus on giving something of value via education, solving a problem or simply providing humor you will be amazed at how responsive people will be to that. However, if you come across in a commercial manner, it will simply drive people away.
Link baiting can also imply a derogatory term to some – it depends upon how it is implemented. There is black and white in everything, and, of course, some people have gone overboard with their link baiting strategy to the point of unethical implementations or schemes to acquire links. This would never be a wise approach to take. Eventually, trying to take the shortcut to success via “blackhat” methods will just lead to a lot of frustration and potentially even having your site pulled out of the Google index temporarily, permanently or even blacklisted. You may get by with it for a while, but is it really worth it? There are so many effective and creative ways of positively encouraging people to link to your quality content that even considering some sort of half-baked scheme just doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Get creative and use your imagination and you will surely come up with at least half a dozen different great ideas on how get backlinks to your site the old fashioned way – earning them through the respect of your peers.