Are your link building campaigns not earning powerful links from authoritative websites? Do you need a campaign that will truly move the needle of improving a website’s ranking power? 

Link bait can be a solution to these questions, because it has one primary objective: reach and earn higher quality backlinks with a resourceful piece of content. 

This is a stark contrast to guest posting, where you must create new content for each prospect. Guest posting can become time-consuming and eat up your link-building budget fast, while a single link bait campaign can earn several (if not many!) links with just one piece of comprehensive content. 

Whether you’re a novice SEO diving into new strategies or an expert looking to hone more advanced techniques to build links to your site, you can see some great results through launching a “link bait” link building campaign.

Remember, search engine optimization (SEO) is an ecosystem of techniques that leverage insights from search engines like Google to inform your digital marketing. 

Let’s be real though. Awesome content doesn’t just come out of thin air, and neither does great link bait.

So, What Is A Link Bait?

A link bait article is simply a valuable piece of content that other websites want to link to. Link baiting is just one tactic that SEOs use in an overarching link building strategy.

However, according to The Manifest 2020 Small Business Survey, only 24% of small businesses performing SEO even have a link building strategy to begin with. There’s immense opportunity for small businesses to learn about link building strategy, and build out their own link bait articles to drive results. You can automatically notch yourself ahead of your competition by executing holistic link building campaigns, like link bait. 

The best link bait articles earn backlinks because they are a unique, research-forward resource for readers, brands, and organizations to turn to. Link bait articles can cite dozens of credible resources or address controversy for increased shareability.

Other websites will link to your piece because it’s genuinely helpful and exceptional. 
This may sound easy, but creating a link bait article that actually attracts links is both an art and a science.

When Should You Use a Link Bait Tactic?

Simply put—create link bait when you want to build backlinks. Your link bait campaign can help you earn links from higher authority websites, like those with .org, .gov, and .edu domains. 

You’d be mistaken that an ordinary blog post or a listicle equals high quality link bait. 

In other words, link bait must be created with its sole purpose in mind. You may write a great piece of content or something that gets a lot of buzz on Twitter (i.e. social shares or retweets), but not earn links. 

Remember: content can be repurposed based on where and how it performs or resonates best.

Popular Content Formats & Types for Link Baits

Here are six examples of link bait content types you’ll see used, such as:

  1. Infographics
  2. Interactive content marketing 
  3. Long-form, comprehensive guides
  4. Interviews
  5. Case studies
  6. Conversation-starters 

Check out these 10 examples of great link bait from Moz to see how they can come to life.

The Strategy for Developing Your Link Bait Article

Before you go off and create a link bait piece that attracts links left and right, you need to make sure of a few things, like: 

  • Gut Check. Does the idea you’re thinking of already exist, and did another publisher do it better than you could? 
  • Transparency Check. The more transparent your link bait article, written tailored to a specific audience and filled with helpful information, the more likely you’ll have success attracting links. 
  • Will You Build Links? Do you have a sizeable enough audience to outreach to? If there are only three underwater basket weavers known to the web and you write a comprehensive guide to underwater basket weaving, who’s going to link to it? 
  • Value & Usefulness. There are millions of pieces of content being published every single day across the globe. Does your idea meet a need or help someone? 
  • Is There Proven Success? Have you seen similar link baits on this topic succeed? If not, your target audience may not be strong enough to attract the links you need.

To create your link bait content strategically, here are the questions to walk you through making these decisions:

  • What types of links do we want to earn to this piece?
  • Which audience can we get those types of links from?
  • What topics would that audience be interested in linking to and sharing with their readers?

These inputs will help guide what the link bait article is about, and the messaging you’ll need to come up with when you start your outreach process. 

Finally, link quantity here is important, but so is link quality. 

When Google unveiled the first version of Penguin in 2012, it was mostly catered toward penalizing “bad” links, and the algorithm has grown more adept at recognizing a low-quality link with each new iteration. 

Use tools like Ahrefs to browse through backlinks. Carefully research the domain rating and backlink profile of the sites you will outreach to. Low domain authority, penalties, or frequently-spiky traffic may be warning signs that a potential link isn’t high enough quality. 

What Types of Links Do We Want to Earn With This Link Bait Article?

Here’s an example. 

A well-produced link bait can earn a wide variety of link types. This ultimately depends on your outreach method. The following link types are possible:

  • Editorial links
  • Link/resource pages
  • PR links

We’ve found that resource/link page link building typically yields the best results in our link bait campaigns. When you have identified a page that lists resources similar to yours, it’s very likely that the webmaster will be open to more suggestions.

Hint: if you find an impressive link bait on one of these pages, plug that URL into a tool like Ahrefs. This is a quick way to find other resources pages that can reach out to.

Creating Your Link Bait Article

After you’ve established your strategy and know what the article topic is, who you’ll reach out to, and what types of links you ultimately want, now it’s time to write the article.

First things first, you must do your homework.

Research 

The research phase of creating your link bait article is where you start to pull together the core ideas of your link bait article.

  • Make a list of organizations, media, and bloggers that are impressive and reputable in the space you’re writing in. 
  • Use statistics, data, and informative quotes from experts and thought leaders in the topic you’re writing about. Don’t show favoritism in only linking to .edu or .gov sites.
  • Create an index or glossary of internal links as you write. Having 40 tabs open on your desktop doesn’t count as an organizational strategy. 
  • Use an outline as you draft to ensure you don’t miss any critical sections.

Production and Writing 

You’ll have different needs depending on the type of link bait you create. Don’t forget about formatting. Any time you’re putting together long-form content, you need to make it as user-friendly and easy to read as possible. Include sections like: 

  • A detailed overview of your topic 
  • Snack-sized sections with bulleted lists (big, chunky paragraphs don’t keep anyone’s attention these days) 
  • Citations at the end of your link bait article with all the links you reference

If you’re not a strong writer, consider allocating resources to someone who is. If you’re terrible at making infographics, bring in someone with design savvy. After the first draft, you will: 

  1. Edit, edit, edit. (You’ll look like you know what you’re talking about!) 
  2. QA all links within the piece. (No broken links in your link bait, please.)
  3. Implement H1s and correct header tags. (Always!)
  4. Publish and begin outreach. (Watch the links roll in.)

Keep This In Mind As You Create Your Link Bait Article: 

  1. Don’t repeat links to the same site often. 
  2. Don’t talk down to your audience. If you’re creating a resource for others on a hot topic or a highly niche subject, trust the reader.
  3. Don’t cast the widest net possible to appeal to mass readership. Page views doesn’t = link building. 
  4. Don’t skimp on the research. If you want to be an authority on a topic, you have to earn that spot through extensive research. Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) aren’t born—they’re made through time and experience.
  5. Don’t forget social sharing. Make sure your piece is shareable on Twitter, Linkedin, and other social media platforms. 

Measuring Success

What makes successful link bait? It depends on your larger digital marketing strategy. How many backlinks did the content build relative to the amount of outreach? What was the total cost of production compared to the ROI of links earned? 

It’s harder to measure the impact of authority and expertise, but sometimes a successful piece or link bait is one that establishes brand voice and says, “I’m here and I have ideas.”  

Really successful link bait will passively generate backlinks, so it can still be a valuable resource long after an outreach campaign has ended. 

Ready, Set, Outreach

There you have it. Once your link bait article is complete, then you’re ready to start outreach on your piece of link bait. 

Note: we are in the process of developing a guide to outreach.

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