Why Aren't You Using Link Bait?

You've heard of the olden days when people would hunt for potential link partners. Well, those days are long gone and smart webmasters are moving on to greater things while decreasing their reciprocal link-building effort.

If you are wondering what this new technique could be, it's actually quite simple... in theory. It is known as link baiting. This is a strategy that brings links to a website simply because of the unique and popular content on a website.

Why Aren't You Using Link Bait?

With the rise of the blogosphere and social bookmarking sites, all it takes is one person to notice an interesting page and link to a site. Once a link is passed around once, it becomes easier for it to spread further.

Bloggers around the net constantly use linkbait to encourage other bloggers to mention them or to get their content passed around the blogosphere. However, many traditional webmasters have not quite latched on to this powerful technique.

The benefits of creating quality, unique, or even controversial content go way beyond what one might first imagine. When a website offers true value to the visitor, they can create hundreds and even thousands of backlinks without even asking.

Unfortunately, simply having good, quality content on your site doesn't always work. To gain the full potential of link baiting, you need a good hook. Some of the most popular ones include: 

  • News
  • Controversy
  • Resources and...
  • Humor

News Hook: 

Everyone loves to read about industry news. However, the key to attracting some real traffic is to add a twist to the latest news. Find out exactly how it affects your website visitors. If you just give a rehashing of what everyone else has already said, no one will care.

However, if you inject your own twist or personality into your news story, then you are prepared to catch someone's eye.

Look at CNN.com as an example. What do they offer? They provide the latest news every day of the week. In the world of information that we live in, the news is a commodity. Because CNN offers such appealing content, thousands of sites are linking to them. Do you think CNN sent these sites a little email asking if

they would be interested in a reciprocal link? Of course not.

Instead, they employ link baiting. Their fresh and interesting content automatically encourages other people to link to it. Luckily for us, we can use this same technique on our own websites.

News is one of the best ways to attract incoming links, especially if the news is controversial.

Controversy Hook: 

Before we move on, I must warn you that this hook can be very powerful and also very dangerous. It involves contradicting what someone says, preferably someone very prominent in the industry.

When used correctly, controversy can be very effective in bringing traffic to your site, but always be careful.

To begin, look for articles and stories in your industry. Some of the best places to find this type of content are blogs, news sites, and social bookmarking sites. Once you have found a good story, take an opposing viewpoint or give it some sort of twist. This will make your content stand out from the humdrum of what everyone else is publishing.

The next hook is actually one of my favorites. It is known as the resource hook.

Resource Hook: 

Information is powerful online. If you have information that is not available anywhere else, you become an authoritative resource. Many of these resources come in the form of a list.

You would be surprised at the power of a list. You can organize:

  • a list of helpful tools that would be beneficial to your readers
  • a list of the best blogs in your niche
  • a list of popular news stories within your industry (When you are doing this kind of list, be sure to sprinkle in some of your own commentaries)

One of my favorite lists is located at http://www.seocompany.ca/tool/seo-tools.html, where they offer over 150 SEO tools. Simply by linking out to their favorite SEO tools they get tons of traffic each and every day.

Robin Good of MasterNewMedia is a webmaster who uses lists especially well. One of his most popular resource pages is a list of RSS and blog directories that webmasters can submit to. You can see it at: http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/.

However, not only does he show you over a hundred places where you can submit your blog and RSS feed, but he also gives you an overview of each service, some commentary on which of these directories are the most influential, and exactly how to submit to each one.

This one page alone has thousands of incoming links to it because it is an invaluable resource.

Another popular resource hook is to create a useful online tool that your visitors can download for free. Once they have downloaded your free tool, let them rebrand it and give it away on their own sites.

Humor Hook: 

Have you ever received a joke or some other sort of humor in your inbox? If you are like most people, then you probably have. Jokes, funny stories, and weird pictures are some of the most viral hooks on the Internet.

Within your own website, you can add your own touch of humor. However, you must make sure that it fits with your personality. People on the internet want to see your true self.

Many companies have made their websites an impersonal void. This is not the way the web works. The Web is an engaging and interactive community of people. When you start giving your website some personality, people will start taking notice. The ordinary is simply too easy to pass over.

Another key to remember when employing link baiting is that your article or news story should almost always link out to leading industry websites or influential bloggers. There are so many websites that are afraid to link out to other sites. However, by mentioning other websites and bloggers, you

would be surprised at the number of people who start linking to you.

Bloggers are a group of webmasters who realize the power of linking to others. Within the blogosphere, links are spread willingly to those who provide great content. As a result, they all receive more traffic than they would alone.

Final Verdict

The term link baiting itself may sound a little fishy, but it's not. If you are a good webmaster, you should always strive for your content to be linkbait. This simply means that your content is of such quality that others simply can't help but link to it.

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