The term “linkbait” refers to a piece of media created for the purpose of launching a viral campaign and generating links.
Many SEOs will instruct clients to create linkbait to boost rankings in the search engines and increase traffic to their sites. The “linkbait” content is placed on a website and due to its viral nature, it spreads and is shared by many. Other websites link to it from their sites and/or blogs which leads to more links for the original publisher.
Sounds easy, right? Well, not exactly. What some SEOs won’t tell you is that true linkbait takes time and effort to develop. Any old article or image will not do. Viral content must be engaging, funny, valuable, strange, comical, etc. It must “wow” readers enough to compel them to pass it on.
A few tips on how to create effective linkbait content:
- Free drives traffic – People love free stuff.
- Lists – Lists work well in any industry where valuable information is a prized possession. In order to be viral, though, your list must be extensive and targeted to a particular audience.
- Personalized – Have you ever taken an IQ test? How about a test to determine your percentage of right brain/left brain usage? An online test for any reason? Internet users love to learn more about themselves. These personalized quizzes can become very viral.
- Visual – Infographics are one of the most popular linkbait examples. A great infographic, if industry specific and well-researched, will do very well.
- The crazier the better – This might not work well for every industry but zany, offbeat content spreads like wildfire.
- Comical – People flock to comedians for one reason alone: they love to laugh and be entertained. A comical form of linkbait may not work for every industry but it is worth a try if you can incorporate it.
- Share – Once you publish your content, make sure you include “share” buttons to the popular social sites. Make it easy for your content to be shared.
Enough of the lecture…let’s take a look at some examples!
This article includes some of the most disturbing, comical, and odd wedding cake designs you will ever see. It was created for an online dating site and became incredibly popular in a short period of time. This article landed over 3,200 tweets and 1.2 million StumbleUpon hits.
This is a great example of how you can use images in an article format to create linkbait content.
This content is a great example of a helpful, industry-specific infographic. It was created by Search Engine Journal for the purpose of instructing its audience on the growth of social media. This infographic also became popular because industry bloggers and experts eat this stuff up and used it in blog posts and articles.
Over time it received links from many news outlets such as the Huffington Post and Reuters.
This content was created in an informative article format. Articles do not spread as fast as images unless they are highly valuable. I found this article many months ago and it has been a tremendous help for me.
If you want to create an article for linkbaiting purposes, use this one as an example. It is easy reading and lists 101 link building strategies. Even though it is five years old, it is still being shared. Some of the tips are out of sync with today’s techniques, yet the content still contains some valuable SEO techniques related to linking, and if anything else it serves as a great linkbait example for other businesses.
I like this example because it reiterates the message that any business can use linkbait to start a viral campaign. This article was posted on the Master Cleaners blog and immediately skyrocketed in popularity climbing to Yahoo’s homepage and generating many links. It includes images of people haphazardly cleaning their windows. Any content that is “out of the ordinary” or comical spreads pretty quickly.
This guide was developed by Joost de Valk, the creator of the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin. It is a detailed guide to on how to implement SEO on WordPress. This guide was very successful because the content is broken down into an outline format with easy navigation from the clickable table of contents. It offers a ton of valuable information and likely has helped Valk succeed because his plugin is one of the most popular SEO WordPress plugins available.