Some would say that 2006 has been the year of the linkbait. And as I have not really mentioned it too much, I could not think of a better way to wrap of the year than a logical walkthrough to Linkbaiting.
Linkbaiting is really nothing more than a well thought out piece of viral marketing. Back in the day, word of mouth provided the vehicle for nearly all successful viral marketing campaigns. These days, online viral marketing is beginning to be driven by social media with the main purpose in attracting more links and more visitors.
At first, the term linkbait, may seem a little uneasy to swallow. Ok it does sound a little like a trap, however it’s perfectly ethical from a search engine’s perspective and in most cases from a human point too.
I think the controversy of its name has only added to the overall success and rapid adoption in the SEO world. Come on, isn’t the term itself an intriguing and alluring pull to find out more? And that’s the start to any great source of linkbait, right?
Ok, let’s have a quick gander at the various parts that make up linkbaiting:
The first step to being an artful linkbaiter is being extremely knowledgeable and/or passionate about the content you writing about.
After that, it’s all about being creative! Think of ways to grab the reader’s attention, provide something of true value and make it easy for visitors to link and discuss your content. Make your bait really juicy and the ~ fishes >-)));> ~ are sure to follow .
Every linkbaiter should have an idea for their linkbait goals! Yes, linkbaiting is great for (cheap) inbound links, but it is also useful for increasing visitors, branding, subscribers, registrations and of course customers. Does your linkbait have a persuasive goal?
Where possible, it is sometimes best to avoid diluting your goals. Oftentimes linkbait goals just don’t mix. Bloggers can provide heaps of lush inbound links and customers is where the money is at!
Both are important for business, but linkbait is all about going viral, so it’s often best to target links, visitors and subscribers as separate entities to customers. Customers can result from linkbait, but they are rarely the catalyst for viral success.
Identifying your Linkbaiting audience or as Rand nicely puts it, your ‘Linkerati‘ should be high on the agenda in your linkbaiting strategy. Rand breaks these down into seven suitable areas: bloggers, forum posters, web news writers, content creators, resource editors, social taggers and viral connectors. Know who you are targeting!
If links are the objective, what is the bait? Linkbait can come in all shapes, and sizes, all with the end result of increased traffic, brand exposure and oodles of links back to your site or brand. Nick Wilson separates his thoughts of linkbait into 5 broad, but neat hooks:
- News hook
- Contrary Hook
- Attack Hook
- Resource Hook
- Humour Hook
Add one of these with a magnetic headline to arouse interest and if you can, be quotable! Remember, more often than not, links come from small citations or remarks from others which may only be a few words rather than chunks of paragraphs.
There are lots of web 2.0 friendly portals like digg and del.icio.us which act a little like a linkbaiter’s playground. That’s right, a fun playground where many of the readers are bloggers or news reporters of some kind, and are all itching and possibly anticipating for a piece of your fresh linkbait!
You can seed your linkbait in such portals and also learn what’s hot, newsy and most importantly what’s baity!
The Search Engine’s Perspective on Linkbaiting
Here’s a summary of what’s covered:
- Earned Links/Trusted Links
- Non-Earned Links/Non-Trusted Links
- Buying Paid Links
- Selling Paid Links
- Have Good Content
- Link Baiting Is Fine
- Exchanged Links Are Bad BUT I Say Ignore This
The key area mentioned is that Google is only really interested in giving credit for links that you have earned and that it can trust. This seems straightforward and obvious, but it’s easy to fool yourself and believe that any link you receive, you have earnt. Oh, and it also covers that you should ‘have good content‘. And linkbaiting is fine – phew!
And finally a look at the Top Linkbaiters in SEO
Let’s finish things off by looking at the bright stars of linkbaiting and their best posts for 2006. Here you will see their most popular articles and it should also illustrate some rather fat juicy linkbait.
And not forgetting some of the other greats like Andy Hagans and Aaron Wall on their collaboration of the mighty linkbaicious 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity in 2006.
Basically, it all really boils down to having compelling valuable content that folks go crazy about and can’t resist in sharing and discussing further. Easy, isn’t it???