The combination of the terms “Link” and “Bait” (to make the new word “linkbait”) – was first invented by Nick Wilson way back in 2005 and built upon by Aaron Wall of Seobook – that created a very heated debate within the SEO community.
The term “Link Baiting” is considered quite controversial, linkbaiting is a viral content that is “interesting enough to catch people’s attention” (defined by Matt Cutts go Google).
But ultimately is it a technique for personal gain?
Yes, certainly. But if the self-interest takes over you risk a lot. Publish as a destabilizing news, unfounded but plausible, coinciding with a major update Google can lead to viral sharing, then put a bad light on the author of the news when it revealed that it is based on unfounded information. In terms of authority and trust on the web this does not seem to be an appropriate action that could ruin their reputation just for a handful of links.
Link Baiting and Link Targets
Before talking about the basics of link baiting we clarify the link between link baiting and link targets. With Link Targets they are URLs that you want to place on Google, and for which the main factor is the anchor that link to them.
The link bait is content, or a collection of content, created to direct link to the link targets, and thus to increase the authority of your website.
Sometimes the Link Targets coincide with the pages used to host the Link Bait (for example if the Link Bait is an e-book and the target link is the page of the book itself) or with the main product pages that you want to promote. The important point is to make it a easily linkable page (don’t forget to put a nice box with the embed link ready for your users to copy on their site).
Link Baiting: objectives
The primary purpose of Link Baiting is very simple: increase the degree of authority of your web pages.
Depending on the plan you choose to follow then there are secondary objectives:
Improve your online reputation as an author, or the reputation of your business;
Expand relationships: attract search traffic, new followers on Twitter and Facebook or lead generation like newsletter signups.
Selling a particular product (a plugin, for example);
When your link bait gets all these results, or is likely to achieve enough lead to make a profit, depending on your goals, then it can be considered effective.
How does Link Bait work?
You post content (text, information graphics, videos, slideshows, plugins, etc.) on your website and the people who are deciding to share it has to catch there attention because in some way. It needs to be interesting, useful, informative, funny, surprising or provocative. The two magic words: “people” who find the content and the fact that they must consider it “interesting” to share. Both are necessary to ensure that your link bait functions: a) If nobody sees your bait, you won’t get results. b) If it’s not interesting, no one is likely to link to it.
What is the hook?
Let’s see then what makes your link bait interesting. The type of hook or bait (the final result is the same) that serves to catch the fish is the added value that attracts customers, providing them with the prospect of a concrete advantage. I also mean emotional concepts as well: If the text is able to elicit an emotion of any kind, intense enough to motivate a share, then it will be formulated in an effective manner.
What do I get if I share this content?
Information, original ideas, forecast of future trends, new procedures, etc. There are so many possible variations of a link bait success.
Low vs. High End
The difference is not based on the quality of the content, but rather the investment and the effort required to create it. Some things you could do as link bait are easier or less expensive than others. There are some companies that do not even dream of investing more than a hundred euros per month on textual content, but to enrich their blogs or web pages should provide specialized information. Yet at the same time they invest thousands of dollars on smartphone apps because they think they can get more benefits from them.
This is not to figure out what is better or worse in General: the link bait to be effective it must be a great hook and a catchy headline, then can be high or low end, but only you can guage what type of investment you should commit to.
Short term vs. Evergreen content
How long can the effect of link bait last?
Some link bait work great for only a few days and then exhaust their impact. Most of the link bait social bookmarking sites are of this type.
Other types of link bait are less explosive, but remain valid for longer, continuing to generate links in the long run, even for many years.