What do you think ‘linkbait’ is? It’s certainly not an easy part of your arsenal of organic link building strategies; it’s content based and hard work. If you’re already a regular blogger, you’ll know how difficult it is to produce an endless stream of perfect content.
You’re guaranteed to have content mixed in that’s fluffy filler, because one man can’t lay a golden egg every time. I’ve tried, but for some reason it always ends up with my partner rushing me a roll of toilet paper.
Link bait became the latest ‘big new thing’ as a marketing concept years back. Funnily enough, now it’s simply the right way to do things – it’s human and organic and fulfils all those Google guidelines.
The difference between linkbait and clickbait
The word has a slight air of dodgy about it; it sounds a little like click-bait. As an example:
Think of a tabloid headline that promises to show you what Kylie Minogue looks like in the bath (‘Kylie’s Minogue’s In Hot Water’) but ends up a magazine article about a celebrity Icelandic holiday. Clicking on a link like that is like being splashed in the cold water of disappointment.
On the one hand, it got you in. But unless you’ve got some incredible pictures of Kylie in a swimsuit, those visitors are bouncing their way off the page again. So, in all, a wasted effort that uses subterfuge to attract the visitor and rockets bounce rates skyward. Neil Patel at Moz mentions this as his number one point – honest headlines and titles.
Linkbait is the absolute opposite of click bait; it’s providing open, honest content that has true value.
Linkbait as part of organic link building strategies
There’s another way to label this linkbait thing you’re using as one of your organic link building strategies – ‘valuable content’. Where possible, create evergreen content; information that can be used forever and a day and the more actionable the content the better. Be useful.
Your aim is to produce content that the end visitor can put to work for themselves; whether it’s a web design technique or a rich ebook on calculating financial projections, it’s the kind of content that gets shared around purely because it’s fulfilling the visitors needs.
Every so often, go back and update periodically to take into account new techniques, trends and information.
- All successful linkbait starts with a great concept, even if it merely adds an opinion to previously published content – the chance to reinvent the wheel comes round once in a blue moon.
- Linkbait is relatively easy to market – after the initial social media shove, it markets itself.
- One of the hallmarks of truly brilliant link bait is actionable, evergreen content.
The true value of linkbait is as one of the safest link building strategies. There couldn’t be anything more natural than the flux of links earned in a social media context, as on an article by article basis, you’re going to see very different take-ups and hence a linking pattern that differs every single time.
To sum linkbait up: create content so good that it can’t help but be shared.
Planning a linkbait strategy for maximum exposure
Although (in this example) we’re treating social media as our outlet of choice, there’s no harm at all in trying to secure a decent search engine ranking at the same time. Naturally, this stands no chance of working for you if you don’t plan a link bait strategy from the outset.
Just because the keywords sound a little like the kind of thing you’d type into Google to find the winner you’ve just typed up, it doesn’t mean anyone else will. Without the groundwork, you’re shooting into the dark.
Step 1: Keyword research
Find out whether people are searching for this in the first place. It sounds cynical, but it’s well worth analysing the keywords long before you put index finger to keyboard and peck away, even before you’ve settled on a worthwhile article idea. Tools to consider for this job are:
- The venerable Google Keyword Planner
- Tool suites such as Moz Pro and Raven Tools
- Some more free options in WordTracker and Ubersuggest
Pay careful attention to the competition levels – if you’re a relatively unknown blog or website, aiming for high competition keywords is unlikely to make your content hit the front page.
Consider aiming for longer tail keywords; less traffic, but more chance of resulting in a position that gets you found.
Step 2: Check for search trends
Even evergreen content comes and goes on occasion; check for trends across as many sources as you can, including the following:
Step 3: Establish your market
Who is this article intended for? What are its goals? A great piece of content can do very well on it’s own without this step, but wouldn’t it be lovely to get targeted leads off of this?
A lot of what I write on here is geared around SEO and search marketing for one reason – lots of people think of the website as the be-all and end-all and then comes the realisation that there’s no on-page SEO or even a marketing strategy of any kind.
Inevitably, they hunt for information on a DIY approach and voila; the occasional person strays across my article and contacts me. A lead is born.
This approach works for EVERY business
Now, the organic link building strategies we’re discussing have two beneficial roles – creating leads by creating useful content AND generating a natural progression of backlinks. Internet Marketing Ninjas give a great example for this:
- Some posts will get all the love.
- You will have pages that are the equivalent of a ginger stepchild.
A backlink creates ‘link juice’ – this is a flow of equity from the linking site to yours (think of it as someone else pulling you up by the bootstraps; a Google vote up for relevancy). The trick is to get this juice flowing evenly across your website.
Ways to accomplish this are:
- Interlink your posts with other relevant articles – if I have to mention bounce-rate, I’ll link to my bounce rate article.
- Ensure you have an XML sitemap for Webmaster Tools.
- Make sure you have an HTML sitemap – the crawlers come in and you’ve provided a handy resource for all your pages.
Marketing your linkbait strategies as part of your overall link building strategies
Well, won’t this market itself? In a nutshell, no it won’t. If it’s just sat there, buried under other posts on your blog, it’ll see very little traffic other than the organics. What it needs is a flying start and occasional upkeep along the way.
Assuming you’ve made great strides in building a social media following (if not, get cracking!), you’ve got a fantastic number of outlets for your elegant prose.
Outreach to bloggers, tweeters & redditors
Outreach to bloggers by presenting yourself as a regular reader of their blog; you’re passing along a great article you found the other day that provides value to their visitors. If your content truly is great, you’ll have no problems convincing blog owners that a link back to your article is beneficial to their audience.
It’s exactly the same for Twitter, although the results tend to be more surge than steady; you’ll need people with a good following and excellent outreach themselves. Target the top 10% of your followers, or those with more than XXXX followers for the most impact. Naturally, make sure they’re relevant to the topic you’re discussing! I’ve previously mentioned how to promote your blog with reddit and the same with tumblr here.
What methods do you use to market content? Do you have any great resources on tap, preferred outlets on social media or a great technique you think other people should use?
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