The Secret to Effective Linkbaiting


photo credit: protoflux

Only if you know the secret of linkbaiting can you enter the High order of Linkbaiters

The secret of effective linkbaiting exists not because the information is hard to find, it's a secret because most people are unwilling to believe its simplicity.

When you discover the secret you will understand the hard part is not "how to be a linkbaiter". The hard part is "being a linkbaiter".

We'll come to the secret part in a moment, but first let me first explain why it's the being that is the tricky part. The being is all to do with the implementation, actually creating the piece of linkbait.

The ability to successfully go through the process of creating linkbait is tricky, it sometimes means being in front of your screen for hours at a time as you search for pictures of "lego kittens on crack" for a kitchen tiles client. After that you decide to throw it all away and start again because it just didn't have that magic, whilst trying to think of an excuse why you are past deadline again.

Some people love this part of the process, and it is these people, these researchers of popular culture who will make the grade. They are a breed few and far between, balancing an acute sense of pop culture, an awareness of the zeitgeist and a deep understanding of effective web content psychology..

Can anyone learn to be a linkbaiter?

Yes, but few are willing to pay the price. Very few are willing to pay the cost to be given the secret. But as with anything, if its easy it's usually not worth it.

The secret is grit, a mixture of hard work and tenacity. Linkbaiting, like writing is not very difficult to do, but you have to do it, it's the the implementation which is the hard part.

So what are the steps to becoming a great linkbaiter, or what is it you have to do once you chose to travel down the hallowed road to become a linkbaiting master? Or as one person once called it, a Master Baiter.

photo credit: orvaratli
photo credit: orvaratli

Here are a few things I think will help achieve your goal of linkbaiting mastery.



  • Learn the nature of linking



  • Understand the motivation of websites to acquire links



  • Highlight areas of hot link activity



  • Learn to differentiate between a paid and a naturally given link



  • Define the different types of linkbait websites link to



  • Understand that it is people who link and not websites



  • Note the level of quality needed to trigger a link



  • Spend time questioning the motivation of all the naturally given links you can find.



  • Focus on individuals who link and psychologically profile them



  • Plug in to what works on viral website launch pads such as digg



  • Start off with a wide range of styles, see what works then hone in on one type of style and become the best.



  • Build an online network of allies (more on this in another post)



  • Learn to quickly soak up the zeitgeist, fashion and pop culture. Learn what's in and what's out



  • Download a web crawler and pull the headlines of the top 100 websites who regularly make the front page of digg.



  • Learn to perform back link analysis to determine what linkbait is working and what is not.



  • The more times you shoot the more times you will hit the target, not all your attempts will succeed, after a while you will notice a pattern of success and an average can be determined.



  • Understand the power of "lego kittens on crack"



  • Write headlines like the Sun, but think like the Economist.



  • Don't limit yourself to straight text articles, learn Flash, php, photoshop etc.



  • Buy, read, study, Influence, the Psychology of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini.



  • Read anything and everything on linkbaiting, copy writing, headline writing, viral marketing etc. that you can find. Yes it's a lot of work, remember, hard graft is the secret.



If after following this list for 6 months you still don't get anywhere, consider another vocation such as selling cheese door to door.

You can find Lyndon Antcliff on his blog at

You can follow him on Twitter

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