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Linkbait is a technique not a strategy, it involves creating web content for the specific, primary purpose of getting links pointed to your website. There are of course other areas where linkbait can be useful, but ultimately it's about links.
Google has made the getting of links pointed to your website essential for ranking in their search engine, because of this it is essential to acquire quality links and the more the better. Some websites buy links from other websites, but Google have said they will take action against manipulation of the search ranking through the purchase of links, although things get a little fuzzy though when you start defining what it is to actually "buy a link".
Suffice it to say, buying links has its particular problems which we can discuss in another blog post. Which is why linkbait can give you an edge in your online marketing strategy. If you are looking to reduce your monthly PPC spend and boost your organic listings then linkbait is absolutely something you should consider.
However, before you start powering up your linkbaiting skills there are some issues to cover.
What is linkbait really about?
Linkbaiting is about getting other people to do something, it's about persuading them to link to the web content you want them to.
It's less to do with programming and search engine optimisation and more to do with publishing. A specific kind of publishing that straddles tabloid newspapers, billboard advertising, the front covers of popular magazines and if you are of a certain generation, the album covers of long playing records. I can hear young 20 somethings a bit confused and thinking, "but I thought all music came out of an iPhone".
It's about getting attention, users of the World Wide Web tend to surf at the speed of thought and at any one instance they have to ability to go anywhere else on the web in a few clicks. You need to get them to pay attention, stop them in their tracks and consume what you have to offer. An engaging headline will do this, but domain context and niche relativity are also important
It's also about identifying those who link, what kind of content do they link to. The market defines the content. You may think you have the idea, but the truth is that your readers will decide what you will publish and your idea will come from researching the space. If you haven't spent enough time researching the niche you are going to publish in then you will fail.
You then need to show the content to as many potential linkers as possible, the viral nature of social media can help out and a powerful online network is essential. This is a brick wall to those who have no access. But it can be solved by taking the time to build a network, or buy the people who have built that network.
It's important to realise when considering adding linkbaiting to your strategy that it takes a specific skill to create something worthy. Linkbait which works usually has an element of simplicity that makes creation seem easy. But the reality is that creating something which appears simple is actually quite a complicated process.
The process of creating linkbait should follow this three step process:
Successful linkbait must contain the following elements:
Linkbait is not a sales message whose intention is to get you to buy a particular product. The purpose of linkbait is to simply get you to link by using a range of emotional triggers. It's been said many times that we do not buy rationally, that we buy emotionally. Linking is no different, it must reach the linker and trigger the correct emotional triggers.
If you have defined your online marketing problem as too few links then employing linkbait as an element of your whole strategy may be the solution to your problem. It has to mesh with your other online marketing elements such as PPC, SEO, link buying, blogging, article writing, social media, etc..
It is very important that it should not in any way harm your branding strategy. The tone of the linkbait should not harm in any way the way your brand is perceieved. So if you are a bank and you want to create a piece like, "Great Gadgets Bankers Buy with their Bonus". Probably not a good idea right now. Although I am sure it will get the banks links, linkbait should not be about links at any cost.
You can find Lyndon Antcliff on his blog at Cornwallseo.com
You can follow him on Twitter at lyndoman