The following post is a guest post, written by Megan Marrs of WordStream.
The term “link-baiting” has a negative tinge to it, and I can’t help but think of some dastardly fisherman violently yanking a giant metal hook through some innocent fish’s face (I’ve never imagined fishing as such a dark sport). But in truth, link-baiting doesn’t have to be a shameful endeavor. Link-baiting is as much about creating wonderful content that gains well-deserved admiration as it is about tricks and trolling.
Whether you choose to be good, bad, or a bit in-between, here is a list of link-baiting tactics that will help you earn some of those oh-so-coveted links.
1. Infographics – People absolutely adore infographics because they illustrate information in a form that’s fun and easy to read. At WordStream we’ve witnessed the incredible power of infographics— the Most Expensive Keywords Infographic drove an amazing amount of links to our site, and now we’re hooked on them!
2. Guest Blogging – Opening your blog to guest posts is a great way to get valuable links, since your guest will most likely link to their post on your site. This lets you get in contact with audiences you wouldn’t normally reach on your own.
3. Freebies – FREE! Folks really go for the free stuff. What’s not to love? – it’s free! Whether you’re giving away goody bags, software trials, white papers, or tools, tossing out some freebies is sure to get you some attention. Did I mention it’s free?
4. Interviews– Your interview partners will often link to the interview you conduct with them, so if you can get Q&As with reputable people who have a large group of followers, all the better for you when they tweet and link to you. Release your inner Diane Sawyer.
5. Answer Questions – If you have knowledge or resources that could be valuable to others, share them! There are question sections of Yahoo and LinkedIn Answers covering everything from Search Marketing to Non Profits. So go ahead, show off how smart you are! Link to a much needed tool or guide and not only will you be driving traffic, you’ll have new fans who look for your helpful answers in the future.
6. Comics – Everyone loves a funny cartoon or clever comic, especially when it applies to their own niche business. Great cartoons get heaps of links, so if you come up with something witty, give it a shot. You don’t even need to be an artist – sites like Pixton let you create comics easily online, no art degree needed.
7. Lists – After all, you’re reading one right now! Lists are popular because they are quick to read, easy to jump through, and you know what to expect right from the get-go. Lists can be informative or funny, whatever is more your style.
8. Videos – Especially for those who spend most of their day reading content online, watching a video is a refreshing change of pace for most. Having your own how-to videos or a humorous clip is a great way to get some links.
9. Data and Statistics – In my opinion, if you have some great data, you might as well use it for an infographic since people are easily drawn to imagery. But if you aren’t up for an infographic, posting about some interesting statistics or research you’ve done is also valuable. Real, useful data is always appreciated and can draw a healthy dose of links.
10. Quizzes – Those “What Spirit Animal Are You?” quizzes on Quizilla were all the rage in middle school, and while your audience probably isn’t quite so desperate to discover which Hogwarts house they belong to, the quiz concept can still work in your favor. While not a quiz per se, the AdWords Performance Grader evaluates a user’s AdWords account and gives them a grade based on their performance, as well as providing information about how they can improve their score. People are drawn to these evaluating, quiz-like tools because after growing up in a grade-based school system, part of us still craves being critiqued.
11. Controversy – Say something controversial – or even just plain dumb – and you’ll be sure to get plenty of notice. This technique can be pretty successful – just look at the attention Gizmodo got after a nerd-bashing story concerning an OKCupid date gone awry (at least in her opinion). Just be ready when the storm hits, since you might need to have some thick skin if you really rub people the wrong way.
12. Write Something Unique – People are always going on about the importance of great, unique content, and while that’s absolutely true, it’s often easier said than done. Unless you constantly stroll around with Muses singing in your ears, it can be tough to come up with a truly unique and compelling piece of content all on your own. But you don’t have to blaze the unbeaten path completely alone—try simply offering an original point of view or a more thorough examination—even if it’s concerning a topic we’ve all heard before.
With these link-baiting techniques you’re bound to snatch plenty of minnow links, and maybe even reel in some big bass!
Do you have any additional link-baiting tricks? Any big fish tales?
Happy hunting, and don’t forget to catch and release.
The amazing lure photo was taken by Curtis Fry. You can check out his amazing fish photography on flickr.
Megan Marrs is a marketing associate and blogger at WordStream, a provider of PPC software and managed services, as well as keyword tools for discovering and organizing keywords for SEO and PPC. She is an animal enthusiast but not a vegetarian.