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Why Aren’t You Using LinkBait?
Copyright © 2006 Kim Roach, All Rights Reserved
You’ve heard of the olden days when people would hunt for potential link partners. Well, those days are long gone and smart web masters are moving on to greater things, while decreasing their effort to build incoming links.
If you are wondering what this new technique could be, it’s actually quite simple… in theory. It is known as linkbaiting. This is a strategy that brings links to a website simply because of the unique and popular content on a website.
With the rise of the blogosphere and social bookmarking sites, all it takes is one person to notice an interesting page and link to a site. Once a link is passed around once, it becomes easier for it to spread further.
Bloggers around the net constanly use linkbait to encourage other bloggers to mention them or to get their content passed around the blogosphere. However, many traditional web masters have not quite latched on to this powerful technique.
The benefits of creating quality, unique, or even controversial content go way beyond what one might first imagine. When a web site offers true value to the visitor, they can create hundreds and even thousands of backlinks without even asking.
Unfortunately, simply having good, quality content on your site doesn’t always work. To gain the full potential of linkbaiting, you need a good hook. Some of the most popular ones include:
News Hook: Everyone loves to read about industry news. However, the key to attracting some real traffic is to add a twist to the latest news. Find out exactly how it affects your web site visitors. If you just give a rehashing of what everyone else has already said, no one will care.
However, if you inject your own twist or personality into your news story, then you are prepared to catch someones eye.
Look at CNN.com as an example. What do they offer? They provide the latest news every day of the week. In the world of information that we live in, news is a commodity. Because CNN offers such appealing content, thousands of sites are linking to them. Do you think CNN sent these sites a little email asking if they would be interested in a reciprical link? Of course not.
Instead, they employ linkbaiting. Their fresh and interesting content automatically encourages other people to link to it. Luckily for us, we can use this same technique on our own web sites.
News is one of the best ways to attract incoming links, especially if the news is controversial.
Controversy Hook: Before we move on, I must warn you that this hook can be very powerful and also very dangerous. It involves contradicting what someone says, preferably someone very prominent in the industry.
When used correctly, controversy can be very effective in bringing traffic to your site, but always be careful.
To begin, look for articles and stories in your industry. Some of the best places to find this type of content is on blogs, news sites, and social bookmarking sites. Once you have found a good story, take an opposing viewpoint or give it some sort of twist. This will make your content stand out from the hum drum of what everyone else is publishing.
The next hook is actually one of my favorites. It is known as the resource hook.
Resource Hook: Information is powerful online. If you have information that is not available anywhere else, you become an authoritative resource. Many of these resources come in the form of a list.
You would be surprised at the power of a list. You can organize:
One of my favorite lists is located at http://www.seocompany.ca/tool/seo-tools.html, where they offer over 150 SEO tools. Simply by linking out to their favorite SEO tools they get tons of traffic each and every day.
Robin Good of MasterNewMedia is a webmaster who uses lists especially well. One of his most popular resource pages is a list of rss and blog directories that web masters can submit to. You can take a look at it at: http://www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/ .
However, not only does he show you over a hundred places where you can submit your blog and rss feed, he also gives you an overview of each service, some commentary on which of these directories are the most influential, and exactly how to submit to each one.
This one page alone has thousands of incoming links to it because it is an invaluable resource.
Another popular resource hook is to create a useful online tool that your visitors can download for free. Once they have downloaded your free tool, let them rebrand it and give it away on their own sites.
Humor Hook: Have you ever received a joke or some other sort of humor in your inbox? If you are like most people, then you probably have. Jokes, funny stories, and wierd pictures are some of the most viral hooks on the Internet.
Within your own web site, you can add your own touch of humor. However, you must make sure that it fits with your personality. People on the internet want to see your true self.
Many companies have made their web sites an impersonal void. This is not the way the web works. The Web is an engaging and interactive community of people. When you start giving your web site some personality, people will start taking notice. The ordinary is simply too easy to pass over.
Another key to remember when employing linkbaiting is that your article or news story should almost always link out to leading industry web sites or influential bloggers. There are so many web sites who are afraid to link out to other sites. However, by mentioning other web sites and bloggers, you would be surprised at the number of people who start linking to you.
Bloggers are a group of web masters who realize the power of linking to others. Within the blogoshpere, links are spread willingly to those who provide great content. As a result, they all receive more traffic than they would alone.
The term linkbaiting itself may sound a little fishy, but it’s not. If you are a good web master, you should always strive for your content to be linkbait. This simply means that your content is of such quality that others simply can’t help but link to it.