What is Linkbait and How Do You Create It?

linkbait

Linkbait is one of those things that everyone seems to have heard of at one time or another but which few people fully understand to the point of being able to use the concept effectively. However, if you can learn how to do it right, linkbait can be a highly useful strategy for getting ahead in the SERPs.

Black Friday Analogy

Let’s look at Black Friday for a moment in order to understand linkbait. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and it’s a day when traditionally, retailers would finally go into the black after having been paying back borrowed money all year. It’s also the traditional day when the Christmas season begins for retailers.

Today, Black Friday is simply a shopping day, the chance for people to get deals on products they want to purchase, often at great prices. Stores will offer “doorbusters” which are products designed to get people in the door and shopping for lots of other products which aren’t so heavily discounted. This way, they make money.

Linkbait Brings People to Your Website

While there is a more specific definition of linkbait, which we’ll get to in a moment, for the time being, think of linkbait as being like the “doorbuster,” the thing which gets lots of people interested in your website so that hopefully they’ll be dropping by regularly and trying out the rest of your site as well.

Etymology

Now on to more specifics – linkbait, is a mashup of two words, link and bait. It’s something you create which is controversial or exciting or new which will hopefully get lots of people interested in your products and in your website so that they will then come back for more. It’s also intended literally to bait people to link back to your site.

The reason is of course that quality links are what it’s all about in SEO. For all that you can write great content, if you don’t get people linking to it, then you won’t be seeing traffic at your website and you won’t be earning much of a living from it.

How to Make It

The two most common forms of linkbait are either something extremely controversial (if you had proof that Sarah Palin was having an affair with another man for example, that would be definite linkbait) or something which lots of people like to know about and which you can provide them. It’s kind of like doing viral marketing.

You want to create something which will have mass appeal and generate links. I did this for example on my financial blog with an article on the turmoil in Egypt.

One commenter asked me why I wrote what I wrote there. Partially, it was because I genuinely believed in what I said, that food prices are largely to blame for Hosni Mubarak’s downfall and that we in the United States shouldn’t be so complacent as to think it doesn’t affect us. However, it was also partly because it was linkbait.

It was intended to get people excited and get them to link back to it and comment on it so that I could increase my SERPs ranking. I did find several people commenting on it in e-mails to me and of course, there was the fellow who commented on the blog.

Did it work in getting people interested in my blog? To a point – linkbait still needs to be found and my blog is just over a month old so I’m still not getting as much traffic as I’d like. Then again, considering I’m already seeing over 2,000 impressions a month, that’s not too bad for a brand new, startup blog.

Another Way to Do Linkbait

Of course, while creating controversy or writing something about an important topic is one way to create linkbait, another way is to give something away of value. This can be an ebook which people would enjoy reading.

It could also be a contest, where you write that when you reach 100 comments on your blog, someone will win an iPad. The bottom line, linkbait is something which gets people interested enough in your blog or website to want to put up links back to it.