By Rob Sullivan (c) 2006
There is a tactic out there embraced by bloggers but rarely used by typical websites. It is called Link Baiting.
In this article I explain what link baiting is and how everyone, not just bloggers, can use it to build quality links.
This is a topic that’s been around for a while but I don’t think a lot of people know what it is, or how to use it to their advantage.
I think the name “Link Baiting” could be considered a black hat technique which is why most people wouldn’t consider it as a legitÃ¯mate organic tactic.
However link baiting is merely link building with a twist: Rather than hunting out links, you are bringing the links to you through unique and popular site content.
So how does Link Baiting work?
Link Baiting is just like fishing. You publish a new page on a topic (I’ll cover those later) and set it free on the web. Hopefully others pick up on the content as fresh and interesting and link to it. The article is the bait, and the link is the catch.
A properly created page can capture huge links on its own with little to no effort from you.
For example, on another site, about a year ago, I wrote an article about the Florida Update. I spend the month or 2 after the initial update analyzing results and I then published my theory on what the update was.
That article has earned 88 links to date. And the best link, in my view, is a link from the ODP from the Google News category.
In fact my article appears in the top 10, and is linked to as a reference in many of the other top listings for a Google search for “Florida Update.”
So what was so special about the article?
While I nevÃ«r intended for it to be link bait, it turns out it was a typical “hook” page. Performancing blog has a really good summary on link baiting which I will further explain here.
With link building there are essentially 5 types of “hooks” or pages built to encourage links. They are: News, Contrary, Attack, Resource and Humor.
A News hook is one where you report on industry news. But it’s not just a rehashing of someone else’s post. It should be unique â€“ either a scoop that no one else has caught, or it could even be a summary of various viewpoints. A news hook could also be comprised of a story you have proved to be false.
Contrary hooks are when you contradict what someone else says. It should be someone prominent in the industry and it should be controversial.
For example, if I was to write an article that proclaimed that Danny Sullivan’s latest theory was bunk, it would probably generate buzz. Especially if I could provide corroborating evidence backing up my assertion.
Recently Mike Grehan posted just such an article on Clickz in which he again pointed out that he doesn’t believe in a Google Sandbox. He even refers to other posts in which the Sandbox has been beaten to death.
Soon after he posted this article (which, by the way was posted just one week ago) many other SEM’s jumped on him purporting to have proof of the Sandbox.
And, if you use Yahoo’s Site Explorer to look at who links to this article, you will see that Yahoo! Has already picked up on almost 80 links to this one article. I’d say that Mike has done a great job of link baiting!
Attack hooks take the contrary hooks a step further, by launching personal attacks on people taking the debunking of theories to the next level. The original post from SEOmoz was close to an attack hook, but after they edited it, it became less of an attack They reacted to the Mike Grehan article on the Sandbox with some haste and turned it personal. To their credÃ¯t they did tone it down some, but it’s pretty close to a flame. Who knows, maybe this article will be considered an attack on SEOmoz and will generate similar buzz.
A Resource hook is more of an informational page. It’s one that aggregates a bunch of information and distills it for visitors.
In fact this site is much like that. We take a bunch of news, distill it to its most meaningful and then provide our interpretation of what it means. Then, others pick up on the article and either repost it, or at least link to it.
Finally is a Humour hook. With this link bait you post jokes, funny stories, weird or funny pictures that you’ve found or anything else that will warrant a review from others and hopefully a link.
There are tons of blogs devoted to this such as the Obscure Store & Reading Room and Small Town Misfit which scour the web for weird and funny stories and then display them, encouraging others to link to them.
And it must be working â€“ Small Town Misfit has over 1,600 Yahoo! Links while Obscure Store has over 1,700.
So, if you were ever worried about the amount of link building you’d have to do to become an “authority”, consider link baiting in your arsenal. It can be a very effective way of building links quickly and easily. Also, it’s an effective way to build your reputation and brand online as more and more people learn about you through these links.
About The Author
Rob Sullivan is a SEO Consultant and Writer for Textlinkbrokers.com.