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One of the numerous reasons why link development is difficult is because in order to rank, pages require links. However, not all pages will receive them.

There is one style of page you can make that will naturally get more links than others. We term them “link bait” in the SEO field.

Understanding why and how link bait works will assist you in creating more “link magnets” to increase the number of links to your website.

What exactly is link bait?

Backlink bait is content created with the intention of attracting backlinks. Bloggers and journalists want to link to it because it’s valuable and intriguing.

What exactly is the point of link bait?

Link bait can help your website rank better on Google and get more organic traffic.

There are two explanations for this.

Because one of Google’s top three ranking factors is links, pages with more links tend to rank higher and receive more traffic. This is supported by Ahrefs’ analysis of over 1 billion pages.

Line graph showing the higher the median number of referring domains, the more organic search traffic

If you develop link bait regarding a topic that people are looking for, the links it draws should drive more traffic to the page.

Second, you can use internal links to transmit some of the “authority” that your link bait attracts to other pages on your website. This can help enhance the pages’ organic search ranks.

Flowchart showing more "linkable" webpage can transfer link authority to product page through internal links

What makes link bait so effective?

Link bait works because it employs psychological factors that encourage others to link to it. In his book “Contagious,” marketing professor Jonah Berger invented the term “share triggers” to describe these principles.

They are:

  • People exchange items that make them look good to others as social currency.
  • People talk about things that are on their minds.
  • People need to feel something in order to communicate it.
  • When people can see or observe another’ conduct, they are more likely to copy it.
  • People prefer to share practical, valuable information with others.
  • People don’t just share knowledge; they also share stories.

Best techniques for link bait creation

Here are some excellent practices for producing share trigger-friendly link bait.

At least one or two of these should be included in your link bait for the best results.

  • Make your linkbait useful
    • Making your information useful implies giving the reader something they can use right away. Tools, calculators, templates, checklists, and cheat sheets are just a few examples.
  • Make your link bait controversial
    • Giving the reader something new to think about is another method to make your link bait valuable. This can be accomplished by approaching a topic from a different perspective and contributing something new to the discourse.
    • Consider the following scenario: Tim Soulo, Ahrefs chief marketing officer, wrote a “rant” about bad email outreach a few years ago. It was quite personal and based totally on his own experiences. However, it was well received. There were almost 2,500 backlinks from 533 domains as a result of this.
  • Make sure your link bait elicits feelings
    • If you’re as old as I am, you may recall Upworthy’s glory days. It seemed as if every single piece on the web went viral at its peak. (Though, in recent years, I haven’t seen anyone share Upworthy’s content.)
    • Upworthy is a website that features inspiring stories. People continued to share its pieces because each one was designed to elicit feelings of astonishment, surprise, delight, and a general sense that the world was not as horrible as it appeared.
    • Positivity is only one factor. You can attempt appealing to a variety of emotions, including anger, enthusiasm, grief, joy, and so on. See if you can use them in your link bait as well.
  • Make your link bait visually appealing
    • A four-step process must occur before someone can connect to a piece of content:
      • See – this is the first time the possible “linker” comes across your link bait.
      • Consume – They eat it by clicking on it.
      • Enjoy – Enjoy the content – It leaves an indelible effect on them.
      • Link – They take the “bait” and create a link to it.
    • This procedure is cut off between “Consume” and “Enjoy” if your link bait isn’t aesthetically pleasing. This is because images make it easier for people to digest content, increasing the possibility that they will appreciate it and, as a result, link to it.
  • Make your link bait interesting
    • The news is the one item that most people are concerned about. Journalists and bloggers are always on the lookout for new things to report about.
    • For example, the pandemic and the accompanying changes are presumably the most important news stories of the last two years. Nulab conducted a series of remote work polls in 2020 and released the results in a blog post.
    • Not only did the article receive 103 backlinks from 80 different websites, but it also received links from Yahoo, ZDNet and more.
  • Make a tale out of your link bait.
    • Humans are storytellers by nature. It’s the way we operate as a society. So no one is surprised when we share and link to tales.
    • Rather than pounding people over the head with logic and reasoning about why debt is bad, Wealth Simple chose a narrative approach.

It received 85 backlinks from 62 referring domains, which is rather impressive (Huffington Post, BuzzFedd, Slate and more).

Four examples of successful link bait

Here are four of our favorite pieces of link bait, all of which received a lot of attention, links, and shares.

  1. 13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics – LINK
  2. Inception Explained – LINK
  3. How a Car Engine Works – LINK
  4. 90.63% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. And How to Be in the Other 9.37% – LINK

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