What is Linkbait and How Do I Do It?

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Linkbait – it has a negative connotation when you use the word ‘bait’. The fact is, it is a misnomer. Linkbait is the process of publishing something to the internet that is awesome enough for others to want to link to it. There are types of content that people naturally spread and link to, and although taking the time and research to put this kind of content together is more difficult than a more scalable form of linkbuilding, it is most of the time much more effective.

Whether your intentions are nefarious or not in creating linkbait, the beautiful thing is that you are still adding to the community.

How Do I Create Linkbait?

When creating linkbait, remember the acronym ‘STUFF’, and use one or more of the following qualities:

  • Shocking
  • Timely
  • Useful
  • Funny
  • Fascinating

Think about it–what was the last thing you passed to your friends? Was it a funny video of someone getting hit in the crotch with a bicycle? Was it an infographic with interesting facts and trends about your industry? These things spread.

Types of Linkbait

Linkbait comes in many forms. If I leave any out, feel free to suggest some in the comments. Here are several examples:

  • Blog post – write a blog post with one of the following:
  • Infographics
  • Tools/Applications/Themes (A friend of mine is a Mesa AZ photographer, and I noticed the blogspot theme she used had a clever link back to the creator. Give a free theme, and everyone who uses it links back. Genius?)
  • Badges (Validated XHTML  badge, anyone? Do all the work, and prominently display a link back to the W3C for your own pride)
  • Videos
  • Giveaways

Make linkbait awesome enough, and you’ll get your competitors to link to you! What does your link landscape look like when your competitor and you have both worked to get links from different places, building authority, and then they link to you? They end up calling you the authority, and that ends up being a very powerful link.

More Reasons for Linkbait

Finally, even if you aren’t interested in link building, there are other great reasons to implement some of these techniques:

  • Traffic spikes – Bring lots of traffic fast as people start talking about you
  • Brand building, authority – Every brand has to start somewhere, so if you aren’t well known, you can make yourself known as an authority
  • More sales/conversions – You think BlendTec sold a few extra blenders after their video series?
  • Positive mental associations – Whenever something reminds your viewers of your linkbait, they will think of your brand.

If I left anything out, drop it in the comments. I’d love to see examples of linkbait that you have dealt with.


Chris Dayley

Awesome post AJ. We could probably even use some of those creative strategies for OS link building efforts. OS themed blogs…. I can see it now…

AJ Wilcox

I can see it now! A wordpress template so refreshing that it actually feels like you’re drinking orange soda while you surf the website 🙂

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