Anyone who has been involved in online marketing for more than a few days knows how important links are to the ranking of a website. Sites that link to yours are giving you a vote for the worthiness of your site by recommending it to their own readers. The more of these you get, the better quality your site is assumed to be by search engines. The problem for many businesses is attracting those links. Just like with a blind date, being useful, funny or intelligent isn’t necessarily enough. You also have to have that special something that strikes a cord with readers.
Fishing for Links
Link bait is exactly what it sounds like- it’s the bait you dangle in the water to attract the fish to your site. When a piece of content is striking enough to attract a lot of links, you can expect the search engine placement of the site to soar. You can also expect the word-of-mouth about your website to soar along with it.
To get those links, the bait has to be something special. Sites won’t nibble at the same content that every other site has. It has to be something original that will grab the attention of a good percentage of those who read it. The Web content writer who creates link bait has to put passion for the subject matter into the content, and readers will pick up on that passion.
Baiting the Hook
To get the right bait, companies hire blog writers or copywriters to create something that speaks to people. Sometimes, this means a passionate essay that speaks directly to readers about real-life experiences that they can relate to or that is fascinating for whatever reason.
For some sites, a link bait page may be one that is far longer and more in-depth than the other pages that touch on smaller topics. A link bait page may cover the topic in its entirety and allow the rest of the site to cover smaller aspects of the topic. But for most sites that use link bait, clever writing, a passionate tone and well-researched material is crucial. Many sites use in-depth lists like the “10 Most Useful Antelopes” or the “20 Best Books About Toilet Paper” to draw in readers who are interested in that topic. By creating the definitive go-to list, you attract links from sites about that topic.
Another way to bait the link hook is to create something outrageously controversial. This tactic can’t be done over and over again by the same site, but when done once in a while, it can bring in tons of links from sites that just want to point out how much they disagree with your point of view.
Lizz S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.