Published on August 1st, 2012 | by Amy Edwards1
What is ‘link bait’?
By Amy @BubbleJobs
Whether you own an e-commerce site, personal blog or individual website, there’s a good chance you’ve heard the phrase ‘link bait’ once or twice before. Yep, ‘link bait’ is easily one of the biggest buzz words in the SEO industry at the moment along side guest blogging, but what does it actually mean and do you need it?!
First up; the official explanation according to the online bible that is Wikipedia – “‘link bait’ is any content or feature, within a website, designed specifically to gain attention or encourage others to link to the website.” A bit like fishing bait, ‘link bait’ is designed to pique interest and lure in visitor after visitor – in essence the ultimate aim of any piece of ‘link bait’ is to go viral and take over the web.
Similar to an offline publicity stunt, ‘link bait’ is the online equivalent of a charity skydive or a world record attempt in that it aims to attract attention and increase visibility. So, in simple terms, ‘link bait’ is just an online ploy to raise a company’s online profile and get more eyeballs on their site and in turn attract more high-quality inbound links, right? Exactly!
OK, so now we know what ‘link bait’ is in theory but what about real life examples? Well, chances are you’ll have already been lured in by some form of ‘link bait’ without even realising it. From that funny article you saw on a tabloid newspaper yesterday lunch which you then subsequently sent on to your friend to that super-cool infographic that you just blogged about, ‘link bait’ is everywhere and it’s not always that easy to spot!
Now, as you’ve just read, infographics are one form of ‘link bait’ – in fact they’re actually the most popular form of ‘link bait’ at the moment. Why? Because they’re fairly easy to create (after a good bit of research) and put together (if you’ve got a good graphic designer at hand). They’re also fairly easy to digest and, depending on the subject area of the infographic, can help to attract a brand new audience to your site.
OK, what else? From quirky ‘top 10′-type articles to super-cool tools which are meant to act as a nice distraction in your 9-5 day, there are loads of examples of ‘link-bait’ out there which have worked wonders in raising the profile of virtually unknown firms in pretty much every industry.
Ah, so you’re starting to like the idea of creating some ‘link bait’ are you? Well, creating effective ‘link bait’ which actually does its job is not as easy as you’d probably expect. Yep, in the last couple of years the world and his wife have cottoned onto the fact that creating and promoting ‘link bait’ is now an extremely effective online marketing tool so, as you can imagine, the world wide web has never been so highly saturated with ‘link bait’ as it is at the moment.
Now while a high saturation of ‘link bait’ isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the industry (particularly if it’s high quality), it does make creating effective ‘link bait’ a whole lot harder. Why? Because you need to invest a lot more time creating something that’s unique, original and stands out from the crowd – something that’s not difficult for a high-flying full service digital agency to achieve but which might be a bit a tricky for a novice web master or e-commerce business owner.
So what’s the solution? A lot of hard work and dedication I’m afraid! Yep, just like anything else on the web, creating effective ‘link bait’ takes time, hard work, creativity and commitment. With ‘link bait’ it’s obvious if you’ve only spent a few hours knocking it up – the quality won’t be there and neither will the ‘uniqueness’ and they’re two of the key factors behind a successful ‘link bait’ campaign.
Get your full team together and spend a good few hours brainstorming. Unlike other brainstorming sessions, there are no bad or poor ideas when it comes to ‘link bait’ – pretty much anything is feasible. The trick is to think ‘outside the box’ and think about what kind of quirky things people in your industry might like to see and go from there. Quality plays a big part in the success of ‘link bait’ so if you’re going down the infographic route it might be a good idea to employ the services of a graphic design agency to make sure your graphics are up to scratch.
Once you’ve created your piece of dynamic ‘link bait’ it’s all about promotion, promotion, promotion. From Twitter and Facebook to LinkedIn and email campaigns, there are loads of ways to promote your content online these days – and it really shouldn’t be a case of either/or – with ‘link bait’ promotion, ‘the more, the merrier’!
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