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Create link-worthy content to get more visitors and links

Lately, I've been re-reading the masterpieces about creating link-worthy content. It is sometimes useful to recall what you know to be more efficient. Thus, you may as well either remember what you've heard about linkbait or learn new things from the links below.

What is link-bait?

Nowadays, linkbait is some kind of content, created with the intent of getting links. Most effective linkbaits are build on delivering great content, tools and such.

But back in the days linkbait was just another word for 'link-worthy content'. And in my opinion, that's what a good website should have: something amazingly useful for the audience, links or no links.

How to get links with content?

Thus, when you read the articles below (and you may be familiar with some of them), you should first remember about your audience, visitors, potential customers and whoever you may be running the site for. You need to know your audience and create something they desperately need and can use, with your help. That'll get some attention.

The posts below list various ways that you can go to create great content for your people.

Notes on Link Baiting

Spreading the value

Some link-bait attempts are simply aimed at gathering links, either by running a contest of sorts, spreading a badge or simply asking people to link to you (mostly works on blogs).

A good example of this could be this very post of Jim Boykin, who's running a contest to anyone, who links to that very post. The winner will get We Build Pages prizes and $720 worth of ads.

While some people think that linkbait is focused on links, yours should really be focused on creating value on your website for your visitors. Needless to say, spreading the news about the content is quite an important step of benefiting from it.

Usually, it involves:

  • your friends, contacts, etc
  • on-topic forums
  • various social sites
  • popular industry bloggers
  • industry journals

Ideally, the content should spread itself. But it doesn't happen. You need to share your great value with others - only with this attitude you can succeed.

Once your site gets popular on one of the social sites, it may get popular on another, because many people have accounts there, too.

While I am not savvy enough to talk about my experience of spreading link-worthy content (I should be doing more of this, really), some of the articles have sufficient information for you to get your toes wet.

Examples of great content

Sometimes, it is better to see, than to hear a story 100 times. Here are some examples of well-written content and successful promotion:

As you might notice from the examples, the posts/tools are so great, that they were naturally accepted by the audience. Perhaps, some authors only wanted links. But the rules of the game are that only valuable information/tools get popular, because the people want to read/use them. In the end, only the quality matters - and how you distribute it, too.

Conclusion

No matter what other webmasters say about 'links, more links and linkbaiting', you'd rather still be focused on creating something valuable for your audience. Only in this case you'll find unique ways of delivering value that others haven't thought about. Links come after value, not visa versa.

P.S. Anyone else wants to go back to 'link worthy content' 'great content' instead of 'linkbait'? People are not fish, they are people.

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Comments

Good post on getting to the crux of the matter. You pin it down when you say "link worthy content", which is another way of saying "content that people like so much they link to it".

This is all about language. Instead of calling it "link worthy content", it's now called linkbait.

Language is organic, it grows and mutates with use.

For example, how many people call Frankenstein the monster, rather than the creator, or when American tourists get "Big Ben" in London wrong. It's the bell which is called Big Ben, the structure that it is in is actually called The Clock Tower.

But the language has mutated and when you say Big Ben now, people think of something that isn't actually what was originally intended.

Just like Linkbait is innacurate and under forensic examiantion falls apart, but because of common usage has entered into our concious as a term.

Phew, I really didn't mean to go on so.

Great blog btw, I just subscribed.

Hi, Lyndon.

Yes, but the thing is that in my opinion, link bait meant link worthy content back in the days, but not now. Now it can be semi-useful content that is tuned to Diggers. The main content of such is to get links, not to deliver value.

I get this from the examples of content people call link bait. Mostly, those are link-oriented (not even linkerati oriented) pieces of wasted screen space. While I agree that 'linkbait' can have a meaning of 'great content', it acquires it only in context of creating great content - the one I am talking about.

An example of link bait can be the Super Digg from one of the links above: the post was about something completely unrelated to the main website topic, while I am sure something could be conjured about it.

Then again, I guess the difference is what kind of value link bait and great content deliver. Link bait may be more aimed at entertainment, shallow thinking and without much thought-provoking.

Great content, in turn, can be about something fundamental, sparking a whole train of thought (on the semantics of 'linkbait'?) and providing a way for the reader so to improve their lives.

Maybe, instead of trying to work with 'link worthy content', I should have said 'great content', because creating something for the whole purpose of links is, um, not as inspiring as creating something to improve someone's life (or lives of the millions).

Then, I guess, it is a nuance that only some marketers may notice. I am sure, after utter abuse of link bait (both term and action), a small batch of marketers will "go back" to simply providing life-enhancing content.

Thank you for reading, commenting and subscribing :)

I think what is happening is people are only understanding part of what true, effective linkbait is, or what my definition of the word is. I think for a proper detailed discussion of the topic of linkbait we have to stop using the term.

Strip things back a little to get some perspective.

It's about:
Getting attention
Creating an emtional reaction in the reader
Motivating the reader to link.

Being good at only two of those steps will mean you fail.

It's no different to getting a girl to go out with you.

Get her attention
Create an emotional response towards you
Motivate her to answer yes to you.

Absolutely the same principle.

We are talking about pre civilisation motivation. This is caveman stuff, deep down, noble savage type stuff.

Most people don't get that, they don't understand that they are dealing with something that has existed before human civilisation.

Talk about Digg and social media and stuff has nothing to do with it, I think you would agree.

So getting back to linkbait, I would argue that linkbait should not be good content, it should be fantastic content. The kind of content that makes you shout to your sleeping flatmate in the next room that he has to wake up and come and read.

It's the same with everything, if you don't give it enough time, if you don't study its constituent components, if you don't tear it apart to see how it works then you will never be able to implement it effectively.

Great points, Lyndon.

As I said earlier, I am guessing I am just starting to grasp the emotional aspect of linkbait. Maybe, indeed, link bait is great content with an emotional component to motivate sharing/linking? Some great content may be formatted not to be linked ever, for one reason or another.

(And oh yes, emotional content works.)

What it seems I am arguing about, though, is that great content can be excellent motivator. But to elicit emotional reaction, the content has to be absolutely mind-blowing.

While it is clear that you can touch upon controvrsial issues, really important matters and what not for people to react emotionally, I suspect this has to be done in moderation. Some people may just using this approach to get links, value delivered being something secondary.

Emotional reaction is in human nature

That's great point about the human nature. Something I've been thinking for a while (mostly, about people navigating websites seeking scent of information). Now it is time to apply it to spreading the content, I guess.

Yup, knowing how things work is great (Sylar anyone?).

By the way, I am now investigating creating and promoting link-worthy content and it is kind of addictive. The more I learn and try, the more I want to do it. I kind of see why some people are good with it, too.

Thanks for a great, insightful discussion.

P.S. For those unfamiliar with Lyndon, he is one of the few people I know that were SEO experts, when I was just starting in the fall of '04.

Hi,

Overhere in the Netherlands they use SEO Contests to create some linkbait.

It does work, but the disadvantage is that after the contest is over, all optimized pages dissapear and all links aren't available for crawlers anymore.

So, if anybody thinks of a starting a SEO Contest for some linkbait, re-think your options! ;-)

Frankly, I don't really know how people compete in SEO contests. I'd imagine they create a page on a trusted site and try it to rank for something?

I don't think it makes sense to delete a page, though I understand removing links to this page from sites that you control. However, in some cases, removing links from other sites to the optimized page isn't possible, so the page and the contest site still get some link love, if the page isn't deleted.

I wonder if you explain to people that deleting pages with incoming links from other sites actually hurts them. They have spent time on participating in the contest and should use the effort on the contest page to slightly boost their own site.

Thanks for stopping by.

Seems to me the best type of link bait is some kind of software program that everyone would love to have. Problem is, this idea is limited in scope of which industries it can work in.

Program can be used for baiting, when it is so good that people link to it. While one can be creative and create software for any industry, there are more useful things you can create to draw attention of the crowd.

And one more thing. One of the factors that influence the success of link bait, or anything viral, is how easy is to spread and share the virus.

It takes time and effort to use a program, which is why less people will understand how good it is.

That is why good link bait is easily digestible, easy to use and to share.

Widgets, gadgets, tools and all the stuff people can use easily online is good stuff, however.

Thanks for stopping by.

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