Link bait tends to get overlooked or misunderstood as a search engine optimization tactic due to widespread abuse of the idea. Ignoring the unfortunate name, link bait can actually be a highly effective way of helping your site grow in audience and traffic.
Google grants a lot of weight in the search ranking algorithm to links, therefore a key SEO tactic has always been to gain strong inbound links containing your most sought-after keywords.
Creating link bait articles is a great way to attract links but there are two challenges that people will push back with:
- Many webmasters aim for their exact sought-after search phrases as anchor text, and that is difficult to achieve without looking spammy.
- How to create link bait that helps your authority rather than damages your brand.
Fear not! I will offer you suggestions today …
Getting Exact Phrase-Match Link Anchor Text
The problem with exact match anchor text is it can be far more challenging than it at first seems because overdoing the exact phrase can raise red flags in search engines.
Clients who want a certain anchor text run out of ways to innocently rephrase their sought-after keywords with viable alternatives.
One way around these issues is to simply approach the phrases less obviously.
Planning Search Engine Friendly Link Bait
Check out the expertly designed diagram for my very real website, WalrusHacks.
This diagram shows the main phrase for my struggling Walrus Polishing blog. I have been trying to get my link baits onto Reddit using the big-money phrase “Walrus Polishing Kit” and for some reason, members are not voting in the numbers required to get traction.
As you can see, we can either go for the exact phrase or split the phrase into segments.
Rather than attempt to get voters interested in “Walrus Polishing Kits”, we can go for link baits about “Walruses”, “Polishing” or “Kit”, or variations, such as “Polishing Kits”.
Finding bait topics containing one of the words, such as “kit”, is far easier than trying for the whole phrase, and while it might not give the instant results of the exact match, it does make it easier to both write and get votes.
Thinking of your site theme this way opens up many more possibilities for articles. Rather than aiming for a “sweet spot” home run, you can build your site’s overall theme over time.
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Planning Your Next Link Bait Article
What goes into creating link bait? We want an article that’s both ethical and brand-safe so that requires a little extra careful research and execution.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to your next link bait:
1. Identify Your Target Audience:
Understand who you’re writing for and what they care about. This knowledge will guide the tone, content, and style of your article. I, of course, recommend you create a marketing pen portrait.
2. Determine Your Goal:
Outside of generating links, what are your aims? Do you want to educate, entertain, inspire, or drive traffic? Is your goal to promote a specific product page? Defining your end goal will shape the content and overall direction of the article.
3. Choose a Relevant Topic:
Pick a subject that resonates with your audience and aligns with your brand values and expertise. Make sure it’s something you can provide unique insights or value on. Regurgitating things that are already well-known in ways they are already talked about will not grab attention.
4. Provide Proof:
Gather all the information you’ll need, if you have case studies that is great, but otherwise include statistics, expert opinions, or relevant examples. Make sure your sources are credible and accurately represented.
5. Craft an Engaging Headline:
Create a headline that’s intriguing but not misleading. It should reflect the content and make the reader want to click without feeling deceived afterward. I have a PDF with over 100 headline examples.
6. Outline Your Content:
Plan the structure of your article. Break it down into sections or bullet points to ensure that it flows logically and covers all the necessary points while not being too dense for people to read.
7. Deliver on Your Promises:
Provide valuable, accurate, and engaging content that delivers on the promise of the headline. Be informative and insightful, and use a tone and language that align with your brand. The thing that sets you apart from “clickbait” is delivering what you said you would!
8. Include Visuals:
Images, videos, or infographics can be the difference between getting read or not, plus images aid in understanding and comprehension. Ensure they are relevant and have proper attribution if needed.
9. Add a Call to Action (CTA):
A clear call to action guides your readers on what to do next … what SHOULD they do next?
12. Review, Edit, and Optimize for SEO:
Carefully review and edit the article for clarity, grammar, and accuracy.
Use relevant keywords and internal links to ensure that your article ranks well on search engines. Keep the content natural and reader-friendly.
13. Monitor Feedback and Analyze Performance:
After publishing, monitor comments and engagement. Respond to feedback and be prepared to make corrections if inaccuracies are pointed out.
Use analytics tools to track how the article is performing in terms of traffic, engagement, and other KPIs relevant to your goal. This data can inform future content strategies.
14. Remain Transparent:
Disclose affiliate links or sponsored content. If you don’t you will be found out so better to be clear from the start.
Benefits of Ethical Link Bait for Authority
You might be thinking this is a lot of work when you can just send a lot of emails asking for links, but I encourage you to reconsider.
Assuming you’re ethical and careful about not harming your brand, link bait doesn’t have to be negative or misleading. It can be a valuable tool for generating interest and engagement, regardless of the links you will attract:
- Attracting Attention: With so much content available online, a well-crafted and intriguing headline can make a piece stand out. Ethical link-baiting can pique curiosity and draw readers to content that’s genuinely interesting and valuable.
- Increasing Engagement: By creating content that’s engaging and shareable, ethical link bait can foster interaction among readers through comments, likes, and shares. This helps create a community around the content or brand.
- Building Brand Awareness: By consistently producing compelling and responsible content that resonates with readers, a brand can build recognition and trust. Ethical link bait techniques can enhance a brand’s image rather than diminish it.
- Educating and Informing: Ethical link bait articles can serve as a tool for educating readers. By presenting information in an appealing way, they can draw attention to important topics and provide valuable insights.
- Encouraging Social Sharing: Content that’s engaging, entertaining, or thought-provoking often gets shared on social media platforms. By fostering sharing, ethical link baiting can extend the reach of content and attract new audiences.
- Promoting Quality Content: Ethical link bait promotes articles, videos, or blogs that deliver on their promises. By crafting engaging headlines that accurately reflect the content, writers can guide readers to valuable information.
- Boosting Conversion Rates: By targeting the right audience with engaging headlines and quality content, ethical link bait can help increase conversion rates, turning readers into customers or subscribers.
- Enhancing User Experience: Ethical link bait ensures that the content is relevant to the reader and provides a satisfying user experience. It’s about creating content that readers want to click on because it’s genuinely interesting, not because they’ve been tricked into doing so.
- Showcasing Creativity: Link baiting gives writers an opportunity to showcase their creativity. Well-crafted titles and engaging content can be an art form, reflecting the writer’s skill and unique voice.
- Building Long-Term Relationships: By providing valuable content that resonates with readers, ethical link bait can help build long-term relationships with the audience. This trust and loyalty can be highly beneficial for a brand in the long run.
Bottom Line on Link Bait
In summary, when approached with integrity and creativity, link bait articles can be a positive and effective strategy for bloggers, content creators, and marketers. As well as creating a large boost in inbound links, it can drive direct traffic, build brand reputation, foster community, and provide genuine value to readers, all while maintaining the trust and ethical considerations that are essential for a responsible brand.