Linkbait – Everything You Know Is Wrong

linkbait-sucksIt was the selfie that broke Twitter. On Ellen DeGeneres shared a selfie of her and a selection of her Hollywood friends at the Oscars. The selfie almost immediately went viral and was retweeted more than 3.2 million times in the following days.

For Samsung whose phone had been used and sponsored Oscars it was a huge success. It created exposure, traffic and plenty of backlinks. It also demonstrated the power of Linkbait.

ellen-selfieIf you want your website to rank well in the search engines then you need links. The problem is that the world of search engine optimization (SEO) has undergone some pretty radical changes lately. Popular tactics like blogging networks, article marketing, and even guest posting are no longer effective thanks to changes in Google's algorithm.

One tactic that still works – and can produce floods of traffic – is linkbait. When linkbait works it can produce a large number of links in a short period of time and even better its ethical and exactly what Google wants.

An Overview Of Linkbait

Linkbait is content which is specifically designed to be shared. A type of content that is so intriguing, interesting or amusing that people will naturally want to show their friends, family, co-workers and others in their network. Link bait could be a hilarious video, a controversial article, a fascinating infographic or an incredibly detailed blog post.

How Link bait Works

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Link bait spreads itself virally. For example, you share a great piece of content with your own network and 10 people choose to share it with their own friends and family. They share it each with another 10 people and now 10 became 100. They share and soon 100 has become a 1000 and then 10,000 and so on. Each time someone shares the content – and provides a link to it- you can get all the SEO benefits.

Why Is Linkbait “Google Friendly”

Linkbait is a tactic which is 100% Google friendly. So called “white hat” link building, which is where people to freely choose to link to your content, is what Google says that it wants. That is exactly what linkbait does. It is the creation of popular content that people want to share with their network.

link-bait-qualityHow to Put Linkbait Marketing Into Action

The key to linkbait is the quality of the content itself. Remember you can't “force” people to share the content you put out there. It must be so irresistibly interesting or controversial that people can't help but share it with their own friends and family.

Social media is one of the best ways to quickly gain some exposure and shares for your content. But for higher authority and lasting backlinks you want links from blogs and websites.

Before you begin with your backlinking campaign it is a good idea to reach out to website owners to ask them whether they would be interested in posting the content. Make sure that you are actually creating something that people want before you go to the trouble of putting the guide together. Having a distribution network in place will make it much more likely that your efforts will be rewarded.

Understanding The Risks

However, linkbait is not a strategy that is guaranteed to succeed. It is quite possible to spend hundreds of dollars on it and see very little return on your investment. The nature of viral content is that it is impossible to predict whether it will be shared or not. This is one of the reasons why it is wise to research the market carefully before hand and make sure that there is interest in what you are planning on creating.

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Ideally you will create content that is going to be wildly successful and shared frequently, but it is good to determine before you begin what the minimum that is required in order to see a return on your investment. It is also important to realize that you are not likely to hit a home run each time. Linkbait is a strategy that needs to be practiced consistently if it is going to be successful.

Thinking Beyond Infographics

Until recently the words infographic and linkbait were almost synonymous.

Often these infographic distribution sites were not actually targeting human visitors. Infographics are still working very well but it is advised that you post the content to your own website rather than through a distribution site.

If you really want to future proof your SEO link building strategies against Google algorithm updates then you need to create unique content that provides value for the reader. Linkbait fits this criteria perfectly so it is the right strategy for ensuring long term success in the search engines. But before you embark on a link building campaign make sure that you understand the value of the links that can be earned using this strategy.

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