Link Bait

Links are one of the most important factors that determine search engine rankings. Sometimes finding links is easier said than done, but there are strategies and methods that attract links all on their own. They are generally referred to as “link bait.” Here are 9 ways you can attract more links to your website.

1)      Badges

Badges are embeddable images that users can put on their sites with a link back to yours. They are effective at building additional backlinks because they are hands-free and relatively easy to setup. Even though they are hands-free, you can still contact other blogs offering them a badge, however, simply placing them somewhere on your own site for others to see and use is a good start.

Just remember that users won’t paste just any badge on their site. In order to entice someone to actually use your badge it has to have some sort of appeal. The appeal can be in the form of humor, inspiration, motivation, cuteness or something extraordinary. Alternatively, the badge can be an award or trophy.

If you’re going to use the trophy badge, then typically you would only want to use it when contacting other websites directly. You wouldn’t post a trophy badge on your website for everyone to see and use or it would lose its appeal.

One example of a website that uses badges to build backlinks is mingle2 (a dating site). Actually this website offers a perfect example of how to create a viral piece of content, but in this post I just want to point out their badges. If you go to their page here, you will see them on the bottom right in the sidebar.

Notice how they are interesting and funny, making them appealing to use. Also notice that they are easy to share through the copy and paste box below the embeddable image. This is how you want to do it.

Now before you go using this technique, there are a few things to watch out for. First, if you have a relatively new website (under 6 months old) I would advise against this technique. Second, when using these it’s important to offer multiple badges with multiple anchor texts. Last but not least, it’s important to vary the anchor text on all your badges every few months.

The reasons for doing so are to minimize any potential link building penalties. Usually when people share your badge they will place it in the sidebar of their website. This creates a site-wide link, and too many site-wide links have been known to trigger penalties especially on newer websites.

That being said, if you have an established website, then this is a great way to supplement your link building methods. If you want to err on the side of caution, then you can make the link nofollow, and still benefit from the referral traffic that this method is sure to provide.

2)      Trackbacks

Trackbacks are a unique type of link building that is generally exclusive to blogs and news sites. So if you’re website has a blog and your platform allows for trackbacks then consider enabling this option.

Let me explain what a trackback is in simple terms. Basically a trackback is a way to for one blog to notify another blog about an update.

This typically happens when Blog A writes about Blog B with a link pointing to a particular page on Blog B. Blog B then receives a notification on the page that Blog A linked to. Blog B then has the option of approving a trackback, which in turn, would show as a link back to Blog A’s original post. This is like a modern day link exchange, but much more effective.

Trackbacks are great because they encourage others to link to you from within a blog post. In exchange, the person blogging about you has a chance of receiving a link via a trackback which generally appears in the comments. It’s a win-win situation and a great way to not only build backlinks but to also receive a ton of referral traffic from other blogs.

3)      Share buttons

Share buttons are easily the most effective way to encourage others to link to your website. Think of share buttons like a call-to-action that also doubles as an easy way for others to access their favorite social sites.

Share buttons are not exclusive to blogs either; you can use them on any type of website and, as a result, improve your chances that others will link to you.

But won’t all my links just come from facebook, twitter and other social sites? Nope! Even though share buttons are used mostly to share content on social networks, it doesn’t stop others from using those links and posting them on other sources. Besides, links from social sites still drive traffic and that’s what this is all about.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when implementing share buttons. Keep it simple! Don’t have 30 share buttons to every social site ever made. Identify the networks that you feel will be the most beneficial to your business and only include those. If there are too many buttons, then it can confuse your user and result in them ignoring your share buttons altogether.

Also, some share buttons will include actual numbers of how many people shared the content. If you have a relatively new website, then consider not showing these numbers. If someone thinks your website isn’t being shared, then they themselves may decide to not share either. It’s silly but it’s true. People like sharing things that are already popular so don’t give them any reason to believe that your content isn’t.

4)      Guides

Guides are a great source of link bait because they directly address a problem or question and solve it.

If you’re an expert in your field then chances are you can write a guide. The guide can be anything, but the most effective guides are the ones that answer common (and not so common) problems by providing an adequate solution.

Furthermore, the guide needs to be clear, concise, easy to understand, and should preferably be broken down into steps.

If your guide is rather technical, like changing car oil or configuring a piece of software, then consider using images and videos to make your guide more effective.

The more precise your guide, and the easier it is to follow, the more likely it is that others will link to it.

5)      Resource Lists

Resource lists are pretty awesome. Not only are they great link bait, but they are relatively easy to put together. You simply need to find helpful resources and group them into a nice list. Each resource listed should have a short description, a link to the source and optionally an image.

The bigger the list, the more likely people will want to link to it. But don’t just throw anything into your list; make sure the resources are extremely useful and preferably already popular.

6)      Contests

People love contests! Holding a contest is a great way to get others talking and linking to you. For your contest to be effective it needs to have easy to understand rules and the duration needs to be no more than 60 days.

Ideally there should be a prize for more than just the first place winner, and most importantly, the prizes need to be good enough for people to get excited for.

Universally popular electronics like, ipods, ipads and tv’s make for great prizes that just about anyone would like.

Ultimately, you will want to identify your demographic and the type of things it might be into. For example, if you sell car stereo equipment, then any prize that has something to do with car equipment or car products will make for a good prize.

7)      Humor

Everyone likes to laugh, and we all like to share the things we find hilarious. If you can put together something funny like a short video, image or article then you’ve got yourself a piece of link bait.

Creating funny content takes creativity and not everyone will have the resources to get it done, but funny content goes viral faster than just about any other type of content and the payoff can be amazing.

A website like is dedicated to creating funny content, that’s their whole business model and it works very well! Every time Cracked posts an article, they get thousands of backlinks because they’ve mastered the art of creating hilarious (and interesting) content that people love to share.

8)      Controversy

Creating a piece of controversial content is a sure way to get others linking to your website.

To do this, all you need to do is take something that people have strong opinions on and use it to your advantage.

For example, religion is a heated topic and many people have strong opinions on it. You can create a piece of content that uses religious figures or events to create an image or video ad. Some people might find it interesting, some funny and some might get offended. In either case, it will get people linking to you.

Another example of controversial content is partial nudity or sexually suggestive content. I am sure you’ve heard the saying “sex sells,” well, it’s true. Creating “sexy” content is a sure way to create controversy and get people linking to your website.

These two examples are just a few ways to create controversial content, but before you go making this type of content, consider the potential downside.

This method is essentially the definition of the double-edged sword in the sense that it will get your more links, but it’s also likely to bring negative criticism and feedback along with it.

If you go too far, you can do more damage than good, and in the worst case scenario, you can ruin your business.

It goes without saying that you should use this method with absolute caution.

9)      Good Titles

The reason I consider titles link bait is because good titles drive more traffic to your content. Would you rather click on “How to change your car oil,” or “By far the easiest way to change your car oil?” Chances are you would click the second title before trying the first.

Ultimately the more people who click through to your website, the more chances you have to get backlinks. Creating good titles is also one of the easiest things to improve on. Next time you’re inclined to click on a link take note of the title. Doing so will give you great ideas for your when it’s your turn to make a great title.

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