Strategies for generating link baiting opportunities

Anastasia Kurmakaeva

Written by Anastasia Kurmakaeva

What is link baiting?

Link baiting refers to the creation of quality content, in order to get other third-party websites to link to it autonomously because they find it interesting and want to do so, and not because you have asked them to or requested a paid link. It is the most natural and effective form of link building and the one that can bring us the most advantages in the long term.

It can be any type of content, which as a general rule is original, provides value and is interesting for the target audience: a video tutorial, an eBook, an infographic, a blog article, a guide… There are many ways and formats, which will be more or less appropriate depending on the business and the sector in which we find ourselves.

Creating exceptionally valuable content that people want to link to and promote on a massive scale is not easy. There is no formula, no set steps to follow to achieve it. You can dedicate an infinite amount of hours to create something and then it will pass by without a trace. Meanwhile, your competition publishes the simplest idea in which they seem to have invested little time or effort, and gets all kinds of praise in the form of backlinks. It is very frustrating and we know it.

In this post we are going to try to list the types of content that have been most successful in generating link baiting so that, at least, you can get an idea of the direction you can take in your own strategy.

Types of content according to their longevity

First of all, it is very important to distinguish between two categories of content that can be subject to a multitude of links:

  • Breaking news. The relevance of this type of content is limited by the length of time an event is news. As the boom wears off, users lose interest and, consequently, we stop receiving new links. Therefore, in these cases time is of the essence, and it is essential to publish and disseminate our content on the network before the event loses relevance to the public. A clear example of this type of content is the launch of new electronic devices, such as smartphones. In the run-up to their presentation or appearance on the market, we will always find a vast number of articles, comparisons, analyses, videos, etc. about them. Once launched, we will see the first reviews, comments, unboxing, critiques… But after a few weeks, the device that generated so much hype will no longer be in the news and will yield the podium to the next generation of cell phone models.
  • Content that lasts over time. It is the type of content that does not expire, nor does it have an expiration date on the horizon. Of course, depending on the sector, information or a resource can become obsolete relatively quickly, but here we refer to content that never loses value or goes out of fashion, and therefore, never stops producing links to our website. To name a simple example, we will put here a basic guide to canine education. Are there a large number of people who own or are considering owning a dog? Yes. How many of these people will know how to educate you? Not so many. But we all want our pet to be polite, obedient, and, ultimately, well-behaved in any situation. Perhaps in the years to come other, newer and more effective methods of dog training will be discovered, but the basic principles will remain. And, in any case, we can always update the content if we consider it necessary and we have something interesting to contribute.

Types of content to generate link baiting

There are specific types of content that usually bring very good results. Obviously, it is very important to know our sector well in order to know what kind of content and topics we could be successful with, so we will try to propose examples that are as different as possible.

Interactive content

In this sense, tests, quizzes, surveys, games… are very popular. If they are well done and minimally original, they tend to generate a lot of links, because Internet users love to participate in this kind of things and we are all given to light entertainment on certain occasions. If, in addition, you get some feedback after taking a test or playing a game in the form of a result, all the better. Here we could go to the example of Buzzfeed’s quizzes, which at one point were in the soup. Internet users loved to find out which A Song of Ice and Fire character they were, or in which country they really should have been born based on seemingly unrelated questions.

Surveys prior to events of national or international importance, for example, are also an interesting point to explore. General elections, referendums, strikes, demonstrations… As social beings, we love to be part of something and reflect our opinion publicly. Surveys are an interesting way to do this, and in a way, it is a way to give voice to our audience.

Reusable resources

This category includes an extremely wide variety of resources.

  • Widgets, which can be embedded in a website. For example, if you have an online media, you have created a widget for the weather forecast and in addition to using it yourself on your site, you offer it freely so that anyone interested can also embed it in their portal. As a point, I will say that in this case it is advisable that the links we get are nofollow, because you can generate a lot of backlinks and we can get a little out of hand, getting the opposite effect to the desired.
  • Programming libraries and functionalities that other programmers can incorporate into the application or website they are developing so that they do not have to create it from scratch.
  • Calculators, if, for example, a website that is related to finance wants its users to be able to convert the values of different international currencies directly from a module integrated into your portal.
  • Plugins, such as the well-known WordPress plugins that extend the functionality of the content manager so that we can customize our website based on this platform to the maximum.
  • Themes and layouts designs for web sites.
  • Templates of any type. For example, an employment-related site may offer resume templates so that its users don’t have to design their resumes from scratch.
  • Etc.

There are many resources that you can give to your community, and be rewarded for it with links, if what you offer is in demand and is of quality.

Educational and informational content and resources

From video tutorials, to guides, studies, eBooks, webinars, courses, interviews… There is so much content that we can contribute and be referenced by them, but it is also true that there is already a large amount of resources that other people have shared and contributed to the community. Here we would be interested to find out if what we have in mind:

  1. Do people need it or are they looking for it? If the answer is yes, proceed to step 2.
  2. Has it been done yet? If the answer is yes, proceed to step 3. If the answer is no, let’s get to work!
  3. Can we do better and more complete?If the answer is yes, go ahead.

For example, if you have a website dedicated to DIY projects, you can create videos and write articles that explain the process of making a craft, or part of it, in a step-by-step guide. Or, if your business is a musical instrument store, you can create content that teaches maintenance aspects of an instrument (for example, changing the strings on a guitar), or teaches the basics of music theory, among many other ideas.

In this way, you not only generate “potentially linkable” content, but you also help promote your business and your products or services.

Graphic contents

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and sometimes it is a very accurate expression.

This category includes images, graphics, infographics, diagrams, sketches and other visual content, as well as videos (not necessarily didactic). Certain sectors practically demand that the content generated be in graphic format. The reasons? There are things that are very difficult to explain in writing without a visual demonstration to support the explanation.

Contests and sweepstakes

Highly effective technique to gain links. Who doesn’t like free stuff? If you run sweepstakes for things that are in high demand by your target audience, your target audience will promote it. You just have to give it a first push.

Even more interesting are contests with a UGC or user-generated content component, where the winner is chosen based on the votes received. This encourages users to share their contest entry with their friends and acquaintances, so that as many people as possible vote for them, leading to backlinks and shares on social networks.

What important considerations should we take into account with this technique at the SEO level? First of all, it is highly recommended that contest pages have their own directory within our website.

On the other hand, once the contest is over, the question arises: what do I do with this page? and no wonder. If we deindex it, we lose the popularity that may have been acquired through the links obtained, so it is not convenient for us. If we remove it, the user will encounter a 404 error, or a redirect, and that scenario is also far from ideal. Therefore, the ideal is to let the page “die”, but without deindexing or deleting it: we will update the page with a clear and visible message that the contest has ended, both in the content of the page itself, and in the meta description if necessary, so that there is no room for doubt or confusion. In this way, we will ensure that the links generated by the contest will be preserved.

There are other types of contests that can be carried out to obtain links, which are more effective, but also more dangerous. We will talk about it in another post.

Sharing

There are several common characteristics that any content focused on generating link baiting must have, and they are:

  • Attractive presentation. Take care of the image you project with your content. Be clear, make an effort to make it attractive, pay attention to a correct and coherent wording, bet on an original, professional and usable design…
  • Appropriate marketing and dissemination. No matter how good your content is, don’t wait passively for it to spread by its own means and suddenly go viral. It does not work like that. It is important to promote it properly through the channels where your target audience is located (social networks, forums, blogs, etc.) so that it gets visibility and reaches a greater number of people.
  • Correct choice of tone. Your style and the way you say or do things is also an important factor. Universally, humor can take you a long way, but depending on the sector your business belongs to, it can be totally inappropriate. You will also need to decide whether your audience is more suited to the use of a formal or informal register. If you go too formal on a topic and content where it has no place, you may be labeled as boring. If you are too informal, you will give an image of lack of seriousness. It is important to know where the limit is, and to adapt to the peculiarities of the sector in which you operate.
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Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Anastasia Kurmakaeva
Former SEO consultant and translator at Human Level. She is a specialist in translation and SEO, with a special focus on the Yandex search engine. She is fluent in Russian, Spanish and English, being fully bilingual in the first two.

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