Link Baiting in SEO

Link baiting is perhaps one of the most common white hat techniques around (for more on ‘search engine optimisation’ click here for our previous article). Essentially it involves trying to get other websites to create links to your webpage in order to boost your visibility and improve your search result rankings. Unlike many other techniques, note that this technique is allowed by practically all search engines, hence it being a white hat technique.

The main trick to link baiting is creating quality content[i]. This may seem very obvious, but no one wants to send their audience over to a rubbish site as it will inevitably reflect badly on them! Therefore, make sure that your content is well researched, relevant and doesn’t have spelling mistakes (if it’s written) or have clunky editing (if it’s in a video format). This will not only improve your link baiting potential, but should also help you find an audience without links!

Another example of link baiting is creating something that is compelling[ii]. Great examples of this would be things like infographics and striking images for a written article, humour and controversy for both video and written sources, and perhaps most importantly, having a catchy title. A successful title will draw a reader to your content, and will make them want to share it. Be aware though that you shouldn’t mislead in your creation of link baiting tactics; your titles and content should be well-thought out. Intentionally misleading your audience may see initial spikes in traffic, but it will also cause your audience to become disenchanted and will most likely not see any links being made to your site nor any returning visitors!

A key component to making your website attractive for link baiting is something often overlooked when considering SEO: making your website fast and reliable. All too often people rush to spending loads on advertising for their website, yet if it takes ages to load or is always down, no one will want to send their audience in that direction. A definite no-no.

Adverts. Perfectly acceptable in moderation, but really don’t go overboard with these. Just like having a fast website is important, if your website is covered in pop-ups, flashing adverts and those annoying adverts that cover half the page, nobody will want to come back. Choose a sensible size, location and also appropriate advertisers.

Why bother?

The simple answer is because successful link baiting is essentially free advertising. It means that other people are putting the effort into driving web traffic towards your site. To not even consider link baiting as part of your SEO arsenal would be a major mistake!

It’s a two way street — you should link too!

Whilst it is certainly important to try and get other sites to link to your webpage, if you link to other sites where appropriate, you are probably creating better content, and others will be more confident in linking to your site in turn.

A key tip here is, if you are writing your website in HTML, then make sure to add the target=”_blank” line to your links in order for them to open in another tab, rather than replacing your webpage with the link. For those not creating in HTML, and using a lovely graphical interface, then select the option for your links to open in a new tab if available. This will allow your audience to go to your link, then close that page and return to your site afterwards.

Some sites you should certainly have a look at:

Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends. These two sites can reveal a lot about how keywords and search result trends work on the world’s biggest index site. Use these free tools to your advantage!

[i] http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2015/03/26/what-is-link-bait/

[ii] http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/linkbaiting

About the author:

Lucas Bainbridge is a regular contributor to our blog. He is currently studying Geography at UCL, and has written about areas including sustainable development projects, SEO, new technology and start-ups. He is constantly expanding his portfolio and has been writing for a number of years.