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Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Daily Feed Issue #12: Ideas for creating link bait

I'll be away until Sunday. Since I'm free at the airport, I'll advance post up some interesting sharing. Will be up whole week :D Hope it helps you in gaining the traffic you always wanted ;)

Welcome to Issue #12 of The Daily Feed. If this email was forwarded to you by a friend, you can subscribe on this page.

This week I'm continuing my focus on SEO and how to get quality links to your blog or website to boost your ranking in the search engines. On Monday I chatted about the 5 rules of linking, yesterday we covered the basics of link bait - what it is and I gave you a few examples of successful link bait.

Today I'm going to give you a few ideas and strategies to get high quality sites to link to you. A reminder: Link bait is a web page that is specifically designed to get other websites to link to it.

Why does link bait work?

One of the reasons link bait is so powerful is because it's viral. If you come up with a truly killer headline and web page, people will scramble to tweet about it and post it on their blog. Social media users will rush to post it on their favorite social media site so that they can get the karma, points or votes that come with posting a popular link. Other's will see your link posted and repost again and again.

Just to illustrate: If every time someone posts your link, two other people see it and re-post it, the cycle will look as follows: 1 person posts it. 2 people see it and re-post. 4 people see the 2 links posted and repost. Then 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512... So after just 9 cycles of re-posting you have 1+2+4+8+16+32+64+128+256+512 which equals 1023 people linking to your site.

I'm going to spend a lot more time on The Daily Feed discussing virality, viral co-efficients, viral loops and viral growth. But for now just take my word for it that viral growth is very powerful and very good provided it is growth in a desirable target market.

The other reason link bait is so powerful is because of the high quality links it provides. A single link from a major news outlet like CNN or BBC or a single link from a major government or university website is worth pure gold. If you're able to consistently get very high quality links like this every month or 3, you're pretty much guaranteed page 1 for several categories in your sector.

So how the heck do you write a page that everyone loves and wants to tell their friends about? Here are a few ideas:
    • Write or do something funny. Matt Inman, a designer from Seattle is a genius at funny linkbait. Check out this take on Twighlight. Linked to from The Huffington Post and many other high profile sites.
    • Write an article praising a blogger. See Jason Calcanis post on link baiting him.
    • Build a useful web tool or application
    • Make a valuable resource. Lists are always popular. Write a how-to guide or a well researched historical article.
    • Interview someone famous
    • Be the first in doing something on the Internet
    • Expose a scam, a scammer or rant about bad service or a bad product
    • Disagree with an authority. I mentioned BoingBoing taking on Wired yesterday - great example.
    • Be controversial.
    • Get a scoop on a story in your niche
    • Make a tool that others put on their sites and link to you.
    • Write an outrageous theory and back it up with logic. A recent computer science paper got over 700 votes on the popular geek website Hacker News and many other sites including Digg.com and Reddit.com. Turns out the publication may be incorrect, but it received a huge amount of publicity.
Tomorrow we'll chat about the most important part of creating link bait: Writing a killer headline.


Mark Maunder.
Feedjit Founder & CEO


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