Image by: 05com
What is Link Bait?
Did the title of this blog post catch your attention?
Did the picture catch your eye?
Did the idea of 'link bait' confuse you so that you wanted to read on and understand more?
These kinds of questions underpin the whole concept of 'link bait' in 2012.
The term refers to any online content or feature that was designed specifically to be interesting enough to catch your attention.
The end goal in mind is usually for people to share and link to what you have created.
In turn, this can work towards enhancing the link profile of the site that the content was created for.
Why Link Bait?
The term 'link bait' sometimes gets negative reactions, but we like the way Search Engine Watch define it: simply, great content 'with a purpose'.
Over the past year, we've watched this kind of content become more important to Google.
This new importance is partly connected to the rise of social media and the new power of viral marketing via online sharing through social networks, videos and word of mouth.
SEO once consisted primarily of submitting links to as many places as possible, but now Google takes much more into account genuine popularity and successful brand personality.
This is why content strategy often forms an integral part of online promotional work today.
Create Good Link Bait: Get Good Link Juice
Link bait can be delivered in a range of formats - images, blogs, video or audio clips.
However, the central basis for creating good link bait always comes down to great ideas generated by brainstorming sessions at the beginning of the planning process.
Creating good link bait is all about focusing on your own brand's personality and delivering something that stands out as unique in some way or another.
At this initial stage, don't rule anything out, and consider ideas that will be quick to execute as well as ones that may need to be planned and stretched over a longer period of time.
Collaboration at this stage can play a large part, we have found the following video below to help inspire you during the idea generation process:
From Seth Godin on Where do ideas come from?
The next important stage in the process is to apply practicality, it's important to consider your resources and work out time-wise what you might feasibly be able to achieve.
This process will help to filter down your initial, broad list of ideas and protect you from starting overambitious projects that you'll struggle to finish.
Here are a couple of examples of link bait that recently made an impression on us:
1) The Enormous Shell
Creative Book released a headline and story this month: "Enormous shell found on Bournemouth Beach" - it appeared in our Twitter feed and we couldn't resist clicking on the link to find out more.
Arrive at the article and you'll discover that this six-metre-tall pink shell is in fact an inflatable launch piece to promote the start of the Bournemouth Arts by the Sea Festival.
This example shows how quick and easy creating link bait can be - deliver a message in the right way, and you can get people talking.
2) Canned Unicorn Meat
This ad for canned 'unicorn meat' is another example of a fairly low-maintenance piece of linkbait that was created and placed on ThinkGeek.
It was shared on Facebook a total of 19,000 times!
Get It Out There!
Once you've put the effort into brainstorming, creating and tweaking your link bait projects, the focus then becomes all about gaining as much exposure for the content you've created as possible.
It's especially important to consider any groups, friends, influential figures that you think might be able to assist you in attracting the maximum amount of attention to the content as possible.
A word of advice:
Research suggests that the content which does best from an SEO vantage point is content that is genuinely interesting and fun.
This is why we'd suggest avoiding incorporating any outright sales or promotional messages in the content you create.
If the content is genuinely good, people will share it and your website will benefit from natural links.