Unhooking Link Bait: Your Ultimate Guide to What, Why and How?
Marketing & Advertising

Unhooking Link Bait: Your Ultimate Guide to What, Why and How?


Have you ever dreamed of creating a piece of content that’ll spread far and wide? Do you want to create something that gets the backlinks rolling in? Then you’re likely trying to make link bait, one of the most crucial types of content in marketing. It’s also some of the hardest to create, and with good reason.

Do you want to know how to create link-bait content? Keep reading! In this ultimate guide, we’re going to share some of our top tips to help you get a head start.

The internet is packed with creators and website owners trying to create a viral blog post, image, or piece of content. Unfortunately, most of that content, even excellent ones, won’t see many social shares or backlinks.

Not so with link bait, also known as “linkbait”. These pieces of content are expertly crafted, shared at just the right moment, and promoted relentlessly. The result is typically an influx of links and traffic and much higher engagement.

There’s a popular saying amongst marketers and content creators: “Content is King.” If that’s true, then link bait is the emperor and a vital component of any content marketing strategy. Web strategy agencies may even recommend it.

A single piece of link bait can bring in thousands of backlinks and several hundred thousand views. In SEO terms, it can boost a domain’s authority if the referring domains rank high.

Below we’ve shared a few top tips to help you create catchy, link baiting content that’ll earn links, go viral, and increase web traffic.

Vibrant Visuals

vibrant link bait
Image par Marek Studzinski de Pixabay

Visual content typically attracts a lot more links than other kinds of content. It’s an essential part of any link building and content marketing strategy. People love visuals. Infographics, images, and videos are all extremely popular and can increase your website’s traffic by 67%. Another study shows that 40% of users are also more likely to react positively to visual content.

For example, the World as a Hundred People infographic has well over 893,000 views, and the page accumulated over 2,500 backlinks. It’s one of the best visual link bait examples, and it adds a dash of controversy to make it just a little more effective.

Expert Guides

guide link bait
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

We’re not talking about lists of the top fifteen marketing tools or the best SEO blog pages. A real expert guide needs to be as complete as possible, regardless of the word count, contents, or creation time. Instead, it needs to be the single most valuable and comprehensive resource that someone might need.

There are several excellent examples online. One example is Backlinko’s Definitive Guide on Google Search Console comes in at a whopping 7,184 words and contains over 140 screenshots. That guide generated over 3,000 links in only a few months.

The subject of your piece of content doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you focus on making it the one and only resource anyone will ever need. It should answer every question someone might have, provide examples, and give them access to vital info in one location.

Keep in mind that while guides can be excellent link bait, they take a lot of work. However, if your goal is to get links to your page or website, it can work wonders.

A Little Controversy is Good

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

There’s nothing wrong with adding a dash of controversy to your content. If done right, it’s a magnet for links and social shares. You don’t have to focus on a major theme in your blog post, either. Even mini controversies can help with link building and traffic generation. For example:

  • Major Theme: The Tolerance in America Report focusing on the most racist cities in America.
  • Minor Theme: Social Triggers’ Content is King Myth Debunked post.

Both pieces did their job. One sparked significant debate in the SEO community, while the other generated many conversations regarding equality in a country. They also generated several thousand backlinks, improving the respective domains’ rank and traffic.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between stirring healthy debates and causing a firestorm. Don’t shoot yourself in the metaphorical online foot!

Data-Driven Content

People love linking to data and statistics. When was the last time you read a post that didn’t contain links to some form of data? We even do it in this very post! Whether it’s statistics, a case study, infographic, or research result, people want to see the numbers.

For example, Moz created a popular post about keyword research several years ago. Today, that page has over 13,000 backlinks. Why? Surprisingly, while the content itself is popular, it’s not why most links point to the site. Instead, the most cited bit of info is a small graph near the end of the post about long-tail keywords.

You don’t need to write a piece filled to the bring with link baiting info. All you need is one piece of critical data that’s worth linking to. If you can manage that, you’ll find the links rolling in.

Ego Bait

ego bait
Photo by C Technical from Pexels

People love to have their egos stroked. There’s nothing quite as thrilling as winning an award, being praised for your accomplishments, or thanked for sharing your expertise. Ego bait pieces are designed to attract the attention of influencers, noted bloggers, and well-known characters in your industry. A compelling piece of link bait in this category could include:

  • An award that highlights the top websites or influencers in a specific industry.
  • A list of the best sites with authoritative content in a specific niche.
  • An article that features advice from an industry expert. (Let them know that you included their advice in your content, and respectfully ask them if they’d be willing to share it.)

There are several creative ways to create ego bait articles. However, always try to be respectful and don’t push or nag. Even if the article is excellent, there’s no guarantee that it’ll be link baiting. You don’t want to alienate the influencers that may give it a much-needed leg up.

Trends rise and fall with alarming speed, so you’ve got to be on your toes to take advantage of this tip. If you can stay on top of the latest news, trends, gossip, challenges, or stories, you can create content that people will likely want to see.

Subscribing to your competitors, news sites, and authoritative bloggers in your niche is an excellent way to keep apprised of the latest hot topics. It’s also a good idea to track new developments in your industry. If similar blogs and websites link to a particular topic or articles related to specific keywords, create a piece of link bait about that topic.

For example, let’s say that you’re a tech blogger, and you notice that many sites in your niche are linking to data about a new software program. Using it and writing a thorough, authoritative review with valuable information can be a successful link bait post.

Elicit Emotion

Did you know that certain types of emotional content are more likely to go viral than others? People want content that makes them feel something, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be positive. According to the Journal of Marketing Research, the most effective emotions are:

  • Anger (34%)
  • Awe or Admiration (30%)
  • Interest (25%)
  • Anxiety (21%)
  • Surprise (14%)
  • Positivity (13%)

Blogs or posts that inspire sadness are 16% less likely to be shared. Learn to push the right buttons with your content, and the social shares are likely to follow.

Focus on Value

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Not all businesses and brands can create highly emotional content. If your industry is more conservative or corporate, you can focus on usefulness and value instead. Not all types of link bait need to elicit emotion. People want information, guides, posts, lists, and content that help them solve problems or learn something valuable.

According to an analysis by BuzzSumo in 2017, practical tips content dominated more than a third of the top 14 viral posts on Facebook. The Journal of Marketing Research also claims that content with practical value is 30% more likely to go viral.

You don’t need an emotional piece of link bait to achieve viral status. Instead, create a piece that’s useful and authoritative. Examples include:

  • A case study
  • Ultimate guides
  • Statistical information
  • Tutorials
  • Informative list articles

If you use information from other studies or pieces, don’t forget to link to your data source. Hopefully, if people reference your blog in the future, they’ll do the same for you.

Promote, Promote, Promote

promote linkbait
Image par mohamed Hassan de Pixabay

Once you’ve created your content, you need to show it to the world. Sometimes a post, image, or video goes viral on its own, and it almost seems magical when that happens. However, more often than not, it takes a lot of work, time, and sharing to promote your link bait content. Creating it, in this case, doesn’t mean that visitors and links will start flowing in.

Instead, you’ll need to promote your link bait across social networks extensively. It’s also a good idea to reach out to other bloggers and authority sites via email to ask if they’d be interested in linking to your piece. If it’s effective link bait, they’ll likely be happy to oblige.

The same is true for “social gurus” and influencers. If they’re interested in the topic or shared similar content before, give them a heads up about your upcoming link bait piece. If your content is valuable and informative, they might share it via their social media.

The point is this: just because you’ve created link bait, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get automatic viral results. Promote, promote, promote!


Link bait is an excellent way to get links and improve your domain’s rank. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as writing a post and hoping for the best.

The bottom line is that you can create link bait content, but you won’t get the traffic, backlinks, and shares you want if you don’t work to promote your content. It’s a process that involves a lot of hard work. However, if you do it right, you’ll reap the rewards of your hard work.  If you would like some additional help in creating the perfect link bait strategy, take a look at some web strategy agencies near you!


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