What Is Link Bait? 7 Successful Examples

That is only one of the many factors that make link development difficult. To rank, pages must have links.

However, you can design a specific kind of page that will naturally attract links more effectively than others.

You may construct additional “link magnets” to attract links to your website by understanding why and how link bait works.

But first, let’s start with the basics:

What is link bait?

Content that is intended to draw backlinks is called link bait. Bloggers and journalists want to link to it since it is so valuable and fascinating.

What is the purpose of link bait?

Link bait aids in improving your Google ranking and increasing natural traffic to your website.

This is the case for two reasons.

First off, pages with more links often rank higher and receive more traffic because links are one of Google’s top three ranking factors. This is supported by our analysis of over 1 billion pages.

The links it draws should increase traffic to the page itself if you produce link bait regarding a subject people are searching for.

Second, you can use internal links to disperse some of the “authority” that link bait draws to other pages on your website. This may improve the pages’ organic search ranks.

Why does link bait work?

 Jonah Berger, a marketing professor, first used the term “share triggers” to describe these ideas in his book “Contagious.”

They are:

  1. Social currency – People share things that make them look good to others.
  2. Triggers – People share things that are top of mind.
  3. Emotion – People need to feel something to share something.
  4. Public – People tend to imitate others’ behavior if they can see or observe it.
  5. Practical value – People like to pass along practical, useful information.
  6. Stories – People don’t just share information—they share stories too.

Best practices for creating link bait

Here are some guidelines for developing link bait that “exploits” share triggers.

To give your link bait the best chance of succeeding, try to include at least one or two of these.

1. Make your link bait practical

Tools, calculators, templates, checklists, and cheat sheets are a few examples. For instance, at Ahrefs, we developed a ton of cost-free tools.

They all have a sizable amount of backlinks:

2. Make your link bait opinionated

Giving the reader something fresh to ponder is another method to make your link bait valuableHere’s an illustration: Our chief marketing officer, Tim Soulo, wrote a “rant” about poor email outreach a few years ago.

It was very opinionated and fully based on his personal experience. But everybody adored it.

As a consequence, 533 domains generated over 2,500 backlinks:

3. Make sure your link bait evokes emotion

Those of you who are as elderly as I am might remember Upworthy’s glory days. When the website was at its peak, it seemed as though every single article on it went viral. (However, I haven’t seen anyone recently share Upworthy’s content.)

The website Upworthy focuses on inspiring stories. People kept spreading it because each of its components was intended to trigger feelings like amazement, surprise, delight, and a general sense that things were not as bad as they seemed.

The content was ideal for link bait, of course:

Being optimistic is merely one element. You might try appealing to different emotions, such as fury, elation, grief, joy, etc. See if you can incorporate them into your linkbait as well.

4. Make your link bait visual

For someone to link to a piece of content, a four-step process has to occur:

See – The potential “linker” stumbles upon your link bait for the first time.

Consume – They click and consume it.

Enjoy – The content makes a lasting impression on their mind.

Link – They take the “bait” and link to it.

If your link bait isn’t visually appealing, this procedure is stopped between “Consume” and “Enjoy.” This is done to make it easier for people to digest the content and make it more likely that they will connect with it and find it engaging.

Take a look at this article about the most popular beer in the world, for instance. Rather than being shown as a simple listicle, the information is actually represented as a map:

With around 533 backlinks from 179 different websites, it fared reasonably well.

5. Make your link bait newsworthy

By far, the majority of people are currently thinking about the news. Bloggers and journalists are also constantly looking for fresh topics to write about.

For instance, it stands to reason that the epidemic and the alterations it brought about are the largest news stories of the last two years. 2020 saw Nulab perform a number of surveys on remote work and publish the findings.

You must therefore include some noteworthy components in your material if you want reputable news outlets to link to you. You should study and use this list with your own information because it is excellent.

Another strategy to make your material newsworthy is to use newsjacking. Newsjacking is the practice of watching live news and identifying opportunities to react with knowledgeable comments and thought leadership articles to position your business at the forefront of conversations.

Will Hobson, the PR director for Rise at Seven, gave us some tips on how to use newsjacking effectively. The post that follows contains his words of wisdom.

6. Make your link bait a story

According to best-selling author Yuval Noah Harari, humans think in stories rather than in facts, statistics, or mathematics, and the simpler the story, the better.

Humans are the only animals that tell tales. It is how our culture operates. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that we connect with and share tales.

For instance, Wealth Simple choose to emphasize a narrative viewpoint rather than hammering home the negative effects of debt.

It received good 85 backlinks and 62 referring domains:

There were a ton of those, among many others, on big websites like Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Slate, and others:

It’s challenging to tell a great story. However, it could be worthwhile to try if you can achieve this with your link bait.

7. Include what other people are already linking to

It makes sense to believe that a certain reason is significant to the issue at hand if people are linking to rival pages for that reason.

Therefore, before creating your link bait, check the backlink profile of a page that is similar to yours for common link factors.

Here’s how:

Go to Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer

Search for a topic you’re writing about

Look at the SERP overview

Find a similar article with lots of referring domains

Click on the number in the Backlinks column

Skim the Anchor and target URL column for commonalities

When we apply this to Greatist’s article about the ideal kettlebell swing, for instance, we observe that many people have linked to it since it discussed the advantages:

When writing about the same subject, noting advantages may increase the likelihood that your link bait will attract more links.

Seven successful link bait examples

Here are seven of our favorite linkbait articles that received a ton of links, shares, and views.

Additionally, we contacted the author(s) and enquired, “What do you think contributed to the success/popularity of your particular work

The following includes their opinions.

1. 13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics

1,500 referring domains generated 75,300 backlinks for this article.

What Danny Ashton, the creator of NeoMam Studios, had to say is as follows:

We released it in 2013, at a time when infographics were popular, so I think timing was a significant factor. The interactive format, which many people had never seen before, I believe also contributed.

I also made sure that we only cited scientific studies to back up each claim, as the majority of other information was a concoction of opinion and pseudoscience.

Additionally, the fact that we aggressively pushed it was helpful.

2. Inception Explained

324 referring domains generated 714 backlinks for this article.
Here is what Matt Dempsey, the creator, had to say:
It was successful, in my opinion, because it combined an audience-pleasing new medium with an intriguing subject matter.
You only had to look at Google search trends for ‘Inception explained,’ etc., beforehand to see the desire for a brief explanation of a movie that millions of people recognized and loved but few could really comprehend.
Additionally, I made use of parallax scrolling, which was a brand-new method at the time. The tech/design community seems to like this solution the best because it was the most difficult and sophisticated.

3. How a Car Engine Works

400 referring domains generated 2,100 backlinks for this article.

Here is what Animagraffs CEO Jacob O’Neal had to say:

Personally, I think there are four main reasons the content performed well:

It’s ‘evergreen’: It will stay relevant for a very, very long time.

It’s a fresh new format: It’s a media format no one’s really done before that delivers learning super fast. It’s a combination of moving images and text, but not a video. Videos require audio and some wait time for things to be explained, speakers/headphones, etc. The learning process can be encumbered or a bit inefficient. With Animagraffs, text is right there if you want to read/learn what the text is pointing to, right this instant.

It’s well organized: The big, bold, moving illustrations catch your attention first, then supporting illustrations, and then the fine print of a particular point that really interests you. It appeals to all age groups and all levels of interest and intelligence.

We didn’t fake it: We didn’t hold back on the ‘smart, boring’ stuff. We design for the toughest crowd first. For example, if we’ve impressed seasoned auto mechanics, we’ve done the job right. No sacrificing quality for cheap views. This is in pretty stark contrast to a lot of marketing that focuses outward first and then inward. No one recommends trying to get friends by pretending to like what others like… why is marketing done this way? It’s better to lead with real, quality work, no matter how tempting it may be to invert the process for a quick buck.

4. 90.63% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google. And How to Be in the Other 9.37%

This piece earned 6,600 backlinks from 2,600 referring domains.

5. Why Do I Procrastinate?

From 52 referring domains, this article received 201 backlinks.

Manasvini Krishna, the creator, has the following to say:

These are some of the reasons, in my opinion:

Popular subject – I think the subject (procrastination) was a common problem that many of us (and definitely our target audience!) struggle with. Knowing we should be doing something but somehow not wanting to do it, or able to do it, is a familiar feeling to most! Most of us can relate.

Interactiveness and engaging – I think the fact that it was an interactive quiz designed to specifically identify and isolate your problem at that moment helped. In general, quizzes are great because everybody loves to learn a little bit about themselves. And they’re fun to take!

Different take than usual – The quiz gives immediately actionable and non-judgemental suggestions on how to solve your specific problem that you diagnose with the quiz. Many of us are used to viewing procrastination with a lot of guilt and negative feelings associated with it, so a solution based on the ‘procrastination equation,’ which basically just looks at procrastination as an equation, the various parts of which can be increased or decreased to fix the procrastination problem, is refreshing and not very common. (The quiz is based on a book called ‘The Procrastination Equation.’)

6. Investment Calculator

306 referring domains generated 1,100 backlinks for this article.

The artist, Caleb Barclay, had the following to say:

Here are some initial thoughts:

  1. Design as differentiator: Free-to-use tool (no email exploitation), 10X improvement from competitor sites, designer websites linked to us.
  2. Launch with controversial subject: We found a highly opinionated group that kick-started exposure (Hackernews).
  3. Usefulness made it highly shareable: We needed this tool personally and spent a lot of time designing its utility (scratch your own itch).

7. The 35 Best Countries to Raise a Family in 2020

Here’s what the creator, Asher Fergusson, had to say:

How to find good link bait ideas

The quickest way to come up with fantastic link bait ideas is to copy what your rivals are doing that is successful.

Here’s how:

Enter your competitor’s domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer

Go to the Best by links report

Look over the list to get a sense of the formats and subjects that are popular with individuals in your niche. If we conducted this for the Hong Kiat blog, for instance, we would learn that listicles are common in the design niche.

The most common SEO strategies, however, are data studies, as we can see from an analysis of our own blog:

Final thoughts

Link bait involves more than just coming up with something original or aesthetically pleasing.

Even if you provide the best content possible, you won’t acquire any links if no one is aware that it even exists.

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