As part of your content development strategy for your site, I am suggesting two different types of content for your site.
- Great content for the average visitor. The stuff they’ll want to share on social media, and comment upon.
- Link Bait specifically for influencers. You’ll then contact the influencers and ask for the link.
The Link Bait you create for your niche’s influencers is not necessarily the type of content your average visitor will want to read. However, Link Bait can attract a lot of high-profile links, if done properly.
Link Bait content allows you to develop pages on your site with high page authority, which in turn will increase your overall domain authority.
As you create more Link Bait and promote it to the influencers, your website will increase in domain authority with each new backlink. As domain authority increases, all pages on that domain will rank more easily.
If there is a specific page you want to boost in the search engines, you can add a single keyword-rich anchor text link to that page, from the Link Bait post.
Remember, with increased domain authority, comes increased ability to rank all pages on the site.
What Makes Good Link Bait?
When developing ideas for Link Bait, you should definitely need to consider the influencers.
Let’s look at a quick example. I find an influencer in my niche that has written a controversial article on something. Their post got a lot of feedback, both positive and negative. The influencer himself received a lot of personal criticism.
I could write a Link Bait post on my site that agrees and supports his article (assuming I do of course). If I then send him the details of the post, do you think he would share it? Link to it? Probably. It would help vindicate his position and make him look good.
Any content you write that makes an influencer look good is more likely to get a link from that influencer.
But it’s only one link, right? Remember quality over quantity! Of course, you can use the same principle to write content that makes a lot of influencers look good.
If I created a page that listed the top 50 websites that were helping to save the bees, do you think that any of those 50 websites might link back to my page? Probably. Why wouldn’t they? If my site was of high quality, then my page is making them look good.
They would want to share my page (social and/or link) with their audience. If I offered a “Top 50 #SaveTheBees” badge that they could post on their own site, some might even use that. Of course, the badge would link back to the site that awarded the badge (mine).
Here are several questions you should ask yourself about influencers:
- What are they already linking to?
- What are their interests?
- What are they writing about on their blog?
- How can you get them to react emotionally to something?
Remember the process:
- Create Link Bait that makes influencers look good.
- Reach out the influencers to let them know the content exists.
Formats of Successful Link Bait
There are several different types of Link Bait you can create.
With any type of Link Bait, the number one rule is: Choose a topic that influencers care about, and if possible, make the influencer look good!
Of course, you can make an influencer look good in different ways:
- Stroke their ego.
- Give them something that they will want to share with their readers because it makes them look good.
It could just be awesome content that tells the influencer’s tribe that he/she has a finger on the pulse. Or maybe an exclusive, “you heard it here first” type of post.
IMPORTANT: If you can create content that makes an influencer look awesome in front of his/her audience, then you have already won the battle. They will more than likely link to you. This whole strategy for backlinking relies on it.
With that in mind, let’s review some of the best formats for Link Bait.
1. Comprehensive List Posts
List posts are very popular on some of the most authoritative sites on the web
When you create a list post, it needs to be comprehensive. You want people to arrive on your post and just think “Wow”. List posts are one of the most shareable types of post. You can get ideas for this type of post by using a special type of search in Google.
Here is an example: In this Google search, I am asking Google to return all pages that include the phrase SEO, but also have the phrase 10 tips, 11 tips, 12 tips, etc., all the way up to 500 tips. That “..” between the numbers specifies a range.
By being creative, you can find a lot of great content ideas using number ranges together with words like tips & top. You can also instruct Google to only show those pages where the search term is in the title, using the intitle tag, like this:
Create in-depth guides on topics that are of interest to your influencers, and you could be onto a winner. These guides should be comprehensive. I’ve seen some that are several thousand words long.
Again, you want influencers to visit your guide and think “Wow”. Think in terms of creating the ultimate or definitive guide to a topic your influencers care about. You may even want to call it “The ultimate guide to …”.
Here are a few I found. Check out the share data: To get ideas for guides in your niche, try a Google search for something like “ultimate guide” KEYWORD
Here is an example: It’s worth checking out a few “ultimate guides” in your own niches.They’ll give you ideas but remember to create yours around topics that interest your niche influencers.
3. Expert Roundup Posts
I am sure you have seen this type of post. This type of post leverages other people’s expertise and time, to create fantastic Link Bait for your site. There are two different types of expert post I want to suggest you think about.
Top Expert Posts
This type of post is a roundup of all the experts you think are worth talking about in your post, e.g. “Top 25 Alternative Health Experts You Should Be Following”.
For this type of post, you simply need to write a paragraph or two about each expert. Include information like who they are, what they did to get your recommendation, their website, and a photo if you can get one. Also, consider including their Twitter and Facebook contact details. Repeat for all influencers.
This type of article is one where you would notify the influencers after it is published, letting them know that they made your list. Also, ask them if it is OK to include their photo and social channel links. The fact that they made a list is confirmation of their status, something they may want to link to or share with their audience. I don’t find this type of post as successful as it used to be. For a higher success rate, consider the next option.
Top Expert Opinion Posts
For this type of post, you’ll send an email out to the experts, asking them for their opinion on something. e.g. “Top 50 Alternative Health Experts Give You Their Thoughts on Cholesterol” Your first task is to identify the influencers in your niche and decide what it is that interests them. What do they write about, what do they share, what do they link to.
Ultimately you are going to want them to do just that to your post.
Do you think they would be happy to give you their opinion about your chosen topic? What is in it for them? Note that the more interest or controversy there is in a topic, the more exposure participating experts could have after your article is published. That is an incentive for those experts to be included, and that is an incentive for them to share your content with their audience.
When you have the topic, do a little due diligence. Has the topic been done before? How many influencers were in those other articles? Can you include more? Or better influencers? If not, then maybe you need to change your topic a little to give you a unique angle.
Find a topic and enough influencers to approach so that your expert opinion post is the best out there. Send out an email to as many influencers in your niche that you can find, asking them if they’d like to be involved in your study.
If they agree, send them the question. Compile answers into a post. Include a biography of each influencer surveyed together with their answer. At the end of the post, summarize the results and publish the study.
You can now reach out to the influencers involved in the study and send them the link. You don’t even need to ask them to link to it, as most will anyway. It makes them look good to have been involved in the study. I’d recommend you search Google for some opinion posts like this.
See how other websites have structured their posts, and what kind of information they include about the contributors. Search Google for “experts roundup” to get some ideas.
In the expert roundup suggestion, the idea was to get the opinion from lots of influencers and hopefully get links from most of them. An expert interview is different because you’ll only be talking with one influencer.
One influencer will usually only provide one link, so why bother? True, it’s a lot of work.
However, the benefits of this type of post are a little different.
- Will get a link from a top influencer in your niche.
- Will have increased credibility because you talked with the top influencer.
- Will have started to build a long-term relationship with the influencer, and they will appreciate that you chose them above all others for the interview.
- Will have multiple marketing opportunities (see below).
The first thing you’ll need to do is get on the influencer’s radar. The easiest way to do this is to sign up for their newsletter and follow them on social media. Once you’ve done that, comment on their blog.
Really add to the discussion on the post you are commenting on so that your comment gets approved. When an opportunity arises, add a comment that tries to bring the influencer back into the conversation. Maybe a “how did you find out…”, or “do you think that maybe..”. If they reply to your comment, then answer their comment. Depending on how you think it is going, you may now want to use their contact form to introduce yourself. Tell them how interested you are in an aspect of their work/expertise.
If they reply, ask them if they would be interested in a short interview about your chosen topic (and one that they are an expert in). Let them know that you chose them above all others because…
Tell them that you will send the questions ahead of time and that the interview can be email based, or Skype (audio or video), at their convenience. Tell them where and when you intend to publish the interview.
Before you do an interview, make sure you do your research. That is all part of the work in preparing the questions to send to the influencer.
Make sure the questions are of interest to the influencer, and that they have expressed their opinions online about the topics of conversation. You want them to be passionate about the interview and getting their ideas across.
With everything agreed, you’ll then conduct your interview. If it is an audio interview, post the audio on your site with a transcript of the interview below it.
The transcript will act as search engine bait, but apart from that, a lot of visitors prefer to read this type of thing rather than listen to it. You can also upload audio interviews to audio sharing sites. Search Google for audio upload and look for opportunities where you can create a backlink to your site.
You can create a very natural backlink on this type of audio sharing site by saying something like “Prefer a transcript? Read the full interview on…” and then link directly to your transcript page using the title of that page as the anchor text.
Alternatively, you could upload the first few minutes of the interview on these audio sharing sites, and link to the full interview on your site. If the interview is a video, upload the video to YouTube, and other video upload sites.
Create a post on your own site and embed the YouTube video. Include the transcript of the video (for the same reasons as above) on your site. In the YouTube description of the video, add the URL where people can “read the transcript”.
Finally, remember to give the interviewed influencer the page URL so that they can find the interview on your site. They will more than likely link to it, and possibly tell their own visitors/mailing list about the interview too.
It’s a great way of attracting a powerful backlink from an authority site in your niche. Attracted links are links you have no control over, and remember, these are the most powerful and natural links a website can get.
These are the links that will increase domain authority and allow the other pages on your site to rank more easily.
Infographics are graphical representations of complex topics and data. They are favorites for sharing on social channels, e.g. Pinterest, but often get re-posted on other sites, so you can get a backlink.
If you can create a great looking infographic that is of interest to your influencers, you may be able to get them to link to it or post it on their own website.
Infographics often contain a list of resource websites underneath, and these links can point to influencers. Contact them and tell them about it. They may feel their ego sufficiently stroked to offer you a link, or post your infographic on their site 😉
A great tip from Brian Dean of Backlinko is to offer to write a unique introduction to the infographic for each influencer. If they agree, then send them the introduction and infographic.
Something they can copy and paste would be ideal. Then there are no real barriers for them posting your introduction, infographic, and link back to your site, on theirs.
When you post the infographic on your own site, you can include the HTML code for other webmasters to copy and paste onto their own sites. This will display the infographic on their site, with a small link back to your own page:
6. Create Controversy
Controversial posts are always popular. When people are controversial, they usually evoke a strong response. I cannot tell you how to be controversial in your own niche, but I would just say, make your controversy factual.
Making something up just to be controversial won’t work, and it will annoy your visitors too. A while ago, there was lots of information coming out about how good intermittent fasting was for losing weight and improving health in general. Everyone was jumping on the bandwagon. One website went against the grain with a headline along the lines of “Intermittent Fasting Is Bad for Women”. It caused quite a stir.
The important point about this controversy was that it was factual. The article went on to explain that certain types of women developed problems during intermittent fasting (typically those with low body fat).
This controversy resulted in a lot of natural backlinks as people debated it on blogs and forums. Of course, it also brought in a lot of extra traffic for the webmaster.
7. Scripts & Tools
Scripts & tools that people will bookmark and share with others make great link bait. Webmasters will always link to useful tools, especially if they are free. The screenshot shows one example of a tool that searches for the nutritional information of food.
Another good example is a currency converter script, where you can convert one currency to another. A time zone converter could prove popular too. What about a cholesterol conversion tool, converting between the two popular units for cholesterol – mg/dl and mmol/L.
Any tool you can create, or have created for you, and that people find useful, will inevitably attract links from other websites as well as through social sharing.