Linkbait is quality content that people want to share or link to due to its engaging layout, ideas, and concepts. Although the name ‘linkbait’ sometimes carries a negative connotation, the fact remains that it is a great way to drive traffic, get links, contribute to the web, and share ideas. For bloggers and writers that create linkbait with the intent of educating their readers and increasing site traffic, linkbait can be a great way to establish credibility and increase reader loyalty.
Linkbait can take the form of many different types of content. The most common types are:
No matter which form of content, it must strike an emotional appeal and impress the reader in order for them to share or link to it. These key components of the content are what make it appealing to the reader:
The title of the article is what gets a potential reader’s interest and causes them to actually read the content. The title will also announce the content’s main layout and subject to the reader. Try using titles that are controversial or make seemingly impossible connections between two things. Titles like ‘10 Most Popular Videos That Shouldn’t Be Famous’ or ‘How Star Wars is Like Good SEO’ are great ways to draw the reader in that catch their interest.
Images and infographics
Readers of any industry love photos and infographics. These visuals break up the content, making it easier to read and can also help explain key points in a different way.
Although infographics can be time-consuming to create, they can simplify complex concepts and information. Popular infographics include pie charts, graphs, and brightly-colored statistics and charts put together on one large graphic.
When writing article-based linkbait, try not to focus on word count alone. Break up your content into sections to make long content seem shorter. Explain each key idea or section as succinctly as possible while also being thorough. Include examples but make every sentence count. Although length shouldn’t be the key focus of creating linkbait, try to keep content at 800-1000 words, depending on the specificity of the topic and the industry. For example, technology-related industry content will be more in-depth and usually longer than content focused around the entertainment industry, especially celebrity gossip or movie trivia.
There are several different styles of content layout that make for good linkbait. Lists are great because they can bring catchy titles but they also break up the information in a way that makes the linkbait seem shorter than it is. If a reader knows there are only ‘Seven Ways to Make Customers Want More’, presented in a numbered list, they will be more likely to read that entire article or post rather than content that is titled ‘Making Customers Repeat Business’ that isn’t broken up into numbered sections.
Guides or ‘how-to’ tutorials also do well as linkbait. Readers like to believe they are receiving a complete guide on how to complete a task and this presents the website or writer publishing the content as an expert in their industry. “How to Create Custom Tabs on Your Facebook Page” is an example of linkbait that gives the reader exactly what they are looking for.
As mentioned previously, presenting key points with section headers or numbered lists are a good way to make them obvious to the reader. Creating an infographic with key points can also simplify content and make the article’s concepts as a whole easier to understand. Explaining key points with pop culture or common references anyone would know can also help the content be digested easier. This is why the previous title example of ‘How Star Wars is Like Good SEO’ helps the reader feel more comfortable with the content (because they have seen Star Wars) and can also help them draw parallels between the main points of the movies and the main points of SEO. Simply put, readers like to draw connections between what they already understand and what they are trying to learn.
Including relevant keywords within content is great for SEO. Because a reader is most likely not searching for “How is SEO like Start Wars?”, including relevant keywords is crucial for content. However, remember that linkbait should be geared towards creating content for the reader, not the search engines. Don’t make keywords obvious — don’t repeat keywords multiple times in the same paragraph or sentence and don’t use a “good” keyword when a simpler term would help explain a key point better.
It is important to get keywords in the title of the content too. When most people link back to the content, they link back with the title of the post as the anchor text. If you have the keywords in your title then you’ll get the keywords back to the content within the anchor text.
Try to finish content using the same essay conclusion principals a high school teacher would tell his or her students: reiterate the main points, close up any loose ends, and end the content with a quote or concise sentence on the topic as a whole. Linkbait should also end with a call for feedback or comments, as this encourages the readers to share their thoughts and contribute to the discussion at hand.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.