Link bait is any content or feature, within a website, designed specifically to gain attention or encourage others to link to the website. Matt Cutts defines link bait as anything "interesting enough to catch people's attention." Link bait can be an extremely powerful form of marketing as it is viral in nature.
Some of the most common approaches:
- Informational hooks - Provide information that a reader may find very useful. Some rare tips and tricks or any personal experience from which readers can benefit.
- News hooks - Provide fresh information and obtain citations and links as the news spreads.
- Humor hooks - Tell a funny story or a joke. A bizarre picture of your subject or mocking cartoons can also prove to be effective link bait.
- Evil hooks - Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger.
- Tool hooks - Create some sort of tool that is useful enough that people link to it.
- Widgets hooks - A badge or tool that can be placed or embedded on other websites, with a link included.
- Unique content hooks - This hook is intended for people that are in need of unique content or articles for traffic or AdSense revenue. This became popular after Google implemented Duplicate Contents Filter and sites with duplicate contents saw fall in traffic. To use this hook, you have to create unique content and give it out to bloggers and webmasters with an obligation to link back to your site.
- Curated hooks - A content that links out to other websites by citing them as resources naturally attracts linkers and have high chances of going viral as the mentioned sites in the link bait are most likely to link to the site and share it through their own networks.
- Infographics - A visual to show aggregated information people will find interesting enough to link to.
- Headline - A strong headline that is capable of capturing the readers' attention is the first vital aspect of a highly linkable content.
- Information - The process of a link bait creation, wherein the research and conceptualization phase of the content, the quality of the information as well as the method of approach are all utilized to result to an exceptional finish product.
- Visuals - The design aspect of the web page, which mainly entices readers to delve in more into the content, whether through the images, layout of the content or infographic used within the page.
- Unexpected hook - This is the section of the link bait that usually triggers readers to share or link to the content because of its unexpected approach, may be through its comprehensiveness, uniqueness or informativeness.
- Contact list - Creating a list of contacts who will be interested to share the link bait before actually launching it enhances the viral effect of the link bait once it goes live.
- People found the content extremely compelling and voluntarily linked to it.
- There's a professional or personal relationship between the linker and the creator of the content.
- The linker was cited as a resource in the linkable content.
- The linker will benefit from linking to the page through incentives such as badges, web-based embeddable tool or prizes from online contests.
- "SEO Advice: linkbait and linkbaiting" (web). Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO. Retrieved 2006-09-16.
- "SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait and Infographics". Distilled. Retrieved 2012-7-19.