Lots of content savvy marketers will talk endlessly about that the best ways to build links . Many will tell you that the best way to do this is to create excellent, compelling, unique content on a regular basis, optimize and promote it. This method does have one inherent and obvious problem associated with it. Great content still relies on external forces, in the form of 3rd party webmasters, to pick up on your content and link to it.

For some of us, this isn't the easiest thing to make happen. I mean  come on, let's be real here - there has to be a better way, right?

To get to the bottom of this, one question we should start with is: what really is a link in most cases? If you think about it in its most basic terms, it's something that a webmaster (read: a human being) has to actually give you - meaning implementation within their website page. This takes time from that person, and time is something that people simply don't have enough of.

What if you could actually create content that gave the webmasters of the world serious incentive to link to you?  This type of content creation is referred to as 'Link Bait' and it's increasingly becoming a tactic of content creators across the web. Here are three ideas you can employ to create more link bait.

1. Rank and/or Review some products or services

Companies LOVE getting free publicity, from any channel they can get it from. If you focus your efforts on creating some of this publicity for these companies, you're likely to get some links back to your site from the companies who you rate well. 

I'd advise you to be smart about this though, instead of simply publishing the blog post without any preparation. Let the companies you're reviewing know what it is that you're doing.  Create a short survey for them to fill out before you write your post to give them the opportunity to let you know why they should be rated in a positive light. We see examples of this in lots of different applications: 'Best places to work in Boston', 'Colorado's top 5 ski resorts', 'Top 20 beers in America', etc...

If you become good at this and create numerous articles in this format over time, you can eventually start thinking about even creating a 'badge' where you enable webmasters to place your 'seal of approval' onto their site, the badge will link back to your site.

2. Say something controversial

Most people are intrigued by controversy, the webmasters or 'linkorati' of the world are no different and will link to you if you've got something interesting to say. Some of the most interesting things people say around the web are controversial. Take the recent uncovering of the new ' 4G iPhone ' - something that was very controversial to Apple and the mobile industry, and Gizmodo, the blog that reported the story got lots of exposure and links.

So go ahead and try saying something that you might otherwise not say. Step outside of your comfort zone, you'll likely find that from an SEO perspective it will help more than it will hurt.

3. Be the first one to break an industry news story

Breaking news is one of those things that is hard to find and report first, but fantastic from an SEO standpoint if you can make it happen.  Here's my advice: make a news story about something that someone else might report. Publicize something you notice about your industry. Other folks around your industry will more than likely find it interesting and link to it.

Your blog is a news source - blogs are forms of media after all, so go ahead and use it for news.  You may find that it nets you big gains in links in return.

The great thing about creating link bait content is that it's supported by Google ( see this Matt Cutts article ).  So go ahead, get creative and have some fun with it! Why not try to set a goal of creating one piece of link bait content per month and see how it goes. Your blog will thank you later.

Photo credit @ lalajean_g

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Originally published Apr 26, 2010 1:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016

Topics:

Content Creation