Link Baiting – 96 Different Strategies

True story: on the flight in yesterday, I was joking with Bruce that this was just going to be a list of 96 items with follow up articles to come in the weeks and months ahead. I should know better than to say things like that. I have a feeling he thinks I meant it and I just promised to write a hundred new articles. Maybe I’ll make Lisa do it…

Okay, so this session has the best summary ever so I’m going to repeat it here for you:

Link baiting is a topic that makes some people snicker when they hear it. However, the complexities and subtleties are fascinating. Did you know that there are 12 types of links? Moreover, there are eight types of link bait to get those 12 types of links? That means there are 96 different strategies to get links. This session will look at the eight and the 12.

Moderator Jake Baillie and I have moved next door for our next session. The above Eight and Twelve Equal Ninety Six will be explained by speakers: Todd Malicoat, Meta4creations, LLC; Andy Hagans, Text-Link-Ads; and Bill Hartzer,Marketnet, Inc.

Todd Malicoat

Hook combinations for successful linkbaiting.

Viral distribution for links is what we’re talking about here. Apparently some guy named Be Real is the poster child for this. And now Todd is quoting Kid Rock. I’m SO CONFUSED.

He gives the obligatory nod to the Cluetrain Manifesto.

Self-perpetuating buzz to links to traffic… Some linkbait is going to bomb, you just have to accept that.

It’s a 2 step process

1. Target the distribution channel, get peoples attention. You have to appeal to the Diggers or Reddit users, etc first.

2. Target (link markets) Webmasters, keep their attention

There are several distribution channels available to you: blogs, email, social media, other sites, and of course traditional media. Use them all.

Nine hooks mentioned in the summary are: News hook, Contrary hook, Attack hook, Resource hook, Humor hook, Ego hook, Incentive hook, Picture/video hook, and Sex hook. Use them wisely. Combining hooks is the one two punch. You have to get your message out there and then deliver on what you promise. Have the webmaster mentality in mind when you’re creating the content.

As a great example of the Ego + Resource hook, see Michael Gray’s Local search interviews. Another example is picture sites (aka work wasters) = Humor hook plus Picture hook plus resource hook. Things like I can has cheeseburger. Editorials= contrary + news, Awards = resource, incentive and ego (Webby’s, Web 2.0)

Know your hooks, distribution and target market.

The 12 Types of Links

  1. Presell page
  2. Authority
  3. Directory
  4. Run of site
  5. One way links from friends or related sites
  6. .edu and .gov links
  7. Radio television

(I know there are only 7. Todd talks too fast and the guy next to me leaned forward every time I needed to see the screen.)

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: You can’t expect Diggers to love Microsoft and hate Steven Colbert.

Stretch relevancy–a new twist on an old topic is the only way to get an old topic new eyeballs.

You can get really popular on Digg and forget relevancy. Don’t do that.

Todd shows a post he has with 1500 links. Begging those links would take forever. Don’t get discouraged by not hitting a home run every time. You have to be persistent. It’s worth it in the end.

Andy Hagans comes first. He’s from Texas. Pretty much all he does is linkbaiting and social media traffic. You have to get into this, he says, or you’re behind.

Any time you’re getting into this, you’re targeting something. Learn their attitudes, lingos, etc. Become part of the community frist so that later you can manipulate that community because you understand.

How to target Digg users: know they’re 16 year old virgins. They’re very sensitive to anything that even smells “spammy” or “SEO’d”. They’ll kill anything that even looks slightly off to them, like say, having advertising on the page. Tech stuff will do well, a little politics, a little weird stuff.

Reddit: Political junkies hang out here. More mature (he said smarter too) They’re interested in
the environment, conspiracy theories and, for some reason, Tasers. He doesn’t know why. This audience doesn’t really overlap with Digg’s.

Delicious: Target audience: Librarians and infor junkies. The resource hook works wonders–101 XYZ. It’s the easiest to manually spam. You only need 10 manual bookmarks in a certain period of time. They don’t take a lot of work.

StumbleUpon: I’m bored, waste my time. They’ll make a split second decision about whether or not to stay. Make it pretty, pics above the fold, formatting etc. Make sure there’s a call to action at the end of whatever the page is and hopefully they’ll think before they click the stumble button again.

Niche social sites:

  • Tweako – how to anything nerd
  • Hugg: anything green
  • DZone: Hardcore developers
  • Sphinn: Think like an SEO

Baiting outside of social media groups Blog communities, forums, etc. The ego hook works very well on bloggers. Top 100 Pet Bloggers for example. It doesn’t require social media, just a little ego boosting.

Quick Tips for Success: Put up the social media buttons.
Launch everywhere at once, don’t spread it out over a week. You want them all to work together, not individually
Baits flop all the time. Commit to doing them regularly. At least 50% flop (probably more when you’re just getting started.)

Inspiration sources:

  • Mashable–Delicious Bait
  • eBizMBA: Digg bait
  • YouTube: StumbleUpon Bait
  • The media sites themselves — see what shows up repeatedly and then capitalize on them.

Bill Hartzer is next. He was next door speaking because he’s just that popular of a guy.

He likes using breaking news as link bait.

Target the group in your sector or topic. Tell them something that will help them do better, something they need to know. Point out a problem with the industry “My Funniest PPC Keyword Mistake” for example.

Target sites that naturally link out. There are a lot of sites that give out links all the time. He says the Blogstorm Tracker is a cool tool. It tracks which sites get links. You can click in and see it from Yahoo. Search Technorati and other blog searches in your niches to find ones that link out.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. You can create a new twist on an old idea. You can update older stories link to the previous article and talk about new developments. Press releases in your industry are good sources of inspiration. Set up google and yahoo alerts in your industry that you can use for inspiration.

News works well as linkbait if you’re ready for it–have a blog, post quickly, submit to social media sites, then go back and edit and update the post or article. Add pictures, photos, logos, screen captures. This strategy helps you get “market share of links” which is good for organic search. Speed is of the essence.

Pick a great headline. Cornwall SEO has a great post from women’s magazines. Think of things that are going to catch the eye and compel clicks.

Combining Linkbait, social media and organic search is the most powerful. You have to participate and be part of the community. Daily voting, commenting, submitting is key.

Look at things in your industry that you can twist. He shows some slides from a furniture company that did a post on tidy desks.


Is it worthwhile to get Dugg then buried?

Todd: Pretty much, no. Digg is the jump off point, if you’re not popular long enough for people to find you, you’re out of luck.

Bill: You’ll see results in Google

Women’s social media sites?

Bill: is the biggest one.

No one can come up with any others. So Todd advises that if there aren’t any out there, grab Pligg and build one. [Pligg is an open source media site that allows you to build Digglike sites.]

Susan Esparza is former managing editor at Bruce Clay Inc., and has written extensively for clients and internal publications. Along with Bruce Clay, she is co-author of the first edition of Search Engine Optimization All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies.

See Susan's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (6)
Filed under: Social Media Marketing
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6 Replies to “Link Baiting – 96 Different Strategies”

A comprehensive post about link baiting, thanks Susan.

Nice to read a very new concept of link baiting from you…I would like to see some more posts from your end for better link baiting understanding..
Thanks again for this gr8 post…

very informative, thank you

David, I’m sure Lisa will have fun writing them too!

Terry, here at BC we like to talk about Link Magnets, something that’s more than just a quick gimmick and can’t help but attract links long term. Maybe brainstorm around that too.

Very useful info. I have been mulling over link bait ideas for my employer but it can be hard to make insurance quotes sexy. I have come up with some good ideas though so time will tell.

Thanks Susan, interesting stuff. This sounds like a lot of work but easier than writing a hundred articles. I’m looking forward to reading them though.


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