SEO: If you do nothing else, build links!
It’s more-or-less official: link-building is quite possibly the most important part your SEO campaign if you’re at all serious about breaking into the ranks of page-1 Google results.
But the more we hear people talking about building links, the more mysterious the whole subject becomes: surely there’s a lot the average person can’t know about it?
Actually, it’s not that mysterious. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to get right to create a world-class piece of linkbait that will garner valuable links as well as get people talking about you and your blog or website!
- First, be very clear about what linkbait–or link bait–really is: it’s plain, old fashioned quality content. Even super-quality content, no matter what it actually is. It can be an article, a blog post, a photo, a cartoon, a video or an audio post. If it’s good, people willl link to it and it will be linkbait.
- Decide if Linkbait is what you need or if you should be buying plain old links. Here’s a discussion debating paid links v linkbait.
- Read up about specific definitions of different types of linkbait is so you can do a better job. Here’s Matt Cutt’s post on the subject, and here’s celebrity blogger DoshDosh’s take on list building, which is a very successful form of linkbait creation.
- Choose a subject for your linkbait that is 100 percent relevant to your site, and that will have benefits for readers. Making linkbait useful is critical to its success.
- Be sure that the linkbait you choose isn’t going to compromise your brand in any way (hence the caption above).
- Create a title for your Linkbait that will compel the reader to continue. Copyblogger’s post on creating magnetic headlines will help you get started on creating your own masterpieces.
- While press releases are not strictly speaking Linkbait, I’m including them on this list because they can get you a lot of incoming links and can enhance your brand image when done properly. Chris Crum over at WebPro News gives us a lot of information about press releases.
- To be sure there are examples of linkbait that are scaremongering, lies, disinformation or all of these and more, but in my experience if linkbait is to have long-term value it’s better to stick to the truth and keep within the guidelines of ethics.Providing your linkbait is not unethical, you should be OK with Smashing Magazine’s Golden Rules of Linkbaiting.
- Some ideas to get you started: you could write an expose of something you think is wrong, a review of a product you like, create a controversial opinion piece that you know some people will hate (no such thing as bad publicity), create a list of tools or services that will be useful to your audience, come up with some breaking news that no one else has yet and make sure people know you had it first, conduct a poll or a survey, come up with a video that is highly popular (this is a good one–get it right and you’ve got it made!), create a top 10, top 20 , or top anything list (go as high as you like).
- Assess the level of emotion your article is going to trigger. If it doesn’t elicit emotion you are dead in the water, as Search Engine Journal’s Dave Snyder explains.
- If your linkbait is the written kind, don’t forget to link out to anyone who provided information or inspiration–they’ll probably link back to you so your piece will have a built-in linking mechanism.
- When you’re done, promote, promote, promote. Some sites that you may find useful for buzzing up your linkbait are Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, Plurk, Posterous, Digg, Mixx, Delicious, and Tip’d if your piece has anything to do with the world of finance. OK I know there are scores more, but this should be enough to seriously get anyone started promoting their pieces.
- Notice I didn’t talk about paid links: if you buy (or sell) links, and Google catches up with you, you’re sunk!
Still need help?
Alan Bleiweiss over at Search Marketing Wisdom gives some great suggestions for building links (not linkbait–just straightforward valuable links).
SEOBook can always be relied upon to give accurate, reliable information and their post on linkbuilding is no exception.
And if all this information doesn’t inspire you to create the best piece of linkbait ever, you need help! Some of the best linkbait creators of all time are:
NOTE: A small bribe will secure your listing here! (Just kidding). There are hundreds of excellent linkbait experts–can’t practically list them all here.