Link baiting is a technique used to generate inbound links to your website. When done properly, this style of content will get you more links, better keyword relevance, improved online visibility, greater authority, and more trust from the search engines. With all these benefits, itâ€™s no surprise that link baiting has become a staple in internet marketing. However, itâ€™s easy to make mistakes when link baiting, effectively shooting yourself in the foot.
Being Controversial for No Good Reason- If there was a yearly reward, then Wired Magazine’s Paul Boutin would be the de facto prize winner this year with his now infamous piece entitled Kill Your Blog. Remember that link bait doesn’t have to be synonymous with controversy. Sure, a great percentage of link bait is controversial content, but there are other styles of link baiting that work just as well (how-toâ€™s, tools, resources, etc.) So, if you have a reason to be controversial, go right ahead. But if youâ€™re just trying to stir the pot to generate some buzz, people will see right through your flame baiting ways.
Not Understanding Your Audience- Another common link baiting mistake is the author not understanding his or her audience. Social media users are finicky individuals. If your link bait is aimed at going hot on Digg, Reddit, or another social media site, you need to write in a way that connects with them. If you donâ€™t understand what they like, theyâ€™ll be all too happy to bury you.
Failing to Deliver on Headlineâ€™s Promise- But itâ€™s not enough to write a great headline; your next task is to deliver on your headlineâ€™s promise. Donâ€™t trick your audience with a gimmick headline that doesnâ€™t reflect the content in your post. Hereâ€™s an example. I recently clicked on an article offering 10 strategies on a particular subject. When I landed on the article, it had just 3 tips, and it said the rest of the list would be in a future post. Needless to say, I never went back.
Not Knowing How to Promote Link Bait- Contrary to popular belief, great content doesnâ€™t always go hot. Itâ€™s not enough to simply craft the perfect piece of link bait; you have to know how to promote it as well. The best thing you can do is to find someone well versed in social media marketing. Get to know someone who routinely gets content to go hot on the major social media sites, and youâ€™ll significantly improve your chances of having a successful piece of link bait.
Not Editing Your Content- Remember earlier when I said social media users are picky and have no problem burying you? Well, the quickest way to have them turn against you is to not edit your content. Whether you make silly grammatical errors or your information is just wrong, a poor editing job can kill your link baitâ€™s chances of catching on. Donâ€™t give people an extra incentive to bury your content.
Having an Unreliable Web Host- Even if you donâ€™t make any of the above mistakes, your link bait can still fail because of a bad hosting service. The last thing you want is for all of your hard work to be negated because your server crashes. Make sure your site is ready to survive the Digg effect before you publish and promote your content.
Offering Nothing New- This perhaps is the most important item to remember; once you have hooked your audience you have to provide them with fresh new content. Think about this way: why would tons of people link to a post thatâ€™s been done multiple times before? If you donâ€™t offer your readers something new, they wonâ€™t feel compelled to reward you with inbound links. Remember to put your unique stamp on your content.
The bottom line is even if you donâ€™t make any of these mistakes, your link bait still might fail. Itâ€™s an inexact science that requires a long term commitment to be successful. But limiting your mistakes will increase your chances of generating more links to your website.