I could see a lot of webmasters getting fairly frustrated with their SEO efforts. There are plenty of articles that tell you how to generate linkbait. These posts recommend such tactics as:
- Provide long, comprehensive lists of information.
- Title your articles with numbers: 160 resources for X. The more resources you have, the better.
I’ll stop there, as you’ve probably read articles like this and tried to implement these tactics in the past. There are plenty of website owners out there who do everything they’re supposed to do and don’t see a return on all their hard work creating comprehensive, informative posts. It’s just a very crowded internet out there and it’s tough to make a dent, especially considering that there are hundreds of other people in your niche all trying to write resource-based linkbait.
The fact is that writing effective content is only a small percentage of writing linkbait. It also has to do with your site’s popularity. For obvious reasons, popular sites get linked more often. That’s a Catch-22: you can’t get linkbait until you’re popular enough to get linkbait, but that’s a fact of the Internet. The concept of: if you write it, they will come, is a kind of fantasy about link building.
Making Link Bait Stick
So what besides writing quality content can you do to make sure that your links get sent around virally and linked by other sites? Basically it comes down to this: the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Well, maybe not squeaky, but you can’t just sit back and hope for people to start linking to your fantastic content. You need to contact people directly.
This absolutely means no spamming. People are very spam-averse so even something that’s not technically spam (using a bot) can come off as spam if you don’t cater your correspondence to each and every person your contacting. That means writing something like, “I like your site because” and giving specific details. One recommendation is telling a site owner that a link would be a good resource for a specific post. It’s also not a bad idea to become an RSS subscriber of the site as well: bloggers love that.
Another tactic: link to other people. If you make posts linking to other sites online – such as a post listing good blog posts for the week or just linking within content, those bloggers will be more likely to link to you in the future. This is especially true if you write an email asking for a link. You can preface it by mentioning how you’ve linked to that blogger in the past. That’s right, guilt them into it.
Start an email list and add a growing list of email subscribers. However, this can come across as spam – especially if you just steal someone’s address and add it to your email list. This type of correspondence will likely be ignored. But opt-in users will be more likely to link in a post.
Set up Google alerts about a particular topic. Each time the topic comes up, you can email that website owner about your site and hope to be added as a resource.
It should go without saying that you network your content yourself through social networks. Get it out into the cyber ether so more people have a chance to find it. Use a tool like Socialmarker to submit every post to a long list of social networks.
Will these tactics work? There are of course no guarantees. But just writing content and then hoping the links will come pouring in is a failed strategy. You should have an active, not a passive, approach to linkbaiting. Once you steadily build up popularity, linkbaiting will be easier, but you shouldn’t stop these tactics unless you become a major powerhouse and the links effortlessly come in to every post you write.