What is link building?
Link building is a very important part of Search Engine Optimisation. Put simply, people link-build in order to create links to a website which they want to optimise for organic search results. Link building means generating links from relevant third party websites, to the site being optimised, with specific anchor text that supports the choice of keywords being targeted.Links created can also be known as backlinks as they link back to your website from another website.
Search engines crawl these third party website pages, follow the link back to the website being optimised, and associate this site with the keywords used in the anchor text, hopefully making it rank higher for that key term.
We link-build in a number of ways; from submitting the website to directories, to producing high quality content which includes links for guest blogs. Part of link building that is becoming more and more popular is the creation and distribution of ‘link bait’ and infographics….
What exactly is link bait?
Link bait is a form of link-building – it differs from the other methods in the sense that we are creating something that will attract links organically – without us actually asking people to link to it. This can improve a site’s backlink profile by boosting the number of links to a site, as well as making it look more organic, as links will be coming from lots of different sources, and may have different anchor text. Link bait can take the form of an infographic or video, a competition, or even a really well written article – anything that’s interesting and informative enough for people to want to share it and link to it.
Whatever it is, it should usually be hosted on the site being optimised or the corresponding blog for that site. Never host it on anyone else’s website otherwise they will benefit from all the links that are generated when people share the content. Link bait can be very niche or can be broadly related to your company or product, whichever it is – it must be high quality, engaging content for your target customers/prospects.
Let’s have a look at a good example:
This infographic has amassed thousands of Tweets, Likes and Shares since it was launched at the beginning of this year, and over 800,000 pages link to it.
It’s not hard to see why people use infographics like this to help with their SEO link building strategy. Find the right topic and one infographic or piece of link bait can create thousands of links naturally for your website.
Why this link bait works
The topic is well chosen and suits the target market – Internet/social media “addiction” is a hot topic; something that always gets people talking, and is often in the news. Facebook is a massive part of that debate, and by utilising this subject they’ve ensured that people will instantly be interested in what the infographic has to say. As a promotion for an online teaching college, the types of people interested in Facebook are likely to make up at least some of their target market – i.e. young web savvy individuals who might want to study online. While it creates links for them to boost their SEO profile, it also interests relevant prospects meaning that sales or leads could come off the back of the link bait as well.
There are a lot of statistics – As so much research has been done on this subject already, there’s a wealth of information to choose from, with studies to back the data up if needed. This lends the infographic more authority, and having all of the facts and figures in one place is useful for readers.
It’s visually pleasing – The infographic is obviously designed to look like Facebook, and achieves that aim, but beyond that, the layout and overall design make it easy to pick up on key pieces of information even if you’re just skimming the image. It also manages not to look too “branded”, either, with a discreet link to the company who produced it at the bottom. This stops it looking like an advertisement, which gives it more credibility.
Promoting link bait
Although the aim of producing linkbait is to get people to link to you without you asking, there’s no point in producing a fantastic piece of content if it sits on your company blog unnoticed – if people don’t see it, they can’t share it! You can promote linkbait in the following ways:
- Ask bloggers if they’d like to host the infographic (linking back to your website where the original is hosted) or get them to write about the data and come up with additional information or commentary.
- Link to it in relevant forums and using social bookmarking sites.
- Share it via the social networks: Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Send to industry specialists and journalists, and syndicate a press release if you feel the content is newsworthy.
- If relevant, submit to infographic review sites and viral video sites.
Once your link bait content is out there, it’s important to keep checking back on the page it’s hosted on to look for increased Pagerank, comments, and social sharing – there are various bits of software or websites you can use to track this for you if you don’t want to keep revisiting it manually. It’s also worth taking a regular look at the ‘back link profile’ of that page to see where links are coming from, and what kind of impact your link bait is having.
Link bait can be a worthwhile part of link-building if done correctly. The main things to remember are that it should stem from a great idea, be of high quality and well-produced, and be promoted as effectively as possible.References: With thanks to http://www.onlineschools.org/