When planning a backlink-building strategy for your website, you need to consider whether it’s allowed in Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. If you unknowingly use a prohibited tactic, such as purchasing backlinks or using automated software to mass-produce backlinks, Google may penalize your website with lower search rankings. You can increase your website’s portfolio of backlinks naturally, however, using linkbait.
What Is Linkbait?
Linkbait is digital content that’s intended to attract backlinks to the web page on which it’s published. It serves as bait by enticing other webmasters and users to link to it. After reading or viewing a piece of linkbait on your website, another webmaster may link to it from his or her site. Alternatively, social media users may share a link to your website’s content with their friends or followers.
Linkbait is often confused with clickbait content. While both types of content are designed to compel users to take action, they aren’t the same. Linkbait is designed to attract backlinks, whereas clickbait is designed to attract clicks. You may attract more pageviews initially with clickbait, but linkbait offers greater long-term value because of its ability to improve your website’s search rankings, which also translates into more pageviews.
Create Long-Form Articles
When auditing your website’s backlinks, you’ll probably notice a correlation between the length of your web pages and the number of backlinks they’ve generated. Longer content typically attracts more backlinks than shorter content because it offers greater value to users who read or view it.
For effective linkbait, avoid publishing short articles consisting of 500 or fewer words and, instead, aim for at least 1,000 words. It takes longer and requires more energy to produce long-form text content, but just a few lengthy articles can drive far more backlinks to your website than dozens or hundreds of shorter articles.
Structure Titles with 50 to 70 Characters
Use between 50 and 70 characters when creating titles for your linkbait. If your titles are shorter than 50 characters, they won’t consume much space in users’ web browsers, meaning fewer clicks and fewer backlinks. If they are longer than 70 characters, on the other hand, search engines may only show part of the titles in the see search results while attracting more clicks and backlinks in the process.
Use Figures for Numbers in Titles
If you’re publishing a numbered article to use as linkbait, don’t spell out the number. Always use figures to present numbers in titles. Rather than “The Top Ten Ways to Increase Your Website’s Traffic,” for example, use “The Top 10 Ways to Increase Your Website’s Traffic.”
Although the difference between the two titles is subtle, the latter title will likely attract more clicks than the former. Numbers presented as figures grab users’ attention because they don’t look like standard words. And when a user notices the title of your linkbait — either in the search results or elsewhere online — he or she may click it, increasing your chance of acquiring a backlink from that user.
Add Images to Articles
Linkbait rarely consists entirely of text. Even if you use 1,000 or more words in an article, you should add images to improve its value and overall effectiveness at attracting backlinks. Images provide users with information about a corresponding section of text while also serving as visual markers to help users read the text.
When adding images to your clickbait articles, follow these tips:
• Choose relevant images that are in some way related to the adjacent text
• Create a text description of images using the alt text attribute
• Give images a meaningful file name
• Use CSS float property to wrap text around images
• Add at least one image per 200 to 300 words of text
• Use padding or margins to create whitespace between your images and the adjacent text
Use Short and Descriptive URL Slugs
The URL slugs of your linkbait pieces can influence their ability to attract backlinks. Studies show web pages with shorter URL slugs rank higher on Google than those with longer URL slugs. Long URL slugs are difficult to remember, and if a user can’t remember the exact web address of one of your linkbait pieces, he or she won’t be able to link to it. Try to use no more than 70 characters so users can remember your URL slugs with greater ease.
In addition to being short, your URL slugs should also be descriptive. If a URL slug contains a seemingly random combination of letters, numbers, and hyphens, users probably won’t remember it. But if you create descriptive URL slugs featuring the title of the respective linkbait piece — use hyphens to separate words — they will be easier to remember.
Diversify Your Linkbait Strategy with Infographics
Articles and blog posts are the most common types of linkbait, but you should diversify your strategy by creating and publishing infographics as well. Because of their visualized way of conveying information, infographics often attract even more backlinks and social media shares as text content.
To create an infographic, you’ll need to source information about a topic and convert it into a visual representation. Once created, upload the infographic to your website and make a note of the URL on which it’s published. Using this URL, you can generate an embed code for your infographic so that users can share it on their website. Whenever another webmaster shares your infographic using the embed code, it creates a backlink to your website.
To generate an embed code for an infographic, use the free tool at embed.ly/code. After entering the URL on which your infographic is published and clicking the “Embed” button, it will automatically create an embed code.
Not every article, blog post or infographic you publish will attract backlinks. If you’re persistent with your link bait strategy, however, you’ll eventually discover one or more pieces of content that attract a substantial number of backlinks. You can then create similar pieces of content using the successful pieces as a reference point, allowing you to leverage the SEO power of linkbait.
Linkbait: How to Create Content That Attracts Backlinks Naturally