Link building is the single most important aspect of SEO, and yet it is often the most difficult. It’s also where most people cut corners. One pillar of successful link building is strategic linkbait. “What exactly is linkbait?” you might ask. It’s basically anything that pulls the visitor in and begs to be linked to. “But, isn’t linkbait a shallow trick to get people to your page?” It can be, but that’s not really effective because it won’t sustain traffic or links. Effective linkbait is backed up by good content. Anything can qualify as linkbait: a useful tool, a cool AJAX widget, a great design, a fascinating article, an opinionated blog, a debate, a poll, a contest, a resource, and the list goes on.
However, examples are often far better than explanations, so I put together a list of ten great linkbait ideas in action. They’re listed in order of backlinks to the URL, highest first. (Since this site has a strong SEO & Web Development focus, this list leans heavily towards SEO & Dev tools – after all, I wanted it to be relevant for you. You’ll notice that free tools have a sustainability that other linkbait methods often do not. You can see how many of the tools have HUGE numbers of backlinks. Just something to think about.)
Don’t take my word for it though…look at the data and draw your own conclusions.
(Backlink data is provided by Yahoo! SiteExplorer, Page Strength data is provided by SEOmoz, and PageRank is provided by Google. The data will fluctuate daily, so just use it for context.)
- DNS Stuff
[ Backlinks: 128,549 | Page Strength: 7 | PageRank: 7 ]
When you need info about DNS or an IP address, this is your first stop.
- XML Sitemap Generator
[ Backlinks: 24,910 | Page Strength: 5 | PageRank: 6 ]
A free tool for creating XML sitemaps.
- One Red Paperclip
[ Backlinks: 20,788 | Page Strength: 5.5 | PageRank: 6 ]
One guy traded a single paperclip for a house.
- Domain Tools
[ Backlinks: 16,011 | Page Strength: 5 | PageRank: 6 ]
Provides extensive info about domains.
- Digital Point Keyword Tracker Tool
[ Backlinks: 9,064 | Page Strength: 6.5 | PageRank: 6 ]
One of the best free tools for tracking keywords. You can view your progress over time, because it keeps your historical data.
[ Backlinks: 4,150 | Page Strength: N/A | PageRank: 6 ]
The adventures of one fictional high-school girl took the internet by storm. Initially this was thought to be real, but people soon figured it out. (Read the details at Wired.)
- SEOChat SEO Tools
[ Backlinks: 2,852 | Page Strength: 6 | PageRank: 5 ]
SEO Chat has created a large library of SEO tools.
- SEO Book Free SEO Tools
[ Backlinks: 2,824 | Page Strength: 5 | PageRank: 6 ]
A suite of free SEO tools from Aaron Wall at SEO Book.
- Web 2.0 Awards by SEOmoz
[ Backlinks: 1,649 | Page Strength: - | PageRank: 7 ]
SEOmoz created the annual Web 2.0 Awards.
- SEOmoz Page Strength Tool
[ Backlinks: 1,174 | Page Strength: 6 | PageRank: 6 ]
SEOmoz has created a metric that far surpasses PageRank in usefulness and relevance. This took some brilliant thinking and strategizing, and they executed it wonderfully. An extremely popular, and much linked-to tool. They have also ensured it would go viral by including badges, and a box with html you can copy to your site, so you can proudly display your Page Strength. Of course, this html includes a link. :)
That’s just a starting list. I haven’t even scratched the surface. By no means is it a comprehensive list, or even the best list out there. My goal was simply to provide some solid examples to get you started thinking as you strategize link building and linkbaiting for your web site. Use your imagination!
Some great articles on linkbaiting:
- 2007 Guide To Linkbaiting: The Year Of Widgetbait? | Search Engine Land – A brilliant post written by Nick Wilson…but what does Nick Wilson know about linkbaiting anyway? Oh yeah, he sort of made it popular. :)
- Link Baiting & Effective Link Building | Search Engine Journal
- 20 Linkbaiting Techniques | ProBlogger.net
- The Art of Linkbaiting | Performancing.com
- Andy Hagans’ Ultimate Guide to Linkbaiting and Social Media Marketing
- How To Turn Link Posts Into Linkbait | Performancing.com
- Jim Westergren’s Guide to Linkbaiting
- Link Baiting (How Nick Wilson Created SEO Even Seth Godin Could Love) | StuntDubl
- Identifying the Linkerati | SEOmoz
- The Enormous Linkbait List | Cornwallseo.com – One might even call it a Ginormous Linkbait List.
- Brainstorming LinkBait: A Four Step Approach | SEOmoz
- Search Illustrated: The Power Of Link Baiting | Search Engine Land
Do you have a great example of effective linkbait? Leave a comment and post your examples.
A few more examples of great linkbait that I needed to add:
- WordPress Theme Generator
[ Backlinks: 35,681 | Page Strength: 4 (Still new) | PageRank: N/A (Too new) ]
What can I say but, Genius! In only a couple months this page has gained almost 40,000 links!
- Stripe Generator
[ Backlinks: 16,273 | Page Strength: 6 | PageRank: 7 ]
Create “Web 2.0″ style stripes for use in your backgrounds with this very cool AJAX generator.
- Web 2.0 Button Generator
[ Backlinks: 11,151 | Page Strength: 3 (Still new) | PageRank: N/A (Too new) ]
Create cool “Web 2.0″ style buttons for your site.
I have to put a tiny disclaimer on these three pieces of linkbait. Being that I’m also a graphic designer, I think tools like this do have a small danger of contributing to sites looking too similar…And “Web 2.0″ is not a style. However, right now I’m putting that side of my brain on the shelf and looking at this from a usability and SEO point of view. What makes these great linkbait, and juicy to link to, is that they really make it easy for users with little graphic knowledge to create something from scratch, in seconds, that looks really good and they can use on their site.
[ Backlinks: 64,793 | Page Strength: N/A | PageRank: 5 ]
Translate any site into Jive! This is super funny! Read your
CNN Newsor shop at Amazonwith an urban flavor (er, flava). I used this on a few of my friends’ blogs…I was rolling. Brilliant linkbait!