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Link bait is a potent strategy in digital marketing that leverages high-quality content to drive organic traffic and improve website rankings.

This article explores the psychology behind link bait, offering insights into why certain types of content are more likely to be shared and linked to.

It also provides best practices for creating effective link bait, including tips on headline creation, content formatting, and engaging storytelling.

Additionally, the article dives into successful examples of link bait that have achieved viral status, analyzing what made them so effective.

By gaining a deeper understanding of the strategies and techniques behind successful link bait, you can enhance your digital marketing efforts and create content that resonates with audiences, prompting sharing and backlinking.

Key Takeaways

  • Link bait can be highly effective in attracting backlinks, boosting rankings, and driving organic traffic.
  • The success of link bait relies on utilizing psychological principles called share triggers, such as social currency, triggers, emotion, public, practical value, and stories.
  • Best practices for creating link bait include making it practical, opinionated, emotional, visual, newsworthy, and engaging as a story.
  • Good link bait ideas can be found through researching popular topics, analyzing competitor’s link bait, using keyword research tools, monitoring news and current events, and gathering audience feedback.

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Link bait is a strategic form of content specifically designed to attract a significant number of backlinks, thereby improving a page’s Google ranking and increasing organic traffic.

The underlying principle is to create content so compelling that other webmasters and content creators will naturally want to link to it.

The key is to tap into share triggers – psychological cues that make people more likely to share the content.

These can range from social currency, where people share things that make them look good, to practical value, where the content offers tangible, useful information.

Implementing a successful link bait strategy requires a deep understanding of your audience, creativity in content creation, and analytical skills to assess the performance and optimize future efforts.

Understanding the psychology behind link bait is an essential aspect of creating content that goes viral. It leverages several key factors that compel people to share and link to the material.

At the heart of these factors are psychological triggers, such as social currency, emotion, and practical value. People are naturally inclined to share content that enhances their status, evokes strong emotions, or provides practical solutions.

Another strategy is the use of storytelling, which capitalizes on our inherent love for narratives.

The creation of effective link bait requires adherence to several best practices. These include making it practical, opinionated, emotional, visual, newsworthy, and story-driven.

Practical link bait may include tools or checklists that provide clear value to the user.

Opinionated content, with a unique perspective, stirs conversation and encourages sharing.

Emotional and visual content captivates the audience, increasing the likelihood of shares and backlinks.

Creating newsworthy content positions you at the forefront of industry trends, attracting attention from journalists and bloggers.

Lastly, story-driven content is engaging and relatable, enhancing shareability.

Incorporating these strategies, while continuously analyzing and refining your content based on performance, feedback, and current trends, can optimize your link bait creation process.

Frequently, the most successful link bait examples are those that ingeniously employ a combination of the best practices discussed above, and have managed to captivate large audiences, thereby going viral.

A prime example is Ahrefs’ free SEO tools, a practical and highly valuable resource that won substantial backlinks.

Tim Soulo’s opinionated email outreach post also garnered attention, demonstrating the power of a unique perspective.

Upworthy’s emotionally-charged, positive stories invited massive sharing, while visual content, such as the beer map, proved the draw of appealing visuals.

Nulab’s timely surveys on pandemic remote work gained credibility and backlinks from major publications.

These examples strategically leveraged share triggers, creativity, and topical relevance, resulting in viral success.

Identifying potential link bait ideas requires strategic research, keen industry awareness, and a deep understanding of your target audience’s interests and needs.

Start by analyzing popular topics and trends within your industry, looking for gaps that your content can fill.

Explore successful link baits of competitors, recognizing patterns and ingredients for virality.

Use SEO tools for keyword analysis, discovering high-search, low-competition topics.

Stay updated with news and events, capitalizing on newsworthy content hooks.

Engage with your audience regularly, their feedback will provide insight into their interests and needs.

Remember, successful link baits often incorporate a unique angle, evoke emotion, provide practical value, and tell a compelling story.

Be innovative, analytical, and creative in your approach.

Insights From Successful Creators

Drawing from the experiences of five successful creators, we can gain valuable insights into the strategies and factors that contribute to the virality of link bait content.

  • Danny Ashton of NeoMam Studios attributes the success of ’13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics’ to timely release and interactive format.
  • Matt Dempsey credits the virality of ‘Inception Explained’ to marrying a popular subject with a novel medium, parallax scrolling, and resonating with the tech/design community.
  • Jacob O’Neal of Animagraffs states that ‘How a Car Engine Works’ succeeded due to its evergreen content, fresh format, and well-organized illustrations.
  • Tim Soulo, CMO of Ahrefs, points to a striking statistic and data-backed claims in ‘90.63% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google’.
  • Manasvini Krishna, founder of Boss as a Service, believes ‘Why Do I Procrastinate?’ went viral because of its widely-relatable subject, interactive format, and non-judgmental solutions.

Understanding the key factors behind successful link bait can provide valuable insights for creating engaging and shareable content. The success of link bait is determined by several elements, including the uniqueness of the content, its relevance to current trends or events, and its emotional resonance with the audience.

Here is a table detailing the key factors that contributed to the success of various link bait examples:

Link Bait ExampleKey Success FactorReason
’13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics’Timing and interactive formatEngages readers and provides fresh insights
‘Inception Explained’Unique medium (parallax scrolling)Attracted tech/design community
‘How a Car Engine Works’Evergreen contentProvides continuous value
‘90.63% of Content Gets No Traffic From Google’Striking StatEmphasizes importance of SEO
‘Why Do I Procrastinate?’InteractivenessOffers actionable solutions

Case Study: 13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics

Transitioning from identifying key factors in successful link baits, we delve into a specific case study: ’13 Reasons Your Brain Craves Infographics,’ an exemplar of effective use of timing and interactive format in link bait strategy. This ingenious link bait piece leverages cognitive science to explain the appeal of infographics, and in doing so, became a viral sensation.

  • It uses a compelling headline that piques curiosity and promises valuable insights.
  • The content appealed to the audience’s cognitive biases, making it highly shareable.
  • It employed a visually engaging format and interactive design, enhancing user experience.
  • It matched the timing with a growing interest in infographics.
  • It provided actionable takeaways, adding value for the reader.

Through such strategic execution, the piece successfully attracted a significant number of backlinks, demonstrating the effectiveness of a well-orchestrated link bait strategy.

Case Study: Why Do I Procrastinate?

Another noteworthy example of successful link bait is the interactive piece ‘Why Do I Procrastinate?’. It gained immense traction online due to its relatable subject matter and engaging presentation. The piece approached the universal problem of procrastination with a creative and analytical lens, turning it into a compelling interactive experience.

The tool allowed users to self-diagnose their procrastination habits, providing them with personalized, actionable solutions. Its success can be attributed to its strategic use of psychological principles, coupling the relatable subject with a high degree of interactivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Link bait can effectively be implemented across various industries, not just digital marketing. Its purpose is universal: to create compelling content that attracts backlinks, boosting webpage rankings and organic traffic, irrespective of the industry.

Potential risks of using link bait in a content strategy include the possibility of attracting irrelevant traffic, damaging brand reputation if the content is seen as manipulative, and potential backlash if the content is controversial.

The success of a link bait piece can be measured not just by the number of backlinks gained, but also by increased site traffic, improved search engine rankings, enhanced brand visibility, and higher audience engagement levels.

Link bait effectively complements other SEO tactics, as it drives backlinks and boosts organic traffic. It should be integral to your SEO strategy, enhancing your site’s visibility and authority while fostering audience engagement and sharing.

Unsuccessful link bait attempts often fall flat due to lack of originality, poor timing, insufficient value, or failure to evoke emotion. Analyzing these failures can provide invaluable insights for refining and improving future link bait strategies.


In conclusion, the success of link bait lies in its capacity to evoke emotions, provide practical value, and showcase uniqueness.

By analyzing successful examples like Ahrefs’ tools or Upworthy’s viral stories, digital marketers can gain insights into creating compelling link bait.

Whether through storytelling, newsworthy elements, or useful tools, crafting content that resonates and encourages sharing is key to driving organic traffic and improving website ranking.

This strategic and creative approach can significantly enhance digital marketing efforts.

Written by Thomas Kraska

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