It’s All About the Hook in Link Baiting!

What in the world is Link Baiting?
In the simplest form, it is the act of creating any content within a website, advertisement or blog that is designed to gain attention and more importantly, encourages people to link to its original form.  The goal of link baiting is to leverage content to become an extremely powerful form of marketing.  Some feel it’s another tool to acquire the currency of SEO.  Let’s talk about how it can be the biggest fish in the pond of SEO, why it’s important to get others hooked into it and then what it really reels in for you and your business.

To completely understand its meaning you have to understand what is at the heart of its composition.  Link-baiting goes way beyond words within the content of your website, advertisement and/or blog.  Aside from text, it can also be an image, audio or video clip.  Any of these can be effective link baits as long as they are interesting enough to catch people’s attention.  And once someone has clicked onto one of these vehicles, you want them to share it and hence great amount of traffic for your content.  And that’s the goal-for some part of your content to become the Los Angeles freeway at 5pm.  Think about how popular blogs have become that have infographics or videos. Videos gone viral on You Tube can take a no-name person or product and spread it like wildfire. Its all about engagement, the tantalizing, wiggly worm on the hook just waiting to be nibbled.
Now that you understand what it is, where & how do you use it?

What-For blogs you definitely need a strong & compelling headline to capture the readers’ attention and engage them.  Take for instance this blog.  “Link baiting” is a popular, strongly researched topic.  So having a witty “hook” title will return good traffic once its out there.  And while the “body” of the work needs to be strong and compelling to keep you entertained, its important to hook you right off the bat with the title.  If a title doesn’t create intrigue then you won’t get the readership; and without readership, your content just floats along lonely in the sea of the worldwide web…you don’t want it to be Dory in Nemo singing “keep on swimming” – lol.
Where -You want your content on all major Social Media sites to ensure good dissemination.  Period – it’s that simple.
How-A simple example is making sure to add links to your website and/or blog to a witty catch-phrase let’s say on Twitter.  I plan to do it with this very blog so check me out on Twitter to see this concept hard at work.!/Dt_Yvonne  You can also add a video or audio clip to your content so that others will want to share it. For most businesses, the goal of disseminating information  is to generate business as well as inform in some nature-whether it’s to sell shoes or trying to get elected as Mayor.  Therefore the process of employing effective link baiting requires preparing the hook with the best content.  Oh by the way- GOTCHYA!

If I didn’t persuade you enough, check out this listing from Wikipedia which offers some of the most common approaches to effective link baiting:

  • Informational hooks – Provide information that a reader may find very useful. Some rare tips and tricks or any personal experience through which readers can benefit.
  • News hooks – Provide fresh information and obtain citations and links as the news spreads.
  • Humor hooks – Tell a funny story or a joke. A bizarre picture of your subject or mocking cartoons can also prove to be link bait.
  • Evil hooks – Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger.
  • Tool hooks – Create some sort of tool that is useful enough that people link to it.
  • Widgets hooks – A badge or tool that can be placed or embedded on other websites, with a link included.
  • Unique content hooks – This hook is intended for people that are in need of unique content or articles for traffic or AdSense revenue. This became popular after Google implemented Duplicate Contents Filter and sites with duplicate contents saw fall in traffic. To use this hook, you have to create unique content and give it out to bloggers and webmasters with an obligation to link back to your site.
  • Curated hooks – A content that links out to other websites by citing them as resources naturally attracts linkers and have high chances of going viral as the mentioned sites in the link bait are most likely to link to the site and share it through their own networks.

Always remember that your content must be current (ripping something tantalizing from the headlines of major reporting forums such as nightly news, respectable magazines or newspapers) and is a great form of SEO currency.  Don’t let your creativity dwindle when it comes to achieving this objective.  Remember, the ultimate goal of all this is to create buzz and get people to share your content and its links – which hopefully hooks bank for your business.

Guess what else you need on your website

Your website needs social mediaI have some goals I set out for this year and one of them is meeting new people. Specifically business professionals and entrepreneurs. By now most of them have websites created which is great. If you’re in business you should have a website, period. Well I used to preach that and actually that’s not all of it. Your website needs a few more elements than just content and contact information.

By now you should have already heard the term Web 2.0 already. Basically it means a new way that websites use to communicate and interact with visitors. You’ll see this with short videos, social media, instant chat, blogs and comment options. These are great ways to mine information from your visitors but also create a more personal connection to them while keeping them engaged to stay longer on your website. Obviously the longer they stick around the higher the chance that they will use or purchase your services and products.

Lets start with Social Media.  Depending on your business and service, you may want to use a few of the many social media services that are currently popular.

Facebook I would recommend starting with.  Setting up a Fan Page isn’t difficult and may take up to an hour to do.  Add some pictures and comments and anything else of interest to your page and profile. Once properly setup with all your profile and contact information, you then need to suggest this page to all of your friends on your personal side of Facebook.  This is so that whenever you post from your Fan Page, they will see your post and hopefully comment on it – but also their friends will see it and hopefully become fans too.

Twitter is another great service that helps get your business to people who otherwise would never know you.  So whenever you have a new blog post, or sale, or promotion, or event, you post that info in a Tweet. Now Twitter isn’t the place for only trying to make a sale, its a place to make new connections with people who are in all types of likes and industries.  Most connections are with people you never met before, but engaging in brief conversations develops a relationship going forward which can lead to sales and referrals. Twitter is also a form of Micro-Blogging which then leads into Blogging. If you’re not a writer, you can train to be by using these means.

Blogging. If you’re not doing it yet, you’re missing out on creating wonderful and meaninful content about your industry. I make the analogy with blogs to how having a website years ago was like being ahead of the game; and now having a website is vital.  Same thing with a blog.  Your posts should be about tips and information about your industry and services. Things that would appeal to people who seek your services and people within your industry.  These posts get indexed into search engines and when people are looking for such information your website may pop up.  Create valuable content and build your reader base.  In turn, they’ll pass along your posts via social media links and draw in more readers who could then be potential clients and customers of your trade.  Are you seeing the pattern here?

Call to action. I have said it before in previous posts, but you have to give your readers something for free if you want their contact information. A website that receives 2,000 hits a day but gains no information about the visitors and converts none of them to leads is not a functioning website.  Most sites with great call to actions have items like free e-zines, newsletters, image downloads, website analysis, and more. But everything they offer is free. The only string attached is a vistors email address and maybe their name on a simple form.

None of this should be done over night.  Proper implementation does take a bit of time.  I strongly suggest a web consultant if you’re not versed with the “lingo” to make these adjustments yourself.  Or if you are you can always Google you way through it I suppose.  Just know that these things are important to your bottom line if you want to see a greater ROI on your website.  If you have any ideas to add to this short list please leave a comment below.