By default, marketing involves copyrighting and publishing. This is due to the fact that search engines read words as opposed to looking at pictures. Maybe someday, search engines will review images, but that day is not here yet. Until then, we are stuck with words and articles. As always, copy should be well written meaning that all punctuation and spelling as well as grammar should be correct. Articles in themselves, should be worded in a way that reflects insight and professionalism. That being said, it never hurts to throw in a little link bait into the rotation every once in a while.
Link bait is the term used to designate a particular writing style that literally adds bait to an article specifically to catch links just like a fisherman puts bait on a hook to catch fish. The difference is that the bait used comes in the form of words and psychological triggers that invoke curiosity or a profound emotional response of one sort or another, starting with a catchy title.
The process of baiting can take several forms. Some of the more common forms are “How To’s” or “Lists”. Typically, these types of link bait articles fall under a more general category identified as “Resource(s)” and they are probably some of the most common types of bait. We all love a good “How To”. How often have you been searching for a solution to a problem and stumbled across a “How To” title in the search results that is an exact match to the question in you head. If you are like me, you cannot click on the link fast enough. If the article meets your quality standard and if you are a blogger, you might just link to it to share it with your readers. In that case, the goal of the article has been accomplished. The same thing goes with “Lists”. Lists,one of the most traditional forms of link baiting and one that is continuously used to this day, have titles that usually start with numbers. Additionally, lists, provided they are quality lists, make excellent link bait as they are the essence of a resource by definition alone. Who doesn’t like to read a well thought out list on a subject that they are interested in. Lists are easy to remember, if they are not too long, and commonly referred to by other copyrighters.
There are other types of hooks that are link bait that we read all of the time and may not realize it. Here is a “list” of these types of link bait and why they are effective.
News. News is one of the most widely used types of link bait. Who doesn’t like to read the news? Everyone likes to stay informed. Additionally, everyone likes to be the first person to bring YOU the latest news. For that reason, if a copyrighter or reporter discovers a noteworthy news item, they want to be the first to link to it, report it, re-tweet it, send it to their list or whatever, as long as their readers hear or read it from them first. The writer of the link bait, in this case, accomplishes their goal and the SEO benefits abound.
Controversy. Controversy, as a form of link bait can be related to news very closely in that many controversial articles start as news. Just as much as they like to read news, people love to read about curiosity invoking and thought provoking, controversial events. Whether or not they agree with the controversy or take one side of an argument or another is irrelevant. If they link to it as a means to spread the word or broadcast it then the bait has been snagged, so-to-speak.
Humor. This form of link bait is pretty much self-explanatory. Humor, can actually double as viral marketing, but its use is limited, for the most part, to humor-based sites. None-the-less, an entertaining and funny article will draw links just the same. The only problem with trying to use humor as link bait is that if you are trying to write it intentionally, it usually falls short of accomplishing its goal in that articles intended to be funny are usually not. The most humorous things to write about happen naturally on their own.
So, there you have it, a short, concise list of different forms of link bait. If you are a copyrighter, try writing some link bait and see if it works for you!