The Art Of Link Baiting

By now everyone should know that getting linked from other sites and blogs is the key to getting indexed by Google and other search engines. People get links in many ways, from simple link exchanges to comment spamming. What I want to talk about is something call link baiting.

Link baiting looks at linking as a fishing expedition. In order to catch a fish, you need bait. In the case of site development, the fishes are other websites or blogs and the bait is your content. Well, let me restate that. The bait is not just any old content you have laying around – it’s content specially designed to get you linked up by the websites you’re fishing for. Let’s look at a few ways to bait some links.

Ask For A Review

This is a common technique used at webmaster forums. You ask the members in the forum to review your site and provide feedback on how to improve it. While there are many legit review requests, the vast majority of them are nothing more than link baits. Many times, the baiter will purposefully make their site look bad and wait for the recommendations to come in. Then he would do the recommendations; make another post asking, “What do you guys think now?” Double link score! Next time you read a review request at a webmaster forum, try to guest if it’s real or bait.

Write About The Site You Wish To Bait

One of the best ways to get a link from another site to write about them. Site owners like to have their ego’s stroked just like normal people. If you write something nice about another site, chances are they will link to what you wrote. It’s interesting to note that some of my biggest Diggs were done to articles written about Digg. Diggers love to reads about themselves for some reason. They see an article on Digg and they’re like “Oh wow! It’s an article on Digg! I HAVE to Digg that!” You get bonus point if you mention Kevin Rose.

Interview A Site Owner

I have been interview twice since starting John Chow dot Com. In each case I linked to the interview. This is fantastic link bait, and it goes back to the above tip on site owners liking their ego’s stroked. The sites that interviewed me have gone on to interview other blog owners and the blog owners have linked the interviews every time. If you were to post an interview with Kevin Rose, what are the chances of the interview not making it to the Digg front page?

The Trade Show Photo Trick

I meet many fellow webmasters during my party at the Consumer Electronics Show. During the party, I get a few hot babes to take pictures with the other webmasters. They love this because it’s the few occasions when they can get a picture taken with a real girl. The pictures gets posted at The TechZone’s photo gallery. An email is fired off to the webmasters, and they’re instantly linking it on their sites to show all their readers what a stud they are.

There are tons of other link baiting tricks but these are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. If you have some good link bait tricks and want to share it, then please post it in the comments. I’m sure there are a bunch that I haven’t come across.


29 thoughts on “The Art Of Link Baiting”

  1. Eli says:

    Thanks for the information.

  2. Ian says:

    Hey, you never took a picture of me with hot babes!

    Just kidding. Hope my wife isn’t reading this…

  3. When you mention the picture of the hot babes

    I just thought:

    Link baiting and jail baiting: two topics that don’t go together.

    I then I thought gads I would be itching to just post a link to my site / http://www.personaltao.com now, after all the topic calls for it 🙂 But Taoism and link baiting don’t go together. Sigh…

    I guess I am not pure… and have link baited sinned. 🙂

    Great post!

    See I am learning from you already, make sure to appease the ego :)!!

    Seriously I smiled when reading this. Hope I wasn’t too irritating and got you to crack a slight smile at this silly link baiting style comment.

  4. Another good way to attract attention is to blog on a controversial topic and express a strong opinion toward it. People will automatically 1- Comment on it, 2- Link to it.

    Another good way is to write about something that no one has really tried before, or do it in an all new way. I received over 100k uniques in a short period of time because one day, I woke up and decided to put a dead hard drive in a freezer to see if I could make it work again. I’ve got over 120 comments on this one, and received so many link backs that I can’t even count them.

  5. Oh, the irony. Good post though. 🙂

  6. Dawn says:

    What about those free press release distribution sites? Have you had any experience with them as a way to get your site linked to?

    -Dawn
    Step Talk – Where Stepparents Come to Vent

  7. Jeff says:

    Some very good advice. I’ve been thinking of ways to drive traffic to my site http://www.baltimoremetrosports.com

  8. Tony says:

    More from the ‘ego stroking’ alley — commenting on low popularity blogs (say 0~couple links on technorati) is an almost guaranteed way to get a new reader (especially if you blog on topics you comment about)

  9. Malphas Wats says:

    At the end of the day, we all like to be noticed. If you’re providing useful information or friendly feedback along the way, then there’s no real harm done. just MHO of course.

  10. Gdog says:

    Interesting post…time to find some bait.

  11. Jeff says:

    You can also reply on blogs and forums, about topics where you are somewhat knowledgeable. If your answers add some value to the debate people will check out your website and may even link to it.

  12. HMTKSteve says:

    You can also drop your website url in a comment on Digg. that will generate a good 500 or so hits if you your comment is worded in a confrontational manner.

    Heck, having a strong opinion on anything will get you hits as long as you can get the word out about your strong opinion!

    You’ve heard the expression, “There’s no such thing as ‘bad’ publicity” well, on the web its “there’s no such thing as a bad hit.”

  13. Lawrence says:

    Posting a sig on usenet is also a great way to be indexed by google.

  14. David Mackey says:

    What about submitting articles to article repositories? Do you think that has any noticeable positive effect?

  15. Sunglasses says:

    I’ve read a lot of articles about link baiting, but one more is always good.You could post more on this topic because there are many ways you can do a link bait.

  16. amir says:

    great topic, i think another great way of link baiting is to place sites down as your sponsors of your site! i’ve done that with my website (www.bia2.com) there is a big chance they will link back to your site as a way of returning the favor!

  17. Ryan Marle says:

    I’m a competitive cyclist and I’ve found that carrying my video camera around with me videoing some of the most intense parts of other races and then posting to YouTube has brought lots of attention. Not as fast as pictures but videos cover more people and get forwarded to all their friends and family too!

  18. Sam says:

    I have just got into blogging and website making. I know my site is pretty crappy. Could you guys take a look at it and make some suggestions on how to optimize it and make it awesome. Any and all feedback is welcome. Thanks
    http://www.love4computers.com/blog

  19. Im going to try some of those today…anyone need a review or interview 😛

    …but seriously?

  20. I’ve always wondered how many of those ‘review my site’ posts are real and how many of them are just link bait. I would have to agree that most of them are just link bait. 😉

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