Blogging, SEO, Web

The Secrets of Creating Linkbait Content

We got used to the fact that some web pages perform better than the others. I mean they naturally attract more links....

Creating Linkbait Content

We got used to the fact that some web pages perform better than the others. I mean they naturally attract more links.

I bet you tried to find out the reason in order to be able to generate more of the link magnets.

In the world of SEO, we refer to these pages as “linkbait” and this article will cover the definition of creating linkbait content as well as the main principles that make a piece of ‘linkbait’ successful.

Are you ready to start? Ok, the definition comes first.

How can we define a “linkbait”?

How can we define a linkbait?

“Linkbait” is a type of content created specifically to attract links. It’s something incredibly cool, valuable and unique. Ideally, linkbait does not leave a single chance to industry blogger, influencer, whoever not to link to it. These links are very helpful when it comes to improving the site’s rankings in search engines.

Any type of content can become a linkbait but usually, it’s one of the following:

  • Infographic;
  • Comprehensive guide/resource;
  • Interactive content (like a calculator or a quiz, etc.);
  • Image/gif/video(s);
  • An entire niche-specific side project.

Links help to improve the overall authority of your website. They also help the site to draw more traffic from organic search. However, linkbait pieces rank good for many related terms as well, which drives a mass of traffic to the actual linkbait.

Let’s think about why do these pages have so many links and why are they so successful?

Things that make content a good piece of linkbait

Do you know anything about the “share triggers” concept? The term refers to the psychological principles leading people to share content. Did you know that the same principles make people link to your content?

So, what things do people share with pleasure?

  • We like to share the things that make us look good or help us back up our viewpoint;
  • We like to share things that make us feel some kind of emotion – anger, awe, happiness, laughter, whatever;
  • We like to be attached to the buzzword stories and current events. Actually, this is how “newsjacking” works;
  • We like to share practical valuable content, something really useful that can serve as a good reference on a particular topic, like a study, for example;
  • We tend to follow the crowd and share/link to the content that has been already shared/linked to by many other people.

It should be mentioned that successful linkbait usually appeals to one or more of the above principles. For instance, a detailed guide, like this Your Link Building Guide for 2018, illustrated with nice imagery, having beautiful formatting, and an interesting angle can be a linkbait.

But what’s even best, it can be an entire side project, where you efficiently create a small product with the purpose of attracting links.

Suggested post:

How to craft a post which people will want to link?

It doesn’t matter what your linkbait is, I recommend you to incorporate some of the triggers listed below into it. This way it will adhere to some of the above principles.

1. Your linkbait must offer value Your linkbait must offer value

Don’t be like most of the people who measure content value the wrong way taking into account its arbitrary attributes like length, depth, word count, and so on. I am not saying that all these things are not important. No doubt they are essential but the point is that the term of value is relative. Do you agree that things valuable to one person can mean nothing to another?

Being SEO experts & marketers we generally value case studies and similar truly in-depth content.

But people from “web design planet” value inspirational showcases, free fonts, icons, etc. a lot more.

The takeaway is that if you want to create linkbait, you should consider the values of your target audience and create content that appeals to them. Otherwise, it will be irrelevant.

Here is an advice to those who are going to improve the existing content. Don’t take your time to make it better. You need to take your content to the new, higher level if you want to make it valuable.

The process of creating a linkbait doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make your content longer or more in-depth. You can add value to your content covering it from another, unexpected angle. Adding something unique to the conversation may totally refresh it.

2. Add some humor to your content or at least try to invoke emotions 

What do you usually do when somebody tells you a funny joke? I bet you tell it to your friends to laugh together with them. You won’t keep the joke to yourself, will you? We like to share funny stuff. How do we usually do it? In the real world – by the word-of-mouth, in cyberspace people share humor on either social sites (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr) or their own websites.

The best advice here is to make your content both trending and funny. The tactic never fails and brings a ton of links.

Some people are not inclined to use humor for some reason. If you are one of them, just try to appeal to another emotion – awe, surprise, excitement, anger, whatever.

3. Illustrate your content well 

Before someone actually links to a piece of content, the following four-step process occurs:

  • At first, the potential linker sees your linkbait for the first time;
  • Then they click and consume the content;
  • The third step is enjoying the content that makes a lasting impression on the viewer;
  • The fourth step is linking. It happens when the viewers took the bait.

What happens if your linkbait isn’t very visual? The above 4-step process cuts off somewhere between “consume” and “enjoy”, which means the prospective linkers never get to the “linking” stage.

Why does this happen? Because people process visuals much quicker and easier. This significantly boosts the chances that a person will enjoy the content and share or link to it.

So, if your non-visual piece of content/blog post/article is getting lots of links, it definitely deserves a bit of makeover to become a great piece of linkbait.

4. Your content should be good enough for news portals 

You need to stick to this principle if you want to get links from big news websites. Include some newsworthy elements in your content.

I won’t delve into detail with the matter because there is an entire list of such elements, however, I would like to mention one strategy you can use to make almost any sort of content newsworthy. It’s newsjacking.

What is newsjacking? It is leveraging of the trending news aiming to elevate your brand’s message.

In simple words, it is a process of combining a trending story or topic with your brand story or activity.

Wrap up

To conclude everything said above I would like to stress – linkbait is not just about creating unique or visually appealing content.

If you want your linkbait to be a success, I mean attract tons of links, you’ll need to combine your top-quality content, a thoroughly selected audience that actually has the power to link to you, and a meticulously developed promotional plan.

What is the point in the greatest piece of content on the net if people know nothing about it. You won’t get any links all the same.

BTW, here is a good video on SEO optimization –

I wish you everything the very best in creating your linkbait. In case you have questions/thoughts/suggestions on the topic feel free to leave them in the comments.


Written by Helga Moreno
Helga Moreno is a passionate content creator and marketer at Ahrefs bold enough to believe that if there's a book that she wants to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then she must write it herself.

2 Replies to “The Secrets of Creating Linkbait Content”

  1. Excellent read, Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work

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