Link Baiting Explained: How to Make Blog Posts Go Viral

Link baiting is basically the process of creating content with the specific purpose of it getting linked to. It’s often content that’s shocking, surprising, funny or counterintuitive. Viral elements are also sometimes built into the content.

Here are two examples of successful link baiting techniques, along with why it works and how you can duplicate its success. Some of the most successful blogs and sites on the internet got their rankings using this incredibly powerful technique.

“Shocker” Quizzes

Matthew Inman, former SEOmoz employee and founder of the Mingle2 dating site, once ranked first for the keyword “dating” using this method.

Basically you’d create a quiz that appeals to your specific audience. For Matthew’s audience, he created quizzes like “How many three-year old babies could you combat at once?” and other such quizzes.

Once people answered the quiz, they’d have the opportunity to share it with their friends on Facebook, Twitter or their own site. Of course, the code to embed the quiz on their own site included a backlink to his own site with relevant anchor text.

Using this technique, Inman generated thousands of one-way backlinks to Mingle2 with the anchor text “Online Dating.”

The key takeaways here are:

1) Create content that catches attention
2) Create fun experiences for people that they’d want to share with their friends
3) Create some sort of easy-to-use mechanism for people to link back to your site


Infographics have historically been incredible sources of backlinks as well.

The key components are the same as the above: unique, attention-catching content that’s both fun and easy to link to.

A great infographic needs to contain shocking information about a specific topic. Include statistics and facts that people would find surprising, presented in a comical, satirical or humorous way.

Include at the bottom a thumbnail version of the infographic with easy-to-copy HTML code to put the thumbnail – linking to the infographic – on someone else’s website. Also of course include Facebook like and Twitter retweet codes.

Infographics have an added benefit of being great Reddit / Digg bait. People on Digg and Reddit love images, because it takes less time to consume than a video or text. Posting images often gets you a lot of views, which in turn means a lot of upvotes / diggs if your content is great.

Applying Link Baiting to Blogs

There are two ways you can use link baiting with blogs.

First, you can create generic link baiting material designed to target the more general internet audience to get generic backlinks.

Alternatively, you can create link baiting material that’s specifically designed to attract people from your own target market. This method is generally better as the backlinks are more contextually relevant; the only caveat is that you need to make sure you can actually get enough traction in your own niche to make it worth it.

In short, create chunk-sized content that catches attention and entertains. Make sure a “pass along” mechanism is included with the link bait, then post it on Digg and Reddit and post it to your lists. If your link bait is successful, you’ll start to see a nice flow of backlinks coming in.

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