Linkbaiting means creating circumstances that encourage people to link to your website, blog, or internal links.
Search engines like Google take into factor the number of quality incoming links to your website. They use these incoming links as validations. Google’s algorithms assume that if people link to your website, then your website must have something valuable and hence, it deserves to be ranked better than compared to those websites who don’t have many incoming links. Making people link to your website by producing valuable content is called linkbaiting.
Are linkbaiting and SEO interrelated?
To a great extent yes, although personally I feel you shouldn’t encourage linkbaiting just for the sake of SEO. People linking to your website or blog can send you direct traffic – it means even if you don’t enjoy good rankings you can still get quality web traffic from these websites.
Linkbaiting got mainstream when Google started assigning page ranks (PR) to various websites. If many websites and blogs with higher page rank link to your website, it also begins to get a higher page rank. In return, if you link to another website, due to your own higher pagerank, the pagerank of that website will improve too. So this is how linking with each other begins to affect people’s rankings.
Link building with legitimate linkbaiting
Until the Google Panda updates link building used to be a great business (it is still, among the ignorant). People would develop websites solely to publish links and by hook or by crook they would increase their page ranks. Then they would charge others for publishing their links. With a single sweep Google eliminated all such rankings and now only genuine link building works.
For genuine link building and linkbaiting, you need quality content. Yes, you still need backlinks for better search engine rankings but these links need to be earned rather than purchased. High quality content on your website can ensure this.
Some people mistakenly believe that linkbaiting manifests just for the purpose of accumulating backlinks. Although this might be true in the parlance of SEO, a real linkbaiting effort can also earn you widespread brand recognition. There are many businesses that indulge in linkbaiting as an Internet marketing effort rather than just for SEO. In fact there is a greater chance of people linking to your content when you create valuable content for the benefit of your audience.
What sort of content facilitates linkbaiting?
There is no success formula for creating link bait content, but lists and infographics seem to go viral with a greater degree of success compared to normal articles and blog posts. For instance, something like “50 killer content marketing tips for small business” have a greater chance of going viral compared to “Successful content marketing for small business” despite having similar content.
The type of content needed for linkbaiting also depends on your audience. A blog post about “20 iOS features to die for” isn’t going to be a hit among Android fans, but “20 things that make iOS suck big time” may go viral instantly.
So understand your market and then create link bait content accordingly.