8 useful linkbait tips for successful SEO in 2011

Linkbait is the single most effective and affordable way to obtain quality inbound links for SEO purposes. Put simply, I consider any content that entertains, informs, and attracts inbound links as valuable linkbait.

With 2011 predicted to be the year of the social media bubble, effective linkbaiting is going to become more pivotal than ever as people turn to mediums like Twitter as their first source for information. By writing content that provides value, is easy to read, and making it easy to share, you’ll attract more inbound links than an amazing steve jobs action figure.

Here are 8 useful linkbait tips that will help you drive more links to your site in 2011:

  1. Be one of the first to write about a new or upcoming topic.

    By staying ahead of the curve, your content will be indexed by Google faster, allowing your site to quickly become an authority on the topic. As an example, I wrote a post the other week on how to fix an issue with apachectl caused by a Mac OS 10.6.5 update the same morning the update was released. The post quickly rose to the top of Google for related searches, resulting in a significant amount of traffic and inbound links literally overnight.

    Similarly, I could have titled this post “8 useful linkbait tips for successful SEO in 2010”, but since there is only a month and a half left in the year, why not make it 2011? The early bird gets the worm.

    Watch for news or issues related to your niche and write about them as soon as possible. A good resource for finding up and coming topics related to your industry is Google Trends. Other topics might include upcoming holidays, seasons, events, or product releases.

  2. Write instructional guides or how-to’s in your area of expertise.

    As 37signals advocates, sell your byproducts (or give them away for free). You are an expert in your field, and while a lot of what you know may not seem that valuable, it probably is. Share your knowledge and you will show potential customers that you know what you’re doing, as well as become an authority amongst others in your field.

  3. Write “x tips on some topic of interest” articles.
    E.g. this post. Other examples might include:
    — 10 useful resources on …
    — 25 things to do for …
    — 9 easy techniques for …
    — 12 ways to …
    — 10 mistakes to a void when …

    Ideally, you can combine these types of articles with a new or upcoming topic, as described above. Let the reader know that your article is organized in a way that is easily readable and succinct; it will add value.

  4. Write locally targeted content.

    Target content towards your local audience. It’s easier to rank higher in Google and you’ll appeal to local bloggers who love to share.

  5. Write content that entertains people - don’t be a bore!

    Don’t be afraid to show some personality. People are more likely to share content that is both informative and entertaining.

  6. Put together a compilation of high quality, informative resources on a certain topic.

    Spend a couple of hours researching your topic of interest and amalgamate the most useful resources into one easy to read “guide”. People will appreciate you doing the legwork for them and are more likely to share your content. Of course it’s ideal if you can find a topic that attracts your target audience.

  7. Spread the word via social media, but don’t spam.

    Good content just needs a little nudge to get the word out. Tweet about it, share it on Facebook, and assuming your content is well written, informative, and entertaining, your audience should take care of the rest. People will detect when you’re trying to shove the content down their throats, so avoid posting your article to every social network known to man. Have faith in your content.

  8. Get to the point.
    Don’t fluff up your content with boring, irrelevant filler. People are busy and you’re likely to get only a minute or two of their time. Get to the point sooner and your content will deliver its value more efficiently. As an example, when writing this article, I was able to rattle off 8 tips for building quality linkbait; I probably could have come up with more to get to a nice round number, but the quality of the content would have quickly degraded.

Here are a few good resources worth checking out on writing quality linkbait:

SEO: Link Baiting Tips To ‘Juice’ Your Site
— “You might wonder if elements of your ecommerce site could become worthy link bait. I hate to break this to you” but probably not. Link bait is the sort of thing that tends to spread virally through email and the blogosphere.”

All Linkbait Is Not Created Equal: What Linkscape Reveals About Popular Content
— “What is the premier type of linkbait you see on the web? Of course, it’s the gimmicky stuff. It often performs the best in social media, and thus we’re fooled into thinking that it’s the best form of link building.”

Link Bait: Tips To Get More Inbound Links
— “While content is always king, it’s important to create content that will draw traffic most relevant to your niche”

10 Link Bait Tips for Small Business Marketing</strong>
— Some creative ideas for link baiting techniques for small businesses

SEO Advice: linkbait and linkbaiting
— Linkbaiting examples by Google employee and popular blogger Matt Cutts (a bit dated, but still relevant)

Linkbait Tips And Tricks
— Ideas for effective linkbait “hooks”

If you have other ideas for building quality linkbait, feel free to share them here.

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