What Is Link Bait and How Does It Work?

How to Build a Backlinking Strategy to Grow Your Business

Web pages that attract many backlinks are known as link bait. Website owners and businesses produce this content to entice backlinks, offering exceptional, unique, and valuable content that influencers will gravitate towards. The snowball effect of this ensures your content features prominently in search engine results.

Yet if producing link bait was easy, everyone would utilize this tactic. That’s where this comprehensive guide can help. We cover everything required to produce high-quality link bait, with numerous tips and tricks to ensure you achieve your goals.

What is link bait?

Link bait is content that can take on various forms. Popular options include:

  • In-depth guides and resources (like the one you’re reading right now!)
  • Infographics
  • Video, GIF, image
  • Interactive content (a quiz, for example)
  • Product creation

How does link bait work?

Most content populating the internet doesn’t attract any links? Based on a study conducted by SEO giants Moz and BuzzSumo, over 75% of pages feature zero backlinks. Due to this, you must craft content explicitly designed to build links – which is where link bait steps to the forefront.

Link baiting differs from regular content in the way you present it. It generally needs to elicit some emotion from the reader, deliver considerable value, and provide a level of entertainment that maintains engagement.

A good example of “link bait” is a massively detailed guide. Aside from being thousands of words deep, a link bait guide will incorporate an original angle, flawless formatting, custom imagery and videos, and stacks of juicy statistics and details.

You could potentially go a few steps further with your link bait and design an entire software solution for people to use. An example of this is the Headline Analyzer Tool produced by Capitalize My Title. If someone is making a blog post describing how to create compelling written content, they could highlight this tool to optimize the impact of their headlines, thus making your tool a good source of backlinks.

Capitalize Title

To help you get the best out of link bating, here’s a look at some of the best practices:

Go with a highly visual approach

People love visual content. It catches the eye and helps users refocus when scrolling through a long guide. It’s worth using visual content as the brain processes visual content an incredible 60,000 times faster than text-based content.

Make it a mission to sprinkle visuals throughout your content. It may take more time and resources to produce quality imagery, but it’s a key element to elevating your content to the next level and turning a standard blog post into good link bait.

There are several paths you can go down with creating visual content. Videos are arguably the best option as it doesn’t have to remain as strictly a video. Take this content and turn sections into shareable GIFs. Also, there’s the possibility of crafting multiple images to highlight certain sections for added emphasis.

Infographics are another proven pick for visual content. They’re a great way to pack in a whole lot of information into a neat, attractive package. Take a look at this example below:

Visual Approach

Within a minute or so, you can enjoy and consume all of the bite-sized information supplied. Plus, if you capture a reader’s attention with the infographic, you can use your guide to expand on the stats and topics highlighted in the image.

It’s important to realize that creating a good infographic is an art form, and can’t be rushed, especially if you have no prior experience making them. Use plenty of useful tools to create stunning and engaging infographics, with one of the best tools being Canva. This design software is built with novices in mind, using a user interface that is not very complicated to use while still offering a high level of customization options. Add graphics, charts, text, and so many other forms of media on this platform, and they even provide templates to help you get started. When using Canva, here are a few tips to follow to ensure that you create the best infographic possible:

  • Highlight a lot of data – The purpose of an infographic is to share data in an easily digestible way. Make sure your infographic has a good amount of unique facts and statistics.
  • Be centered on a relevant topic – An engaging infographic needs to focus on one specific area – don’t highlight different, unrelated things. The more broad an infographic is, the worse it is.
  • Be simple to understand – Even if it presents complex and specialist data, make your infographic jargon-free and provide surface-level information that the average person should understand. This increases its potential to be shared as it makes it relevant to a broader array of users.
  • Be creative – An infographic needs to be eyecatching and fun to go through. Try using different themes and icons to make things pop. If this isn’t something within your field of expertise, there is always the option of hiring a freelance graphic designer to produce the infographic on your behalf.
  • Don’t make it too long – The purpose of an infographic is to condense data, so it will be fairly pointless if the infographic itself is a behemoth to get through. There’s no strict limit on how long your infographic can be, but less is always more.
  • Incorporate keywords – Adding in keywords and branding to your infographic will help make it more shareable and ensure that people know the source of it, helping to boost your link-building efforts in the process.
  • Have an obvious purpose with it – Never create an infographic just for the sake of it. A good infographic serves the purpose of enhancing a piece of content. If something within a piece of content needs explaining, it’s suitable to use an infographic to do this.
  • Cite its data – Data is hard to trust if there is no source cited. On your infographic, usually at the bottom of it, be sure to cite where your data and statistics came from, as this will make your infographic more trustworthy, increasing the likelihood that others will share it.

To obtain quality visual content quickly, platforms like Pixabay and Shutterstock offer royalty-free images. However, you may want to edit and enhance these before publishing to offer something unique for both readers and the search engines.

Deliver true value

It’s not uncommon for even experienced marketers to get it wrong when judging the concept of value with digital content. Instead of what matters, they focus on the wrong attributes – word count, content length, etc.

As a result, you must focus on what people want to read and what they perceive as true value. For instance, lists are a big thing in the world of content marketing for a reason. People love curated content, where they can gain a bunch of useful information, resources, and examples, all in one convenient list.

That’s just one example, but remember that your target audience is the key to link bait. Forget about appeasing Google with a set word count and specific keywords. These will come naturally as you produce the content.

A wise tactic is to take existing content and improve what is already out there on the internet. This is known as the skyscraper technique and can be a handy thing to implement yourself to help boost your link bait potential. It’s important to remember that this technique is not about regurgitating the same content differently, as that will not be effective, as your content won’t be bringing anything new to the table. Instead, enhance what is already out there in various ways. Some of the best ways to implement the skyscraper technique include:

  1. Making it Longer

If there is an article out there about the top 50 toys for dogs, it can be helpful to create a top 100 list that features more suggestions, thus making it more valuable to the reader as you’ll illuminate more options. When trying to do this, don’t give yourself an impossible task. Finding an additional 50 distinct dog toys should be doable, but that task can be tough if you decide to try and talk about 200 or 300 toys. Know the limitations and don’t overwork yourself to try and make a piece longer, as there are other options to enhance existing content. Take some time to carry out thorough research to ensure the article remains high-quality throughout.

  1. Making it More Up To Date

Content can quickly go out of date if it’s explicitly written about an event or moment in time, meaning that fewer people will find it valuable. Those within the SEO industry find this happens frequently. You can find these “dead” pieces of content and give them a new lease of life by updating them and making them suitable for current times by adding modern methods or studies. This will provide you with a fresh piece of content that’s cutting edge that people will want to link to, making it an excellent link baited piece.

  1. Making it Look Better

Suppose there’s a piece of content online that has good information and incredible stats and data but looks unprofessional and outdated. In that case, enhance this work and use it to help you create visually stunning content. To make your new content look a lot better, add banners at the top of the content and more images and publish it on an incredibly designed website. This will give your piece more value than the original and make your writing more likely to be the authority within that niche. Having an SEO audit can uncover if you have problems on your site that could cause your content not to do well.

  1. Making it More Thorough

Say you work as a digital marketing specialist and want to create a comprehensive guide on SEO tools. If you search Google for “free SEO tools,” you’ll find an assortment of guides listing a wide array of tools.

Free SEO Tools

As you can see from the image above, Search Engine Journal has crafted a guide that lists a whopping 109 free SEO tools. If you look at Search Engine Journal’s free SEO tools guide, you’ll see the descriptions for each one is little more than a sentence or two in most cases.


This presents an opening for you to exploit. You can go into much greater detail with each SEO tool and even demonstrate how to use the software with video guides, creating a prime piece of link bait that surpasses the competition.

When using these different ways to implement the skyscraper technique in your work, don’t focus on one of these ideas at a time. Try them all at once. A piece that is not only longer but one that is more up-to-date, prettier, and more thorough will have a considerable amount of additional value, making it a prime piece of link baiting content.

Inject some emotion

There are plenty of link bait examples on the internet which don’t evoke any type of emotion. The content is professional, neutral, and not all that exciting – but it does the job.

However, injecting emotion into your content is an excellent method to differentiate your content from the rest. In that regard, there are various emotions you can appeal to with your work. These include:

  • Humor
  • Excitement
  • Surprise
  • Awe
  • Anger

Take humor as an example. Being funny is a fantastic way to ensure your audience loves the content you produce. A regular stream of humor will keep them consuming your content. Once finished, readers have more incentive to share it with others on social media and potentially on their blog and own audience.

If you can’t make people laugh with your content, don’t worry – there are other choices as listed above. Controversy, where you provoke anger or surprise from readers, is a sure-fire way of gaining a flood of links pointing back to your site. With this technique, it’s best to go with a mini-controversy as you challenge conventional wisdom on a particular subject. This shouldn’t get readers angry, but it can get your audience talking and debating. A hot discussion topic will naturally gain a substantial number of links.

Go with a newsworthy approach


There’s the potential to attract backlinks from large, mainstream news websites. This option won’t work with every type of content you craft, but it’s worth knowing about. If you can incorporate newsworthy elements into your content, this can turn it into a goldmine for links.

As for what people consider as “newsworthy,” there are several routes available. This ranges from global reports to local news stories and television trends, and even scandals. There’s a lot of newsworthy content out there for you to use to your advantage.

However, you cannot be slow off the mark. If you incorporate the latest trending news, a delay in publishing your content can seriously detriment its overall impact. Yesterday’s news can’t compete with what is popular today.

One way to find newsworthy content is through newsjacking. As you can tell from the name, this is a tactic where you piggyback off the biggest news stories of the day, incorporating them into your content to draw attention to your brand. It delivers an immediate impact, where you join in as part of the trend and capture traffic for in-vogue keywords and search terms.

However, link bait is usually all about delivering on those juicy details. It’s about producing a comprehensive piece of content that covers everything about a certain topic. Unless you’re ambitious enough to generate thousands of words on a whim, how can you effectively add a newsworthy topic into the equation? Certain stories enable you to plan ahead of time. Consider the following examples:

  • Award ceremonies
  • Sports events (Super Bowl, NBA playoffs, Wimbledon, etc.)
  • Music festivals
  • A new season of a television show
  • A new installment in a movie franchise

While the newsworthy aspect will be your focal point in grabbing the readers’ attention, it doesn’t have to be the central portion of the content. Take this example from Entrepreneur:


This article isn’t anything groundbreaking in what it supplies to readers. If you look beyond the surface and its link to the TV show Better Call Saul, it’s simply a collection of tips about how to find customers. Although, placing the spotlight on the show gives the content an edge, a differentiator from the countless other articles listing customer finding tactics. This is why it suddenly goes from a standard piece of content to one with an enticing bait to catch many links.

Data-driven content

When you think about the type of content regularly quoted, linked, and shared by others, you’ll find that a lot of it has data, studies, and statistics within it. Statistics provides context and legitimacy to statements within the content. As a result, people love to link to content that cites specific statistics and data.

To elevate your piece, instead of linking to other data-driven content, why not take the step in creating your own for a delicious slice of link bait? There are different paths you can take to achieve this goal.

One of the most effective – and easiest – ways is to collate a large collection of relevant statistics.


This article from HubSpot is a perfect example. With so many statistics found in one place, it becomes a definitive resource for those searching about social media stats. Most importantly, each statistic can be link bait on its own. One article may quote one stat, while a different one will quote another – if you can write a piece of content with a vast number of statistics, the possibility of backlinks increases.

Another option to incorporate data-driven content is developing and conducting your own study to establish some valuable – and sharable – data. While you might not want to do this due to the perceived difficulty and cost of conducting a study, it doesn’t have to be either of these things. With the power of surveys behind you, for example, it’s possible to collect a large sample of juicy data without having to break the bank.

Data Driven Content

To produce an effective online survey, here are the steps to take:

  1. Define your research goals: What do you hope to achieve from your survey? What type of data and expected outcome are you planning on gathering? Decide this early on in the survey creation stage to help with the next step.
  2. Produce a list of questions: The great thing about surveys is you typically don’t only ask one question. You can list several questions, which offer the potential to collect data about a range of relevant subjects. As for the questions to ask, consider your audience and the data results that will produce searchability.
  3. Invite participants: This is generally the most difficult part of the process. Unless you have a large, captive audience as part of your email subscriber list, it can be challenging to get people to set aside what they’re doing to complete a survey. With that said, there are various methods available to entice responses. You can incentivize participation by offering a free gift such as an eBook or voucher. Alternatively, you could decide to use a dedicated consumer panel to buy survey responses. Either option works perfectly well.
  4. Analyze the results: Once you have received an applicable number of responses to your survey, it’s time to analyze the results. It’s important to take the data and present it in an easy way for others to consume – such as charts and graphs.
  5. Produce a report: The last part of the process is to write a report about your findings. By including additional context and details alongside the charts/graphs, you should have a report that’s perfect for being referenced and shared by others.

Try out the first method, and then create your study after. You can compare the difference between how well it performs as link bait content. Anything you learn from either stage can help you move forward for the next piece of content you produce.

Ego bait

Fueling someone’s ego might not seem like the most appropriate stance to take when producing link bait. However, several websites have benefited from going in this direction with their content.

Ego baited content is a type of content designed to attract the attention of relevant influencers in your industry. For a business within the food sector, one way of grabbing food-related influencers’ attention involves posting a blog post on your website that lists the top 100 food bloggers on the internet right now. As an example, Detailed has a list of the top 50 food and cooking blogs based on algorithms.

Ego Bait

This becomes link bait because you are appealing to the egos of the food bloggers you’re mentioning. You are highlighting how great they are and why their website is one to follow. As a result, these bloggers could share this content on their own websites and social media platforms. If you reference 100 food bloggers, there’s potential for 100 backlinks from just the bloggers you talk about.

Ego bait isn’t restricted to lists like these, either. There are numerous directions you can take with this form of content. One way is to create your own annual awards, handing out awards for different categories and bloggers within your niche.

In the same way as the example of listing influencers, this is likely to result in award recipients sharing the good news to their followers. Plus, unlike being included in a list, an award is much more shareable – great news for your link bait strategy.

Also, use your content to place the spotlight on just one individual. An example of this would be to create an article about what an individual has taught you. If you go with something like, ‘5 Essential Lessons I Learned About Business From [Insert name]’, this will stroke their ego to the point they’ll struggle not to shout from the rooftops about your content.

Furthermore, if you interview an influential figure as part of your content, don’t be scared to ask them to share what you wrote. This can be particularly effective if you produce a report that includes multiple personalities all sharing their own experiences. This article from Constant Contact about successful women entrepreneurs and their business advice demonstrates this:

Constant Contact

Not only is this link bait in the sense that it feeds into the ego of personalities that may share this content via their own volition, but the comprehensive nature of the content – where it covers advice from ten different business owners – makes it a highly sharable form of content on its own.

Tactics to maximize your link bait strategy

Once you’ve created your ideal piece of link-baited content, you still need to market it to ensure that people are aware of it and see it and ensure it has a head start over your rivals. Here are some marketing tips:

  • Social media: It’s one of the most popular forms of marketing for a reason. With your social media platforms, you can share content and get eyeballs on it right away. A simple Tweet or Facebook post can get the ball rolling towards the link bait promise land. This tactic will only work if you have a large following on your social channels, so be sure to spend time cultivating that audience by regularly posting valuable posts that are engaging and informative. Make sure that when you share a piece of content that you do so with the right platform. Sometimes it might not be appropriate to post a link to an article on your Twitter page as it may not be relevant to the bulk of your audience there. You should put aside time to craft engaging social content to promote your link bait content. However, this is worth it in the long run.
  • Email outreach: If you have a healthy collection of customer email addresses, it’s self-explanatory to send out a message letting them know about your latest content creation. When you don’t possess a big audience or following, it’s possible to find others within your niche to do the sharing for you.
  • Press release: This tactic is only applicable if you’re publishing a newsworthy piece of content such as a study. While you typically won’t gain any link juice from the actual press releases, bloggers and journalists will cover your story if they feel it is of interest to their audience. This will then lead to legit backlinks for your site.

Results matter

Another vital step to maximize link bait effectiveness is to measure the results. Are you receiving the number of links you expected? Perhaps you’re exceeding your targets? Maybe the content isn’t quite reaching the lofty heights you set?

Whatever the case may be, studying the analytics behind your content is important for the future. For instance, if your current link bait isn’t catching enough bites right now, is there a way to change the situation? Even if you feel like you have covered every area of a particular topic, there’s always room to add extra details, images, videos, etc. Alternatively, going in a different direction with the same content can spark life into its link potential.

Analyzing your link bait also gives you an idea of which direction to go in with future content. By testing out different strategies, you’ll learn which ones resonate best with your audience – and which ones you should discard from the equation.


When producing link bait, your main focus will be on crafting something original, visually appealing, and valuable. You need to create something that will make people want to link towards, so having that focus in mind when creating your content means you’ll be in a better position to build link-worthy content.

Generating content this way by following the tips highlighted in this article takes up far more resources than simply posting something more generic. However, the reward of doing this will mean that you’ll have something that is more likely to get attention. This attention will boost your SEO, improve your website authority, make you appear as a reliable industry within your niche, and even help increase your sales. All these potential benefits suggest that it’s very much worth your time creating link baited pieces of online content.