Beginners Guide to Linkbait

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  • June 29, 2007

Linkbait is the act of adding content to a website with the aim of attracting links from other sites. The content can take a variety of different forms from a unique tool or a breaking news story to a well written article or controversial image.

Sometimes linkbait is intentional but quite often the best linkbait is conceived quite by accident.

My favourite piece of link bait is the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. The download page has over 15 million links and is probably the most linked internal page on the web today.

Creating your linkbait

The first step to thinking of a really cool tool, unique news story or article is to find out what people want to read about. It sounds simple but following the breaking stories on the various social networking sites as well as Technorati and the BlogStorm Tracker will give you a unique insight into the weeks hot topics.

Another good tip is to search the social bookmarking sites for things related to your site that have been popular in the past. You might find a nice tool that was on Digg 2 years ago and be able to use it to inspire something more modern for your site.

Thanks to John from SEO Agency Leeds for helping me out here.

A quick look at some popular tools in different areas is often a good source of inspiration. For example you might see a tool on a car/auto website for valuing used cars and be able to apply it to your real estate site.

Top 10 lists

Although top 10 lists are very popular on sites like Digg they are actually the least successful kind of link bait. Most of the reputable sites won’t bother linking to a top 10 list unless it is really amazing or offers new information. You could try using a top 10 list to build a short burst of traffic but don’t expect a link from Engadget in return.


Well written articles or tutorials are an art form and are one of the hardest link bait methods to pull off unless you are well known or an exceptional writer. The article would need to be very well written and perfectly targeted towards your audience to succeed. If you want to try link baiting some quality articles you should concentrate on writing content that will help people, content that will offer such great benefits that other bloggers will want to link to your post to help their readers.


Most new linkbaiters should really start off with trying to break the latest news in their niche before anybody else. Done right this is an easy way to build links from authority sites and social bookmarking sites. You should also benefit from lots of new RSS subscribers who want to get more breaking news from you in the future. Gain a reputation for being the first to break the news and you will dominate your niche. If you break a big enough story you will find all the bloggers in your niche desperate to post about it and links will flow into the hundreds or thousands.

Apart from being the first to write about it the key aspect of writing a breaking news article is to make sure the article is of exceptional quality and includes the sort of images that other bloggers will want to use on their sites. You need to make sure that your article is the authority that others will want to link to. If somebody else explains the story better or has more details then they will attract the links.

Finding news to write about can be very hard. Building relationships with larger companies is impossible for most bloggers so you will be reliant on subscribing to press releases and news feeds in most cases.

If you can be the second site to write about something and promote it in the right way you can often overtake the first site and become the “source” yourself. The best way to find breaking stories that have not yet become mainstream is to subscribe to a load of RSS aggregator feeds. Below are some of my favourites:


For anybody with a bit of imagination and a talented programmer, creating a tool for your site is the easiest way to link bait. Make the tool useful and well presented and its very easy to link to. Unique and useful tools can often turn a commercial site that struggles to attract any natural links into a useful resource that even competitors will link to and use on a regular basis.

Common ideas include methods to help people find information about products, test their websites, improve their skills, generate images or content for blogs and social networking profiles. Some of the best tools build millions of links without the users even knowing they are part of some clever link bait scheme.

As with any type of link bait the presentation of the tool is very important. Although it sounds like a cliché making good use of AJAX is a great way to improve the linkability of your tool.

Get sued or sue somebody

This technique is only recommended for those with deep pockets or a postal address in an obscure country where you are unlikely to ever face court.

If you decide to take on an industry giant like Google then the links will flow nice and fast. Make sure you have a good case to maximise your links.

Presenting your link bait

Although successful link bait will attract thousands of visitors you should not expect the visitors to click on any Adsense adverts or buy any products from your site. The best way to make your site stand out and attract links is to remove all the adverts. Yes, you read that part right. Remove your adverts. You can put them back on in a months time if you like but make sure the page is clean, well laid out, easy to read and ad free.

The next part is very important, you need to have a selection of bookmark buttons at the bottom of your page. Use the icons from each site to form the buttons so they are familiar to your visitors. The goal is for readers arriving from sites like Digg and Stumble Upon to like your site and bookmark it at and Reddit while they are visiting.

Design is another essential skill in a link baiters arsenal. The page needs to look great and not look like just another WordPress blog. Invest the time and money required to make your site look great. People who go the extra mile and design custom graphic for a particular article or blog post will get more links because of it. If you are really creative then adding an image that’s cool enough for other bloggers to use it on their blogs while they link to you will make you more memorable and maximise the potential of your link bait.

Next week: Promoting your link bait

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

  • Meads

    Great article, really looking forward to next week’s article.

  • Keyboardhustler

    Awsome, thanks a lot! Im also looking forward to next week’s article! Smile

  • Ash

    Keep it up, another great post Smile

  • Root

    Nice article, waiting for next week’s article 😉

  • http://WebmasterGrade.Com Tulip

    Thanks for such useful info , It would be better if you could explain tools used in link baiting !


  • AffiliateSeeking

    Wow, what an article. I had actually looked into doing something very useful on my site and never got round to doing it, but after reading the article I now realize that I think it would have been a link bait. I didn’t know this at the time, but come to think of it now, it would have got quite a few other sites linking to it, especially in the forums. I am definitely going to look into doing some tools on my site.

    Thanks for this great article and inspiration.

  • Ren

    great tips. thanks!

  • wengchun

    Awesome read…looking forward to the next one.


  • Andrew

    Great tips

  • Vicky!

    Very nice.

    I am pretty sure this is another linkbait article :p

  • Deca

    Thanks for your nice article Smile

  • Fable

    Very nice article. There’s definitely some unique ideas for link-baiting stashed away in there; I personally never would have thought of the whole ‘suing for link-bait’ idea. Pure genius! 😉

  • Karla

    Design is another essential skill in a link baiters arsenal. The page needs to look great . . .

    Um . . . will you be practicing what you’re preaching?

  • Jag

    not sure if this really works, but definately I guess it’s worth a try!

  • David

    Great article… looking forward your next post!!

  • kumar

    Thanks for great article
    keep it up

  • Razi

    Great Tips. Thank You!


    Great articles. Thank you.

  • Brandon

    look forward to how to promote links Smile
    Keep up the good work

  • seo backlinks analysis tools

    Thanx for awesome article .This article is worth


    great article. I will try it

  • Cheap SEO Service

    Great information !

  • http://WebmasterGrade.Com Complete Seo Tool

    Thanks for such useful info , i couldnt stop my self to read whole article


  • Webee

    Great article for newbies like m

  • John Pachecus

    Good tips.. thanks

  • Terry

    I like this:

    Get sued or sue somebody Smile

  • Jane

    it’s amazing when it comes to sue anyone, may work really but you have to have lready a lil popularity to catch everyone’s eyes.

    I’ll use the tips and see what’s happenning.

  • Byron

    Very nice mate, very good article. Hopefully i will be able to get this right too. Will keep updates with results…

  • Senor Von Swago

    Great article. Top Ten lists are a great link bait as long as they are new. If it isn’t fresh it won’t get links, simple as that.

  • lowster11

    Great article. Keep up the great work!!

  • George Manlangit

    “The best way to make your site stand out and attract links is to remove all the adverts.”

    OUCHHHH! I’m guilty of this. I have been rethinking this and actually have started to tone down on most of my sites.

  • uttoransen

    thanks for your great tips!
    am planning to implement some of them, cheers!


    I would just like you to know that I think this article was awesome.

    I kind of disagree with you on the top 10 lists, however. You can write 10 times the amount of top 10 lists in the time you can write a well written article.

    Therefore, you have more of a chance of one of your top 10 lists hitting high “linkbait” status.

  • Buddha

    great tips. thanks!

  • Dez Blanchfield

    Interesting post, got me thinking about the topic, thanks!

    For my money though, I have to say that I’m really very much over the deluge of bloogy useless posts about nothing that seem to be the norm in most of the mini-blogging sites you mentioned (and others).

    I think if someone goes to the effort of actually authoring an average (i.e. 150 words or more) sized post, they make some small effort to make it worth the time they take to edit and post it.

    The new trend of just posting links or images or any other quick post crap that takes the fancy of the “mini blogger” is just filling the web up with yet more useless crap that we’re already over loaded with ;-(

    Sorry, but honestly, we can throw out the junk tabloids we get in the post box each week full of paid advertising and house listings and they are gone for good to be recylced as pulp paper, but the bloogy internet stores this crap for ever and ever and we end up with more and more of it in search engine results and the value of what we can find and read in time is increasingly diluted



  • jbrock

    everything sounds great but I wish that you posted some examples.

  • fel3232

    Great info, Thanks a million and

  • Matt Arnold

    This is a great blog entry. Thanks for the info!

    I’ve recently setup my first blog so I will definately be in need of some great linkbait to get it off the ground.

    Maybe I should remove my ads until I start getting a decent PR or memberbase?

  • Cybernautix

    Very interesting. The real question and is probably left to the imagination is “what to do”.

    Your overall view of link bait is great.

  • http://http:/ ogaden

    thanks for your great tips!
    am planning to implement some of them, cheers!

  • Insane Seb

    Another great way to attract new readers is by offering software (goes into your Tools category I think) like the one I’m offering. I got the rights to give away a great piece of software called Ezine Machine V.1 — just check out and get it for yourself.

    thanks and great blog.. i subscribed Smile

    Insane Seb

  • Work At Home Opportunities

    Great linkbait article, great tips.

  • Tony

    Great article


  • John

    Didn’t know this was called linkbaiting, but I have a few new ideas after reading your article. Thanks!

  • felix

    Great info, but I only wish you explained a little more on the linkbait.

  • s_jenkins

    great article! do you think that ‘baiting’ is a gives the term ‘linkbaiting’ a bad precedence? it seems that some people think that ‘linkbaiting’ automatically means a trap of sorts. in the same breath, does google penalise for the term ‘linkbait’?

  • cziv

    Great information to get things started. I will be trying all of those …


  • Palcomweb

    Link baiting is a new and progressive method of increasing link popularity.
    You can easily create quality content on Link Bait .once it is online people will come to know about your views and wouls automatically link to it. It is more or less anything you create anywhere on the Web that inspires other people to link to it.
    Link baiting involves a list of 6 hooks thar are generally known as

    are the hooks every avid link baiter must master.

    The above given points are very useful but it involves a lot of hard workwriting high quality content and proper popluarity.palcomonline is a web design development and hosting company based in noidawe provide expert seo services.

  • HealthInsurance

    That makes total sense. I did not even know what link baiting was. I think I have read somewhere that is not liked by Google. Now I am thinking what can I implement on my website. Great blog thanks for sharing on Digitalpoint

  • Abiquddoos

    I am new to this wonderful idea. I liked it and will try best to apply it on my new search engine optimization blog.
    I hope it can work for me as after gaining some post up on the blog, will be interested in linkbait school signup to further increase my knowledge of link baiting!

  • seojig

    really great information about link baiting. i like the most important part from this article is to publish unique news.i think this is the best way to get more and more links for your site.

  • Vishal Sharma on Startups, Technology Trends…

    Thanks for providing such a detailed article

  • Geraldine

    This is great. Thanks. :]

  • Nick

    Thanks a lot for the info

  • Dean

    Very usefull & interesting post

    Thanks so much

  • Jaxey

    Good Article Smile .. Go On .

  • ideaman

    Wow… I learn something new about linkbaiting.

    Thanks for the good article.

  • Leandro

    Great article! thanks a lot…

  • Gene

    Very well written. Thanks for the article.

  • guru

    the info was very useful , it would be more better if it also sited some examples of a linkbait

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    Great article. Thanks for sharing with us

  • Link Baiting Guide

    thank you for the article.. i list the top 7 link baiting guides.

  • finding an honest webhost

    This article itself is a linkbait. I just bookmarked it in because I know I need this soon. Thanks for the great insight.

  • SEO Blogger

    Thanks, Patrick! Very useful article!

  • niCEsHARE

    Remove the Ads??? Apparently you don’t need to do this as long as you are neat with it – put them where it is not bugging your visitors. I prefer putting it at the bottom at the first start or the side, then move it to the top when you have enough ranks and loyal visitors. One more best way avoid pop-up at any cost 😉

  • Admin

    Great article, I think i might consider most of things You;ve said here and use it to incerase the populatiry of geekhall…

  • Alina

    Interesting article. Maybe I’ll use some techniques…

  • shana

    good tips for newbies like me..thank you

  • SEO Company Leeds

    An excellent post. There is some really useful tips that I will utilise..Cheers

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  • Richard

    Really good article, gave me a couple of ideas that I’ll try out.

  • Gregor Spowart

    Great post Patrick.

    Most of the posts I read about baiting only give a broad idea of potential topics you might want to think about for link baiting. But you’ve gone a step further and presented a number of different types of linkbait.


  • Simon Dance

    Just read your ebook c/o Lyndon, and aside from keeping me up until the early hours of this morning, both this and the ebook are excellent.

    Hats off Patrick… great stuff.

  • SEO Webmaster

    Thanks, Patrick! Very useful article!

  • Amol

    I am visiting your site for the first time.You write the posts in a way newbies like me can understand..I have removed all the ads on my site :)It looks cleaner now.
    Thanks for the tips…Great resource.

  • masterza

    Very interesting article must all check and try, thank you!

  • jpmwhelan

    Really interesting post. I appreciate your insights. I’ll have to reference this again from time to time.

  • chat room

    really great information about link baiting. i like the most important part from this article is to publish unique news.i think this is the best way to get more and more links for your site.

  • Peter

    Hi, Excellent article. Adobe Acrobat Reader is my favourite as well. i am really looking forward for your next article. Thanks.

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  • Toad Press

    lol@”Get sued or sue somebody”

  • Rimona

    Good afternoon. You have to have funny faces and words, you can’t just have words. It is a powerful thing, and I think that’s why it’s hard for people to imagine that women can do that, be that powerful.
    I am from Saudi and know bad English, give true I wrote the following sentence: “Sarah sandori is the food and entertaining columnist for the solid gold info writers consortium.”

    Thanks for the help :P, Rimona.

  • Burning

    great article ths

  • Keyword Research Tools

    Link baiting has been used for several years now even by top blogger such as John Chow and Pro Blogger. I enjoyed reading and keep it up. Also read your story and how your blog backlinks and traffic exploded in such a little time.


  • Learn To Start An Internet Business

    Patrick,many thanks for another useful lesson from you ! Your blog is really an informative site to visit as it filled with many good articles !

  • http://sowr Pic

    it’s amazing when it comes to sue anyone, may work really but you have to have lready a lil popularity to catch everyone’s eyes.


  • Murray Newlands

    Great artical some more examples would be good.

  • Dimind seo blog

    Very useful article! Thanks, Patrick!

  • felix

    wow! Its indeed an interesting way of getting traffic. its just what we need… thanks

  • Photographic Backgrounds Colourscape

    What a great article. Must give it a try myself sometime !!

  • zayıflama

    What a great article. Must give it a try myself sometime !!

    Source: Linkbait: Beginners Guide to Linkbaiting

  • Gidin

    Good tips 😉

  • kravchik

    Many thanks!

  • SEO Pro

    Great info for the start-ups. No wonder your blog has reached the level of success it has now. I have been successful with articles and top 10s in the past. You are right, you never know, sometimes they come when you don’t expect them. Which is always a good thing.

  • Maks

    useful +1

  • Voyage Montreal

    Wow, these are some great tips!


  • Daz

    Hard to believe that you wrote this article 2½ years ago and it is still relevant, probably moreso today. Excellent content and advice. What do think to using software as a free digital download as linkbait? I know its not a web tool but can it be just as effective?

  • enozth

    Great tips ! i would like to say thank you.

  • bank

    Thanks, Patrick! Very useful article.

  • Necati- Internet Marketing Blog

    Linkbait is the act of adding content to a website with the aim of attracting links from other sites.

    This definition seems too inclusive to me. I am sure many people with the SEO-mindset almost always have that aim in mind -among others. And I don’t agree either when you say linkbaiting can be accidental. I think the term itself has a notion of “intention” in it.

    To me, the publisher wishes for backlinks for every piece of content produced, but he is deliberately cooking something up when he designates content as linkbait.

    English is my second language but I’d be terribly surprised if I were the only one thinking this way.

  • Artem

    Great information to get things started.

  • Kim

    Thanks for the info. I look forward to trying your ideas on my site for Tabletop Trees.

  • kiev

    I had trouble finding this information on the Internet!
    Thank you for taking the time to post!

  • Euro Buy

    Thanks i wanted to do my own link baiting and it is fairly easy, all you got to come up with is a title that ranks well in google keyword tool.

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  • cleophon

    Great article. Keep up the great work!!

  • Mr. Magic

    Gonna think about magic that’ tool :)

  • paranormal real

    hmmm some good pointers, but sue somebody just for lnks, that is risky and not a nice thing to do :/

  • Brisbane IT

    Great article. Our top viewed post has been a top 10 list too. thanks.

  • host file man

    Suing people for links is completely pointless and leaves you with a bill for the court proceedings, other than that your blog has some good points

  • Opiyo SEO Cheltenham

    Very useful article – I’m looking to produce some new infographics, as they’re perfect link bait (from experience)!

  • Sarkari Naukri

    Thanks Patrick. good posts great tips.

  • Tina

    Id like to see an example of the sueing increasing web links, soo who’s first then? :)

  • Kris

    A good starting point for anyone looking to create a viral piece of content – you do need a pinch of luck in there as well though :)

  • Rebecca

    Thanks for the tips. I had never heard of linkbait before. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on the news in my niches and try to be the first one out with an authority piece. Good stuff!

  • Printing

    An excellent guide here for all beginners in SEO. This is a great starting point for those looking at linkbaiting.

  • New Look Discount Code

    Ahh linkbait, how we love it so.

  • David

    Great Stuff, four years on and still very relevant information for us newbies.

  • новости спорта

    Thanks for the tips. I had never heard of linkbait before. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on the news in my niches and try to be the first one out with an authority piece. Good stuff!

  • Brisbane IT Support

    Ahh 2007… the calm before the storm that was infographics (or infocraphics in many cases), lol.

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