Depends on your industry focus. For us:
1. timely seasonal articles with outreach program.
2. free download providing hard to find info but all nicely packaged of course as it increases perceived value: fun/interesting/niche maps; guides; etc.
3. this works to a degree in some instances though it can backfire: highly opinionated targeted articles intended to get others to link to you to show what a "jerk" you are.
Wheel... I've slept since then, but IIRC you're strong on calculators. Focus on those as that seems a strong point for you. And to all others, focus on what is strong or passionate. You'll come across as believable. Forcing content you don't believe in, or merely think (as a general statement, not to Wheel in particular) can make a buck will come off cheap--and lose visitors on the first page. Content is king. I know this refrain grows weary but it is true. What site masters all too often fail to achieve is the HOOK that gets the visitor to spend more than 30 seconds on their website...and if you have ads there, too, perhaps generate some income. Find that hook!
find at least 10-15 highly influential bloggers who all seem to have said the same thing within the last 7 days within your genre.
write a blog post on a current topic and disagree with them completely. Criticize their opinions (be sure to make a solid point, but do not insult the person; only their views)
trackback some of the posts of the most influential. spread the article through social media channels.
duck and cover!
links are links, so long as you don't mind a negative review or ruffling some feathers. I have had success with this tactic, but it is not something I would recommend if your client is brand-cautions.
Great post Wheel!
I'm thinking about link bait too, but one thing is still unclear for me - even if you have a perfect candidate for a link bait - how to spread the world? You mentioned that you are hiring somebody to do this, can you please give some ideas?
I need to make some calculators for a site, but I don't have a clue how to do it. Any suggestions? And can you do an embed like youtube does with videos for a calculator?
I cant believe how big you are on those calculators wheel hehe.
I used to not be able to imagine how/why people oculd find calculators so useful...until someone on the internet forum of my college created a calculator that calculated the average grade of students, and everybody loved it....there was an obvious lack/need for that.
There are a ton of needed calculators.
Let's say you're a US health insurance broker selling 5 health plans. Now, I haven't looked at that market, but I gotta believe that there's a billion of those sites with premiums shopping services - very saturated I bet. So how to distinguish yours?
Simple. If folks are comparing stuff, I bet it's just the premium. But health insurance policies have things like deductibles, copays, and caps (or maybe they did away with the caps recently in the US? I didn't follow that closely, Anyway....). So the cheapest may not be 'the cheapest'.
plan A, premium A. 80% copay, $10 per visit, $20,000 max.
plan B, premium B. 100% pay, $50 per visit, $10,000 max.
Now what plan is the cheapest? It's no longer what premiums are cheapest, it's what plan will be the lowest out of pocket, and I suspect that depends on how many times you go to see the doctor.
So write a calculator that figures out if you go to see the dr. once a year what plan is the cheapest, or if you go to see the dr. 20 times a year what plan is the cheapest. Now run an 'out of pocket' health insurance shopping system rather than a straight premium shopping system.
If I was doing it myself, I'd probably hook up with a statistician, get some average US useage stats somewhere, and combine with something like monte-carlo simulation. Now you've got yourself a calculator.
You gotta be able to get good links with a calculator like that. I think that'd also be good for a viral campaign. Some grassroots forums and blogs are going to find that spin newsworthy I would expect.
[edited by: wheel at 1:24 pm (utc) on Mar 31, 2010]
If you're in jewellery, I'd think a 'what's it worth' calculator might work. Say I've got Grandma's jewellery collection. I want to find out what it's really worth. There has to be some sort of objective calculation on the value - average ring contains so much gold X $/ounce + so much per carat for diamonds, etc. Doesn't have to be right, just in the ballpark to get some link traction. Again, haven't looked at that industry, but I'd guess there's nothing like that out there. But there's certainly some subset of consumers interested in finding out what their jewellery is 'worth' even if they're not selling it.
The obvious counterpart to this in the SEO community are those 'how much are my sites worth' calculators. Not very accurate, but everyone suffers from morbid curiosity over them.
...and while we're probably not supposed to talk that specifically here, clearly there are examples in pretty much any industry of great calculators you can create. Start with 'what would my customers find interesting or useful'. And if that fails, start with 'how can I demonstrate my expertise in the industry'?.
Because much of the stuff I do online and offline, involves positioning myself as the expert/authority in my industry. My clients deal with me specifically because I am an expert.
I have spotted a fantastic gap in the web development market for a calculator. I was looking for certain information and found one site that was a calculator, but you had to register (which was a pain), and the calculator was so inflexible (it wanted far too much information as standard and you couldn't just run calculations based on a few bits of info, it was all or nothing) that it was completely useless to me.
I'm actually a bit surprised that there is nothing out there, but there isn't. And this is in the webmaster/web development niche, one you would think that is saturated. All these huge agencies out there and none of them have thought/bothered to do it.
Guess what my first linkbait project for my own site will be?
Build something useful.
Write something interesting.
Work on a project and report your results step by step.
Linkbait for the sake of linkbait is only needed in niches where linkbaiters abound. Choose a subject that won't require you to worry about linkbait?
Just apply the 5 main types of hooks to the genre you are in and will likely develop alot of different ideas.
* News hook
* Contrary Hook
* Attack Hook
* Resource Hook
* Humour Hook
Tools work great as a resource hoook in some industries, but often the contrary hook can generate a large amount of links over time from some very strong resources.
"The obvious counterpart to this in the SEO community are those 'how much are my sites worth' calculators. Not very accurate, but everyone suffers from morbid curiosity over them."
- thanks for the in-depth explanation & examples wheel (only read it now!)
1. Try creating a blog widget that links back to your site.
2. Try sponsoring a free wordpress theme, and adding links in the footer.
3. Try competitive link analysis and contact websites sharing "resource links" and invite them to link to an additional resource.
|2. Try sponsoring a free wordpress theme, and adding links in the footer. |
I think its generally considered that 'sponsoring a free wordpress theme' is NOT a wise way to get backlinks. Too many people have been burnt that way!
(You have no control on just what quality of site the link will end up)
Obviously, that's true. You have zero control over where the links come from. It's somewhat of a risky proposition, but one that's paid off big for some.
Hey, it's a tactic. Not for everyone.
Infographics is one thing that can apply to all niches and industries..Collect all important statistics, facts, 'do you know's, etc. about a particular product or vertical and create an infographic out of them. You can get beautiful graphics done for less than $20-$25. They are such an amazing linkbait..
|(You have no control on just what quality of site the link will end up) |
I don't think Google penalizes your website for having links from spam and scam sites..If that were the case, wouldn't it be very easy to create a thousand malware sites and link to all your competitor sites from them..
Maybe not *that* easy to do, but I've no reason to doubt people here who've said it happened to them. It's called 'Googlebombing'.
Yes, with Googlebombing, I could perhaps link your 'red widget' site to rank for say, "malware". But that shouldn't affect the optimization you have made for 'red widget'..Probably you may end up receiving a lot more untargeted visitors.
Having said that, I do believe Googlebombing is no longer as effective as it once was.."Miserable failure" no longer points to George Bush..