Types of Link Bait

Link bait is content on your website that other sites link to because they want to, not because you ask them to.
Types of Link Bait

Great content always serves as link bait. This is important to remember. When creating a blog post or revising copy on top-level pages, think about whether or not the content is link-worthy. Had you come across it in your daily perusal of the web, would you be likely to link to or share it with friends via social media?

Remember that while a social share doesn’t carry the same weight as an anchored link, it does get your content in front of more eyes. After all, users can only link to your content if they’ve discovered it.

Breaking news

Breaking news is the link bait of timeliness. When writing an article in reference to a particular event, product release, or software update, it’s highly likely that you’ll link to relevant news articles that support the information you’re dictating. For instance, if we’re covering the release of a new iPhone we’ll seek out timely resources (and link to them) to provide users with additional material to reference. This sort of supportive linking happens all the time. Essentially, if you are the source or purveyor of timely content chances are that you’ll get links!

Timeless content

Timeless content is lasting link bait. While timely content is in most cases ephemerally valuable, we’re not going to be covering the release of the iPhone 6 years down the road. Timeless content, or evergreen content, has lasting value. Whether it’s a piece that’s timeless in nature like an eBook on the fundamentals of Regular Expressions, or something that’s frequently updated like Moz’s search algorithm update history, always-relevant content is always link-worthy.

During the brainstorming phase of the creation of evergreen content, there are many qualifiers to consider before selecting an idea to pursue. Ask yourself these questions:

Are people searching for this? (Google AdWords Keyword Planner)
Is this a topic that is growing in popularity? (Google Trends)
How likely is it that this content will be obsolete in a year?
If this idea has already been materialized on the web, can I do it better?

Specific Examples of Linkable Assets

Widgets and gadgets make great link bait in that they provide a great deal of use and value to others on the web. There are countless examples of these sorts of things generating hundreds and of links in a relatively short span of time, and thousands in the long-run. Examples include:

Industry-specific calculators (e.g., a energy-efficiency calculator for home buyers)
Embeddable sidebar widgets (e.g., a feed of upcoming events in your industry)
Daily deals widgets (e.g., Groupon’s embeddable deal widget for referrers)

There are countless others as well. Remember, simply creating a widget won’t suffice. The challenge is to come up with something that provides real value to other websites’ users. If the widget you create is only useful for your users, or worse yet not useful at all, you can’t expect it to attract many embeds (links). Quality is key!

Quizzes and games

Quizzes and games are another great link baiting avenue to explore. While you have to be careful with your implementation, this is a strategy that can yield massive returns. One popular methodology (made infamous by the Oatmeal) is rewarding quiz takers with an embeddable “badge” that displays their quiz results and also links back to your website. Creativity goes a long way here. Given that this is a method that is largely played out, you’ll have to consider different ways that you can add a unique twist. Originality is everything.

Whitepapers and eBooks

Whitepapers and eBooks, along with other downloadable resources, can make great link bait as well. In providing members of your industry with a valuable resource, you’re also providing them with something that they’re likely to share with their community. This is the definition of ‘linkable asset.’

Video content

Video content can also be an incredibly effective means through which to attract links. Think about how many times you’ve linked to or shared a YouTube video. The viral nature of this type of content is what makes it extremely valuable. While links to your YouTube video are valuable, links to your web page (with the same YouTube video embedded) are even more valuable. Always embed, and the links will come!


Contests, especially ones that feature user-generated content, provide users with great incentive to link to your page. Your audience is invested simply because they want to win. If the winner is chosen by accumulating votes, entrants are compelled to share and link to your contest’s page. Never doubt the power of competition! If you have more than one winner, follow The Oatmeal’s lead by creating badges that your winners can embed on their site, linking back to the contest results page.