Linkbait is content that’s designed with the express intent of gaining inbound links. It’s also one of those concepts that sounds pretty simple, until you really start digging in. Do a little research on the subject and you’ll find that creating top notch linkbait is more of an art than pure science.

So let’s take a look at what exactly makes great linkbait and how you can start re-building those in-bound links the Penguin so cruelly crushed.

Defining Linkbait

There’s a fair amount of confusion about how to define linkbait. In a blog post back in 2006 Matt Cutts defined it as, “…anything interesting enough to catch people’s attention.” That definition is still somewhat accurate, but the practice has evolved considerably since then.

There’s also a fair amount of confusion regarding the difference between linkbaiting and viral content. The bloggers at came up with a great way of differentiating between the two that’s worth repeating, “The goal of viral marketing is exposure and branding. The goal of linkbaiting is links!”

What you’re going after when you’re figuring out how to write content that’s linkbait worthy is something that’s going to stick in the head of another blogger.

In short, your goal is to create a piece of content that inspires someone else to write a blog reading, “I ran across a great article today on another blog and it got me thinking.”

When you’re helping other writers create content for blogs, they’re more than happy to share your links.

Still figuring out how build links? Check out Link Building Post Penguin in 10 Easy Steps.

Creating Linkbait

In a blog post on SEOmoz titled, 4 Tips for Creating Link Bait Geoff Kenyon points out that good linkbait should be carefully targeted. Think about the influencers you want to spread your links. Examine their sites and figure out exactly what kind of material they’re sharing now.

When you’re shooting for a wider audience, consider content like embeddable videos, widgets and games. Gaming affiliates are certainly familiar with flash-powered poker and roulette games that can be embedded on any site.

Linkbait in Action

Perhaps the best example of linkbait, maybe ever, is the SEOmoz Beginners Guide to SEO. This incredibly popular piece of content is everything good linkbait should be. Not only is it broken up into easily posted, individual chapters, it’s an authoritative guide that provides serious value to anyone who is just getting started in SEO.

The Beginners Guide has not only created a forest of backlinks, it’s also helped establish SEOmoz as the go-to spot for SEO guidance. Not too shabby.


There’s a lot more to creating content for linkbait and we strongly recommend that you read up on the subject on sites like SEOmoz and

Don’t forget that linkbait needs to pop. Keep your headlines clever, but not too cute. Just think about all those links you’ve followed that really perked your interest and got you thinking about the subject at hand.

That’s linkbait.

How do you go about linkbaiting? Share your tips with the CAP community on our SEO Forum.


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