Attract External Links to Your Web Site by Using Link Magnets and Bait

If you want to attract links to your Web site, you can set yourself up as a link magnet or put out some link bait and wait for the links to come to you. Link magnets are typically creative Web applications, tools, how-to guides, reference materials, or any information that is unique and valuable to users. Link bait is content, such as interesting articles or videos, that you create for the purpose of attracting attention and links.

The difference between the two is that a link magnet is for the purpose of attracting relevant links, whereas link bait is mostly good for short-term traffic. In some cases, link bait can translate into long-term links, but that’s only if you have good content to go along with the video or blog or other tantalizing things you’ve just released.

Attract Long-Term Links with Link Magnets

Generating information, applications, tools, or ideas that people talk about is a surefire way to generate links: this is the benefit of a link magnet. Developing an idea for a link magnet takes some dedicated brainstorming and creative thought, as well as a good understanding of your target audience and what they might find useful or even humorous. For example, research that generates data or insights into the differences between competing services might be highly valued by a technology audience.

Creative insight that grabs everyone's attention and generates discussion is what you’re after. When you come up with an idea, actual construction of the link magnet may also require hard work, although some link magnets can be developed with little effort.

Attract Short-Term Links with Link Bait

Adding an article section to your site or posting articles on a blog can be a valuable source of links. Not only are articles a good way of adding keyword-rich content to your site, but they can also be a good way of attracting links. Other sites frequently link to articles that provide useful advice or information in order to share it with others.

There is a difference between articles that you write to provide information about your products or company and articles that can be deemed link-worthy. The latter tends to be non-commercial, informative, and entertaining, whereas the former tends to be more marketing-oriented, like a page describing your product or service that is not designed to garner links and draw traffic, but merely to give more information to people already interested in you.

The key to writing articles that generate links is to make sure the article is something that viewers want to read and share with others. Think of it as an article you would read in a magazine, not just something written strictly for search engine optimization (SEO) value.

Many different types of content can be used as link bait:

  • Top 10 lists: These have nearly become cliché online, but can still be effective if they are new and fresh.

  • How-to guides: Explain how to do something in a clear and easy way. Visuals, like images or videos, can be helpful.

  • Articles about hot button issues: Debate a controversial industry-related topic.

  • Resources: Offer new research, information, tools, charts, and graphs.

  • Humorous and off-beat material: Include funny stories and topics.

  • Games: They can be developed for fun that may or may not be related to your industry.

Using engagement objects such as images and other rich media can be also an integral part of link building. Blended search (searching for different types of content, such as text, videos, photos, and so on) is becoming a bigger part of search engine algorithms as they mix various types of files into search results. You can utilize video and Flash animations to help your overall Internet marketing campaign, raise brand awareness, and also help generate quality links.

Videos can be a great way of increasing awareness of your Web site. The key to a good video is to make it unique and link-worthy. The video should incorporate branding and advertising strategies, but above all, it should be entertaining.

The best way to build link popularity with a video is to embed the video into a Web page on your site. This way, anyone linking to the video is directly linking to your site, which is of course the primary reason for using it. However, showing up on a search results page as a blended result might be a secondary goal as well. You can increase the likelihood of meeting that goal by adding links from your site to the videos you have put on YouTube.

After you have embedded a video on your site, you need to promote it. Issuing a press release is one way to do this. You can also bring awareness to your video through social news sites like Digg and Reddit, as well as social bookmarking sites like Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Furl. Twitter is a great way to build a community and put out information as well.

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