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How to Get More Search Engine Traffic With Internal Linking – Quick Sprout

How to Get More Search Engine Traffic With Internal Linking – Quick Sprout


How to Get More Search Engine Traffic With Internal Linking

Posted: 10 May 2019 05:56 AM PDT

In order for your website content to rank, it needs to have links.

All too often I see sites spending too much time focusing on building backlinks that they end up neglecting their internal linking strategy. Don’t get me wrong; getting links from other websites is crucial for your SEO value as well.

But with that said, at the end of the day you technically don’t have control over what goes on another website.

That’s not the case with internal linking. You, and only you will have complete control over your internal links.

Let’s start off with the basics. What exactly is an internal link? These are links that connect two pages on the same domain. Internal links have several different purposes and benefits.

First of all, they make it possible for users to navigate through a website. For example, how do you get from your site’s homepage to a contact page or about page? Through an internal link.

Internal links help establish a hierarchy for your website’s architecture. They spread ranking power and page authority (also known as “link juice”) around your website.

On the surface, internal linking is a simple concept. However, just because you have internal links on your site, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll benefit from higher search rankings and site traffic. That’s why I created this guide.

I’ll explain the proper way to apply internal links on your site from an SEO perspective.

Define your site structure

The content and pages on your site need to have a hierarchy that’s logical. Otherwise, you’re just going to end up with a bunch of random and unrelated pages in the eyes of Google.

When search engines rank websites, the crawlers use the site architecture to determine how important pages are contextually to figure out which content is the most relevant.

The more clicks it takes to get from the homepage to another page on your site, the less powerful that page will be. So you need to use internal links to create a shallow depth, meaning you want just one or two clicks (three at the most) to navigate anywhere on your site.

Shallow Depth Linkingquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Shallow-Depth-Linking-300×116.png 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 692px) 100vw, 692px” />

As you can see from this site map example, the architecture is broken down into just three tiers of content.

Your homepage and top-level content pages will have the highest page authority. The further you get away from the homepage, the lower the authority will be.

So if it takes ten clicks to get from your homepage to your blog, then internal linking between blog posts isn’t going to add much SEO value, since there isn’t enough link juice to pass between pages. Google won’t recognize those pages as important when your site is being crawled.

On the flip side, logical site structures with a shallow depth will not only add SEO value when your site is being indexed, but it will also improve the user experience.

Website visitors will have an easier time navigating and finding what they’re looking for, which will ultimately reduce your bounce rate and help improve traffic as well.

Keep producing content

Once your website structure has been optimized, you don’t get to just sit back and relax. You need to continue producing high-quality content on a regular basis.

By creating more content, you’re also adding more linkable assets on your site.

This makes it easier for you to put in as many links as possible, and build these links at scale. Ultimately, this will improve your overall internal linking strategy.

So what types of content should you produce? There are plenty of options to consider.

  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Photos
  • Tutorials
  • “How to” guides
  • Infographics

These are just a handful of options for you to consider. Take a look at the benefits of having more content to use for internal linking from a technical perspective.

Crawl Frequency by Inlinks Rangequicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Crawl-Frequency-By-Inlinks-Range-300×108.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Crawl-Frequency-By-Inlinks-Range-768×276.png 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 1010px) 100vw, 1010px” />

This data from Search Engine Land explains how Google crawlers view pages with lots of inbound internal links.

Pages that have a higher number of internal links get crawled on a more frequent basis. This gives your content a much higher chance of ranking.

According to this research, a page with 200 dofollow links coming from other sources on the same domain is 12 times more likely to be crawled compared to a page with zero internal links.

But if you only have 50 content pages on your site, you’ll never be able to accomplish this at scale. Content is king, and will continue to be a driving force behind all of your SEO strategies moving forward.

In fact, 66% of bloggers are publishing content at least several times per month. Of that 66%, 2% are publishing daily, and an additional 2% are posting more than daily.

In order to gain an advantage, you’ll want your publishing frequency to fall closer toward that end of the spectrum. Just make sure your quality isn’t compromised when the quantity increases.

Use relevant contextual links

Google’s algorithm is so advanced that it can detect the relevancy between content pages. So don’t just add a random internal link to any page on your site and think that it’s going to get the job done.

For example, let’s say you run a website about extreme sports and thrill-seeking activities.

You’ve got a blog post about skydiving, and another blog post about mountain biking. Should you link the two pages? The connection between these topics is not very relevant, and it will be challenging to add a link contextually.

Instead, you could have an internal link to a post about how to transport your mountain bike within a guide about mountain biking safety. The relevance between these two pieces of content is much higher.

Here’s an example from a blog I published earlier this year about building authority with donation links.

Building Authority With Donation Linksquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Building-Authority-With-Donation-Links-300×237.png 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 673px) 100vw, 673px” />

Take a look at the two internal links that I put in the introduction.

The first one is about building domain authority, and the second one is about ways to build backlinks on a regular basis. Both of these are highly relevant to the subject of the main blog post. Anyone who is reading this post would benefit from navigating to either of those other pages.

Do you notice anything else about the way I set up these internal links?

They’re very natural. In fact, if the hyperlinks were removed, the wording could stay the same and nothing would change in terms of the flow or context.

I usually write my blogs first, and then add internal links at the end during my proofreading and editing process, as opposed to trying to force in certain links while I’m writing.

This is easy for me because I have so much content on my site to choose from, which relates back to our previous discussion point.

Here’s something else you can take away from the example above. Only part of the sentence is linked.

I’m not linking full paragraphs or adding links on every single line or sentence. This approach is unnatural and it makes it challenging for people to read.

The idea here is to add internal links that will actually add value to the reader. If they navigate to one of your internally linked pages, they’ll spend more time on your site. This also adds SEO value.

I’m not sure if you noticed, but I used an internal link in this post that you’re currently reading before I put in the last screenshot.

This fits into everything I’ve been talking about. As a reader, if you’re interested in improving your search engine traffic with internal links (the post you’re reading now), then there is a good chance you’d benefit from the page about donation links (the internal link above).

The two posts are related to one another, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to add a link.

Dive deep

A common mistake that I see websites make all of the time is that they link to the wrong pages.

For example, let’s say you have a comprehensive guide on a specific topic. That guide shouldn’t have an internal link back to your homepage.

Your homepage already has a higher page authority. Plus, that link doesn’t really add any value to your audience. Google knows this.

Instead, you should be taking steps to improve the strength of your internal pages that are deeper in the site. This will ultimately improve your website’s overall SEO value.

Here’s a visual representation of deep linking.

Deep Linkingquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Deep-Linking-300×226.png 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 683px) 100vw, 683px” />

I love using this example because it’s in German.

While some of you might be able to read German, I personally can’t speak a word of it. But since the site’s architecture is logical, it’s easy to follow what’s going on here.

None of these internal links are linking back to the top tier pages on the website.

The homepage isn’t the only top-level page you should avoid linking to. Another common mistake that I see, especially with new websites, it overlinking to the “contact us” page. They end every post with a CTA like “call us” or “send us a message” and then add the link. Don’t fall into this habit.

Another way to improve your deep linking strategy is by updating old content with new links. There are several benefits to this tactic.

First of all, an older and more established page on your site will likely have a higher page authority, since it’s already been indexed by Google. So by adding a new internal link, you’re creating a relationship with a page that isn’t as established, therefore passing along some link juice.

Updating old content also means that the page will be seen again by Google’s crawlers. When the page gets indexed after an update, there’s a good chance that it can boost the SERP ranking as well.

Plus, adding new links adds value to your readers.

You don’t want your old content to just collect dust and die because it’s becoming irrelevant. The best way to approach the update is by adding a few lines at the beginning of the page, detailing the changes.

From here can simply add new information contextually, throughout the post. Then just put new internal links into these sections.

Create pillar pages

The concept of pillar pages is a more recent way of thinking when it comes to internal linking.

It’s often referred to as different things like pillars, silos, or topic clusters. No matter what you call it, these are all basically the same idea.

Pillar pages essentially double down on the concept of relevant links, which we discussed earlier. HubSpot has a great visual portrayal of how this works.

Pillar Pagesquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Pillar-Pages-300×226.png 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 585px) 100vw, 585px” />

This is also related to your site’s structure, which we’ve already covered as well.

But pillars are much more in-depth than just your traditional hierarchy. The key below makes it easier for you to understand the graphic above.

Pillar Pages

Your pillar pages become the foundation for where you build topic clusters.

The pillar will cover everything and anything related to the topic or keyword that you’re trying to rank for. Then it links out to each cluster content page, which is essentially subtopics of the main pillar.

Pillar pages are more broad, while clusters are detailed and specific.

For example, let’s say you create a social media marketing page as pillar content on your website. Clusters of this topic would be things like:

  • Facebook marketing guides
  • Getting sales with Instagram shoppable posts
  • Generating leads on Twitter
  • Growing your YouTube channel
  • Driving conversions with live video

Etc., etc…

Here’s an example of recent pillar page that we published here at Quick Sprout.

Internal Linking Examplequicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Internal-Linking-Example-300×236.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Internal-Linking-Example-768×604.png 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px” />

The topic (aka pillar) is about paid marketing.

There is so much that can be discussed on this subject. Where could I possibly begin? Rather than trying to cover everything there is to know about paid marketing in one post that’s 50,000 words, I simply mention the subsections, and then link to more in-depth guides.

  • PPC
  • CPCs
  • PPC for B2Bs
  • Case study on paid ads
  • Video ads

All of these are the supporting cluster pages. Creating pillars makes it easier to follow all of the other best practices that we’ve covered in this guide.

Conclusion

All internal links are not created equally. Don’t just put them on your website randomly without any reason, or you’ll end up doing more harm than good.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you’re site’s structure is clearly defined with internal links that make sense for navigation purposes. Your content pages need to have a shallow click depth for this to work properly.

Don’t slack on content creation. Internal linking is only as good as the content you produce.

Make sure your internal links are relevant between pages, and make sense contextually within your content. The best way to internal link is with deep linking principles.

Adding pillar pages to your site will tie all of these tactics together.

I use internal links in everything I produce. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve even got some throughout this post. So use this guide as a reference to drive more search traffic to your site with internal links.

How to Advertise on YouTube

Posted: 09 May 2019 10:22 AM PDT

In a perfect world, you’d be able to build brand awareness organically without spending a dime.

But as you and I both know, the world we live in is far from perfect. There comes a time when every business needs to start running paid advertisements.

However, just because you’re paying for ads it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be successful. I’ve seen countless businesses blow their marketing budgets on unsuccessful campaigns because they didn’t have the right strategy.

The first piece to any successful advertising campaign is choosing the right platform. YouTube is arguably the best network for running ads. Here’s why.

More than 1.9 billion users visit YouTube each month. Those people are watching a billion hours of video each day.

According to Alexa, YouTube is the second most popular website in the world, second only to Google. Furthermore, the users spend an average of 8 minutes and 42 seconds using the platform each day. That’s just 42 seconds less than Facebook’s daily average. YouTube has an average of five daily unique page views per user as well.

YouTube was the most popular iOS mobile app of 2018, ranking ahead of other giants like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Google Maps, and Gmail.

The advertising statistics on YouTube are just as impressive.

Users are attentive during 83% of YouTube mobile advertisements. To put that into perspective for you, the average attention rate for television ads is about 45%.

84% of consumers have bought something after watching a video about it.

Users who watch at least 30 seconds of a YouTube ad are 23 times more likely to subscribe to that brand’s channel, watch more videos by that brand, share a video, or visit the visit. People are ten times more likely to take these actions, even if they are just exposed to YouTube ad.

In short, YouTube is continuing to grow in popularity with no signs of slowing down. Ads on this platform have exceptional performance metrics.

Now that you understand why you should be advertising on YouTube, it’s time to learn how. I’ll explain everything you need to know about how to run ads on YouTube in this guide.

Step #1: Create a YouTube channel and Google Ads account

Let’s begin with the basics. Before you can proceed, you need to have accounts set up on two platforms.

  1. YouTube
  2. Google Ads

I’m assuming the majority of you already have these in place. If that’s the case, you can skip over this. But for those of you who don’t have one, the other, or both, this will be your first step.

Step #2: Upload your ad

Once your profiles are set up, simply upload your video advertisement to YouTube.

Upload Adquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Upload-Ad-300×156.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Upload-Ad-768×400.png 768w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Upload-Ad-1024×534.png 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1107px) 100vw, 1107px” />

From your YouTube dashboard, look for the little video camera icon in the top right corner. If you click on it, a menu will pop up with two options.

  • Upload video
  • Go live

Select upload video, as I’ve highlighted above, to land on this screen.

From here, you can also decide who can see your video. These are the options:

  • Public
  • Unlisted
  • Private
  • Scheduled

This is completely up to you. If you want to keep your ads separate from the content that you share on your channel, keep it private. Alternatively, if you want to use your channel content as an ad, go with public or scheduled.

I think private is better because it gives you the option to run targeted ads without uploading irrelevant content to your channel. It’s easier to control things this way, and you can always change the privacy settings after the video has been uploaded.

Step #3: Create a new campaign

Now you’re going to navigate away from YouTube and head over the Google Ads. From here, you’ll be able to start a new campaign.

Create New Campaignquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Create-New-Campaign-300×199.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Create-New-Campaign-768×509.png 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 905px) 100vw, 905px” />

Select “campaigns” from the menu on the left side of the screen.

Once you’re on this page, you can start a new campaign by clicking the plus sign or new campaign. Both of these have been highlighted in the screenshot above.

Step #4: Select your goal

Technically, this an optional step. Google Ads will give you the option to proceed without choosing a goal, but it’s definitely in your best interest to do so.

Select Goalquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Goal-300×141.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Goal-768×361.png 768w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Goal-1024×481.png 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1136px) 100vw, 1136px” />

These are your options:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website traffic
  • Product and brand consideration
  • Brand awareness and reach
  • App promotion

By selecting a goal, Google Ads will automatically suggest campaign settings that will be optimal for your ads. Video advertisements will be available for all of these choices, except for app promotion.

Step #5: Choose your campaign type

Now you have to pick what type of campaign you want to run. This selection determines where your ads will be displayed.

Select Campaign Typequicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Campaign-Type-300×90.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Campaign-Type-768×229.png 768w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Campaign-Type-1024×306.png 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1153px) 100vw, 1153px” />

Obviously, for our purposes here today, you’re going to choose the video option.

As you can see from what I’ve highlighted above, this type of campaign will reach users on YouTube.

Step #6: Select an ad format

Now you’ll have to choose how your ad will be run. Your options will vary based on the goal you chose back in step #4.

Select Ad Formatquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Ad-Format-300×270.png 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 720px) 100vw, 720px” />

Here’s a more detailed description of your options:

  • TrueView advertisements — These ads come in two forms; in-stream and discovery. The in-stream ads play before a video starts, and can be skipped after they’ve been played for a certain amount of time. Discovery ads appear in the search results.
  • Non-skippable in-stream advertisements — As the name implies, these video ads cannot be skipped. These are either played before an ad starts, or in the middle of videos that are longer (usually 10 minutes or more). In this case, they’re called “mid-roll” non-skippable ads.
  • Bumper advertisements — Bumper ads are just six seconds long, and appear right before a video starts playing. The time limit restricts what you can do, but this format can be part of your overall YouTube advertising strategy.
  • Sponsored cards — These ads are shown in the form of a pop-up with a CTA. They start as a small icon, and expand when clicked. Since the cards are small, they aren’t very intrusive the user, and don’t interfere with the video they’re watching.
  • Overlay advertisements — Overlays are extremely straightforward. They are basically banner advertisements that show up at the bottom of the screen. These can advertisements can be text or images.
  • Display advertisements — Display ads are shown on the right side of YouTube pages above the list of suggested videos. This is another format that does not require a video ad.

You’ll also have the option to set up ad sequencing. This is the process of showing a series of video advertisements to a singular person. Each video in the sequence will be assigned a step or number, so they are shown in the proper order to an individual over time.

Ad sequencing can be used for TrueView in-stream advertisements, bumper ads, or a combination of the two.

Step #7: Configure your campaign

It’s likely that you’re going to run more than campaign on YouTube. So this step is a crucial component for staying organized.

Configure Campaignquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Configure-Campaign-300×141.png 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 755px) 100vw, 755px” />

Now is your last chance to change your goal before you proceed. You’ll also be naming your campaign so you can access it to adjust the settings and monitor the performance.

For our purposes today, I just named it “YouTube Test” as an example.

Campaign Budgetquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Campaign-Budget-300×197.png 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 710px) 100vw, 710px” />

Next, you’ll determine your budget and bidding strategy for the advertisement.

You can set your budget two ways. Either the total amount that you’ll spend for the duration of the campaign (as shown above) or a daily amount that you want to spend.

There are six different options for bidding strategies.

  • Maximum CPV — cost per view.
  • Maximum CPM — cost per 1,000 times the ad is displayed.
  • Target CPM — average cost per 1,000 times the ad is displayed.
  • Viewable CPM — cost per 1,000 times ad was viewed (at least 50% of ad is on the screen for two seconds or more).
  • Target CPA — automatic bids based on an action, billed at the CPM rate.
  • Maximize conversions – automatic bids set up by Google to give you the highest number of conversions to fit your budget.

I recommend experimenting with as many bidding options as possible to see what gives you the best return on your investment. When in doubt, you can always set up target CPA or maximize conversions to let Google Ads automate things for you.

During the campaign configuration process you’ll also be able to customize things like:

  • Networks
  • Languages
  • Locations
  • Inventory types
  • Excluded content

This is the first part of customizing who will see your campaigns. Next, you can break this down even further by choosing the people you want to reach. You’ll have options like:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Parental status
  • Household income
  • Interests and habits
  • Life events
  • Previous interactions with your business

You’ll want to make this as specific as possible to ensure that your ads are reaching the right audience. The last thing you want to do is waste money on a campaign that’s being shown to the wrong person.

For help with this process, check out my guide on how to define your target audience.

Step #8: Select keywords and topics

In addition to selecting who will see your ads, you also have the ability to choose what types of videos your advertisements will be shown on.

So conduct keyword research that’s related to your brand, as well as what your target audience will be searching for. Google Ads can generate keyword ideas for you if you enter a related website along with the products or services that you’re marketing.

Select Keywords and Topicsquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Keywords-Topics-300×184.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Select-Keywords-Topics-768×471.png 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 948px) 100vw, 948px” />

Each topic will also have subcategories to narrow the results even further. For example, if you choose arts and entertainment, you’ll be able to pick subtopics like:

  • Celebrities
  • Comics and animation
  • Events and listings
  • Humor
  • Movies
  • Visual art and design

Again, this entire process is designed to make sure your ads are associated with related videos and being shown to relevant audiences.

Step #9: Paste your video ad URL

I know it seems like a while ago, but remember back in step #2 when I had you upload your ad to YouTube? Now it’s time to circle back there and copy the ad URL.

You’re going to paste it into this section of Google Ads:

Video Urlquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Video-Url-300×153.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Video-Url-768×392.png 768w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Video-Url-1024×522.png 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1047px) 100vw, 1047px” />

That’s the final step of the process.

The last thing you’ll do from here is approval the details and then your ad will start being run on YouTube.

Conclusion

For those of you who have never advertised on YouTube before, this entire process can feel a bit intimidating or overwhelming.

But as you can see from the guide I’ve created, the entire process can be broken down into just nine simple steps. If you already have a YouTube account and Google Ads account, the first step is already completed.

The reality is this; YouTube is king when it comes to video content.

This platform is still rising and popularity and people all over the world are consuming billions of hours of video content on a daily basis. We’re beginning to reach the point where business can’t afford to compete if they don’t have an active YouTube presence.

If you’re going to run paid ads, you might as well do it on a platform like this one. The fact that everything is run through Google Ads makes it easier for you to customize your campaigns to ensure that they’re reaching the right audience.

You’ll be able to successfully advertise on YouTube with ease if you simply follow the step-by-step process that I’ve outlined above.

How to Create Predictably Popular Link Bait Posts

Posted: 08 May 2019 10:45 AM PDT

Link building can become a time-consuming process. Sometimes you spend hours exhausting all of your strategies and still fall short of your benchmark target.

This can be extremely frustrating.

Yet other times, certain pieces of content seem to effortlessly attract links. Before you know it, you might have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of backlinks for one post without even putting in too much effort.

Wouldn’t it be great if that was the case for all of your content? Fortunately, the possibility is more realistic than you might realize. That’s why you need to learn how to create link bait posts.

What is link bait?

Some of you might have created link bait in the past by accident, without fully understanding what you were doing. Don’t worry; this is a good thing.

In short, link bait is content that’s specifically designed to build links. The idea here is that any blogger, journalist, or influencer in your industry would feel obligated to share your link because the information is so valuable.

Creating link bait content will do wonders for your website.

First of all, this will benefit your website visitors by providing them with high-quality content. But once you start building links at scale with link bait, your site traffic will continue to rise and your search ranking will skyrocket as well.

Here’s something else to keep in mind. If you spend more time creating link bait content, you can spend less time trying to build links. All of your links will start to come organically.

This is much better than producing mediocre or sub-par content and then wasting your efforts trying to build links that nobody wants. I’ll show you everything you need to know about creating predictably popular link bait posts in this guide.

Link bait best practices

In my experience, all link bait content typically has certain characteristics in common.

With that said, you don’t necessarily need to apply all of these best practices to each post. But you can use these elements as a reference to help you come up with ideas and decide which direction you’re going to take whenever you produce new content.

Provide value

Why should someone view or read your post?

If it’s nothing but fluff and long blocks of text that’s stuffed with keywords and designed strictly for SEO purposes, it’s not actually providing value to anyone. This type of content won’t go viral or become link bait.

Instead, you need to ask yourself two questions before you create anything.

  • Who benefits from this content?
  • How will this content help those people?

If you’re unable to answer these questions, then it’s probably not worth continuing in that direction. But when you’re able to use these questions to guide you throughout the process, it adds great value to the audience.

Value means going the extra mile. Don’t just tell someone why a certain idea works. Show them by using a case study with statistics and examples.

Then other websites will be able to use those figures a reference. Here’s an example to show you what I’m talking about.

Provide Valuequicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Provide-Value-215×300.png 215w” sizes=”(max-width: 436px) 100vw, 436px” />

Here’s a backlink for Quick Sprout.

The article above talks about the best times to post on Facebook. So the author used a study from one of my old posts to validate their point.

My original content was valuable because it included statistics and research. If I just said, “I think you should post to Facebook on Wednesdays,” it doesn’t provide any value.

But since I took the time to create a link bait post, other sites used it as a reference without me having to go out and ask for the link.

This is common with the majority of the posts here at Quick Sprout. Just look at what happens when you search the web for “according to Quick Sprout.”

According to Quicksproutquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/According-to-Quicksprout-300×225.png 300w” sizes=”(max-width: 686px) 100vw, 686px” />

I get links like this all of the time.

For those of you who are still unconvinced, just take a look at these metrics from the backlink checker tool at Ahrefs.

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Quick Sprout has more than 2.2 million backlinks from over 24,000 referring domains.

Trust me, I didn’t go out there and ask webmasters for backlinks 2 million times. The majority of this happened organically with link bait because all of the content on our blog provides so much value.

Add visuals

Even if you’re a blogger and a master with words, you still need to use visuals to spice up your content.

Here’s the thing. Large blocks of text in paragraph form just won’t get read. In fact, 73% of readers skim through articles as opposed to thoroughly reading them.

So if your posts aren’t reader-friendly, nobody has a reason to link to them.

But adding visuals breaks up the content and makes it easier for people to skim. Plus, visuals grab attention and add value.

Take a look at this research about blog posts from Orbit Media.

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Images ranked highest as the most common element found in blog posts for the past five years in a row.

That’s because people are more drawn to visuals.

According to HubSpot, 32% of marketing professionals say that visuals are the most important type of content for their brands, which was the number one response in the survey.

Furthermore, content with visuals gets up to 94% more views compared to posts with just text.

This is definitely a recipe for increasing your chances of creating content that will ultimately turn into link bait. There are plenty of ways to add visuals to your posts.

  • Screenshots
  • Original photos
  • Infographics
  • Graphs
  • Charts
  • Videos
  • GIFs

These are a handful of ideas to get you started in the right direction. You can check out my full guide on how to use visual elements to enhance your blogs for more information on this.

Invoke emotion

Create content that will make people feel a certain type of way.

Write a “feel good” post that will make readers jump for joy. Or go the other way and tell a sad story of pain and agony.

Create content funny. Share something sexy. Be inspirational. Make a claim that raises some eyebrows.

Don’t be afraid to bring up topics that are controversial. Just make sure that you’re not offending anyone or doing something that will damage your brand image.

I usually recommend staying away from topics that involve politics, religion, race, and things of that nature.

But with that said, controversial content tends to go viral. Just look at this research from Backlinko.

controversial contentquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/controversial-content-300×124.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/controversial-content-768×317.png 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 783px) 100vw, 783px” />

These are some analytics from a post about racial tolerance in America. The article has been linked to more than 6,000 times.

This is a great example because the post itself doesn’t make any racist claims or anything like that.

Instead, it analyzes data, which refers back to one of our previous points about adding value. The study examined derogatory language from state to state based on Twitter locations. All of the data is shown in graphs, which adds visuals to the piece.

Based on everything we’ve discussed so far, this is a recipe for a predictably popular post.

If you want to learn more about the right emotions to invoke when you’re creating content, I recommend this post on how to guide people’s emotions to drive sales. The same concepts can be applied to link bait content.

Keep it relevant

Link bait needs to be relevant in two ways.

First and foremost, every piece of content that you produce needs to related to your niche. If you’re a fashion blogger, you shouldn’t be posting video tutorials about how to surf.

The timing of your posts needs to be relevant as well. Nobody is interested in hearing the same news story that broke six months ago. If you’re too late to the party, then sites won’t have a reason to use your link as a reference unless you find some type of new and valuable information.

On the flip side, if you’re the first to report something, then you essentially become the source. This is one of the best ways to create link bait.

Here’s an example from Forbes Magazine.

Forbesquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Forbes-300×164.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Forbes-768×419.png 768w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Forbes-1024×559.png 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1210px) 100vw, 1210px” />

On March 5, 2019, Forbes announced that Kylie Jenner became the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.

The content is relevant to their site, but more importantly, the timing was everything.

They were the first major publication to report this story. Since Kylie Jenner is such a well-known public figure, everyone seemed to have an opinion on the topic.

Bloggers and journalists needed to weigh in. But it would be an injustice to readers if they didn’t cite their sources.

So what did they do? Everyone used Forbes as a reference.

Forbes reference linksquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Forbes-reference-links-300×77.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Forbes-reference-links-768×197.png 768w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Forbes-reference-links-1024×262.png 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1179px) 100vw, 1179px” />

That’s why this link has more than 34,000 backlinks in just two months. This is a great example of how to create timely content that’s highly relevant.

Types of link bait content

Now that you know what your link bait posts should include, it’s time to show you some examples of the types of posts you can create using this formula.

  • Lists
  • Guides
  • Infographics
  • Videos and images
  • Interactive content

We’ll go through each one of these to give you a better grasp on how these posts can attract links.

List posts

One of the reasons why list posts can be great for link bait is because they provide value.

Lists give you the opportunity to outperform everyone else on the web who has covered a certain topic.

Plus, headlines with numbers are preferred over other types of posts.

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Check out my guide on tips for getting more conversions with headlines.

To get the most value out of your list posts, you can curate content from other sources. Let’s say you want to create a list of the best software for something in your industry.

Google that term and see how long other lists are. You might see lists of five, eight, ten, or twelve. This is your chance to create something that’s better than all of them.

Your list post can be the top 25 or 30 software systems. This can become the ultimate reference for people, which will quickly turn into link bait.

Comprehensive guides

Comprehensive guides are popular link bait sources because they are so thorough.

Take this post you’re reading right now as an example. I could have just defined link bait and then used bullet points for best practices and wrapped up the whole thing in less than 500 words.

But that doesn’t add any value, and nobody is going to read it. Instead, I go into lots of detail in each section, using plenty of visuals and statistics to back up my claims.

So teach people how to do something.

Here’s another example of the beginner’s guide to online marketing that was previously published on Quick Sprout.

guides backlinksquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/guides-backlinks-300×114.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/guides-backlinks-768×291.png 768w” sizes=”(max-width: 777px) 100vw, 777px” />

As you can see, this post is approaching 4,000 backlinks.

Comprehensive guides will always perform well because it’s easier for you to include all of the common features in a link bait post.

In addition to the value and visuals, you can also find ways to stimulate certain emotions while prioritizing relevance and timing.

Infographics

We briefly talked about infographics earlier when we covered visual content. But it’s definitely worth mentioning again on its own.

As we previously discussed, images are the most popular element included in blog posts.

This means that bloggers and journalists need to find images on the web. Most of them aren’t going to take the time to create original content. It’s much easier to just find an infographic online and cite the source with a backlink.

So if you can create infographics that people will use to enhance their own content, you’ll be able to build tons of backlinks at scale.

Just make sure that your information is always accurate and up to date, which is when the relevancy factor comes into play.

If you’re using a study from 2011 to create an infographic in 2019, it’s not going to become link bait. But if you update your study and infographics each year, you’ll become an authoritative source for information.

Videos, images, and gifs

Again, these are more examples of visual content.

Depending on the type of website you have, some of these formats will be more beneficial to you than others.

For example, if you’re a photographer, you’ll definitely want to share your original photos. Then other sites can use them as a reference (similar to infographics) which will build backlinks.

Some of you could use humor to your advantage and create viral GIFs.

Giphyquicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Giphy-300×196.png 300w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Giphy-768×501.png 768w, quicksprout-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Giphy-1024×668.png 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 1113px) 100vw, 1113px” />

But that’s not necessarily a winning strategy for everyone.

Let’s say your website is more serious and professional, you’d be better off creating video tutorials of how to do something that’s related to your niche.

Interactive content

This isn’t necessarily the most common type of link bait, and it won’t be something that’s relevant for all of you.

But with that said, you can build tons of backlinks with interactive posts like a quiz or calculator.

For example, let’s say your website is in the real estate industry. You could create a home mortgage calculator tool. Now other websites can use your tool as a reference since it’s much easier than building their own.

Here’s another example of an emotional intelligence test.

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Any post discussing emotional intelligence can link to the test for people to take. That’s why this particular test has over 1,800 backlinks.

Conclusion

Creating link bait content is arguably the best way to build backlinks. As discussed earlier, we’ve built more than 2.2 million backlinks here at Quick Sprout using this strategy.

While link bait usually sells itself, it doesn’t mean you should sit back and do absolutely nothing once your content has been published.

You still need to take steps to increase its exposure and boost the chances of it going viral.

Email the post to your email subscribers. Share it on social media. Incorporate it with your other link building strategies.

If you follow the best practices that I’ve outlined above, it will much easier for you to create link bait posts.

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