For years, all of Linkody’s content team has been locked in the basement and paid in potatoes to figure out how to create linkbait content.
And I think that we will let them out soon; because they have been able to create truly amazing stuff and get a lot of backlinks.
Holy macaroni, right? 🤪
At first, we all thought it’s because of potatoes. But, when we dug deeper we started noticing patterns.
It’s a mere coincidence if your posts get backlinks just once or twice. But, as we saw our posts get backlinks every time, we realized that we’d got something worth sharing.
And so, we wanted to package our “linkbait” wisdom into a step-by-step guide and share with the rest of you.
First of, to learn what makes a linkbait content get backlinks, we dissected a ton of articles.
Like… a lot!
Then we learnt that knowing how to create linkbait content can be essentially broken down into 2 things; which is what this article is all about.
- Best Linkbait Examples
- How to find a Topic that Will Become a Linkbait Content?
- How to Create a great Linkbait Content?
- Go on and do what gets backlinks
- How many backlinks you need to rank in Top-10
- A Little Summary!
But first things first – here are some examples of linkbait content.
Best Linkbait Examples
We analyzed every website from Forbes to Entrepreneur, and ICanHasCheesburger; and finally Linkody itself.
Our goal was to spot patterns and see what brings backlinks.
Here’s the most linked content on the web
We gathered different data from the top websites on the WWW:
- Website’s authority
- How many referring domains are pointing to the specific page
- Of all those backlinks, how many are do-follow
- And the number of words in each post
- Google ranking factors – https://backlinko.com/google-ranking-factors
- DA – 66
- Total- 976
- Follow – 850
- Amount of words: 6 147
- News about voice search – https://edit.co.uk/blog/google-voice-search-stats-growth-trends
- DA – 23
- Total backlinks – 55
- Do-follow – 47
- Amount of words: 1 264
- Funny cat pics – https://icanhas.cheezburger.com/
- DA – 83
- Total backlinks – 269
- Do-follow – 239
- Amount of words – 0
- PR for Google aka. Google’s recruiter on how to hire good people – https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/217877
- DA – 91
- Total Backlinks – 62
- Do-follow – 62
- Amount of words – 452
- Amazon news – https://twocents.lifehacker.com/slice-tells-you-if-amazon-prime-is-worthwhile-based-on-1784062385
- DA – 92
- Total Backlinks – 52
- Do-follow backlinks – 52
- Amount of words – 332
- Beginners guide to SEO – https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo
- DA – 89
- Total Backlinks – 323
- Do-follow backlinks – 271
- Amount of words – 412
- An in-depth guide about how to start a blog – https://neilpatel.com/how-to-start-a-blog/
- DA – 74
- Total backlinks – 173
- Do-follow backlinks – 159
- Amount of words – 3 440
- Post about what is SEO – https://searchengineland.com/guide/what-is-seo
- DA – 91
- Total backlinks -147
- Do-follow backlinks – 132
- Amount of words – 652
- Justin Bieber news – http://www.tmz.com/2016/06/09/justin-bieber-fist-fight-video-cleveland/
- DA – 92
- Total backlinks – 22
- Do-follow backlinks – 22
- Amount of words – 143
- An article about shocking news – https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/opinion/2353616/mobile-now-exceeds-pc-the-biggest-shift-since-the-internet-began
- DA – 83
- Total backlinks – 119
- Do-follow backlinks – 117
- Amount of words – 582
- A 404 page- social.ogilvy.com/facebook-zero-considering-life-after-the-demise-of-organic-reach/
- DA – 65
- Total backlinks – 554
- Do-follow backlinks – 500
- Amount of words – redirected to the main page
- Design thinking landing page – https://designthinking.ideo.com/
- DA – 65
- Total backlinks – 202
- Do-follow backlinks – 184
- Amount of words – 412
- An article with 128 Growth Hacks – https://blog.linkody.com/seo/growth-hacks-list
- DA – 44
- Total backlinks – 255
- Do-follow backlinks – 219
- Amount of words – 16 986
Takeaways from Linkbait Examples
The question stays; what can you learn from these pages?
In fact, A LOT!
There are outliers with so many backlinks that it’s insane, Brian.
But when we look at averages, there are a couple of takeaways:
- Average Domain Authority – 73
- The average amount of Do-follow backlinks – 205
- We also looked at the average amount of do-follow backlinks without Backlinko 😀 – 152
- And the average amount of words – 2,409
Surprisingly enough, we managed to break all this down into only 3 things that you can also use:
- Ranking the post and getting the first backlinks doesn’t happen by accident. It requires blood, sweat, and magic. So, definitely, mad skills are required.
- We also realized that only certain type of content gets links and A LOT of links.
- And what’s more is that the average amount of words in each content was 2,409. It’s a lot but not way-over-the-top-TOO much. So, amount of words and the amount of links don’t necessarily go together.
All this is good but shaping these three things into a recipe that you can also use isn’t that easy.
Because it’s basically guessing what people will share and add links to, right?
But down below we try to do exactly that.
Judge for yourself; is this the step-by-step approach to linkbait content that will finally allow you to create content that gets backlinks?
Let’s dig in!
How to find a Topic that Will Become a Linkbait Content?
To create a linkbait content that gets backlinks while you sleep you have to be incredibly good at these two things:
- find the topic (or at least the kind of content) that gets links
- AND be awesome at getting backlinks.
And here’s how to do the first one.
- First, not all content gets backlinks; only certain types will get the job done.
- Second, make sure that it’s really something people tend to link to
- Third, double check if you have any chances ranking on SERPs
Step 1 – Decide what type of linkbait content you want to create
If you went through the linkbait examples from above, you might have noticed that all of the content can be grouped into several groups.
That’s also the type of content that will get your site backlinks:
1. Controversial news or entertainment
How many times have we gone on the internet and found ourselves distracted by some popup or flashing content on the side? Probably too many to count.
More often than not, that content tends to be something trending, entertaining, or something out of the ordinary.
And some shocking/controversial news about a famous person such as Justin “Biebs” Bieber definitely fits that category, right?
So, here are some examples of the kind of content you could go for:
- Celebrity news such as Beyonce avoiding a fall during a live show.
- News about natural disasters, just be careful not to misinform or abuse.
- Political or historic events such as a North Korean leader entering South Korea after 53 years.
These should start you off well. If you’d like to see more examples, Google has just that.
2. How-to guides and tutorials
With this type of content, your goal is to try to help readers find a solution or solve an issue. Some examples for this type of content are:
- WikiHow page
- YouTube video tutorials
- Epic guides or Ultimate posts
- and even a glossary section.
Think about Wikipedia; it’s the most linked page on the web for a reason. People link with pages that explain terms that are difficult to understand.
It is possible that there are terms and concepts in your industry that haven’t been explained in depth.
So, get on it and get backlinks using Skyscraper Technique.
3. Qualitative or quantitative research
Everybody loves curves. Even more so, when they’re representing data and charts.
Providing sources such as research data to support your post or article or whatever content you have will significantly increase your chances of getting backlinks.
Not only that, they also make you a more credible, reliable, and reputable source of information yourself.
Take a look at this post about voice search trends, for example; it provides a bunch of statistics and a credible source from where the data were taken.
So, this is your shot to turn data into linkbait content:
- Create a research about something that people are debating a lot in your industry.
- For instance, a research on Google’s search metrics would be invaluable to your readers as collecting and compiling information of such complexity is not a task for everyone.
- Collect the data about your industry’s trends.
- Buffer is especially good with this.
- For instance, an online poll about people’s favorite actor before the Oscars.
- Find data that hasn’t been refreshed in a long time and collect a new sample.
- Case studies about the big players (companies or individuals).
- For instance, if you have a coaching business, you could do a case study about how to be as successful as Bill Gates and even go the extra mile by creating generic tips and tricks video to appeal to bigger audiences.
- Create an expert roundup and survey the top experts in your field about something really intriguing.
If people in your space like numbers – this is the type of linkbait content you should go for.
4. Free stuff & tools
Good things in life are free; and so are good tools (almost most of them). As a matter of fact, most people tend to link to free tools and goodies over paid-ones.
Forget about the others; what about you? You like free stuff, right?
This is yet another great way of providing value to your visitors and customers.
Let’s say you’re a car parts and accessories vendor. You would provide a free, online car builder tool to attract customers to do business with you. This way your customers start engaging with your business right away and might even start using your services.
Here are few more examples:
- Free tools that do a small chunk of what your paid SaaS tool can do. Like this free backlink checker.
- Create a free version of your paid tool. You could limit the functionality of the tool and give elevated access to premium members; or you could allow full usage for a limited amount of time/tries; or provide support and goodies for premium subscription.
- A good example is Moz. But, of course you can get creative and create your own custom free version(s).
- Free gamified mini-experiences of what your business offers, like the car builder tool from above.
There are way too many examples of what you could offer for Free. Simply put – shrink down your business to this one crucial thing that you do – and offer it for Free.
So, the first step as you are about to embark on your journey of creating a link-bait content is to figure out what suits your industry the best.
Step 2 – Make sure people will link to your content
Be wary of the fact that not all educational guides, news, etc. get links.
Even some posts in our Linkody blog has different types of “linkbait content” with 0 backlinks.
It took us years to realize this: you can do everything correct but still, in the end, get no links for your effort.
It was even harsher to realize that, “create awesome content and you will get backlinks” means nothing in the world of content creation.
But the good news is that we discovered how to make sure that the content you create will get links.
The simple answer is – stalking your competitors.
Your competitors have done the hard work for you.
So, why not use that?
After you sign up on Linkody and plug in all your competitors and blogs that create similar content to your’s. Then you will be able to find linkbait content within seconds.
- Click on Competitors tab
- And select one of your top competitors. In our case, we wanted to check out what’s linkbait content for searchengineland.com
Now head over to “View Top Pages”
That’s where you’ll find your key to backlinks:
Just at a glance, you can see which are the exact topics that people link to.
Then all you have to do is see if you can create better content than what’s already out there.
Step 3 – Make sure you can outrank competitor’s content
Up till now, you might check Backlinko’s posts and be like winner winner chicken dinner.
But can you really create something better?
And I don’t mean stitch 100 words to the start and end of your competitors’ posts; rather it should be something 3-10 times better than theirs in every aspect.
So, you should make sure of two things:
- Choose linkbait topic – find the best piece of content and make sure you can create something that’s at least 3 times better than the best content that’s on that topic.
- Make sure that the topic’s competition is “manageable” and you have what it takes to get enough backlinks to rank the post on SERPs top-10 – that’s where all the linkbait backlinks come from.
–> Can you create something 3x better?
To make sure you have what it takes to create something that’s 3 times better than the best content on this topic, all you have to is Google:
- Think of what people would search and look for the best content accordingly
- After looking at the results ask yourself, “Can I do 3x better?”
Now, in the ocean of information that is, the internet, lies almost everything. Even if you’re creating content within the above-mentioned four categories, make sure that you add your own touch of difference to it.
You could do that by including personal opinion(s), online polls and surveys, research data, well-formed argument(s) in your content.
Keep that mind before you jump to your computer
–> Check the topic’s competition
My favorite tool for this purpose is KWfinder. Let’s imagine that you want to create the biggest list of Growth Hacks on the web.
You have found Linkody’s list of 128 Growth Hacks and you think you can make a list 384 Growth Hacks. Now the question is, “Can you get your post on Google’s first page?”
Note: “3x better” not always means 3x more. But that’s for you to figure out what adds value to the reader.
Only the top posts on Google accumulates backlinks over time and to get all those links automatically – you have to ensure that your 384 Growth Hacks post will reach SERPs top 10. And to do that you will need to get at least 30+ really good backlinks.
That’s tediously difficult.
So, I would keep researching to find a better topic. Otherwise, it would take me months to rank this post.
How to know if you have the perfect Linkbait topic?
That’s actually quite easy. There are only 3 things you have to consider when looking for linkbait topic to write about.
And if you repeat the 3-steps from above and look for the following, I guarantee you will get there:
- Decide on the type of linkbait content you want to create
- Check if your competitors have created anything similar to what you want to create and if it has backlinks
- See if you can create something at least 3 times better than the best content on this topic:
- Google to find the best of the best
- See if you can get within Google’s top-3 with your focus keyword’s difficulty:
- If your site’s Domain Authority is under 20, then search for topics with difficulty under 30.
- But, if your site’s DA is above 20, you can go for topics with difficulty up to 50++.
Follow this linkbait content checklist as long as it takes. Trust me when I tell you that it’s worth the effort. Once you find the “perfect” topic, link-building will be done while you sleep.
How to Create a great Linkbait Content?
This part is quite simple.
Now, you have the topic; all you have to do is create something better.
Sounds obvious but as there are hundreds of “10 tools for <insert something cool>”, I know this is a puzzle piece that’s sometimes missing.
So, here’s what you need to do to create linkbait content:
- Find the top 5 (if the competition is high, then top 10) content on this topic
- Read them!
- Gather the best parts of each content
- Use those best parts to make a Frankenstein out of them
- Add your unique angle – it’s ideal if you have done what you are writing about
- Add what other posts are missing such as research, data, examples, videos, screenshots, eBook, checklists. Nothing is perfect and there is always something that’s missing.
- Sit down and write, code, and do whatever you must to piece together the best content on this topic.
- Design and UX is an awesome addition to any piece of content.
We all know this, right?
But 99.9% of all content is created by avoiding half of these points.
So, if you follow the linkbait checklist from above, it’s guaranteed your content will kick a**es.
Go on and do what gets backlinks
All of the articles from the linkbait examples section had backlinks.
What’s interesting is that the way of getting backlinks for each linkbait content type is different.
And that’s where most of us go wrong.
Cat memes site won’t execute Skyscraper technique and they don’t have to. They reach their audience with different techniques.
Cat lovers and SEO experts have different triggers and different thinking mechanism that will get them to write a blog post and add a link to your content.
For example, controversial news will primarily have a lot of social media shares and some backlinks. Meanwhile, educational content will have both backlinks and social media shares.
The result will still be the same – A TON OF BACKLINKS.
You’re probably thinking, “Why do I need backlinks? Linkbait content should bring me all the links forever & after, right?”
But, unfortunately that’s not the case most of the time.
Only the content that reaches the first page of SERPs and more precisely Google’s top 10 results will ever get links on autopilot.
So, your job is to get your piece there.
You start off by getting some backlinks from your competitors who’ve already collected them from sources around the web.
To do that:
Go to “Competitor’s Links” page
- Select you competitor from the Competitorsdrop down box
- View all links of your competitor
- Filter it for your content’s topic
- Click on the number of links for that competitor’s page
Export the list of referring pages
- Export the list of websites on the page; filtering for different metrics based on your choosing
- Upload the list to an email outreach tool such as Ninjaoutreach.
- Create and send them a pitch
- Watch the inflow of backlinks
Once you’ve gotten the first backlinks it’s time for you to get more specific with your approach. This is when you’ll create different types of pitches for different types of content.
So now, the next section is all about that; getting backlinks for different types of linkbait content.
How many backlinks you need to rank in Top-10
We are still testing the exact amount of backlinks you will need to reach the top of the SERPs. So, we will keep updating that number as and when we get more accurate numbers (for keyword data we use KWfinder).
If your site’s Domain Authority is under 20
- 0-30 KD – 1-3 backlinks
- 30-40 KD – 3-5 backlinks
- 40-50 KD – 5-15 backlinks
- 50-60 KD – 15-30 backlinks
- 60+ KD – A lot of backlinks
If your site’s Domain Authority is above 20
- 0-30 KD – 0 backlinks
- 30-40 KD- 1-3 backlinks
- 40-50 KD – 3-10 backlinks
- 50-60 KD – 10-20 backlinks
- 60+ KD – A lot of backlinks
Note: In most cases ranking on Google’s top 10 will depend on how many backlinks your competitors have and what their site’s authority is.
Finding the right topic is difficult but you’ll know it when you find the right topic.
Once you get this done, you will make your life a lot easier with getting people to link to your content.
Turning Controversial News and entertainment into Linkbait Content
The biggest driver of backlinks for this type of linkbait content are social shares and getting the content in front of as many people as possible.
New meme, celebrity scandals, shocking news, whatever it is, websites & news sites in this space feel a massive fear-of-missing out. So, you want to cover a unique angle to ensure that other sites feel the need to reference your content.
Here are a few strategies that you can use to get the maximum amount of backlinks:
- Offer content upgrades – “more info available here” kind of a deal for people to link with your reports, eBooks, infographics, etc.
- Always ask for credit – the best time to do this is when person have published your content or piece of information and new traffic is flowing in.
- Contribute to other news publications and websites – build relationships and inquire about sharing your opinion about important topics to you. Ocassionaly websites will cite you and include URL to your page.
Turning How-to Guides and Tutorials into Linkbait Content
Education and tutoring is one of the most profitable industries out there and thus people not only love to link with in-depth guides. But, also this is one of the ways to attract a ton of traffic.
The main reason people fail at creating this type of linkbait content is that they choose super competitive niches. So, be careful with this.
And once you have your tutorial ready, here’s how to get the maximum amount of backlinks:
- Getting Competitor’s backlinks (aka Skyscraper technique) – this is probably the best and only strategy you will need to use to rank your post within Google’s top 10.
- Note: to get 10 backlinks you will need around 1,000 – 1,500 URLs that link with content that’s not as good as yours.
- Another good technique is to distribute your media materials that you created for the main post. If you have made a video, infographic, checklist, etc., you can contact other sites and ask them if they would be interested to publish your media file.
- More often then not, you will also have to add a “mini” guest post.
Turning Research and Case Studies into Linkbait Content
Some blogs have made it a requirement for writers to support their claims by adding link(s) to their research source(s) from where the data was taken.
This is especially important with the raise of fake news.
So, there are also great ways to capitalize on this and make a lot of backlinks:
- Find all the sources that have linked with the out-dated research. There is a clear value proposition why a website should link with your research – it’s up to date.
- Get it published/featured on and/or linked to a variety of credible sources such as Harvard Business Review, MIT Technology Review, McKinsey Quarterly, Ivey Business Journal, Stanford Business Review, The Oxford Review, and S+B.
Turning Free Stuff & Tools into Linkbait Content
Most online businesses have the opportunity of engaging with people easily across the globe before even they become leads. You could use your tool to create leads from your visitors using their information such as email or cookies.
There are a couple ways to go about this.
- You can go on review websites and have your tool reviewed. Or just check where your competitors have been reviewed and get reviewed there as well.
- Find other similar Free tools and see which are the pages that link with them. All you have to do is steal their backlinks.
- Create a guest blog and include your free tool or free whatever in the post. Most webmasters will let this slide and won’t remove your freebie.
These hacks will earn a backlink easily. And soon enough you will have yourself a linkbait content.
A Little Summary!
In summary, there are four different types of linkbait content that will earn you backlinks as you sleep. They are:
- Trending and/or controversial news
- Tutorials and in-depth guides
- Research and case studies
- Free tools and stuff
Then you’ll need to find a suitable topic for your niche and create a content that is at least 2x better than an existing competing article.
So far, so good? Awesome! Now you’ve crossed half the river.
All that’s left to do is getting some backlinks initially, to start off the auto-pilot process of getting backlinks.
Based on the Domain Authority of your website and the Keyword Difficulty, you’ll need from 1 to more than 30 backlinks to be in the top 10 results of SERPs.
This is it; this is the end!
Let us know how you benefited from these practical insights and steps in the comments section below.
Care about your friends and colleagues? Then be a dear and share this wisdom with them on social media, will ya?