There’s an inherent problem with all of this “content is king” bullshit. All of this “using social media to promote your linkbait”. There seems to be this view amongst people that have never tried it that all you need to make linkbait work is getting decent creative, or having the idea of a cool site, or idea or page. Stuff that people would like. Things that rock.
But there’s a problem with this, you could come up with something awesome. Something brilliant. And then you make it. And then people come. They see your linkbait, they link to it, everyone wins. Except obviously that’s not how it happens – how do you get people to your linkbait to begin with? I bet there’s loads of really awesome sites that have been left dormant and undiscovered for years, thousands of incredible sites that will never be seen by more than 5 people. It’s not an “if you build it, they will come” thing. Life is not like Field of Dreams. Luckily.
So here are some ways of getting traffic to your linkbait.
StumbleUpon Ads – It’s 5 cents a page view and you can specify your daily budget so you know exactly how many views your linkbait will get (in case you don’t want to crush your servers, or spend that much). Stumble has an interesting effect if your content is actually linkworthy – StumbleUsers aren’t going to make you cash directly, they won’t buy anything and they’re definitely not going to click your AdSense. Stumble users, however, are more technical than the average user of, say, Facebook. They’re more likely to have their own blog or control a site, and as such they’re more likely to give you a link if they like your linkbait. It’s also worth noting that a lot of Stumble users also use Digg, so if you’ve got a Digg button on your linkbait (and you probably should), then you might up your Digg count too.
Buy Diggs – Check out piqq.us or Wickedfire, and buy some Diggs. Make sure you only do this if your content is good, and is likely to hold it’s own on Digg. You only want to do this just enough to get your listing noticed on Digg, I recommend getting around 30 Diggs to get you noticed, 50 Diggs max. You want to get just enough Diggs to be noticed in the upcoming section, and then you if your linkbait is good enough you should get organic Diggs to see you through.
Depending on what your linkbait is (and in the case of linkbait on behalf of clients, this can work quite often) you could offer to reskin a niche forum. You’ll need to track down a suitable forum and offer to pay to rebrand their forum for a month or two. Obviously won’t work for all linkbait, but it’s an idea.
Facebook groups – Find your target audience on particular groups and seed your linkbait there, see if it takes off. It should get you a bit of traffic and might help other people spread the word a bit.
Let us know in the comments if you have any ideas for getting your linkbait off the ground.
Every good SEO (and most of the bad ones) know that Wikipedia NoFollows all external links. Having said that, a lot of people have noticed that their sites get a significant boost in the SERPs whenever they get a link from Wiki. It might just be coincidence, but it makes sense. NoFollow was originally introduced by Google to clean up the link spam, particularly on sites like Wikipedia and Yahoo Answers. And it worked. Wikipedia used to be spamtown, and now it’s pretty clean with a userbase that doesn’t take any shit and is quick to remove any obvious spam. It’s fair to say that there’s nowhere near as much spam in Wikipedia than there used to be. It also makes Wiki an amazing source of content that almost always links out to high quality, authoritative, accurate sites.
This puts Google in a slightly awkward position. They could keep this excellent source of authoritiative links NoFollowed, and miss out on having a more relevant index *or* they could remove the NoFollow on the Wiki links and risk the place becoming spamtastic again.
In truth, they’ve probably gone with option 3. Secretly following Wiki links but making them appear to be NoFollow. This helps prevent the site getting spammed, and lets Google capitalise on the authoritative links.
I’m going to finish with a quick and easy method of getting a trusted Wikipedia account. If you’ve got a trusted account, it’s easier for you to sneak in a few well placed links of your own.
1. Search Google for common spelling mistakes
2. Search Wikipedia by searching Google for site:en.wikipedia.org “spelling mistake” -intitle:talk -intitle:user
3. Fix the spelling error, make sure you’ve selected “This is a minor edit”
4. Repeat over time
In time you’ll have an account that’s build up a history of fixing errors. Easy.
I love working with medium sized clients, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because they have links. Loads and loads of links. Links that aren’t giving them any value, links that they don’t even know are there.
It happens all the time, people link to their site and, for one reason or another, the page they’re linking to is removed. If you want to get that link back, you can use webmaster tools to find which sites are linking to pages on your site that throw 404s. Simply find these links and 301 them to your homepage.
If for some reason you don’t have access to Webmaster Tools though, there’s still a lot that you can do. Use Yahoo’s site explorer, or any other backlink tool you’ve got access to, to find if anyone is linking to ww.domain.com or wwww.domain.com. The last one is less common, but it does happen. If they are, set up ww. and wwww. as subdomains and 301 them to the relevant page.
It’s also a good idea to check that the client site has 301s implemented properly – I’ve seen a client’s site recently that had both the .com and the .co.uk (both with identical content on each site). Each of those domains also had both the www. and non-www. versions, with the same content on each. In that situation, it’s best to get them to 301 all versions to just one standard site. The benefits are obvious – you don’t have to worry about any duplicate content issues, your users won’t get confused and, above all, people will know where to link to.
This particular client had a ton of links going to the .com, the .co.uk, the www. versions and the non-www. versions. That was a ton of links that they were missing out on – I got them to 301 the pages to one site, which gave them over 400 links, including links from the BBC. Good times.