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What is Link Bait and How to Create It? (+ Examples)

Jeremy Ellens

What is Link Bait and How to Create It

Ask any entrepreneur about their deepest desires and they’d say it’s passive income – having money flowing in without doing actual work. In the world of SEO, passive income translates to something called link bait.

The idea is simple – create amazing pieces of content that make people quote and link to them. As a result, you get backlinks that come in like a snowball effect. And like passive income, link bait remains just a dream for many.

Let’s show you what link bait is and how it works, as well as some great link bait examples that can get you inspired.

What is link bait?

In the world of SEO, link building and content marketing, link bait is a piece of content that is written with the sole purpose of attracting links. The person or business behind it creates an exceptional piece of content that is of such high quality that they don’t have to ask anyone to link to it.

Instead, writers, journalists, social media content creators, writers, bloggers and digital marketing experts reach for this piece of content to use as a source for their own content.

Successful link bait presents relevant and timely information in a way that is easy to consume, share, and link to. Depending on who your target audience is, you can create different types of content that work as link bait.

Some popular types of link bait content include:

  • Infographics
  • Interactive content (maps, dashboards, quizzes, apps)
  • Guides and listicles
  • Case studies
  • Statistics
  • Roundup posts with expert quotes
  • And others

Why does link bait work?

According to research, 65% of all pages on the internet have 0 backlinks. This means that no author online finds this content valuable enough to link back to it. And as a result, search engines don’t promote these pages in search engine results.

On the other hand, link bait is the type of content that does just that – attract people not just to consume the content but reference it and link back to it. As a writer, here are some of the most common reasons why content creators link back to link bait:

  • It’s visual and explains complex information in a way that is easy to distill and understand
  • It’s well-researched and includes up-to-date, relevant data from great sources
  • It covers information in an in-depth way, leaving no stone unturned
  • It includes original research from the author, complete with surveys, statistics and data sets
  • Other people link to this piece of content in their own content

Other link building strategies such as link exchanges, guest posting or HARO take considerable amount of time on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. On the other hand, a good piece of link bait requires a lot of initial work and some initial promotion.

After that, the link-worthy piece of content lives on its own and earns back on autopilot. This is why effective link bait is one of the best ways to improve your website’s performance in search engines.

How to create good link bait: step-by-step

If you want to create shareable content that gets inbound links to your website, you can’t approach it like a typical blog post. The best link bait can take months to create and requires the participation of a host of people: writers, designers, researchers, data scientists and more. Here is the typical process for creating a piece of link bait content.

  1. Understand your audience

Do research to find out what your target audience reads and more importantly, links to. Using a tool such as Ahrefs, you can analyze a piece of link bait and see who links to it, so you can find out who links to it most commonly.

Or if you want to start from the opposite end, you could take a look at your ideal target audience: bloggers, influencers and website managers, and then use Ahrefs to determine who they link to.

  1. Identify content ideas

The hardest part of creating link bait is coming up with ideas for high-quality content. But if you’ve done the first part of the research well, it should be much easier.

For example, you have a product for email marketing and you find out that your target audience often writes about email statistics and metrics. Examples could include:

  • Open-rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Conversion rates

You could create a unique piece of research showing what kind of emails get the highest open rates, click-through rates and others. Back up your research with data and explain the sample that you worked on. Most importantly, make sure your research is up to date and done in the current year. Content creators love referencing fresh data.

What is Link Bait and How to Create It

Some of the most linked to pages on Hubspot.com are statistics pages

  1. Make it visual

If you want to get quality links, your content should be easy to consume. Infographics are some of the best examples of link bait because of their inherently visual nature. They don’t display complex rows of data. Instead, they show images, highlighting the most important pieces of data in a way that is easy to understand.

Even if you’re creating content that is more textual, such as an ultimate guide, go the extra mile. Create visualizations of your data findings, quotes and more. That way, even if someone does not link to the original piece of content, they might link to the image.

Also, visual content fares better on networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook, so you can get more social shares with well-designed visuals. Also, make sure to include buttons for social shares, as well as embeddable code that lets people link to you while giving you an actual backlink and credit for your work.

  1. Do some promotion

Getting organic traffic and backlinks to your link bait piece requires some initial work before it starts working on autopilot. You’re going to need a promotion and marketing strategy to get the ball rolling in the first few weeks and links will start coming in later.

Here are some ideas you can grab for promotion:

  • If you have a piece with the latest statistics (for 2024), reach out to websites quoting statistics from 2023 and ask them to link to you instead
  • If you used someone’s research or quote for an infographic, message the original source and tell them you quoted them, asking if they could link to your infographic
  • Message the most prominent journalists and influencers in your industry and niche and let them know you created an amazing piece of content they could link to
  • Send out a newsletter with your link bait piece to your customers
  • Do some cold email outreach to prominent authors and bloggers
  • Share the snippets of the link bait on social media
What is Link Bait and How to Create It

You can use an AND Boolean search operator with your search term to find articles for a specific year so you can reach out to those websites

The initial push is important because without some promotion, earning quality backlinks is much more difficult.

Great link bait examples to get you inspired

If you want to rule the search rankings and make link bait a part of your SEO strategy, you can use these examples as a starting point.

Buffer’s State of Remote Work

Every year, Buffer creates detailed research about remote work by surveying their own participants. In 2023, they surveyed over 3,000 remote workers to find out how and where they work, what their habits are, how much they earn and more.

What is Link Bait and How to Create It

The State of Remote Work is a collection of unique data pieces, insights, unique visualizations and insights that are every writer’s dream come true.

What is Link Bait and How to Create It

To prove that this approach works, the State of Remote Work page netted almost 350k backlinks over the course of the years.

Ahrefs’ featured snippets study

Ahrefs is an SEO and keyword research tool used by countless marketers around the globe. The best part is that for all of their research, they use their own tool to get the data.

What is Link Bait and How to Create It

In typical Ahrefs fashion, this piece of link bait is well-written and comes packed with great visuals. And since it’s Ahrefs, you even have a tab on the right showing you how many people linked to this content piece – an obvious sign that it works as intended.

The Oatmeal comic on Nikola Tesla

There is a good chance you have seen work by The Oatmeal, even if you don’t know who it is. This cartoonist is known for his wacky sense of humor and interesting topics and unsurprisingly, many of his comics get lots of attention and links.

What is Link Bait and How to Create It

Such is the one called Why Nikola Tesla is the greatest geek who ever lived, netting over 6,000 backlinks. He took an interesting topic, coupled it with amazing visuals and it got amazing press from countless websites and social media channels.

VisualCapitalist infographics

If you ever did a Google search on infographics, there’s a high chance you ran into something by VisualCapitalist. They rule the organic search by taking a visual stance at all the relevant topics in the world of business and turning them into infographics.

What is Link Bait and How to Create It


There are also detailed descriptions and tables with all of the data pulled to create these visualizations.

Wrapping up

Creating link bait is much easier said than done. It takes an amazing idea and a skilled team of creatives to pull it off, and with a little bit of promotion, you can see thousands of backlinks coming to your website.

Need even more link building help? At ReportCard, we can help you get links through backlink exchanges, blogger outreach and many other data-backed, proven ways of link building.

Reach out today to find out how we can help you!

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