Link Building Process purple
19 min read

Link Baiting: A Smarter Approach To Building Organic Backlinks

Stewart Dunlop


Chief Link Building Strategist

Building backlinks is an essential part of SEO strategy, but itโ€™s often labor-intensive. The constant cycle of content creation and outreach can be exhausting and time consuming.

This is one of the many reasons that 75% of online content has zero backlinks.

However, link baiting offers an alternativeโ€”it involves creating outstanding content once, and letting it attract links naturally.

By focusing on creating high-quality, valuable, and engaging content, you not only save time but also increase the likelihood of earning organic backlinks from other websites.

The catch? Your content has to be exceptional.

If creating great link bait were easy, everyone would do it. Creating link bait that truly stands out requires creativity, expertise, and a deep understanding of your target audience.

Link bait is not just about producing something controversial. It's about delivering genuine value.

In this blog, we explore the ins and outs of link baitingโ€”from discovering why it works and how to create link bait, along with some examples of effective link bait.

๐Ÿ’กKey Takeaways

  • Link baiting involves creating valuable content to attract organic backlinks, which helps you create a natural backlink profile and rank higher in SERPs.

  • While controversial content is an effective example of link bait, there are many different types of link bait that target different businesses and audiences.

  • Successful examples of link bait include infographics, guides, controversial content, original research, opinion pieces, and emotional content.

  • Use social media, press outreach, and email marketing to promote link bait content effectively and maximize its impact.

Understanding Link Bait vs. Traditional Link Building

Link bait is a type of link building, although it operates slightly differently from traditional link-building methods.

Link bait content

Link bait content is created with the goal of attracting natural backlinks from other websites without active outreach.

It aims to be so valuable or provocative that other websites naturally link to it because they find it useful.

The article below on British public support for the monarchy serves as a great example of link bait:

example of link bait


This content is inherently provocative because it touches on identity, heritage, and society, which are compelling (and potentially contentious) topics.

Link bait like this may receive backlinks from news sources, tabloid sites, and blogs that focus on political discussion, royal family commentary, and cultural analysis.

Traditional link building

Traditional link-building content is created with the purpose of actively acquiring backlinks through outreach or partnerships.

The content may still be valuable and informative, but the goal is to secure backlinks rather than naturally attracting them.

Because link baiting is centered around organically attracting links, it presents its own set of challenges:

๐Ÿ›‘ High-quality content: Creating link-worthy content requires creativity, expertise, and a deep understanding of your target audience. It's not enough to simply produce good contentโ€”it must be exceptional.

๐Ÿ›‘ Promotion: Unlike traditional link-building methods that target specific site owners through outreach emails, link bait often relies on broader strategies such as social media posts or press releases to gain visibility.

๐Ÿ›‘ Risk: Link bait relies on the inherent value of the content itself, so there's a higher degree of uncertainty compared to traditional link-building methods.

Despite these challenges, link baiting is a powerful SEO strategy for acquiring natural backlinks and improving your websiteโ€™s visibility.

โ€œI think of link bait as something interesting enough to catch peopleโ€™s attention, and that doesnโ€™t have to be a bad thing.

There are a lot of ways to do that, including putting in sweat-of-the-brow work to generate data or insights, or it can be as simple as being creative. You can also say something controversial to generate discussion (this last one gets tired if you overuse it, though).

Link baiting sounds like a bad thing, but especially if itโ€™s interesting information or fun, it doesnโ€™t have to have negative connotations.

Personally, Iโ€™d lean toward producing interesting data or having a creative idea rather than spouting really controversial ideas 100% of the time.โ€

Matt Cutts Former Head of Web Spam at Google

Why Does Link Bait Work?

At its core, link baiting revolves around creating high-quality content that is tailored to resonate with your target audience.

Here's why link baiting works so well:

๐Ÿš€ Tailored content

Link baiting involves crafting content that is highly relevant and valuable to your audience.

By understanding your audienceโ€™s interests, preferences, and pain points, you can create content that resonates on a deep level, making it more likely to attract attention and engagement.

๐Ÿš€ Less outreach

Unlike traditional link-building methods that often require extensive outreach efforts to secure backlinks, link baiting relies on the intrinsic value of the content itself to attract links naturally.

This means you can spend less time on outreach and more time focusing on creating exceptional content.

๐Ÿš€ More natural link profile

Link baiting helps build a more diverse and natural link profile for your website.

This can improve your website's authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines, leading to higher rankings and increased visibility.

๐Ÿš€ Organic traffic

High-quality link bait content has the potential to attract a significant volume of organic traffic to your website.

As other websites link to your content and share it with their audiences, it can drive a steady stream of visitors who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

๐Ÿš€ Acquires more links over time

The impact of link bait isnโ€™t just immediate. Instead, itโ€™s designed to compound over time.

As your content continues to be shared, it has the potential to acquire more backlinks. This can solidify your website's authority and lead to sustained organic traffic, which will have a positive impact on your search engine ranking.

What Makes Great Link Bait?

Crafting successful link-bait content requires a keen understanding of what piques the interest of both your target audience and related websites.

What constitutes link bait can vary depending on factors like your industry, audience, and current trends. Certain techniques may work well for some businesses, but not for others.

Aim for your link-bait content to fulfill at least three of the criteria listed below:

โœ… Wide appeal: Link-bait content should appeal to a broad audience, making it attractive to a variety of publications and websites.

โœ… Credibility: It should be backed by statistical data or relevant expertise that publishers can confidently cite to support their content or further explain ideas.

โœ… Emotional engagement: Great link bait elicits an emotional response from the audience, whether it's excitement, curiosity, or empathy.

โœ… Uniqueness: Successful link bait takes a fresh and unorthodox approach, presenting unique angles or perspectives that set it apart from the competition.

โœ… Timeliness: Link bait content is often topical, responding to current events, trends, or controversies in the media.

โœ… Visual appeal: Visually appealing elements such as graphics, images, or videos enhance the shareability of link-bait content, making it more likely to capture the audience's attention.

Link Baiting Done Right: 6 Examples of Good Link Bait

Here are some of our favorite successful link bait examples:


Infographics are excellent link bait, as shown by the example below that assesses the crypto boom:



With this infographic, Semrush provides insights into global cryptocurrency trends, including the most searched cryptocurrencies, countries with the highest interest in crypto, and correlations between search trends and cryptocurrency prices.

The information is presented in an accessible format, making it linkable across various platforms.

This particular infographic has received almost 600 backlinks over its lifetime:

Ahref Dashboard

Why this link bait works

โœ… Timeliness: The content addresses trends in cryptocurrency, which is a topic of interest to many, especially given the recent surge in popularity of cryptocurrencies.

โœ… Insights: The infographic offers unique insights and data analysis regarding cryptocurrency trends. These insights are likely to pique the curiosity of readers and draw them in to learn more.

โœ… Visual content: Infographics are visually appealing and easier to digest than plain text. The use of charts, graphs, and illustrations makes the information more accessible and engaging.

โœ… Practical value: The content offers practical value to readers by providing insights into cryptocurrency trends that may inform investment decisions or simply satisfy their curiosity about this rapidly evolving space.

Why you should try it

People are more likely to share content thatโ€™s visually appealing and easy to understand.

Infographics are highly shareable assets that can be easily posted on social media platforms, blogs, and websites. This increases their reach and contributes to your link-baiting efforts.

Businesses of every size and in almost every industry can leverage infographics to create compelling link-bait content.

Challenges to keep in mind

๐Ÿ›‘ Information overload: One of the biggest challenges is deciding how much information to include. It's essential to strike the right balance between providing in-depth information and overwhelming the audience.

๐Ÿ›‘ Data accuracy: Infographics rely on data and statistics to support their message. Ensuring the accuracy of the data sources and properly representing the data in visual form are crucial for credibility.

๐Ÿ›‘ Visual design: Designing a great infographic requires graphic design skills and an understanding of visual hierarchy and layout principles. It can be challenging to create an aesthetically pleasing design while conveying the intended message.


Guides are great link bait because they provide valuable information and allow you to position your brand as an expert in your field.

If you keep your guide updated, it can enforce your authority over time as it eventually becomes known as a go-to resource that readers revisit and share with others.

Moz's Beginnerโ€™s Guide to SEO Basics is a great example of a link-bait guide on a niche topic. It covers all major aspects of SEO, from understanding the fundamentals to implementing advanced strategies:


Their guide has achieved an incredible number of 2 million backlinks from over 52,000 referring domains over its lifetime:

Ahref Dashboard

Why this link bait works

โœ… Comprehensive: This guide covers all major aspects of SEO, making it a valuable resource for beginners and experienced professionals alike.

โœ… Actionable advice: Each chapter provides actionable advice and practical tips that readers can implement to improve their SEO efforts.

โœ… Educational: The guide serves as a valuable educational resource, providing readers with in-depth explanations of SEO concepts and terminology.

โœ… Engagement: Throughout the guide, there are opportunities for engagement, such as interactive elements, quizzes, and certifications.

Why you should try it

Well-researched guides demonstrate your expertise in a particular topic, which positions you as a thought leader and authority in your industry.

They have the potential to attract a wide audience, including:

  • Readers.

  • Influencers and thought leaders.

  • Journalists and publications.

  • Educational resources.

Challenges to keep in mind

๐Ÿ›‘ Resources: Creating comprehensive guides requires significant time, effort, and resources, as it involves research, writing, editing, design, and promotion.

๐Ÿ›‘ Content quality: Maintaining high-quality standards throughout the guide can be challenging, particularly when covering complex topics or addressing diverse audience needs.

๐Ÿ›‘ Competitive landscape: In many industries, the competition might already have saturated the landscape with guides that cover similar topics. Standing out from the crowd can be difficult.

Controversial content

Controversial link bait is the ultimate attention-grabber due to its ability to spark intrigue, ignite discussion, and capture attention in a crowded digital landscape.

By addressing contentious topics or challenging conventional wisdom, you can build links and position your brand as a bold voice willing to tackle tough issues.

James Chartrand, a regular contributor to Copyblogger, revealed a personal secret about โ€˜himโ€™ actually being a woman. She had been using a male pseudonym to gain respect and higher income in the male-dominated field of writing.

The blog post challenges societal norms and expectations, and immediately sparked controversy and conversation:

James Chartrand


Not only has the piece received 4,400 backlinks over its lifetime, but there are also almost 800 comments on the blog:

Ahref Dashboard

Why this link bait works

โœ… Provocative title: The title "Why James Chartrand Wears Womenโ€™s Underpants" is attention-grabbing and sparks curiosity.

โœ… Revelatory content: Chartrand's revelation of being a woman writing under a male pseudonym challenges societal norms and expectations, generating controversy and discussion.

โœ… Systemic critique: The article exposes systemic biases and inequalities in the job market, prompting readers to reflect on their own assumptions and biases.

โœ… Authenticity: Chartrand's decision to come forward with her story after years of anonymity adds authenticity and urgency to the narrative, making it more compelling.

Why you should try it

Controversial content tends to attract more attention and engagement due to its provocative nature, leading to more inbound links to your website.

By tapping into contentious topics, you can reach a broader audience, as people are more likely to share and discuss controversial content with their networks.

Challenges to keep in mind

๐Ÿ›‘ Backlash: Controversial content can lead to negative feedback, criticism, or even heavy backlash from certain segments of your audience or the wider community.

๐Ÿ›‘ Reputation risks: Addressing controversial topics may damage your brand's reputation if not handled sensitively or if your stance is perceived negatively by stakeholders.

๐Ÿ›‘ Resource intensive: Managing the fallout from controversial content, including addressing criticism, moderating discussions, and managing public relations, can be resource-intensive for your team.

Original research

Original research isn't just great link baitโ€”it's the cornerstone of digital authority and influence.

It attracts attention like no other content can. By presenting fresh data and a unique perspective, you're providing a rare commodity in the online world.

In the example below, analyzed millions of pet names, uncovering fascinating insights into trends, patterns, and cultural influences shaping pet naming choices:


By sharing their findings, has attracted 16,200 backlinks from over 3,300 unique domains over its lifetime:

Ahref Dashboard

Why this link bait works

โœ… Original research: The article was made possible by's extensive database of pet names, offering insights into the preferences of millions of pet owners.

โœ… Visually appeal: Visuals such as infographics and images add to the article's appeal. These visuals break up the text, making it more digestible and shareable.

โœ… Interactive elements: The article offers interactive features such as a dog name generator and links to explore names by city. These elements encourage engagement and increase the likelihood of sharing.

โœ… Emotional appeal: Pet names evoke strong emotions in pet owners. By exploring the meanings and inspirations behind pet names, the article taps into the connection between pets and their owners.

Why you should try it

Conducting original research sets your content apart from the plethora of generic articles saturating the internet.

When you present unique findings and insights, you establish your brand as a credible source of information and attract a wider audience eager for fresh perspectives.

Challenges to keep in mind

๐Ÿ›‘ Resource-intensive: Conducting original research requires time, effort, and resources. From collecting data to creating content, the process can be labor-intensive and costly, particularly for smaller businesses.

๐Ÿ›‘ Complexity: Research involves navigating various challenges, including research methodology, data collection methods, and statistical analysis. Without proper expertise, it's easy to make mistakes that could undermine the credibility of your findings.

Opinions or commentary

Opinion pieces and commentary often present bold viewpoints on trending topics, which can spark debate or deepen conversations for your audience.

They have the power to evoke strong emotions in readersโ€”whether it's agreement, disagreement, outrage, or inspirationโ€”which can all translate into shares and links.

For example, the opinion piece Pausing AI Developments Isnโ€™t Enough. We Need to Shut it All Down demonstrates why opinion pieces like this are excellent link bait:

link bait


This opinion piece has gained over 22,000 backlinks since it was published:

Ahref Dashboard

Why this link bait works

โœ… Trending topic: Hotly debated issues are a gold mine for link bait. By delving into AI and its potential risks, this article taps into a trending topic that sparks curiosity and drives engagement.

โœ… Expert authority: Eliezer Yudkowsky is a renowned theorist and prominent figure in AI research. His expertise lends credibility to the arguments presented, compelling readers to take the content seriously.

โœ… Fear factor: Leveraging fear as a persuasive tool, the article paints a stark picture and leaves a lasting impression on readers.

Why you should try it

Opinion pieces and commentaries have the unique ability to capture attention by addressing trending topics and offering new viewpoints.

By challenging conventional wisdom, you can create content that resonates with readers.

Whether they agree or disagree with your perspective, people are more likely to link to your content so they can get others involved in the conversation.

Challenges to keep in mind

๐Ÿ›‘ Research: Producing well-informed content requires thorough research and fact-checking. Failing to back your claims up with credible sources can undermine your credibility and damage your reputation.

๐Ÿ›‘ Timing: Jumping on trending topics can be effective for generating immediate interest, but it's also important to consider whether the topic aligns with your brand values and long-term goals.

Emotional content

Creating emotional content is powerful link bait because it taps into the human psyche by evoking strong feelings and reactions from the audience.

Not all emotional content needs to be overly sentimental or dramatic. It can play on a range of emotions, including humor, curiosity, nostalgia, and even shock.

By understanding your target audience, you can tailor your content to emotionally resonate with them.

The blog post below features a comprehensive examination of various countries based on statistics gathered from international sources, which adds credibility to the content.

However, what truly makes this piece compelling is the personal touch throughout the article.

The writer shares her candid reflections and experiences as a mother raising her children in the United States:

link bait

The blog post has acquired over 3,200 backlinks since it was published:

Ahref Dashboard

Why this link bait works

โœ… Emotional engagement: The article combines factual analysis with personal anecdotes. This evokes empathy and resonates with readers on an emotional level.

โœ… Data: It presents critical statistics from trusted international sources, ensuring the content is credible and reliable.

โœ… Unique perspective: Lyric Fergusson's personal reflections and experiences add a unique and authentic perspective to the analysis, distinguishing the article from standard data-driven reports.

โœ… Social impact: By addressing important topics such as safety, healthcare, and education, the article contributes to meaningful discussions and potentially drives social awareness and change.

Why you should try it

Emotional content has a higher likelihood of going viral compared to purely informational or promotional content.

When people are deeply moved or touched by a piece of content, they are more inclined to share it with their networks and across their own websites, leading to exponential reach and more backlinks.

Challenges to keep in mind

๐Ÿ›‘ Authenticity: Creating emotional content requires genuine and sincere expression to resonate with audiences. Failing to convey authenticity can lead to disengagement.

๐Ÿ›‘ Navigating sensitivity: Addressing emotional topics requires sensitivity and empathy to avoid causing unintentional harm or being offensive to readers.

๐Ÿ›‘ Balance: It's essential to strike a balance between evoking emotions and maintaining a coherent narrative or message. Overly emotional content may cloud the intended message.

๐Ÿ›‘ Avoiding exploitation: While emotional storytelling can be powerful, avoid exploiting sensitive topics or using emotions solely for building links without providing genuine value.

How to Promote Your Link Bait

When it comes to promoting your link-bait content, the goal is to attract attention and generate links without relying on extensive outreach efforts.

However, you should do at least some promotional activities to give your link bait the best chance of success.

Here are some effective promotion strategies:

Social media: Use your social media channels to share your link-bait content with your followers. Engage with your audience by responding to comments and encouraging discussions around your content.

Press: Reach out to relevant journalists or media outlets and pitch your link-bait content as a potential story or feature. Securing press coverage can help increase visibility and drive traffic to your content.

Email: Use your email list to promote your link-bait content to subscribers who have opted in to receive updates from you. Craft an email highlighting the value of your content and include a clear call to action to view the full content.

Revolutionize Your Backlink Strategy with Linkbuilder

Link baiting is a compelling alternative to traditional link-building methods because it enables you to attract organic backlinks without having to perform time-intensive outreach.

However, it's not without its challenges. Some types of link bait require staying on top of trends and maintaining a lightning-fast reaction time to create attention-grabbing content. Others require a high degree of expertise in research, analysis, and graphic design.

Either way, creating effective link bait can be a complex and demanding process, and it requires a diverse skill set and strategic approach.

Thatโ€™s where we come in. At Linkbuilder, we specialize in navigating these challenges to create irresistible link-bait content that earns you high-quality links.

Get in touch with us and letโ€™s start making an impact!