The Ongoing Power of Linkbait

Google has been on a campaign to rid the Internet of any and all strategies that promote the artificial ranking of websites, so the term “linkbait” has received a bad reputation over the last few years. However, a linkbait article can prove a perfectly safe way to gain massive, high-quality backlinks.

What is Linkbait?

A linkbait article is simply a long overview of a particular niche that aims to provide a newcomer to a site with all of the information they would care to know on that subject. These articles are often 2,000 to 4,000 words long, and they typically contain supplemental information in the form of infographics and videos.


These are supposed to be your best work. Linkbait articles should be written by professionals, and they should contain no grammatical errors. Errors in spelling and grammar can negatively affect how these articles are perceived. The overall goal of such an article is to establish the site as an authority in the target niche. Because of their quality, length and utility, these articles often go viral.

Additionally, once these begin to spread, influencers often share them as well, and these shares can result in lots of high-quality backlinks. These are the best backlinks that you can obtain as they’re unsolicited.

Why It Works

Linkbait works because it is congruent with Google’s ranking philosophy. The major search engines prefer to rank viral content whenever possible. The way that they determined which content was popular historically was to count the number of backlinks going to relevant content. Today, however, they also take social shares into account.

A high-quality linkbait piece often beats out other content precisely because it receives higher-quality backlinks than its competitors. Additionally, should search engines attempt to devalue linkbait articles, they’ll find themselves in the uncomfortable position of justifying why they ranked other content over it. After all, many articles receive natural links.

How To Manage Risk

There are generally three levels of risk associated with linkbait articles: no risk, low risk, and moderate risk. No risk linkbait involves creating viral content and then letting it take off on its own, using no form of manipulation.

No-risk linkbait is best suited for a large site with a passionate audience. These individuals will champion the content on their own, spreading it across their social networks. Eventually, the content will find its way to influencers who have the power to make it go viral.

Note that you can safely promote the content yourself if you have social media accounts dedicated to the site that the content is posted on. With low risk linkbait, you may find yourself paying influencers to “push” the content. If the content is of high quality, the backlinks gained from the push will still be organic and will appear as such to Google.

Moderate-risk linkbait involves posting long editorial pieces that have little to do with the site’s overall theme. These pieces may not help the site’s overall domain authority, and they may even be devalued. Google Hummingbird, which is a complete overhaul of Google’s engine, places a high value on an overall site theme.

If you keep your content on-topic and of high quality, and if you have a robust social media presence, you shouldn’t have to do much work to make it go viral. The key is to strive to solve the biggest problems found in your niche.