How to Create Link-Bait Guides Bloggers Can’t Resist


Have you noticed that some of your guides and articles perform better than others? They tend to attract more back-links, traffic and shares, and generate more business for you. Some marketers refer to them as link-bait.

In the world of SEO, content with link-bait value is gold. They can help increase your website’s rankings in search engines.

Creating link-bait content isn’t very tough, if you understand the concept and learn how to apply it to your blogs, guides and eBooks.

What Makes For Great Link-bait Content?

Jonah Berger’s book Contagious captures the essence of share-worthy/link-worthy content well. Jonah discusses share-triggers that most viral content pieces exhibit. People share content that:

  • Aligns with their point of view/makes them look or feel good
  • Incites emotion in them, like happiness, awe or anger
  • Gives them a voice in regards to current or trending events
  • Offers practical, unique utility or value
  • Has already been shared by tons of people

The goal is to curate content relevant to your niche that uses these insights, so you can enjoy the consequent links and shares that follow.

Here is a four-step guide to creating link-bait content targeting bloggers in your niche.

1. Choose The Right Topic

The topic considerably affects SEO, shares and clicks, so you should think through the one you decide to do with. Link-bait content is also more effort-heavy than regular content, so it’s important that you carefully vet the topic you commit to.

  • Is it relevant?
  • Is it being searched?
  • Are experts and influencers talking about it?
  • What is its social media footprint?

If your topic is relevant, has a good search volume, is being discussed by influential bloggers and has a sizeable social media footprint, it has the potential to be link-bait. How you manage social media content can make or break your link-bait strategy.

In 2014, everyone on the internet was talking about The Walking Dead, and that’s when MarketWatch hijacked social media conversations with this ingenious article.


2. Leverage Shareable Content Formats

Certain content formats appear to perform better digitally, than other forms of content. Viral content pieces are generally:

  • Infographics
  • Comprehensive guides
  • Visual content (images/GIFs/videos)
  • Niche-specific case studies
  • Statistics roundups
  • Interactive content (think personality quiz)
  • Tweetables

You don’t have to begin with a type of content for it to go viral. Content that began as a guide could turn into a great video or infographic.

3. Use Emotion & Visuals

People are hardwired to share humorous and surprising content. If you notice the most shared posts on social media, you’ll see that they’re usually visual and hold emotional value. People are more like to share content that is:

  • Admirable
  • Humorous
  • Shocking
  • Ingenious
  • Trashy
  • Controversial
  • Strange
  • Cute

Negativity pales in performance to positivity, on social networks. If you analyzed the most viral social media posts of 2016, you would see that most of them were positive.


Researchers Kristin Tynski, Kerry Jones and Kelsey Libert ran a study that found that most viral posts have a strong correlation to positivity, complex emotions, surprise or arousal.

4. Follow The Skyscraper Strategy

One of the most surefire ways to create a viral post is by modeling it to surpass another. What that means is that you identify a viral post and outdo it with a similar, but more comprehensive version.

Most marketers believe that great content is enough to rank on page one, but that’s often not the case. If you want to create link-bait content, you need a systematic process, and the three-step skyscraper strategy is a great guide.

  • First, find the most shared/linked-out-to piece for the keyword you are targeting.
  • Create a blog post/guide along similar lines, but make it better – more comprehensive, better designed or better organized.
  • Find the people who linked out to the first post and write to them introducing yours.

Help Scout’s Customer Acquisition Strategies for Entrepreneurs is a great example. Google has over 5 million results for the keyword, but this one has stayed on page 1 of SERPs for a long time.


The guide shares the same information as other articles on page 2 and 3 even, but in a framework of impeccable design and organization.


There are well defined reasons why some pieces of content attract more links and shares than others, and they are well within your reach for execution. By understanding why those posts rank over others and applying them to your content strategy, you can build a stable position for your business among search rankings.

* Adapted lead image: Public Domain Dedication (CC0) Public Domain, via

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