Anatomy of Linkbait Content: How to Attract Backlinks Passively

There are many baits used to attract a particular kind of fish. For example, you need to use artificial baits or lures to catch predatory fishes. On the other hand, worms are considered as the universal bait for freshwater angling, also known as a fishing method that uses hooks. In other words, fishing is a […]

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There are many baits used to attract a particular kind of fish. For example, you need to use artificial baits or lures to catch predatory fishes. On the other hand, worms are considered as the universal bait for freshwater angling, also known as a fishing method that uses hooks.

In other words, fishing is a complex sport that requires fishers the right equipment to attract fishes. Not to mention, it requires patience and an iron will to catch the right kind of fish.

The same concept applies to link building. The best way to acquire backlinks is to attract people towards your content and link it to their websites. You can’t just send an email blast to people begging them to link to your content because it will only drive them away. It’s like going scuba diving on the lake and chasing after fish.

While you can turn to blogger outreach and acquire backlinks proactively, nothing beats generating backlinks the passive way. All you need to do is simply wait for people to link to your content – it’s that easy!

However, just like fish bait, you need the right kind of content that will trigger your audience to link to it.

This is the question that linkbait content strives to answer.

What is linkbait content?

Linkbait content is synonymous with 10x content because both deliver tremendous value to readers with loads of information and actionable items.

However, the sole purpose of creating linkbait content is to attract links. It does offer information that you would typically find in 10x content, but the difference lies in the format of the content. 10x content comes in the form of long-form written posts, while linkbait content assumes the form of the following types:

  • Infographics – Visual content is arguably the most shared content on social media. If your infographic is chock-full of information and looks beautiful, then there’s a good chance that people will share and link to your content.
  • Statistics – If there’s any piece of content that people can get their hands out to support their claims and ideas, then statistics are the best way to go. These require time to develop since you need to research and gather data to extract. But if you can generate figures about a specific topic, then you can expect people to link to your research.
  • Useful tools and apps – People won’t only use tools and apps that answer an immediate need that have, but they’ll also share and link to them on their posts so more people can use them.
  • Niche sites – Narrowing your topic down to a specific niche allows you to focus all your energies on developing the most comprehensive and all-inclusive content about the niche. This gives lots of readers to chew on, which could also lead to more backlinks down the line.

What makes a great linkbait content?

Factors of Linkbait Content

There are a lot of factors involved that makes an effective linkbait content. Below are the following reasons:

It’s hard to ignore them

A great piece of content makes an immediate impression on you just seconds staring at them. It’s content that’s immensely dense and jam-packed with information that it’s hard to forget it.


An example of a great piece of linkbait content in infographic form is Unbounce’s Noob Guide to Online Marketing. No other infographic in the market covers as much depth and insights like this one, six years after publication. The design could probably be better regarding fitting all information without making the infographic width too wide. But it’s a minor complaint about something offers lots of value to aspiring marketers.

The post ranks on the first page of “online marketing infographic.” Using Ahrefs, below is a snapshot of the SERPs for this keyword.

unbounce online marketing infographic

While the second result, SEOBook’s infographic, has more backlinks than the Unbounce infographic, it helps that the Moz post, which ranks at the fifth position, features the infographic from Unbounce. It goes to show how important when another site links to your page, especially an authoritative one in your industry.

It answers an immediate need

People don’t think along the lines of whether something is “linkable” or not online. They visit a page because it provides them the need that they are looking for at the moment. Regardless of your niche and industry, the content must provide them the instant gratification for it to be considered link-worthy.

Google Algorithm Change History

If you are looking for the latest Google algorithm updates, a quick search on Google will bring you Moz’s Google Algorithm History. It covers the algorithm changes spanning 12 years and counting. It’s a great resource to look back to time and again if you want to learn more about past changes in the algorithm, as well as the current ones.

Looking at the SERP data for “Google algorithm changes” using Ahrefs, the backlink count is not even close compared to other pages.

ahrefs moz google algo changes

It makes the sharer look good

If you rely on statistics and data when developing your content, then you need authoritative resource pages for your content to stand up on. You simply cannot make claims without proof because it will reflect poorly on your ability to create trustworthy content. As a content creator, your purpose is to elevate your brand from the pack, not dig a grave for it!

awr ctr study

A great example of linkbait content that leverages on statistics is Advanced Web Ranking’s CTR Study. It provides a graph that measures the correlation between Google’s organic search ranking and CTR. In theory, the higher the rankings, the more clicks it receives. True enough, AWR’s CTR study help establish this belief.

The idea that higher ranking results to higher CTR is not new. In 2013, Chitika released a study that affirms how important SERP ranking is to average organic traffic value.

However, the difference between AWR and Chitika’s studies is that AWR constantly updates theirs while Chitika has yet to release another definitive data about organic CTR about search position.

A quick look on Ahrefs will further help you show the difference between the two.

google positioning ahrefs

Looking at the screenshot above, the Chitika page has the most backlinks in the SERP for the keyword “google positioning” (which is the best ranking keyword for the content according to Ahrefs). However, Chitika ranks at the seventh position. It seems to have been overtaken by more recent and comprehensive pages. We can attest its freshness and lack of updates to be the main culprits for its decrease its rankings.

awr ctr study ahrefs

Compare it to Ahref’s results for AWR’s CTR Study. The resource page ranks fairly well on some keywords. Also, most of its links started as early as last year, so it has the freshness factor going for it. Not to mention, the page is updated monthly to ensure readers that it provides the most recent available data.

It is the best in the market

A great example of a linkbait content that provides a solution to a pressing need is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. The tool helps bloggers and marketers craft effective headlines using its metrics and aggregated score.

Compared to other tools, the Headline Analyzer is, well, head and shoulders above the competition. The closest page that competes against the tool is the Advanced Marketing Institute EMV Headline Analyzer. This tool existed years before CoSchedule’s, but the Headline Analyzer is simply a much better overall tool due to the design and features it offers.

Comparing both tools using Ahref’s Content Gap feature, it is clear that the Headline Analyzer holds the upper hand due to the number of keywords that it ranks for.

ahrefs content gap

Using Ahrefs still, CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer has more backlinks (2,957 backlinks from unique domains) than AMI’s EMV Headline Analyzer (1,845)!

While we can’t say for sure how CoSchedule acquired more backlinks in less time, we can nonetheless deduce that CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer has more backlinks compared to its competitors because it’s also the best.

How to develop linkbait content?

Drawing from the examples above, we can reduce the best practices of creating linkbait content into simpler terms below.

Create the best possible content in the market

The principles espoused in the creation of 10x content resonates just as well with building linkbait content. You simply need to create better content that your competitors. Take inspiration from CoSchedule and how they created Headline Analyzer, which is a more user-friendly version of AMI’s EMV Headline Analyzer. It’s just a matter of tweaking what already exists and refine some of its glaring weaknesses to make a better product.

If you can create content that’s hard to top, then you can expect to acquire more backlinks over time. For an additional example, Jon Cooper’s Link Building Tactics – The Complete List is the go-to resource page for all things link building. Since it would be possible for you to apply all the tactics, you can refine the results based on duration, link value, and dependency on other sources.

jon morrow link building tactics

Aside from having the complete list of tactics, it has the filter function and other things going for it, making it, to this day, the best resource for link building.

Update as much as possible

Freshness is one of the most important factors that search spiders consider when ranking a page on Google organic search. The more recent the content, the higher changes it is that it’ll rank over its competitors. Moreover, the more time you update your content to include the most recent value, the more chances your page will generate more backlinks over time.

The examples from Moz and AWR above speak volumes of how important updating your content is with fresher information. It allows them to generate more backlinks because people are aware that the content is guaranteed to provide readers with timely information about the data they’re offering.

Target creating evergreen content

About updating your content, it is just as important to balance freshness with sustainability. If you are to cover a topic in your niche, make sure to exhaust all possible talking points that you can raise about it.

More importantly, choose a topic that will remain relevant as time passes. You simply cannot rely on creating content about fleeting topics that decreases in interest as the day passes. You want to cover content that people will constantly search for online regardless of the season.

Beginner's Guide to Online Marketing

An example of evergreen content is Quicksprout’s The Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing. It is one of the most massive posts that discuss online marketing in depth. The content comes in different chapters, with each ranging over thousands of words to supply newbies with more than enough information to get them acquainted with this practice.

Even years after the post has been written, the information contained within remains applicable in today’s marketing practice.

Sprinkle your content with a bit of SEO


Before developing your linkbait content, you need to settle with an SEO strategy. I may sound like a broken record, but having an SEO perspective in mind allows you to acquire more backlinks and achieve higher rankings in search results.

You need to start with your keyword research and find the best search queries to rank for. When choosing the best possible keyword, it immediately provides your post with a clear objective in mind aside from providing valuable content to your readers. By targeting a particular keyword, you can optimize your content efficiently and create a more focused post.

Next, observe the best on-page SEO practices. Most of the practices will deal with offering your audience with content that answers their needs. However, there are technical aspects of on-page SEO such as site speed, layout, and formatting that you need to put into consideration. Getting familiar with all of these variables will ultimately result in better content.

Lastly, establishing a blogger outreach campaign allows you to reach out to influencers who can help you promote the posts to a wider audience. Not to mention, you can use the content to touch base with them and build a relationship that you can harness and leverage for future use.


The creation of linkbait content is something that you should include in your content marketing strategy. The beauty of linkbait content is that you get backlinks to the page even without actively promoting it. As long as you follow the tips and advice featured in this post, then you should expect your link profile to grow shortly.