17/10/2022

13 min

5 Successful Link Bait Examples (And Why They Work)

đź’ˇTL;DR: We analyzed link bait examples from Solitaired, Wyzowl, Levvvel, Whitten Brothers, and PartyCasino, and uncovered these key takeaways for building creative and successful linkbait content (even on a limited budget and in difficult niches):

  • creatively using existing, publicly accessible data (Solitaired)
  • conducting surveys to generate unique research and data sources (Wyzowl)
  • newsjacking timely events (Levvvel)
  • identifying unique business hooks (Whitten Brothers)
  • and employing lateral thinking to create relevance (PartyCasino)

link bait examples blog hero image

By definition, linkbait is a piece of content that you create as “bait” to lure in backlinks from other websites.

To do so, your content must be highly valuable and interesting. Consequently, other people will see it as a good resource, and they’ll want to share it and link back to it.

But valuable can have different meanings for the sources you want to acquire backlinks from. And getting it right is not always straightforward.

That’s why we analyzed five examples of effective link bait content. We wanted to see how these brands came up with a link-worthy piece of content and why it worked.

We made sure to pick some creative ideas that work across different industries and niches—even betting websites!

Let’s dive deeper into specific examples to see what we can learn from them.

Solitaired – What Do Game Characters Earn?

Have you ever wondered what your favorite gaming characters would earn if they were real?

The PR team behind the gaming platform Solitaired did wonder. And they also knew that others in the gaming industry would find the answers interesting. 

Ultimately, Solitaired created a successful linkbait piece that satisfied this curiosity. 

Here’s a step-by-step rundown of how they did it.

First, they compiled a list of over 50 popular game characters. Next, they matched their game roles to real-life occupations. 

They then fetched average salaries for these occupations from sites like Salary Expert, Indeed, or Federal Pay.

After collecting all that data, they ranked the highest and lowest earners among the 50 game characters they picked.

link bait content by solitaire: how much do game characters earn?
Image source: Gaming.net

Solitaired then sent this neatly packaged data as a press release to journalists who covered gaming and tech news.

It worked like a charm. Solitaired got coverage and inbound links from major publications, including TheGamer, Express, Houston Press, and many more.

So, what can we learn from this example?

First, you don’t have to jump through hoops to find data for your linkbait content. Lots of data is available for free online, like the salary data in this case.

Second, consider the context for your content piece.

Although similar studies on character earnings existed before, Solitaired banked on a powerful social moment.

Minimum wage debates in the retail and services sectors were flaring. People felt invested in the topic.

Lastly, Solitaire built in the distribution factor right from the start.

They primarily created the piece for distribution in other publications, not so much for the Solitaired website.

solitaired link building campaign
Image source: Fery Kaszoni on LinkedIn 

That was a smart move because people don’t go to Solitaired to read a blog post. They come to, well, play Solitaire.

So instead, Solitaired started an outreach campaign and made sure linkreators saw the content.

acomplix lightbulb icon

Linkreators are people like journalists, website editors or admins, blog owners, and publishers with the power (and websites) to include backlinks to your website content. Brian Dean created the term and explained it in detail in the Semrush course Content-Led SEO.

These publications serve the same audience as Solitaired—gamers. In addition, they have a more established readership hungry for entertaining content. Solitaired provided it and scored some great backlinks in the process.

MAIN TAKEAWAYS:

  • focus on stories that resonate with your target audience
  • find and assemble data to tell a story
  • know the “linkreators” in your niche
  • think about presentation and distribution early on

Moving on to another example, where data played a vital role in building great linkbait content!

Wyzowl – Using Surveys for Original Research Data

In 2014, old data caused headaches for the Wyzowl team. 

They wanted to create high-quality content for their readers. That meant linking to statistics and data to support their insights.

But the relevance and accuracy of the data they linked to were questionable. The available studies and data sources were old. Wyzowl linked anyway for lack of fresher sources. 

The Wyzowl team assumed that other creators faced the same frustrations. So one day they thought, “Why don’t we collect our own fresh data so people can link to us“?

This laid the foundation for a scalable link-building strategy the team could repeat year after year.

Let’s look closer at that first campaign that started it all.

First, Wyzowl set up a survey on SurveyMonkey to collect data on video marketing. They promoted the survey on their social media and email networks and gathered 251 responses.

wyzowl report link bait content
Image source: Wyzowl Survey: The State of Video Marketing 2015

Finally, they published the report on their website and asked people to link back when citing the data.

Wyzowl also offered readers to download the report in exchange for their email. This way, they could build a bigger pool of participants for future surveys. 

The first report was so successful that they decided to repeat surveys year after year. 

Wyzowl reports now attract backlinks on autopilot, as you can see in the backlink overview below:

wyzowl backlinks report
Semrush report on Wyzowl’s top pages by backlinks. Statistics and report pages take the cake. 

And since this link building tactic was so rewarding, they decided to also use it to build links to their new venture, Project.co.

project.co linkbait content
Image source: Project.co reports

Now, what can we learn from Wyzowl’s approach?

First, don’t undervalue the power of data

Data and statistics are highly linkable types of content . People actively look for data to link up in their content. It helps them back up their points and makes their content more trustworthy.

If you decide to go for this type of link bait, ask yourself: What data do you wish you had but can’t find?

Other publishers in your industry probably want it too (and would likely link to it).

Second, generating original data could be easier than you think with tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey. 

And don’t worry about collecting a valid sample size. Wyzowl started with 251, but even 200 participants are enough to generate meaningful results. 

Finally, present the data so it’s easy to digest and share

Again, no need to splurge on expensive designs. You can create visually appealing data summaries with free options from tools like Visme or Venngage.

MAIN TAKEAWAYS:

  • original research and data are linkbait gold
  • present data in a visually appealing and engaging way
  • ask for something in return (a backlink or email) for the value you provide
  • design an easily scaleable and repeatable process because data gets stale fast
  • rinse and repeat annually for best results

Wyzowl’s example is adaptable to any industry. You can generate new data year after year without extra budget, staff, or tools—and steadily build links, too!

Levvvel – Newsjacking for a Cause

In early 2022, the whole world observed the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Donations for war relief in Ukraine were rolling in. 

Gaming industry leaders, like Epic Games, Riot Games, and Sony, quickly started fundraisers too.  

Journalists in the gaming space reported on those donations from gaming companies. However, the reporters had to check multiple sources daily to keep up with donation rounds and sums.

That’s where Levvvel saw an opportunity—and jumped on it. They came up with a way to make reporting easier and earned valuable backlinks.

How?

Simply. They created an embeddable dynamic graph that automatically updates daily to illustrate progress. Take a look below:

levvvel donations chart
Image source: Levvvel

More than 20 reputable gaming news sites picked up the chart, effectively linking back to Levvvel.

The “secret” behind this linkbait content idea is called newsjacking.

Newsjacking involves inserting your brand perspective or content into ongoing conversations around breaking or trending news, events, or stories.

That way, you capitalize on the existing attention to promote your brand, message, or content.

what is newsjacking - definition

Newsjacking is a popular tactic in PR circles, but clearly, it’s also useful for building backlinks for SEO.  

Let’s break down why it worked in this example.

First, the chart was helpful to journalists who wanted to publish engaging content for their readers. 

A chart looks more appealing than a static list or wall of text. So, Levvvel gave reporters exactly what they needed for a better reader experience.

And did we mention that it refreshed daily for the duration of the fundraisers? This alone slashed the amount of time journalists needed to prepare or update their content.

According to the agency that developed the idea, it didn’t cost a thing either.

The gaming community already covered news about donations, and gaming companies shared fundraising updates on their websites. All the information was just a Google search away.

Also, there’s no complicated technology behind it, so Levvvel could push it out quickly. You can easily create a chart like this with Datawrapper or a similar tool within minutes.

MAIN TAKEAWAYS:

  • use tools like Google Trends or Exploding Topics to quickly spot opportunities
  • choose a timely topic and act fast
  • repackage known information in a fresh format or a unique twist to make it look new
  • think about your “linkreators” content needs and pain points

Let’s wrap up analyzing this successful link bait example with some words of caution. 

Newsjacking can be tricky to pull off. You need to consider ethical and moral boundaries. Milking sensitive topics for commercial gain can easily backfire.

On the operating side, newsjacking also requires an agile team ready to create content at short notice. You have to strike while the iron is hot. 

Nonetheless, there’s a great payoff if you do it right.

Whitten Brothers – Finding Your Unique Hook

Derek Gleason mentioned this linkbait example in a course, and it has stuck with me since. This is a great linkbait content idea that generated lots of valuable local mentions and publicity.

In the course, Gleason recalls working with Whitten Brothers, a Richmond-based car dealership.

Gleason noticed that the Whitten Brothers had been in business for nearly a century at that point. This tidbit sparked an idea: to create a list of the oldest businesses in Richmond .

whitten brothers linkbait
Image source: WhittenBrothers.net

The team assembled a list of other long-standing businesses and their founding years. After publishing the piece, the local business publication, RichmondBizSense, was the first to share it.

It exploded after that first mention. Many business owners saw the brand value of appearing on the list and submitted their stories and information.

comments from other business owners
Comments on the RichmondBizSense article. Other business owners were happy to contribute to the list.

The list has gotten a few updates and lots of local shares and mentions. It attracted backlinks from 81 referring domains at the time it was published, even from Wikipedia.

So, let’s unpack some valuable lessons here.

First, find your unique hook and turn it into an advantage. 

For Whitten Brothers, the unique differentiator was their business continuity. It shows the resilience, reliability, and trustworthiness that sustained the business for a hundred years.

Next, they created the piece with a clear audience in mind. Who would find such a list interesting? Business publications? Check. Other businesses? Sure! 

They all have the means to promote the content on their websites. Most importantly, there’s a strong local component—just the sort of attention car dealerships need.

Lastly, it’s formatted simply. The focus is on a list of businesses, their founding years, and the industry they operate in.

whitten brothers linkbait comments from other business owners
Image source: WhittenBrothers.net

More information would appeal to historians, less so to business people, who are the target audience here.

MAIN TAKEAWAYS:

  • identify what makes your business interesting or different
  • think beyond product or service offerings
  • keep an eye on local opportunities and the business climate around you
  • include other businesses so there’s a sharing incentive

Over to you! What stories can your business tell? How can you tie your value proposition or unique hook to your content marketing strategy to score some backlinks?

PartyCasino – Lateral Thinking for the Win

Why is it so difficult to acquire good backlinks in the betting or casino space?

You might say it’s because of strong scam and fraud associations, which makes it a sensitive topic for Google.

To avoid getting caught in the crossfire, many web publishers just flat-out refuse to link to casino or betting websites.

However, the main problem isn’t the “advertising betting” aspect. If you adhere to guidelines and regulations, such as those mentioned in the video below, you should be good.

The real problem is how you obtain those links. 

With limited options, link builders often resort to buying links or inserting them with a “take-what-you-can-get” approach.

This non-selective attitude results in tons of unnatural links that stand out and raise red flags with both users and search engines.

For instance, do you think a mommy blog would just naturally start promoting online gambling sites? Yeah, we think it’s a stretch (and Google probably does too).

screenshot of guardian article - paying for links
Source: TheGuardian 

However, PartyCasino found a way around this relevance chasm.

They came up with a good link-bait content piece that would fit in nicely with lifestyle, celebrity gossip, or even career and budgeting blogs. 

They did it by creating a bait link around a topic adjacent to betting or gambling, such as money, entertainment, wealth, luxury, or prestige. And where else are these concepts relevant?

If you guessed Hollywood, you’re right.

screenshot of partycasino linkbait content
Image source: Verve Search

For their link bait content piece, the team investigated the profits of popular movies, actors, and studios from 1980 onwards. 

To do that, they cross-matched the data from Box Office Mojo with the data from IMDB.

This data revealed “winners” and “losers,” the type of stories journalists love to write about. And thanks to PartyCasino, they could back up stories with data and charts. 

After a few hiccups in the outreach process, the piece got its first mention from the New York Post. 

Soon, the content started receiving mentions (and backlinks) from Forbes, Yahoo, Grazia, The Huffington Post, Variety, and many more.

Image source: Verve Search

If we made that look simple, think again. It takes a lot of creative energy to create something linkable in this niche. 

Sure, the data was out there already. Even so, matching different data sets so they tell a newsworthy story is time-consuming.

MAIN TAKEAWAYS:

  • understand your limitations and “blockers”
  • think of alternative and creative ways to make your content relevant 
  • employ “lateral thinking” to expand your pool of link targets

Even if links to some money pages are difficult to acquire, you can still build links to other pages to improve the overall authority and visibility of your domain.

Just remember to think outside the box.

What Do These Link Bait Examples Have In Common?

Backlinks have been and still are one of the most important ranking factors for search engines. That’s why link building is an essential part of every successful digital marketing strategy.  

But drawing from two years of outreach experience, I can say it’s also one of the most resource-draining tasks you’ll encounter. Especially if you don’t start your link building efforts with the end-target in mind. 

That’s why the most important step is identifying the people and places you want backlinks from

From there, you can analyze what sort of content they prefer to link to. And finally, you can start brainstorming link bait content that meets their needs.


We’re confident that you can use some of the principles from the different link bait examples in this article to craft content that people actually want to link to

But we’re also right here to lend a helping hand. If you have burning questions or need personalized advice, drop us a line and we can start brainstorming content ideas together 👇

About The Author

Hi, I’m Ivana Maric Dugalic!

CEO and co-founder of Acomplix, content aficionado, language nerd. Got my Masters in German and English translation, spent years in customer service, and honed the art and craft of content marketing.Now I help businesses use content to create meaningful connections and exceptional experiences for their customers.

Here’s how to reach me: