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Monday, August 14, 2006

Irresistible morsels of link bait…Why buy links when you can earn them? Reason #902 to hire a content writer…

Content is a good thing. It gives the people something to read. It gives the prospects reason to buy. It gives the search engines something upon which to chew. You have to have it. A site without content isn’t a site, it’s a template. You probably think that if you read “content is king” one more time, you will begin to get ill, but you will see it again and again because it is the bottom line truth.

The internet, stripped to its core, is about information. Providing information and finding information are what it’s all about.

If you run a website, you are in the providing business. It’s your job to lay out content that will serve your (probably financial) purposes. You want to encourage a purchase, build your credibility, and keep people on task long enough to convert them into $$$.

I’d be shooting myself right through the keyboard if I told you content wasn’t important, on its own terms, for good Google placement. The search engine algorithms still put gold stars on the charts of those sites who provide regularly updated, fresh, themed content. That’s why you want to add to your core while developing a nice long tail, covering both in search engine spiders in hopes of becoming the darling of Google so you can bring more people to look at that content.

However, collecting links is just as important as collecting words. You won’t hear that from a lot of writers who’d prefer you just keep buying text with a 1.75% keyword density ad infinitum, but it’s the truth. Links create direct traffic flow that doesn’t rely on search engine mastery. Meanwhile, they still find the time to help you in your quest for page one SERPs.

That’s because the search engine algorithms interpret those links back to your site as votes of confidence from the internet community. If no one is linking to you, the algo reasons, you are probably lousy and don’t deserve great placement. If the whole world is linking to you, there must be something happening at your place!

You can trade links. There’s reason to believe that reciprocal links won’t help as much in the search engine department as do one-way backlinks, though. You can buy links. There are a thousand different ways to spend cash in order to get that attention. There’s another way, and it can be the most effective and economically feasible solution.

Buy content.

Yes, this is a sales pitch from content writing services. However, it’s a sales pitch with a very sound foundation. I used to say, “good content will naturally inspire others to link back to your site as a point of interest or reference. This will result in a growing number of ’natural’ links that will help your placement in major search engines.”

Today, we have a better name for that. Link baiting.

Link baiting, refers to publishing content specifically designed to create attention and backlinks to your site. It combines all that is already good about content with the power of viral marketing.

If you have the right link baiting content, it can garner you countless backlinks to help with Google and a healthy direct traffic flow. The strategy is immensely powerful today because the social bookmarking scene and sites like Digg can lead to massive attention for the right material in a hurry.

Link bait can come in many forms. You can be controversial, informative, funny, argumentative or newsworthy. As long as your content is ATTRACTIVE, you can and will create enough of a firestorm to get some attention, traffic and links.

So, post a job request on one of the bid boards for some “content to serve as link bait,” take the lowest bid, and you are off to the races, right? No.

You need the good stuff. You need to find a freelance content writer who understands what works, what doesn’t, and who has the creative capacities to write something that will make your site’s hook utterly irresistible to all of the fishies floating around in the information ocean.

The links you get from a good piece of bait are going to be more valuable than the ones you’d buy directly or through a text link broker. They will be organic, based upon the actual interest of other sites’ users. They will receive placement where people actually look for something, instead of being hidden on the bottom right corner of a long sidebar or on a “resources” page.

Plus, they will start to multiply on their own. When person A raves about your bait, person B will visit. Person B will undoubtedly have their own opinion, which they will then provide on their site. Everyone who goes to site A or B may be doing likewise. If you thought the viral power of traditional article marketing was awesome (which it is, by the way), the potential of link baiting with the right material will blow you away.

In a world where blogs are exploding and social bookmarking is becoming an all-out phenomena, link baiting makes perfect sense.

Get the right content and the links will take care of themselves.

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