If you read Tropical SEO regularly, you know I’m a big fan of link bait. Why? Well, simply because it’s the highest ROI activity that I know of. Spend a day making a piece of remarkable content, and (provided you have a base of contacts and relatively trusted social media accounts), that piece of content is going to bring in a few dozen trusted links. You can spend eight hours link ninja-ing or tweaking PPC arbitrage or writing crappy blog posts, and that ROI (usually) isn’t going to touch that of a decent link bait effort.
While there’s a lot of long tail traffic out there, the current (correct) stress on authority (trusted links) makes organic traffic a winner-take-most, Filthy Link Rich game. And link baiting is the fast, cheap, and bulletproof shortcut to those trusted links. (Not to mention that, as opposed to many other SEO tactics, link baiting is highly defensible in that it gets you a ton of bookmarks, RSS and newsletter subscribers, and direct referrals.)
Well, somewhere in between going independent, vowing to be a CEO instead of an SEO, and being slapped in the face with the DIFN manifesto, I realized that I was being a giant chump.
This is the Golden Age of Link Baiting. It may never be easier or more profitable than it is right now. And here I was, putting out 2 or 3 of them a week and feeling great about myself.
When in reality, as soon as I tasted the aftermath’s juicy links, I should have immediately hired several quality writers, and had them working on this stuff fulltime, and put out 3 or 4 feature pieces of content per day.
Well, since that time, the social media atmosphere has gotten more sensitive to anything that even has the whiff of spam–so you have to be respectful, smart, and put out really good stuff–but producing feature content (i.e., link baiting) is still an incredibly high-ROI activity. And believe me, I’m not making that mistake anymore. Each of my sites in hypercompetitive markets (not [mortage], but that type of ante) now has a fulltime feature content writer. I don’t even have time to check my stats anymore, I’m getting pinged every half hour with a “hey, it’s up.”
Personal message to old-school affiliate competitors:
You may have great, relevant content. You may have 3 link ninjas working fulltime buying permanent links on trusted pages. You may have an authority domain from ‘99. You may have ranked for [mortgage] for the last 3 years and picked up a ton of ‘Filthy Linking Rich’ links just for being there.
But in the long run, you can’t compete with a solid link bait coming out every single waking day, 5 days a week, 51 weeks a year. Some baits flop. Many make the Reddit homepage or Delicious/Popular. One in 20 really hits it out of the ballpark and brings in 1,000+ links.
Which is why I will be slowly–but defensibly–climbing over your site for terms like [mortgage] over the next year.
But don’t worry–in a few years, once I’m ranking number #3 for [mortgage], I’ll sell you my site for 7 figures. That’s a lot cheaper than hiring a fulltime writer and brainstorming some link bait ideas, right?
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