So WTF is “Future Bait” and is this quite possibly the creepiest post title in SEO history? Well to start, it’s definitely a term I’m going to try and coin (aka make up) here. It’s something we employ here as a tactic at Linkbuildr, although I never put too much thought into it until I talked with Jason Acidre (@JasonAcidre) and Jon Cooper (@PointBlankSEO) on their blogs about it, and then subsequently mentioned it in one of our latest posts. Basically, Future Bait is creating content that will be needed in the future for a product or service, in the hope that your content will be out ahead of time (or right on time) and ready to take in links. I won’t give away all our secrets, but I can definitely show you folks how to structure and create content that will get you links when the time is right.
While this technique doesn’t always provide links in droves, you still stand a really good chance of snatching up a lot of valuable organic search traffic. I can honestly say that this is always a #winning marketing tactic regardless of the outcome of either desired result.
So, what kind of topics can you prepare that will be highly searched-for and most likely lead to links? Here are a few we like to make sure are covered, but let’s hear your thoughts/ideas in the comments below”
- How To’s
- Product Reviews and Guides
- Figure out what problems people will be having and prep the solution… Tricky, but this can be done
- Link bait lists that you know will be done, so beat everyone to the punch
Let’s take the new Google Link Disavow Tool as an example of how us SEO’s could have jumped on a lot of traffic and links in the coming weeks ahead. Dan Petrovic from DejanSEO quickly jumped on this and made a 70 minute video showcasing all the features and how to use the bloody thing.
This was a smart move and since Google/Youtube is starting to rank videos by watch time, this is sure to be an “authority” video on the subject quite soon. So, how is this video going to attract them links? Well, if it ranks well and people embed it, they’re likely to link to the creators like I did in this post. The video doesn’t also have to be on Youtube and they could have used a self hosted service on their end. Google will still rank their own embedded videos well, and you have the option of providing an embed code for others to use that includes a nice link back home.
Product reviews can be conducted before an actual product launch. You should most definitely try and get your hands on “the product” beforehand and get a review done. Take DejanSEO’s video above as an example; creating a review pretty much on the day of it being released is also a great tactic.
Getting in early or on the day of launch is going to earn you a lot of traffic and hopefully links as rebloggers and sources like Wikipedia are going to be linking out. Make sure you come up with the most comprehensive review possible with regards to both written content and media like videos and pictures. So many reviewers use stock content because they don’t actually have the product in hand – and that’s the number one problem!
Obviously CNET is a really big brand and they have some serious authority sitting behind their domain. Even so, they are always early to adopt the best product reviews. Their Samsung Galaxy S3 review was hot off the press as soon as they got their hands on it, and it’s as in-depth of a review as you’re going to get.
Link Graph via Ahrefs.com
This page is seriously linked up. This page more than likely has more links than most of my readers’ sites, so while this kind of link bait is better for bigger brands, do what you can. Keep doing amazing product reviews and you will eventually burn that into your readers’ brains, and they’ll keep coming back to the source (your site) for more.
Affiliate Marketers Should Pay STRONG Attention To This Section
Google is not a big fan of affiliates, and they have good reasons for that. I see a lot of you folks’ affiliate-based websites and they’re usually absolute shit in regards to content, social activity, and especially the content itself. I think it’s safe to say that 90% of the affiliate sites reviewing products have never actually touched or seen the product, and that is a major problem. If I’m buying something, I sure as hell don’t want to read a review by someone who doesn’t actually know the product.
If you turned it around and actually created amazing product reviews yourself with HD video and high res pictures, well you’re off to a great start. Go beyond that step and do something whacky and wild with it like Blendtec does by blending all sorts of crap in their blenders. It gets attention, it gets links and it has netted them hundreds of thousands of social followers to remarket to all day long baby.
How To’s Are Easy Future Bait
“How to” content is extremely useful, as it’s always a sought after ranking need and best of all it is brilliant link bait. There will always be a need for “how to” content, so sit down with your team or yourself and a beer and figure out what’s coming up in your niche.
I sure do talk a big talk eh? As you may have noticed, I’ve never even written one for Linkbuildr, but we sure have brainstormed and done a bunch for our clients. I will however give you yet another example of something that has turned out quite well for one of my favorite sites: ArtOfManliness.com. In 2009 they created “How To Tie a Tie,” which is something I’ve used way more than I should have.
Regardless to say, this post has done wonders for their link profile and has attracted many links over the past few years for them. Notice the structure of it as well! Mostly great videos which keep users on longer, and there’s a lot of user interaction via the comments and social shares… This post is sending a lot of good signals to Google, and they’ve been rewarded for it. This is not an easy keyword to rank for either!
Top x Lists!
These are easy pickings, folks! Lists are loved by everyone, especially those of us with monkey-like attention spans who just need the goods as fast as possible. If you can get in early on a really good list, you’re definitely going to score some link loving, and the content doesn’t have to be that extensive.
I’ll use one of my favorite marketer’s lists as our example this time. Paddy Moogan from Distilled published a list of infographic sites for submitting to a while back, and it’s extremely useful. He graciously linked us in his post but he has WAY more sites to submit to, as well as in the comments so many others have dropped their sites that he missed. You can read his infographic list here but let’s take a peek into the links that this post has acquired.
That’s a nice number of links just for a post! I imagine Paddy will do an updated version at some point and he can double up those efforts and really bring the link juice home with it. Now that it’s up, it will continue to score more links from other bloggers as time goes on, but most of all from SEO/Webmaster forums.
Solutions To Future Problems
With new products and services coming out, there will always be related problems that people will seek out solutions for. Chances are that if one person has that problem, others will as well, so you know that your fix is going to be linked to other people in all sorts of ways (normally, socially etc). If you don’t already have a FAQ/Help center then here’s yet another reason why you should perhaps start one up.
Companies that don’t have an extensive help section are certainly missing out. You’re also going to be left in the dust for natural links if you don’t allow UGC either. The ability for your brand fans to post their problem will lead to unique searches/problems you initially left out, and voila, now you have a linkable asset! If you don’t do it, you’ll lose out to other Q/A sites and forums whereas you could be drawing those people into you.
I would also recommend bringing in the dev team and having them code up all sorts of embed codes for common answers and/or custom help videos and other media. We even had one startup request where we developed infographics for their top 10 most common questions and answers. These infographics provided a work flow solution in a clear and easy-to-follow design, and will continue to build them links as time goes on.
For our example we’ll look at Apple’s support center: https://developer.apple.com/support/
If you look at this page’s link profile you’ll see the diverse link types coming into this place and get a good idea of what can happen for you. I know Apple is one of the largest brands in the world, but for this post it gives you enough data to hopefully spark some ideas of your own.
The goal here is to diversify your link profile, as people seeking help and answers are going to be linking from their blogs, social profiles, forums, Q/A sites and other relevant spots around the web. Again, sit down and brainstorm some ideas that will be “future link bait” and keep doing that every few months… Twice a year at the very least.