Backlinks are among the most important SEO ranking factors.
The more backlinks your site has, the higher it’ll rank.
It’s that simple.
But the traditional link building methods like guest blogging have been used so frequently by marketers that their effectiveness has gone down to some extent.
They still work but you need to diversify your link building strategy to keep a steady flow of backlinks coming to your site.
This is where ego bait link building comes in.
If you haven’t heard of it before, don’t worry.
I’ll tell you everything you need to know about creating ego bait content and using it to build high authority backlinks to your website.
What Is Ego Bait Content?
Ego bait is a content type in which you intentionally mention, quote, and link to other popular bloggers or brands in your niche.
To get their attention, make them feel good about themselves, and, as a result, persuade them to share and link to your content.
Here are a few examples of classic ego bait articles.
- 7 Top Weight Loss Blogs You Need To Follow
- 13 Emerging Digital Marketers To Keep An Eye On
- 17 Experts Share Their Number One Email Marketing Tip
Do you see what we’re trying to do here?
Think about it.
If someone mentions you in such a post, will you not share it or mention it in one of your blog posts?
Of course, you will.
This is why ego bait works.
We all want to feel good about ourselves.
The nice thing about egotists is that they don’t talk about other people. –Lucille S. Harper
How To Make Ego Bait Link Building Work For Your Blog
The real power behind all egobait lies in mentioning someone or implying you believe in their authority through other actions (eg quoting them) in a way that confirms how they already feel about themselves.
They feel like they deserve to be on that list, get that mention, be quoted on that topic. So it doesn’t surprise them to be included.
And their natural behaviour is to share things about themselves so you’re very likely to get amplified.
Even individuals without a monstrous ego are often looking to self promote in a professional capacity as ‘part of the job’ so will be open to running with a piece of egobait even if they know you’re also getting something out of the whole game.
The other useful feature of using this type of linkbuilding as part of your mix is that it adds variety.
As some traditional ‘quick wins’ have become more difficult it’s important to embrace a few different strategies so you don’t end up with a homogenous lump of links that might all get devalued at once in the future.
The Types Of Ego Bait Content You Can Use For Link Building
Let’s dive right into how you can create ego bait content for your site that brings in backlinks on autopilot.
In my experience, there are mainly three types of ego bait content formats you can use.
Let me describe each of them.
Ego Bait Format #1: The Best [sites/people/etc] In Y Category
This is the easiest ego bait content format that you can create without much input from the brands or people you feature in it.
The idea is not to create a huge list of 20 or 30 blogs/brands because it will lose value for those featured in it.
Instead, limit the article to 5, 7 or 9 of the best ones you can find in your niche.
Feature them with a detailed analysis of why they’re so good and what makes them stand out.
For example, if you’re in the vegan foods/recipes niche, you can do a post like “7 Amazing Vegan Bloggers To Inspire Your Transformation Journey”
Normally, you can do this using the publicly available information on their blogs/website so there’s no need to reach out for any quotes or additional questions.
That’s the strategy most of our clients follow with us – we’re rarely doing more than one ‘cycle’ of these per year but they add some nice variety to the mix we build for those that do partake.
Design and Layout
I’d recommend a full page takeover with a custom design (or use a page builder like Elementor or Thrive) to make something that looks at least somewhat solid.
If you do something boring like this:
You’ll get results like this (not saying they tried to get any results, it really doesn’t look like they tried with any part of making that list…):
Picking The Right Topics And Winners
Something as broad as ‘best fitness sites’ with 35 winners is pretty weak.
Firstly, nobody wants to be one of some big list. And anyone in the second half feels like they lost to loads of other sites anyway.
Secondly it’s not what they’re proud of.
Make it ‘Best Fitness Sites For Seniors’ or ‘Best Fitness Sites For Diabetics’ or… you get the idea – something where the winners are getting picked for something their blog is all about not the general ‘category’ they fit into.
You also have to be genuine – if you can’t write something about why the site (or business) to which you’re awarding something is awesome, then they probably aren’t going to believe they won something worthwhile or want to amplify it.
You’ll get a lot more mileage out of a list that people are proud to be on ‘I can’t believe I was named alongside XYZ’ is way better than ‘who are these other people?’.
Letting The Winners Know
Let them know by email and congratulate them/mention a couple of highlights of why they got picked and direct them to the post to see your full review on the list etc.
Share the list on Twitter and follow up in the coming days by mentioning specific winners.
Attack on other social platforms if you wish/are active there.
Follow up – offer them whatever it’ll take to get them interested in linking – volunteer to come on their podcast… whatever it takes!
Don’t overdo things, of course, most people aren’t going to link.
You should be happy if about 25% of your winners link (if you have a decent sized brand/site) and 15% if you have a smaller/unremarkable site just doing this to get links.
The bigger your brand the more winners will link – the highest I’ve had on a campaign was 40% for a series of Top 10’s.
That’s 40 niche-relevant links on popular blogs for publishing 10 articles and sending 100 emails.
Not bad right?
Ego Bait Format #2: Authority Interviews And Roundups
This format is different from the first one because you’ll need to get an answer from an expert from your niche that you’ll feature in the article.
This can be in the form of an individual interview or a roundup post that features answers by 20 or 30 experts.
High level authorities in certain industries (SEO etc) have started to hate these but folks like me who don’t speak ‘on the tour’ are often happy to take part because… we know we’re getting a link back.
In fact, the best pitches make this clear upfront by asking for the site to link to, your photo, and a note about your company when they ask the question.
So definitely be straight up – tell them why you’re pitching, what you want them to answer, where it’ll be published, why they will benefit from being on there then tell them what you need.
These work a lot better if you’re more of an established brand and your site has at least some authority/recognition in your industry.
Unlike the awards where you might want to only have 10 or 15 winners, you want to go a bit deeper with these to maximise the amplification and reach.
You aren’t saying they won anything so nobody is going to be offended if there’s 30 people on the list.
You have a much higher chance of getting a response if you ask a very specific question and give the expert specific guidelines for the response.
For example, instead of asking “How to get traffic to a new blog” ask “What’s the most effective and scalable link building technique in your opinion?”.
Give them 250 words to answer this and allow them to link to an article on their blog as an additional resource.
Here’s an example of a well executed roundup post.
Here’s one that did rather well – picking up nearly 60 referring domains off just 24 experts interviewed.
Now given that marketers were involved in this one I’m sure some ‘marketing’ was involved – this isn’t just people sharing the link to where they were mentioned so let’s look at some ways to promote your expert interviews or roundups and get some more traction:
- Once an expert agrees to take part, offer to guest post on their site (if suitable) in exchange, but also just ask if they’d be kind enough to include it on their press/media section if they have one
- If you’re trimming your list after research has yielded too many experts… never trim anyone who has a press/media mentions section on their site
- Make the title of your roundup something people are searching for – this one came up for ‘seo expert tips’ and seems to have been picked up and linked to by a bunch of people just looking for things to link to, quote in their own articles. Free natural links!
- When you put the roundup live contact everyone again with extra thanks and a quick reminder of things they can do to get it more exposure (including throwing a quick link up…). Reiterate any offers you made (Eg a post for them).
- Doing a post for them/swap will work more often if you’ve done an expert interview style series vs a one and done long post with quick quotes from experts.
- But … doing a long post with all the experts together often ranks better/attracts links better after the fact. Imagine if you got 47 Doctors Give Expert Opinion on Vaccination to rank… easy free links would follow most of the time. Think about that for your niche – what are the hot button issues or common searches that would make a ‘one pager’ work. If you can’t think of any consider a series of longer ‘interview’ style posts.
Ego Bait Format #3: Feature Experts In Every Post
The third ego bait format is slightly different in the sense that it’s not a separate content format.
Instead, it’s a change of strategy in how you create content.
I am talking about making expert quotes and input a regular part of your content no matter what topic you’re writing about.
Think about it.
Instead of writing lots of posts, linking to ‘authority sources’ that will never link back like WebMD and so on… why not link to individual thought leaders and experts and quote them.
Their name and qualifications or just recognition as a leader in your field will carry as much weight as the authorities you’re currently just including ad-hoc.
But it’ll have the added benefit you can let them know they were quoted and occasionally pick up links.
The other option is to reach out to 4 or 5 experts (LinkedIn works great if they don’t answer the email) before every article asking them a very specific question that you can quote in your content with a backlink to their blog.
Let them know they were featured. If one in three links, that’s a free link virtually every single post you make, before you even get to work promoting it the normal way.
Plus, at 250 words per expert, you can potentially get 750 words of high quality content for free in every article.
That’ll save you a ton of work in the long run.
Are You Ready To Build Backlinks With Ego Bait Content?
Taking advantage of ‘experts’ desire to be appreciated, have their opinions shared and their work recognised is a great way to build links.
We’ve recently done this for a brand new site we launched and picked up links at a 14% rate (considering the site had 0 links, 4 articles and 8 Twitter followers… we were pretty excited) and the more apparent authority your site has, the closer to the 40% we had for a client it will get.
Some of you may even have brands where over half will link!
There are dozens of other ways you can twist these ideas to work with your favourite content types – whether you want to do the interviews on your podcast, youtube show or… something entirely different – be creative and have fun with it.
Or if you just want to scale up your linkbuilding and add something new to the mix – give me a shout and we’ll handle it all for you.
Steve Brownlie is the Director of Consulting at Reach Creator, supplying outsourced Public Relations, Link Building, and Influencer Marketing to other agencies, heads of marketing and online entrepreneurs.