How to Get Strong Referral Traffic from Social Websites: A Simple Linkbait Tactic

2007/04/26 |

Not all websites are made equal. The value of a website and its ability to attract natural votes from social websites depends a great deal on its overall niche and content.

For example, if your corporate website focuses on topics such as real estate, auto insurance or financial products like credit cards, it might be difficult in making an article on it popular in social websites like Digg, Reddit or Netscape.

The general lack of popular interest in the content of your website is usually the main problem. You can create an interesting press release and seed it with friendly votes but it remains unlikely that it will be very well-received.

Why? Because you are dealing with a crowd that favors attractive non-commercial content that usually revolves around popular or niche sub-cultures.

For these websites, the key to effective viral marketing not just lies in creating attractive on-site linkbait, but rather the ability to create linkbaits which grow into powerful sources of referral traffic through social websites.

The Viral Solution to Unattractive Websites: Gain Visitor Traffic by Association

The exact location of your linkbait article is of great importance. Determining the right placement is especially vital when your website is in an industry that generally does not appeal to social website audiences.

There is just one motto to follow: If you can’t get social traffic visitors to your desired website, get them through other websites or webpages.

There are generally two ways of doing this:

  1. Place your linkbait on a sub-domain or customized webpage that is aesthetically different from your main website. Leave sidebar navigation and a clickable header/logo that points back to your site’s homepage/sell-page and you’ll be likely to get some traffic from visitors attracted by the linkbait.
  2. Set up your linkbait on a separate domain or website and include a link to a highly relevant article at the bottom of the article. This is a popular strategy used by several websites and is very effective if the inserted link and copy is relevant.

A recent article which reached the Reddit Topspot used the second strategy and this is what we will be examining in detail.

Characteristics of a Successful Traffic and Link Bait: A Case Study

I’m a big fan of Reddit and I usually spend some time everyday going through all the links on their first two pages. A few days ago I came across a link to article which hit the Top spot on the frontpage.

I’ve seen articles of this sort before and thought I would write about it so you can learn how to develop an effective boilerplate webpage which can act as a referral source for massive traffic when it gets popular on social websites.

Let’s start by taking a look at this page, which contains the marketing article that got to the Reddit top spot.


Here are some characteristics of the website:

  • The webpage is social media optimized. Note the prominent placement of Digg and Reddit buttons right at the top and bottom of the web page. This allows you to collect votes from on-site visitors.
  • It contains a opt-in newsletter as well as offers of a free EBook. Collecting names and emails is a good long-term strategy that is particularly useful when you want to sell new products or market your services.
  • Business Services are prominently displayed on the sidebar so that the thousands of visitors are aware of it.
  • The page is ad-free and all emphasis is directly towards the content.
  • The content is media-intensive. Pictures are very effective linkbaits because they require very little mental focus and are easily digested by all types of visitors, regardless of language or cognitive levels.
  • There is a relevant link with an intriguing copy right at the bottom of the page. This leads to a related marketing article on another website.


The link at the bottom of the article leads to this post on Marketing Pilgrim, a search engine marketing blog by SEM expert Andy Beal.

One could speculate that this linkbait was created by Marketing Pilgrim or perhaps it was placed by the original webmaster out of his or her own freewill, which would make it very kind indeed.

This is a classic example which demonstrates how it is possible to send traffic to any type of website in any industry.

One just needs to deftly disengage the linkbait from the original website and re-connect it through relevant linkage. Very simple and absolutely effective.

Update: Andy Beal has kindly confirmed that this linkbait article was not created by Marketing Pilgrim but one of the participants in their SEM Scholarship contest.