What is Linkbait?

Link baiting is the process of creating content with the sole purpose of getting publications to link back to a brand’s website. The end goal is to generate as many inbound links to a website as possible from trusted third-party broadcasters.

The actual content is invented simply to shock, outrage or give us a good old laugh, all with the secret intention of creating backlinks.

How does Linkbait work?

Let’s start with the SEO basics. A backlink is simply another domain referring to your website’s URL in their content, signposting their readers to visit your site. 

Backlinks directly enhance your search engine results page (SERPs) rankings by identifying your website as authoritative and trustworthy enough for other credible domains to link back to it. The more backlinks you have, the more likely you are to be in Google’s elusive top 10. 

In turn, higher rankings will signpost more organic traffic to your website, thus increasing customer interactions, engagement and purchases. 

What is the psychology behind link bait?

Link bait works by enticing people to share your article based on known psychological share triggers: 

  • Social currency –  sharing content to make you look good to others; funny, intelligent, kind, trendy.
  • Relevancy – wite about relevant topics at the forefront of everyone’s mind. 
  • Emotions – sharing evocative content.
  • Public –  imitation is the highest form of flattery, so see others sharing it and share it yourself
  • Practical value – sharing genuinely useful, practical information

Great examples of Link baiting:


From see-through trousers to extreme, bum-bearing shorts and dresses that look like bin bags. Does anyone actually wear this stuff? Well, actually it doesn’t matter. Asos have designed these absurdly hilarious getups purely for marketing purposes and, sure enough, they spread across the internet like covid at Christmas. 

Their tactic has worked wonders, with articles in Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, Metro, Mirror and The Sun all poking fun at the latest bizarre outfits! Not only does this generate huge amounts of backlinks, but it also sparks individual conversations, debates, shares and likes on social media. There are even Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to sharing these outrageous fashion moments, mocking the latest creations in good humour. 


Talking about what sex toys to buy just isn’t the done thing. Love honey got around their taboo subject matter by creating a genius link bait safe to share without embarrassment. They created a ‘UK’s sexiest cities’ map showing the percentage of toys purchased in the area. The map allows users to interact by searching for their town’s UK rankings, listing the top 10 and bottom 10 sexiest places to live. 

Not only did this map show that there’s a sex life in all of us, but it also gained massive media coverage. We’re pretty sure that some people from the not-so-sexy cities would’ve converted this campaign into sales to try and up their local naughty numbers. 


IKEA have woven themselves into the fabric of our being, furnishing our houses and creating housewarming memories of arguing over lost screws and back-to-front headboards. But one of their link baiting campaigns really comes to mind: The pregnancy test discount. 

‘Peeing on this ad may change your life.’ was the concept. Pregnant women’s urine would reveal a discounted price on a crib. Weird right? Now, this may have only been applicable to a number of people but thousands flocked online to talk about it, and the media publications followed suit. 


As the above examples are shown, there are many different ways to go about link baiting. Whether it’s through PPC, PR campaigns or physical advertising – the effects of this will last much longer than the original fanfare. 

If you want help with a disruptive marketing campaign that is sure to gain you backlinks, why not get in touch with a member of the it works media team today?