Guest blogging is the process of approaching other websites to see if they will publish a piece of content that you write on their blog. While it is often an effective way to earn links using high quality content, Google has cracked down on marketers who abuse this tactic with low-quality content and over-optimized anchor text. As guest blogging became an increasingly common tactic, it became increasingly automated and the quality of the posts declined considerably. Google noticed. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s webspam team, wrote a post declaring that we could “Stick a fork in it: Guest blogging is done.” If you can produce high enough quality content, many reputable sites will still gladly accept guest posts (Moz is one of them). That said, it shouldn’t be used solely in order to build links, as Google has gotten very, very good at finding and devaluing links built in this way.
Ego bait is a piece of content that plays on the egos of the people who are featured within that content. The hope is that, by being included, these people feel better about and are more inclined to share the content with a link. You’ve probably seen examples of this before. Here are a few:http://www.thelovelyplants.com/10-gardening-blogs-to-follow/Lists gardening blogs along with a short description of each one.http://go.brandshank.com/top-10-electronic-music-blogs-2011/Lists the top 10 electronic music blogs based on a number of factors including Tweets, Facebook reach and MozRank.http://www.webdesigndev.com/roundups/30-most-influential-people-in-web-designLists the most influential individuals in web design and includes pictures of them, as well as their websites and social channels.All of these will get the attention of the people or websites being featured. While this can be a good way of getting high-quality links and traffic to your website, it is unlikely to get you huge volumes of links, because the content is usually quite targeted toward a few high-profile people or websites.
The process for ego-bait link building looks something like this:Concept and research targets > Write content > Outreach > Follow upStep 1: Concept and Research TargetsFirst, you need to come up with the concept for your content, and it will need to be somewhat related to the theme of your own website. For example, if you run a website selling garden sheds, you might choose one of the following ideas:
Top 10 Gardening Blogs of 2014•15 Inspiring Garden Designs•The Top Gardening Bloggers to Follow on Twitter
These are very simple ideas, but the point is to not over-complicate things.Once you’ve decided on your idea, you need to research whom you will feature in your content. There are a few things you should bear in mind when trying to find the right people:
Look for blogs that are active and have posted very recently.•Look for blogs that have good levels of social followings.•Make sure you can find contact details of bloggers.
Also—and this should go without saying—if you’re making something like a top-10 list, make sure that each person or site on that list is actually worthy of being on such a list. If your only motivation is finding people who might be willing to share, that could be obvious both to the people you’re attempting to bait and to the readers.
Step 2: Write contentThis part is also simple, but you should try to include as much detail as possible about each person or website you feature. Remember that you’re trying to get the attention of bloggers, and you want them to share the post and link to it. So, include the following, if you can:
A picture of the blogger or a screenshot of the website•A link to their website and Twitter profile•Why they are included in the list; what makes the blog or person really exceptional
Step 3: OutreachOnce the post is published, your next step is to send an email to the bloggers or websites that you’ve featured to let them know. Here is an example of an email you could choose to send:Remember to keep it simple. You can always add more detail if you want, but chances are the people you’re contacting are busy, so you want to get your message across quickly.
Step 4: Follow upWe’ll mention this several times throughout this guide to highlight the importance of this step: Make sure you follow up with the people you feature in your content. It can help to use a tool like Boomerang to remind yourself.