Golden Rules of Linkbaiting

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Link baiting is not evil. Although some bloggers tend to go beyond any ethical considerations in their attempts to enforce as many reciprocal links as possible, the term itself stands for a completely organic nature of the Web – actually, something that has already been here for a while. Traditional link building, used to be bounded with Search Engine Optimization, is now being extended with the aspect of so-called Social Media Optimization – with Digg, StumbleUpon, Netscape, Del.icio.us & Co. on the bandwagon. Driving traffic to your site has become easier, but requires through-out strategies and understanding some basic rules of useful content and effective content marketing.

The term linkbaiting doesn’t necessarily reflect this aspect of organic growth on the Web; in fact, as suggested by Darren Rowse1, its negative connotations rather expose the idea of clever tricks, traps, deceptions or even frauds, which are supposed to manipulate content editors in linking, even if they don’t really want to.

Mostly that’s not what link baiting is really about. Instead, Linkbaiting is about gaining reputation, finding your niche, writing useful and creative content, presenting your ideas, publishing them on the Web and finding people who might actually use them. You won’t find your readers if you concentrate on building links; you will be able to build links organically if you concentrate on your readers. Moreover, you can gain reputation if and only if you focus on your readers. This is one of the basic principles of successful blogging.

Over the last months we’ve received many e-mails, in which you’ve asked us to dig into the issue of linkbaiting and examine the most successful techniques, strategies and rules of effective link building. Perfectly aware that some techniques may lay in the grey zone or even behind it, we’ve selected only those that aren’t based upon some dubious methods of generating links, but on smart, fair and sincere strategies to find the audience and present your ideas effectively.

Furthermore, we’ve selected only those rules we would actually apply according to our philosophy2. Still, we don’t necessarily endorse all of the presented ideas listed below, and some of them can be used in both appropriate and inappropriate ways. Using them, make sure you keep the Web clean, offer something valuable rather than the content written purely for the sake of link buildung.

We care about the quality of content in the Web; be aware that you carry the full responsbility for every article and post you publish online – handle your ideas and the time of your visitors with respect.

Let’s take a look at non-trivial and most effective rules, principles, techniques, strategies, methods, examples and resources related to link baiting. Among other things this overview will cover the aspect of effective copy writing as well. Golden rules of linkbaiting – in a comprehensive overview.

Golden Rules of Linkbaiting

What is Linkbaiting?

  • “Linkbait is essentially a piece of content placed on a web page – whether it’s an article, blog post, picture, or any other section of cyberspace – that is designed for the specific intention of gathering links from as many different sources as possible.” [What is Linkbait?3]
  • “Linkbait describes a variety of practices – all of which seek to generate incoming links to a website or blog from other sites.” [Problogger4]
  • “Linkbaiting refers to content, videos, images or anything on the web that is created with the intention of increasing links to a website.
  • “Linkbait focuses on creating unique, useful and provocative content that people respond to by linking to it and sharing with others.” [SEJ5]
  • “Linkbait is the website content that targets link-friendly audiences. Its goals include high levels of traffic, visibility, branding, numerous links. Linkbait combines the practices of viral marketing with popular tech brands.” [SeoMoz5856546]
  • “Linkbait is not manipulation. If a blogger links to your content, it should be because their audience benefits directly from that link – they learn something new, have access to a fantastic tool, get a hearty laugh or discover something that provokes discussion.” [Arguing with Link Moses1527]
  • “Linkbait is based on the fact how people evaluate your content. The post will be linked to if it is being worthy of attention (based on overall and subject related credibility and authority), being worthy of a subscription (generally being worth visiting again, or adding your feed) or being worthy of a recommendation (via link, instant message, or email).” [SEO Book50498]
  • “The linkbait way of link building is a mindset. To do it well, you need to put thoughts of manipulating the system to one side and focus entirely on providing value to your clients users and making that value easy to link to.” [2007 Guide to Linkbaiting25199]
  • Linkbaiting follows the scheme a) Linkbait Launch, b) The Long Tail of Links, c) Residual Traffic, d) Search Engine Rankings. “The content is released, shared with prominent bloggers, and submitted to portals like Digg, del.icio.us, Reddit and Netscape. If the content gains traction and visibility at widely-read sites, medium and smaller outlets, [..] content will spread across the Web. Even after the initial buzz from your successful linkbait campaign dies down, your site’s traffic may stay on a slight increase due to a “linkbait bump” that keeps users circling back to your site. The massive influx of links will cause a direct boost of the link popularity of the content piece, as well as an overall boost in global site popularity—and search engines tend to reward links with rankings.” [Leveraging Linkbait724210]
  • “In most cases Linkbaiting is facilitated by writing good content, doing something controversial or performing some sort of act that causes others to want to link to you. [Getting Links13211]
  • “Once a great site, great application or trendy post is written about somewhere, it gets picked up and dragged across the web. Social tagging and popularity ranking sites (like the aforementioned Digg & del.icio.us) help to give the document massive visibility to hundreds of sheep-like content creators, who’ll happily link to you.” [Linkbaiting for Fun and Profit3812]
  • “Linkbait has limitations. It’s no good for: CTR-based ads, conversions, supportive, emotionally sensitive comments and instant subscribers.
    It’s great for Inbound links (if you have an effective piece), search engine rankings (if you can achieve the aforementioned links), publicity (people will start to know who you are and remember your brand after seeing your site several times through social media), branding (growing awareness and a reputation), getting the attention of Influencers.” [Social Media Traffic13]
  • “Link bait rarely makes much money or directly pays for itself from the direct traffic. However, it has amazing indirect value. Even if people do not link to your link bait idea right away you still gain mindshare and brand recognition amongst a group of people who have significant authority. Many search engines, such as Google, use authority centric relevancy algorithms. Editorial links are seen as votes or signs of trust. In Google, getting a link to any part of your site will help make all pages on your site more authoritative.” [Link Baiting Strategies?14]

Profound Rules of Linkbaiting

  • Create original, unique, creative content. Choose topics that other people wouldn’t like to touch and do it wisely. If you are making a claim or a counter-claim then back it up with substantiated data. “The Cambrian House15 decided to buy 1000 pizzas to feed the Googlers. They video taped their process and placed it on the web16. This video resulted in over 400 links and thousands of visitors in a period of days.” [Linkbaiting Explained6917, Getting Links94282218]
  • Create remarkable content. “At the end of the day, it boils down to this one thing. Your content needs to be amazing. If you can hit that sweet spot for your audience then the links will roll in, and in, and in, and in.” [2007 Guide to Linkbaiting25199]
  • Create useful content. “When Aaron Wall released his SEO Firefox tool2620 it brought in over 2000 links as well as thousands of visitors in just a few days. Because so many people linked to the tool with the word “SEO” in the anchor text, the SEO for Firefox web page is now ranked on Google2721 for the term SEO.” [Getting Links94282218]
  • But useful content is not enough. “Link baiting [..] encapsulates a fundamental truth – in any crowded market, popularity counts. There is a nonsense often perpetrated by some SEOs – “producing quality content will attract links”. It doesn’t. Not by itself, anyway. Quality content needs to be placed somewhere where people will see it, and shaped in such a way as to encourage viral take-up. [..] The web is a popularity contest, thus the demand for marketers and marketing strategy.” [v7n2923]
  • Make your content universally valuable, memorable and compelling. “The higher quality the content you create and the more targeted you make it, the better your chances for keeping a percentage of the traffic you initially attract and getting a higher number of links from your effort.” [SeoMoz3024]
  • Create remarkable content. “At the end of the day, it boils down to this one thing. Your content needs to be amazing. If you can hit that sweet spot for your audience then the links will roll in, and in, and in, and in.” [2007 Guide to Linkbaiting25199]
  • Create useful content. “When Aaron Wall released his SEO Firefox tool2620 it brought in over 2000 links as well as thousands of visitors in just a few days. Because so many people linked to the tool with the word “SEO” in the anchor text, the SEO for Firefox web page is now ranked on Google2721 for the term SEO.” [Getting Links94282218]
  • But useful content is not enough. “Link baiting [..] encapsulates a fundamental truth – in any crowded market, popularity counts. There is a nonsense often perpetrated by some SEOs – “producing quality content will attract links”. It doesn’t. Not by itself, anyway. Quality content needs to be placed somewhere where people will see it, and shaped in such a way as to encourage viral take-up. [..] The web is a popularity contest, thus the demand for marketers and marketing strategy.” [v7n2923]
  • Make your content universally valuable, memorable and compelling. “The higher quality the content you create and the more targeted you make it, the better your chances for keeping a percentage of the traffic you initially attract and getting a higher number of links from your effort.” [SeoMoz3024]
  • Exploit the law of value. “Your blog must provide value to the reader by addressing a problem, concern, desire, or need that the reader already has. Fresh, original content is critical.” [The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging11411331]
  • Offer viral ideas. “A key dynamic in the spread of the idea is the capsule that contains it. If it’s well visualized, easy to swallow, tempting and complete, it’s a lot more likely to get a good start. No one gets an idea unless: a) the first impression demands further investigation, b) they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea and c) they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time. [What makes an idea viral?32]
  • Don’t sell products. Offer useful content. “Useful content gets linked. Products don’t. Publishing your posts, consider, why people should link to you.” [Eric Ward33]
  • Don’t spam. “You might have to try linkbaiting several times before you get good at the process; in the meantime, make sure that you don’t burn bridges by spamming bloggers with email requests to cover your piece.” [Rand Fishkin34]
  • Understanding what content, features, and subjects are “in” is essential. “It is a subjective, but important piece of the linkbait creation puzzle. Right now, for example, one could search through Del.icio.us and Digg to find examples of sites and pages that are getting lots of press. Blogs like Lifehacker35, Threadwatch36, Gizmodo37, and others can also serve as inspiration when you’re searching for the latest crazes. My current experience shows that there are two big fields getting attention – web 2.0 applications and trend-announcing posts (or articles) that present new data or talk about how existing trends are affecting industries. Both of these get hundreds of links from bloggers who can’t seem to resist pointing to something their cohorts will later reference them for.” [Linkbaiting for Fun and Profit3812]
  • Tell stories. “One of the most effective direct-response techniques is storytelling, mixed in with various psychological triggers39 and all polished with basic copywriting techniques40. But the real magic happens well before a word is written — in the formulation of the story itself.” [Trading Words For Traffic41].
  • Understand your audience. “Normally, you’re building content targeted to your site’s visitors—people who want your products, services or content. But for linkbait, you need to also appeal to an entirely different audience—one that can help your site achieve mass appeal in the niche that you select. I advise reviewing the coverage you see for other links in your area; using del.icio.us tags and blog archives can help with this process.” [Leveraging Linkbait724210]
  • Keep connected to your readers. Appreciate their feedback. “At least once per year, ask your visitors what do they think about your website’s content. What would they want to read more? What new facilities should you offer them?”
    [10 reasons to survey your visitors, 101 Web Marketing Ideas105968143]

Writing-related Principles of Successful Linkbaiting

  • Be appealing. “Creating some room for controversy or discussion can inspire more links.” [7 Steps to Linkbait7344]
  • Be laser focused. “Make sure that you are primarily focusing on a particular topic, and the more specialized that topic is, the better you’ll do. It’s also key to step back and evaluate whether there are enough prospective readers in your chosen niche. It’s better to be brutally honest with yourself than to toil away and end up disappointed.” [10 Effective Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers8745]
  • Be the first to do something. To expose a scammer, to research and document something, to review something, wo propose something, to create a resource that is just in time for a major event.” [Link Bait14846]
  • Be generous. “If you respect your network, and work hard to be part of the community surounding your topic, the rewards can really pay of — never abuse it, it tends ot backfire in all kinds of horrible ways.” “Share your expertise generously so people recognize it and depend on you.” [3 Ways to Increase Traffic7047] [Seth Godin837976595348]
  • Be accurate. “Rather than aiming for bland objectivity, it is easy to be remarkable by being more biased and more personable, especially on your feature articles.” If you’ve made a mistake, apologize for it. [SEO Book50498]
  • Be curious and information-possessed. Get as much information as you can. “Use and abuse vertical search, social bookmarking, and meta news sites as the resources that they are. The less accessible a piece of information is the easier it is to sound remarkable by citing it.” [SEO Book50498]
  • Be inventive and creative. Offer fresh ideas and creative approaches.
  • Be an expert. “Write about what you really know. Let people profit from your expertise and wisdom and let others do the job of writing about the things you are not completely comfortable with.” [12 Dirty Suggestions51]
  • Be humble. “Don’t forget your roots, be humble: sometimes it can be easy to get carried away being a BlogStar or industry talking head. Remember those who helped you along the way, and that respect will help all involved.” [13 Rules of SMO52]
  • Be timeless. “Write posts that will be readable in a year. Assume that every day is the beginning, because you always have new readers.” [Seth Godin837976595348]
  • Be transparent. Have open-minded conversations with your readers. Be real, honest and sincere.
  • Be clever. “Discover big players in your field. Create a list and identify the format, features and successful tactics each of the sources employ.” Use these techniques to both draw their attention to your site and imrpove the quality of your content. [SeoMoz5856546]
  • Be patient. Do not try to achieve some tremendous results immediately – it simply won’t work.
  • Be passionate. “There is something about a well written, well argued and passionate rant that is very link worthy. People get stirred up when you get passionate and the links will often flow as a result.” [ProBlogger55]
  • Be determined. Select a content focus. “Brainstorm 2-3 dozen ideas, select some of them that are completely unique and incredibly appealing. Decide based on what you feel what would be most effective with your audience or industry. Invest enough time in writing quality material.” [SeoMoz5856546]
  • Be future-oriented. “Make use of phrases, concepts and ideas that will become popular in the future.” [Catch Better Rankings57]
  • Be investigative. “Target offline media. Reach media through Online Exposure.” [SeoMoz5856546]
  • Be critical to yourself. “Edit yourself. Ruthlessly.” [Seth Godin837976595348]
  • Be honest to yourself. Quote your sources. Give credit to the people who inspired and helped you. Mentioning them, you strenghten your reputation.
  • Select a magnetic headline. Use appealing, provoking, magnetic headline60. “When beginning a link bait piece, clear your mind and focus on title ideas. I like to brainstorm three or four different titles, then have a friend help me pick the best one, and then, right before posting, give it a final tweak (if necessary) for maximum effect. You can use the Copyblogger Cheat Sheet61 as well.” [Andy Hagans' Ultimate Guide to Linkbaiting and SMM62]
  • Open your blog post with a Bang. “Opening must carry the momentum. [...] The headline, the opening paragraph and closing are extremely imporant. You can “ask the question, share an anecode or quote, invoke the mind’s eye, cite a shocking statistics, use an analogy, metaphor or simile.” [Copyblogger63] Closing your post, you can write a brief summary of the article, speak directly to the reader, provoke with a funny or controversal remark.
  • Make it easier to link to you. In every post provide a short, precise description and/or summary of the article.
  • Help your content travel. “When you have content that can be portable (such as PDFs, video files and audio files), submitting them to relevant sites will help your content travel further, and ultimately drive links back to your site.” [5 Rules of SMO64]
  • Write efficiently. Use short sentences. Use short first paragraphs. Use vigorous English. Be positive, not negative. Never have only 4 rules.” [Ernest Hemingway's Top 5 Tips65]
  • Find a fresh angle. Consider a subject from your personal professional point of view. Argue with your readers, strengthen your position, deliver your message. Let your readers see an idea in a different light. Take pieces of seemingly unrelated topics and link them to their mantra.” [ProBlogger66.
  • Use striking images. The image of the post can help to visualize the topic you're writing about and give an article a vivid, fresh look.
  • Cover topics that need attention. "In every niche, there are certain topics and questions that are frequently asked or pondered, but rarely have definitive answers. While this recommendation applies to nearly every content-based site, it's particularly easy to leverage with a blog." [21 Tactics8478777467]
  • Link intelligently. “When you link out in your blog posts, use convention where applicable and creativity when warranted, but be aware of how the links you serve are part of the content you provide. Not every issue you discuss or site you mention needs a link, but there’s a fine line between overlinking and underlinking.” [21 Tactics To Increase Blog Traffic68]
  • Make people think. “Posts that force you to think and that tickle your intellectual buds get linked to a lot.” [Linkbaiting Explained6917]
  • Encourage your visitors to link to you. “Encourage readers to submit your posts to Digg and Del.icio.us, or more specific link sites depending on your subject matter. Those categories in del.icio.us for example, are exported by users to their own blogs (targeted, keyworded link text = good), and they often kick off a knock on effect [pdf] that can have wild implications for your Search traffic.” [3 Ways to Increase Traffic7047]

Tactics and Strategies of Linkbaiting

  • Define your strategy and tactics wisely. Have a concrete plan for your blogging activities. Write down everything, breakdown your ideas, evaluate content, mix and match your content with your strategy and your concept list. [The Changing Face of Linkbait71]
  • Gain a reputation. “Linkbait is difficult to launch the first few times if no one on the Web has heard of your brand. Once you’ve spent some time in the blogosphere and social media space, you may find that a lot of your content goes viral without any effort on your part. Thus, creating a reputation is an important part of making linkbait successful.” “A strong profile at the social media profiles can make a huge difference.” [Leveraging Linkbait724210] [7 Steps to Linkbait7344
  • First gain respect, then advertise. "Whether personal or professional, you wait until your blog has achieved a level of success before you start advertising." [21 Tactics8478777467]
  • Maintain your good name. “Your reputation is at stake every time you link to another site. A link is an endorsement; don’t get yourself in a sticky situation. Your readers will follow the links you bring them because they have confidence in your ability to sniff out the noteworthy material. Be certain that you will not regret the backing of another site.” [Link Bait Success75]
  • Share your knowledge. “Start at the beginning and take your readers through a months-long education.” [Seth Godin837976595348]
  • Reveal as much as possible. “If you can offer content that’s usually private – trade secrets, pricing, contract issues, and even the occassional harmless rumor, your blog can benefit.” [21 Tactics8478777467]
  • Use a human voice. “Charisma is a valuable quality, both online and off. Through a blog, it’s most often judged by the voice you present to your users. People like empathy, compassion, authority and honesty. Keep these in the forefront of your mind when writing and you’ll be in a good position to succeed.” [21 Tactics8478777467]
  • Appeal to the long tail. “Write about obscure stuff that appeals to an obsessed minority.” [Seth Godin837976595348]
  • Widen the horizon of your subjects – permanently. ” Try to diversify your posts within the many spheres of knowledge you have.” [12 Suggestions9780]
  • Post regularly. “If you have a content website, try to keep your posting frequency regular. Just don’t make your posting habit irregular. Today 1 post, tomorrow 5 posts, 1 week no posts etc. That disturbs visitors and that will hurt your RSS subscribers and newsletter subscribers numbers.” [101 Web Marketing Ideas105968143] Each post must be unique and have a high value.
  • Consider the best times and locations to launch your idea. Ensure your story has a title that is easy to vote for. Ensures your story is submitted at an appropriate time. If you do not do it soon after mentioning a story on your own site someone else may submit for you, using a dumb title or dumb post content.” [Link Baiting Strategies82]
  • Select best timing for your post. Analyzing the preferences and habits of your visitors, you can time your submission for maximum exposure. “Post on weekdays (especially monday in the morning), because there are more readers. Post on weekends, because there are fewer new posts.” [Seth Godin837976595348]
  • Build a brand. “To be [successful], you need to be a brand that people want to associate themselves with and a brand that people feel they derive value from being a member.” [21 Tactics8478777467]
  • Create your networks. Make friends. “Create your own network and work hard to help everyone in your network. When someone links to a post you have written or comments on your blog, they become part of your network. The idea is to take your network with you, to help them help you. There is no reason why everyone can’t be a winner.” [Linking Linkbait85]
  • Use the power of networking. “The most overlooked strategy for gaining traffic. Don’t badger other bloggers for links, because it rarely works anymore. Find a way to help them with something, and then eventually work that initial graciousness into a business relationship and even friendship. There are real people behind these blogs, and they respond to good will just like people do offline.” [Copyblogger8886]
  • Become a guest blogger. “Contributing content to someone else’s blog may seem crazy, but it’s a solid strategy to gain exposure for your own blog and build your subscriber base. Just make it very clear to the blog owner that you require a very brief byline at the end of the post, with a link back to your site. And make sure it’s original content, not something recycled off of your blog.” [10 Effective Ways to Get More Blog Subscribers8745]
  • Make cross-promotional deals. “Find a blogger that publishes related, but non-competitive content. Work out a deal where you both promote each other in your RSS feeds, using Feedvertising. The smaller blog would promote the other blog continuously, while the larger blog would reserve one slot for the smaller blog, and use the other slots for other cross-promotion deals, affiliate links, or sponsor ads.” [Copyblogger8886]
  • Request links wisely. “Write a truly personal letter, explain who you are, what your site is about, and why it’s relevant to blogger’s visitors.” [How To Request Links89]
  • Link to bloggers who have linked to you. “[If] someone links to your link bait, you link to them through third parties. Increasing the traffic and page rank of those that link to you will have a knock on effect of improving your own. If you are linked to regularly from the same site it will make sense to send them as much traffic as possible. [Linking Likbait90]
  • Leverage the mediums out there. “The [..] examples caused their creators to gain links at a rapid rate because they leveraged the mediums out there such as Digg, Del.icio.us, Magnolia91, BlinkList92, and YouTube93. You need to leverage these social mediums; it will increase your chances of success.” [Getting Links94282218]
  • Grab Their Attention. “Writing the headlines and initial descriptions to submit to the social sites, emailing bloggers and appearing in search results is a critical part of linkbait. Many readers will see your headline, and in the early phase it’s critical that they follow your link and help to spread your message.” [Leveraging Linkbaiting95]
  • Participate in discussions in your niche. “A good link building strategy is to comment or participate in discussions or content on other websites in your industry. It’s not enough to have good articles/content. The world has to know about them. Make connections/relations with other jounalists/bloggers/entreprenours in your niche, comment their articles, and links will come by themselves, with time.” “Read and participate in conversations related to your niche of expertise on other blogs. Be careful about what you write though – double check your facts and always write relevant and informative comments, using the occasion to leave your link through your name in the header of the comments you’re posting.” [101 Web Marketing Ideas105968143] [12 Suggestions9780]
  • Ask people to quote you. “If there’s a particularly strong site in your sector that you desperately want a link from, this tactic can be of occassional use. The idea is to write a news article with some legitimacy and request a quote from the company/individual you want a link from. Once they know you’re writing about them, make sure to send them a copy of the press release or story once it hits and let them know they’re welcome to copy portions of the article for their own site if they’d like to reference it (with a link of course).” [5 Rare and Valuable Techniques10198]
  • Respond to comments. “Always respond to comments on your blog and when you detect a mention of your blog on another blog, thank that blogger in the comments of the post.” [25 Tips For Marketing Your Blog99]
  • Mentioned without a link? Ask for a link! “Identify sites that already mention your site, but have failed to provide the direct HTML link. Write a pleasant, personal email to them and request the link – success rates can be very high. To find these willing linkers, you can use Yahoo!’s advanced search parameters, i.e. “seomoz” -linkdomain:seomoz.org100. [5 Rare and Valuable Techniques10198]

Linkbaiting Hooks

  • Use hooks for unique and useful content. “Content is only crowned as king when it has focus. A hook can help you keep this content focused and tight, and to fulfill the promise you made in the title. The hook has the potential to be the burning sensation that makes the article “write itself”.
  • News Hook. “Fast, up to date news on breaking topics with expert commentary on the topic. Selecting topics, use niches to write about.” [Linkbaiting Hooks115111104103102]. The news hook is when you are the first to scoop a story; everyone who carries the story will then (theoretically) link to you as the original source.
  • Contrary Hook. The contrary hook is when you refute a common myth in your niche. “Read throughout your blogosphere, and make sure to have an opinion on everything. Take someone’s post, and become the counterpoint.”[Linkbaiting Hooks115111104103102]
  • Resource Hook. The resource hook occurs when you make an extremely helpful piece of content that everyone will naturally want to bookmark. “Write an extensive guide to anything, and spend some time on the research, and delivery format of your research. There’s opportunity for this everywhere.” You’ll increase general awareness of your blog, gain authority by association and you are likely to receive links and traffic if your resource is fairly comprehensive.” [Linkbaiting Hooks115111104103102] E.g. create an (extensive) glossary of terms in your industry. That will set you apart and will make you an authority website in your niche. [101 Web Marketing Ideas105968143, The Resource Linkbait171106]
  • Humor Hook. People love to laugh, especially at people in their industry or niche.
  • Giveaway Hook. Offer your users something they can take with them – e.g. free wallpapers, icon sets, themes, pdfs, templates, layouts.
  • Research/Statistic Hook. Sometimes just compiled numbers, or any kind of scientific survey, will get a lot of link love, especially in an under-studied area.
  • Invest your time in a research. “Danny Sullivan actually sat down and checked the spam filtering accuracy of SpamCop, Yahoo Mail, and Gmail. And not once107 or twice108, but three109 different times. Personally, counting false positives in your Spam folder would annoy me to death, but putting in that work generates insights on the differences between the competing services. Admittedly, the results will vary by individual, but often some data is better than no data at all.” [Matt Cutts: Linkbait110]
  • The incentive hook. “If you give people a motive to talk about you they likely will. Contests have worked for ages.” [Linkbaiting Hooks115111104103102]
  • The interviews hook. Interview people who are well-known in your field of interests. [The Lazy Men's Guide112]
  • The “How To” hook. “People don’t want to know “what” you can do, they want to know “how” it’s done. If you think you’re giving away too much information, you’re on the right track.” [The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging11411331]
  • The Story Hook. “Stories are the most persuasive blogging element of all, as they allow you to present a problem, the solution, and the results, all while the connotation of the story allows readers to sell themselves on what you have to offer.” [The 5 Immutable Laws of Persuasive Blogging11411331]
  • The Lists Hook. People don’t read on the Web, they scan. Offer readable and scannable content which can be easily digested. [Linkbaiting Hooks115111104103102]

Copywriting: Improve Your Writing Skills

Copywriting Books

As selected in the article New To Copywriting – Start Here124.

  • “Scientific Advertising” by Claude Hopkins
  • “The Robert Collier Letter Book” by Robert Collier
  • “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Dr. Robert Cialdini
  • “Breakthrough Advertising” by Eugene Schwartz
  • “Tested Advertising Methods” by John Caples

Sources, Resources

Footnotes

  1. 1 http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/09/19/an-introduction-to-linkbaiting/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/03/10/8-things-you-should-know-about-smashing-magazine/
  3. 3 http://www.modernlifeisrubbish.co.uk/article/what-is-linkbait
  4. 4 http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/09/19/an-introduction-to-linkbaiting/
  5. 5 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/difference-between-linkbait-digg-bait/4636/
  6. 6 http://www.seomoz.org/2006/sanjose-linkbait.html
  7. 7 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/arguing-with-link-moses-this-already-seems-like-a-bad-idea
  8. 8 http://www.seobook.com/archives/001837.shtml
  9. 9 http://searchengineland.com/070118-074231.php
  10. 10 http://ypnblog.com/blog/2007/01/18/leveraging-linkbait/
  11. 11 http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/getting-links-1-of-5.html
  12. 12 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/linkbaiting-for-fun-profit/2541/
  13. 13 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/social-media-traffic-isnt-useless
  14. 14 http://www.seobook.com/archives/001936.shtml
  15. 15 http://www.cambrianhouse.com/
  16. 16 http://www.cambrianhouse.com/google/
  17. 17 http://www.contentblog.net/linkbaiting-explained/
  18. 18 http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/getting-links-4-of-5.html
  19. 19 http://searchengineland.com/070118-074231.php
  20. 20 http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html
  21. 21 http://www.google.com/search?q=seo&hl=en&hs=xic&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&start=10&sa=N
  22. 22 http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/getting-links-4-of-5.html
  23. 23 http://blog.v7n.com/2007/01/18/write-interesting-stuff-that-people-will-link-to-in-places-they-will-see-it/
  24. 24 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/arguing-with-link-moses-this-already-seems-like-a-bad-idea
  25. 25 http://searchengineland.com/070118-074231.php
  26. 26 http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html
  27. 27 http://www.google.com/search?q=seo&hl=en&hs=xic&lr=&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&start=10&sa=N
  28. 28 http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/getting-links-4-of-5.html
  29. 29 http://blog.v7n.com/2007/01/18/write-interesting-stuff-that-people-will-link-to-in-places-they-will-see-it/
  30. 30 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/arguing-with-link-moses-this-already-seems-like-a-bad-idea
  31. 31 http://www.copyblogger.com/the-5-immutable-laws-of-persuasive-blogging/
  32. 32 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/09/what_makes_an_i.html
  33. 33 http://www.ericward.com/articles/linkworthy03-03.html
  34. 34 http://ypnblog.com/blog/2007/01/18/leveraging-linkbait/
  35. 35 http://www.lifehacker.com
  36. 36 http://www.threadwatch.org
  37. 37 http://www.gizmodo.com
  38. 38 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/linkbaiting-for-fun-profit/2541/
  39. 39 http://www.copyblogger.com/blog-triggers/
  40. 40 http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
  41. 41 http://www.copyblogger.com/trading-words-for-traffic/
  42. 42 http://ypnblog.com/blog/2007/01/18/leveraging-linkbait/
  43. 43 http://www.seopedia.org/internet-marketing-and-seo/101-web-marketing-ideas-and-tips/
  44. 44 http://www.seomoz.org/2006/7-steps-to-linkbait.html
  45. 45 http://www.copyblogger.com/10-effective-ways-to-get-more-blog-subscribers/
  46. 46 http://www.jimwestergren.com/link-bait/
  47. 47 http://performancing.com/node/3422
  48. 48 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/06/how_to_get_traf.html
  49. 49 http://www.seobook.com/archives/001837.shtml
  50. 50 http://www.seobook.com/archives/001837.shtml
  51. 51 http://geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/2006/10/dirty-dozen-12-suggestions-for-making.html
  52. 52 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/social-media-optimization-13-rules-of-smo/3734/
  53. 53 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/06/how_to_get_traf.html
  54. 54 http://www.seomoz.org/2006/sanjose-linkbait.html
  55. 55 http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/09/21/20-linkbaiting-techniqes/
  56. 56 http://www.seomoz.org/2006/sanjose-linkbait.html
  57. 57 http://www.searchengineguide.com/hartzer/006598.html
  58. 58 http://www.seomoz.org/2006/sanjose-linkbait.html
  59. 59 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/06/how_to_get_traf.html
  60. 60 http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/
  61. 61 http://www.copyblogger.com/10-sure-fire-headline-formulas-that-work/
  62. 62 http://tropicalseo.com/2007/andy-hagans-ultimate-guide-to-link-baiting-and-social-media-marketing/
  63. 63 http://www.copyblogger.com/5-simple-ways-to-open-your-blog-post-with-a-bang/
  64. 64 http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2006/08/5_rules_of_soci.html
  65. 65 http://www.copyblogger.com/ernest-hemingway-top-5-tips-for-writing-well/
  66. 66 http://www.problogger.net/archives/2007/01/25/how-to-think-outside-of-the-box-and-develop-attention-grabbing-content/
  67. 67 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic
  68. 68 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic
  69. 69 http://www.contentblog.net/linkbaiting-explained/
  70. 70 http://performancing.com/node/3422
  71. 71 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/the-changing-face-of-linkbait
  72. 72 http://ypnblog.com/blog/2007/01/18/leveraging-linkbait/
  73. 73 http://www.seomoz.org/2006/7-steps-to-linkbait.html
  74. 74 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic
  75. 75 http://www.famousagents.com/link-bait-success
  76. 76 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/06/how_to_get_traf.html
  77. 77 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic
  78. 78 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic
  79. 79 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/06/how_to_get_traf.html
  80. 80 http://geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/2006/10/dirty-dozen-12-suggestions-for-making.html
  81. 81 http://www.seopedia.org/internet-marketing-and-seo/101-web-marketing-ideas-and-tips/
  82. 82 http://www.seobook.com/archives/001936.shtml
  83. 83 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2006/06/how_to_get_traf.html
  84. 84 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic
  85. 85 http://www.cornwallseo.com/search/index.php/2007/05/07/linking-linkbait-and-the-linked-linkers-who-link-to-it/
  86. 86 http://www.copyblogger.com/10-effective-ways-to-get-more-blog-subscribers/
  87. 87 http://www.copyblogger.com/10-effective-ways-to-get-more-blog-subscribers/
  88. 88 http://www.copyblogger.com/10-effective-ways-to-get-more-blog-subscribers/
  89. 89 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/good-seo-how-to-request-links-from-picky-sites
  90. 90 http://www.cornwallseo.com/search/index.php/2007/05/07/linking-linkbait-and-the-linked-linkers-who-link-to-it/
  91. 91 http://ma.gnolia.com
  92. 92 http://www.blinklist.com
  93. 93 http://www.youtube.com
  94. 94 http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/getting-links-4-of-5.html
  95. 95 http://ypnblog.com/blog/2007/01/18/leveraging-linkbait/
  96. 96 http://www.seopedia.org/internet-marketing-and-seo/101-web-marketing-ideas-and-tips/
  97. 97 http://geeksaresexy.blogspot.com/2006/10/dirty-dozen-12-suggestions-for-making.html
  98. 98 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/5-rare-valuable-link-building-tactics
  99. 99 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/06/25-tips-for-marketing-your-blog/
  100. 100 http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=sfp&p=seomoz+-linkdomain%3Aseomoz.org
  101. 101 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/5-rare-valuable-link-building-tactics
  102. 102 http://www.stuntdubl.com/2007/01/12/linkbaiting-hooks/
  103. 103 http://www.stuntdubl.com/2007/01/12/linkbaiting-hooks/
  104. 104 http://www.stuntdubl.com/2007/01/12/linkbaiting-hooks/
  105. 105 http://www.seopedia.org/internet-marketing-and-seo/101-web-marketing-ideas-and-tips/
  106. 106 http://www.doshdosh.com/blog-website-promotion/the-resource-linkbait-using-lists-to-build-authority-traffic-and-links-to-your-website/
  107. 107 http://daggle.com/060113-114819.html
  108. 108 http://daggle.com/060119-123011.html
  109. 109 http://daggle.com/060120-112335.html
  110. 110 http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-linkbait-and-linkbaiting/
  111. 111 http://www.stuntdubl.com/2007/01/12/linkbaiting-hooks/
  112. 112 http://tropicalseo.com/2006/the-lazy-mans-guide-to-link-baiting/
  113. 113 http://www.copyblogger.com/the-5-immutable-laws-of-persuasive-blogging/
  114. 114 http://www.copyblogger.com/the-5-immutable-laws-of-persuasive-blogging/
  115. 115 http://www.stuntdubl.com/2007/01/12/linkbaiting-hooks/
  116. 116 http://www.fireandknowledge.org/archives/2007/01/08/a-guide-to-writing-well/
  117. 117 http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/fifty-50-tools-which-can-help-you-in-writing.html
  118. 118 http://www.copyblogger.com/copywriting-101/
  119. 119 http://goodcopywriting.com/
  120. 120 http://freelanceswitch.com/blog-writing/15-must-read-blogs-for-blog-writers/
  121. 121 http://www.bestsellerinterviews.com/how-to-conquer-writers-block-the-ultimate-guide.html
  122. 122 http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=78
  123. 123 http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/george-orwells-5-rules-for-effective-writing/
  124. 124 http://www.michelfortin.com/new-to-copywriting-start-here/
  125. 125 http://www.cornwallseo.com/search/index.php/2007/02/09/the-enormous-linkbait-list/
  126. 126 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/10-remarkably-effective-strategies-for-driving-traffic
  127. 127 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/21-tactics-to-increase-blog-traffic
  128. 128 http://www.seomoz.org/2006/sanjose-linkbait.html
  129. 129 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/link-baiting-ebook-viral-copy/3004/
  130. 130 http://www.brandon-hopkins.com/66-ways-to-build-links-in-2007
  131. 131 http://www.linkbuildingwiki.com/wiki/Main_Page
  132. 132 http://www.pronetadvertising.com/articles/getting-links-1-of-5.html
  133. 133 http://www.cornwallseo.com/search/index.php/2007/05/07/linking-linkbait-and-the-linked-linkers-who-link-to-it/
  134. 134 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/quality-link-building-editorial-links-vs-acquired-links/4717/
  135. 135 http://tropicalseo.com/2007/andy-hagans-ultimate-guide-to-link-baiting-and-social-media-marketing/
  136. 136 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/linkbaiting-for-fun-profit/2541/
  137. 137 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/01/whats-the-best-kind-of-link-bait/
  138. 138 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/link-baiting-case-study-from-search-engine-journal/2823/
  139. 139 http://www.searchenginejournal.com/link-baiting-effective-link-building/2797/
  140. 140 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/12/session-link-baiting-viral-search-success/
  141. 141 http://performancing.com/node/38
  142. 142 http://www.stuntdubl.com/2006/02/13/linkbait-2/
  143. 143 http://www.shimonsandler.com/?p=188
  144. 144 http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/09/what_makes_an_i.html
  145. 145 http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-linkbait-and-linkbaiting/
  146. 146 http://www.searchengineguide.com/hartzer/006598.html
  147. 147 http://www.hybrid6.com/webgeek/2007/05/strategic-link-building.php
  148. 148 http://www.jimwestergren.com/link-bait/
  149. 149 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/clever-linkbait-tactic-over-at-seoblackhat
  150. 150 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/free-linkbait-idea-on-web-analytics
  151. 151 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/good-seo-how-to-request-links-from-picky-sites
  152. 152 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/arguing-with-link-moses-this-already-seems-like-a-bad-idea
  153. 153 http://www.seomoz.org/blog/5-rare-valuable-link-building-tactics
  154. 154 http://www.seobook.com/archives/001936.shtml
  155. 155 http://www.seobook.com/archives/001848.shtml
  156. 156 http://www.seobook.com/archives/001792.shtml
  157. 157 http://www.copyblogger.com/increase-web-traffic/
  158. 158 http://www.copyblogger.com/5-simple-ways-to-open-your-blog-post-with-a-bang/
  159. 159 http://www.copyblogger.com/10-effective-ways-to-get-more-blog-subscribers/
  160. 160 http://www.toprankblog.com/2006/03/10-creative-traffic-building-ideas/
  161. 161 http://www.contentblog.net/linkbaiting-explained/
  162. 162 http://www.scottkellam.com/blog/tips-for-increasing-blog-traffic/
  163. 163 http://www.hybrid6.com/webgeek/2007/05/strategic-link-building.php
  164. 164 http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/09/19/an-introduction-to-linkbaiting/
  165. 165 http://www.sugarrae.com/blog/five-link-development-experts-a-group-interview/
  166. 166 http://searchengineland.com/070118-074231.php
  167. 167 http://www.stuntdubl.com/2007/01/12/linkbaiting-hooks/
  168. 168 http://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2007/04/linkbait-20-the-soul-of-linkbait-part-2.html
  169. 169 http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2006/08/5_rules_of_soci.html
  170. 170 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_bait
  171. 171 http://www.doshdosh.com/blog-website-promotion/the-resource-linkbait-using-lists-to-build-authority-traffic-and-links-to-your-website/

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops and loves solving complex problems in large companies. Get in touch.

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  1. 1

    lol, where do I began reading?

    0
  2. 2

    Great article. I think this references every great linkbaiting post I’ve read in the past year. I hope it wins you a bunch of links.

    -1
  3. 3

    I’ll got it!

    SMash Magacine has the same idea as I one day before!

    Ok in German, but it is the same.

    I don’t read your article because the lists gets bigger and bigger.
    Your aricle has more links than google would show me and this is to much for me.

    Where do I began to read?

    have a nice day
    Monika

    0
  4. 4

    this very useful again

    0
  5. 5

    Vitaly Friedman

    May 28, 2007 10:15 pm

    Dear Monica,

    the topic is quite comprehensive and all listed aspects are – or can be – indeed useful. You don’t have to read the article completely, you know. You can scan through the article, since key-aspects are marked accordingly. But if you want to, you have to have an opportunity to read further. This is the idea behind this structure of our posts.

    Where to start reading? Well, what about the beginning? It depends on what you are interested in. :)

    0
  6. 6

    Usefull. But you forgot writting about hot and controvercial news (lately – HD DVD key) or I`ve ommited it – that was a really long list ;)

    0
  7. 7

    Smashing Magazine just never failed to deliver on its content, each post is digg material and super duper useful to any webmaster!

    0
  8. 8

    The funny thing is that you need such a huge article just to tell people they should care to publish something interesting…

    0
  9. 9

    I would wish :
    this became more blogger some
    carry as chain decoration . . .
    thanks for this post !

    0
  10. 10

    Very nice work – and thanks for the mentions.

    0
  11. 11

    Hello Vitaly Friedman

    I can’t scan posts if they are so long.

    I have to scroll and scroll to find the next headline. Between there is no place to catch my eyes.

    *with waggishness*

    this year the golden list of…… next year..the ultra golden list of …

    2009: the ultra list of all golden ultra lists the year before…

    ;)

    This days smashing magazine uses his name like “wrecking” for me.
    I haven’t find any figure speech for my meaning, sorry.

    “wrecking” the words:best list of

    It’s a great pity.

    regards
    Monika

    ***
    Sorry for submit comment two times, it was without purpose.

    0
  12. 12

    Another great article, as usual! Thanks for providing yet another article full of links to great posts and resources. But one thing you should know is that your articles are getting more lengthier with every post that you make and there is just too much to read. Might I recommend that you offer multi part posts on such topics?
    Cheers!

    0
  13. 13

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 29, 2007 12:46 am

    Dear Monika,
    dear Raj,

    thank you for your input. We’ll consider your opinions in our next posts.

    0
  14. 14

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    May 29, 2007 12:47 am

    Monika,

    we definitely won’t publish the list of lists of lists. Instead, we’ll review our articles year after year to maintain the quality and present the best information for our readers.

    0
  15. 15

    Jennifer Apple

    May 29, 2007 1:18 am

    Wow. If you keep doing these giant posts, I’m going to need to hire an assistant to help me get through all the info!

    0
  16. 16

    Cristian Mezei

    May 29, 2007 3:43 am

    Jeniffer, you better hire that assistant fast …

    Vitaly and Sven : You’re doing a fantastic job.

    0
  17. 17

    Great post. One thing:
    In ‘Profound Rules of Linkbaiting’ points from “Create remarkable content” to “Make your content universally valuable, memorable and compelling” are doubled. Remove one set, the post will get shorter, and people will read it! ;)
    Great work. Thank you!

    0
  18. 18

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz, maybe monica was right, you’ve done too good on this post. If all the bloggers use these tips, then, there will be another million other tips next year.

    0
  19. 19

    Another great post.
    PS. Give me more about web design. ;)

    0
  20. 20

    Daily Thoughts

    May 29, 2007 4:08 pm

    Very nice compilation. I’ll try to apply each of them. Hopefully those works for me

    0
  21. 21

    I don’t think that the article is to long but the theme it self.

    Some sites pay for x links, some of them require that the pages that link the pretended site have unless Google pagerank 4…

    1
  22. 22

    Great information. I am fairly new to the blogging world and your site has consistently provided me with a wealth of information.
    I better get my but in gear and make my site groovier.

    1
  23. 23

    Content is king, content drive traffic and also tend to drive linkbaiting :)

    1
  24. 24

    One of the best informative sites ever.
    Still the design sucks big time, and enough with the ads ppl.

    1
  25. 25

    i was certain i collect all info pieces posted on link baiting – i was definitely wrong.

    -1
  26. 26

    Very usefull list!

    Thank you :)

    -1
  27. 27

    Wow! This is really the best link baiting article I have come around in a few months! I cant wait to implement these techniques in my campaign.

    Way to go Smashingmagazine!!

    -1
  28. 28

    omg my eyes… a bit too long

    0
  29. 29

    I think its kind of ironic that the one post on Smashing Magazine that doesn’t get dugg is the one on linkbaiting :)

    0
  30. 30

    Very good article. Not only a useful read for link baiting, but also a good read for getting exposure for a website in general.

    0
  31. 31

    Very Useful and informative. Thanks!

    0
  32. 32

    Great article! I have a couple of questions though: a) does Google have existing penalties for the term ‘linkbaiting’ and b) what do you think of the term ‘linkbaiting’?

    0
  33. 33

    Thanks a lot for a fine read. Linkbaiting is a difficult subject to totally understand.

    0
  34. 34

    thanks for the nice info about link baiting.

    0
  35. 35

    smashing!

    i really love this article, very interesting and inspiring

    0
  36. 36

    This is the best article regarding Linkbaiting I have ever read. I have just bookmarked it and I will use it as a reference. Thanks!

    0
  37. 37

    Wow this is some resource. Linking to this tomorrow for sure.

    0
  38. 38

    thats great piece of information and i got clear my idea

    0
  39. 39

    I just want to say it’s great list for link building, and I bookmarked this page for futher read, too long. great info.

    Thanks smashing magazine as follows.

    0
  40. 40

    Hey,

    Keep up the good work.

    I bookmarked one page and got 50+ resources

    0
  41. 41

    I am very new to your world of linkage and blogging and appreciate this compilation of terms and explanations. I do agree that it’s somewhat long, with a lot of repeated concepts, but I think that’s good because it stuck in my mind after reading a specific concept several different ways. I’m sure I will be using this as a resource for a long time.

    :)

    0
  42. 42

    Really great article. Thanks!

    0
  43. 43

    I found interesting free backlink service which can help you to generate many backlinks day by day. To learn how to use it and concept how it work, check How to get more backlinks for blog. It is based on relatively simple concept.

    0
  44. 44

    Thank you for very useful article! Amazing!

    0
  45. 45

    This is a very useful and informative post on Linkbaiting I’ve found with my research. Thank you very much.

    Mary J

    0
  46. 46

    Fantastic !!! this is a resource. Linking to this as soon as possible for sure.

    0
  47. 47

    I love new creative ideas of furniture and design.

    0
  48. 48

    I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It?s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

    0
  49. 49

    I never found any interesting article like yours.
    Vuelos Baratos en Europa

    0

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