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An Introduction to Linkbaiting

Linkbaiting (link baiting, linkbait, link bait etc) is a term that has increasingly being used around the blogosphere.

You can see in the following technorati graph the increase in its use (this one is for the term ‘link bait’) in the blogs that they track over the past 360 days (source)

Link-Bait

As the term is used more and more I’ve also noticed an interesting debate emerge among bloggers (and search engine optimization types) over the idea of ‘link baiting’ and whether it’s a good thing or not. Some SEO companies have started to offer link baiting services while others are against the idea and believe that the benefits of link baiting are the same benefits of good web practices.

As the term’s crept into blogging more and more over the past months I thought it might be a good topic for a series.

Over the next few days I’ll be writing a series of posts covering:

  • What is Link Baiting?
  • Is Link Bait bad?
  • What are the Benefits of Linkbaiting?
  • What types of Linkbait are there?
  • Techniques and strategies for Good link baiting

I’m sure I’ll cover more ground as we go along – but lets start with the first couple.

‘What is Link Baiting?’

A lot could (and has been) said about it. So I’ll make just a few basic points to keep things simple.

The term linkbaiting is a one that seems to have surfaced over the past 12 or so months and that is used by webmasters to describe a variety of practices – all of which seek to generate incoming links to a website or blog from other sites.

It is actually a difficult term to be definative about as it covers a lot of different practices ranging from running awards or competitions, through to writing attacking posts on high profile bloggers in the hope of them biting back and linking to you, through to providing other bloggers or site owners with tools (with embedded links back to your own site) that they can put on their blogs (we’ll run through more linkbaiting techniques in one of my next posts in this series).

In reality the term ‘linkbaiting’ is a new term for something that webmasters have been doing for many years. From my earliest days of blogging four years ago I know I saw people doing lots of things to get links (even though the term was never used).

Is Linkbaiting Good or Bad?

Linkbaiting is often written about in negative terms. I regularly see people writing off a post that others have written or a comment others have left as ‘just being linkbait’.

I personally don’t like the term ‘linkbaiting’ on some levels as it does seem to have negative connotations. ‘Baiting’ has a sense of trying to trick or trap an unsuspecting person or thing into doing something that they don’t really want to do. While this is accurate with some forms of linkbaiting it is not true with others.

There is a lot of debate around both the term ‘linkbaiting’ and some of the practices that people talk about it incorporating. Some argue strongly that it is just a by-product of quality content, others argue that many linkbaiting strategies border on spam, others seem to talk about linkbait as being the answer to all web promotional problems (increasingly SEO companies are offering linkbaiting services).

My own opinion on whether link bait is good or bad is that it depends upon the type of link baiting that you’re talking about. I think some techniques that people use are just good standard blogging techniques – while other things that people do in the pursuit of links are destructive to the blogging community and I’d argue against them.

Like almost anything online, people use linkbaiting strategies for good and healthy purposes but also for dubious and ‘evil’. I guess in part we each need to think about our priorities, values and even ethics as we go about our blogging and explore this topic.

Have Your Say

  • How would you define link baiting?
  • What has been your experience of it?
  • Would you consider it to be good, bad or some combination of each?

Read the rest of this series as it’s written at:

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Paul Walton says:

    What is the best meathod for a new site to link bait. We all know that most bigger sites ignore new websites so what would it take to get going successfuly and is it worth all the effort in terms of inbounds and outbounds???

  2. I think the ‘bait’ part of link baiting refers to the search bot. So it’s not directed at a human being. If you think of a search bot as a cute little animal, you could say that you ‘bait’ it with a tasty morsel and then go on to pet it to ‘make friends with it.’

  3. tharsos says:

    I plan to read all of you linkbaiting posts, because I could use more links:)

  4. No Doubt link baiting can provide us alot of links in no time but shouldnt we have to do it daily.

    As on digg.com every second home page stories are shifted down.

    Whats future of this social bookmarking thing ?

    Cant we see 1000 of sites like digg.com – like i just saw one of indian guys site http://www.Tagza.com

    Where this storm will end by the way ?

  5. 2deep says:

    To be honest it is still “fake” advertisement for your real website, unless you have something which connects to it.

  6. BlogOxide says:

    Hi Darren,

    I’ve not experienced linkbaiting, and still on the way how can it be productive. And, I think the good and bad in it depends on how you use it.

  7. bucs0658 says:

    Not sure what all the fuss is about here. Linkbaiting or whatever you want to call it has been around in marketing the ‘real’ world forever.Why do you think the magazine covers have half naked women or outrageous headlines on them.

  8. Scott says:

    Read the whole thing. Still dont know what link baiting it.

  9. I’m with just about everyone else here. Linkbaiting is nothing more than a new name for what we’ve all been doing all along. Write good, interesting content, and you hope to generate links. That’s about as simple as it gets – someone along the way just decided to give it a fancy name.

  10. Well, there are a lot of ways to do linkbait. The best way of course is press releases with some REAL news in it, so other websites will mention it and link to you.

    For some dutch folks:
    Zoekmachine optimalisatie

  11. wow says:

    Link Baiting is just another way of saying clever marketing.I think the ‘bait’ part of link baiting refers to the search bot. So it’s not directed at a human being. If you think of a search bot as a cute little animal, you could say that you ‘bait’ it with a tasty morsel and then go on to pet it to ‘make friends with it.’ It has a hook that tries to catch the reader fish, we all do it every day, even if 99% of the time the fish might swim past.

  12. Roger says:

    Hi….I think that actually *link baiting* is a way to give extraordinary to see the world of blogs and services sites, for which a large crowd of visitors daily benefit, what happens is that the bad writers always think their works must be emphasized when the only judges are the users of such sites.
    In reality there is a special harassment on the part of large companies in harming the great works in many blogs.

    Greetings.
    Roger
    Kreloj.blogspot.com

  13. Larry says:

    Wow thanks. I learned a lot from this posting. Now off to linkbait…

    Larry
    damnIneedAjob.com

  14. Seth says:

    You know I used to know alot like 3 years ago. Top on MSN & Yahoo using Web Position. I now am back in the “game” and learn links, link baiting. Blows my mind about the whole thing……new rules….same game!

    Thanks folks for more advice.

    Seth

  15. Jens says:

    sounds all like a new word for the oldest thing – link building strategy was and is the cornerstone of generating relevant traffic. if correctly integrated with you other efforts – such as high quality content on your choosen topic(s). you say it yourself “……In reality the term ‘linkbaiting’ is a new term for something that webmasters have been doing for many years…..” :-)

  16. Ravi Shanker says:

    “Linkbaiting” great information.. it’s seems to become a hot topic again….. I learned a lot from this posting…

  17. CS Thompson says:

    Hey thats a great straight forward summary…

    Why can’t we just come up with great ‘link worthy’ stuff? Why has link baiting had to become a technique? There is so much rubbish out there, surely it can’t be that hard to write some great, unique, news/buzz worthy content… can it?

  18. Amy says:

    Still don’t quite understand the concept, but I’ll try anyway.

  19. maomao says:

    In reality there is a special harassment on the part of large companies in harming the great works in many blogs.

  20. Eric says:

    Link baiting is the link building of the future in my opinion. You write decent content, you should get good links.

  21. Andreas Andi says:

    I think link baiting is a way to put addtional information or idea link related to the topic and will helpfull if it’s really become like that, because some people use it as promotional link.

  22. I learned a lot from reading this article. Linkbaiting is a bit complicated so I definitely look forward to reading more on the topic in the future.

    Keep up the good work!

  23. SEO Genius says:

    I have never been too keen on link baiting techniques however a good article and in depth post.

  24. I’m absolutely terrible at link baiting. I need to read more posts like this…

  25. Kazu Preces says:

    I think that building a Free WordPress theme is still one of the best ways to get links today.

  26. Linkbaiting is the way to garner links by way of offering something pretty interesting which people would link naturally. However, some black hat techniques have also sprung in this case, thereby raising doubts of whether linkbaiting is white hat or black hat.

  27. Jobin Martin says:

    I see the word link baiting here and there. But I never knew what linkbaiting is!. Thanks for the great tutorial.

  28. linkbaiting is only possible for recreative blogs. Corprate blogs don’t have any shock effect to attract links

  29. prant says:

    didn’t get that from reading this article other than the mere explanation of what link baiting is.

  30. tactics to tipping point marketing are similar to what bloggers refer to as creating linkbait. As an example of a company who’s had great success check out this post on Mint.com or

  31. Link baiting is a very important aspect in blogging. You need to make as many inbound links to your blog as you can.

  32. Linkbaitling is here to stay,its what google has done to us.Its like any other need for life just that of food or water.I miss the days of yahoo and meta tags.Ebay in the begining was the best now its a flea market…need I say more

  33. If you are a lonely fish in the sea, any attention is good attention. If you want to have a positive reputation in your area of expertise, make sure the linkbait is useful or funny.

  34. Bill says:

    good discussion. Linkbaiting is marketing and seems like depending on your site it is a good idea. I think Nike has been baiting us all for years.

  35. discussion. Linkbaiting is marketing and seems like depending on your site it is want to have a positive

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