And the Verdict on Linkbaiting Is…

And the Verdict on Linkbaiting Is…

Reader Comments (52)

  1. Whatever it is called, the results are what really count. I do think “social media marketing” might go down better than “linkbait” round board room tables though.

  2. I’ve been watching this linkbaiting debate go around for awhile, and here’s my two cents.

    Linkbaiting is, essentially, an art. There are good ways to do it, and there are bad. Some of the obvious bad ways are going to random blogs and screaming comments like “Hey check out this post, it’s cool, you’ll like it, thanks!” People write you off as spam, and truthfully — that is spam, plain and simple.

    But there are also good ways to linkbait. Here’s my theory on the correct way to linkbait. (Not tried and true as of yet, but it’s worked quite well so far.)

    Find someone who needs something. They’ll all over forums, blogs, chatrooms, etc. “Why are all my photos blurry?” “Why can’t I do this..?” “Why does my blog suck?” Being the intelligent person on the subject they’re inquiring upon, you feel obliged to give them an answer. But wait! — you wrote a post on that very subject a bit ago.

    Give them a little or partial answer. Enough to get them started, or to answer it simply. Then, you should say something to the tune of “I wrote a post on this exact subject a week ago, check it out here. (link)” That’s a basic idea of a good linkbait — you solve their problem, and give them the chance to learn even more — by clicking over to your blog.

    A linkbait is just that – bait. They can bite, or’s obligatory. But if you answer there question, or otherwise intrique them to want to learn more, about the subject, or just what’s going on over at your blog (now that you’ve shown yourself to be an authority on that subject), they’ll want to check you out.

    Lastly, I apologize for the long comment — I currently run only a photography blog, and linkbaiting isn’t much of a subject to tie in there. Hope my thoughts stir up more discussion then “is linkbaiting right or wrong?”. Bait — carefully.

  3. I have a hard enough time getting my own links to stick 😉 The wikipedians are quite happy to take my content and give nothing in return.

  4. 1. Linkbaiting and social media marketing are not the same thing.

    2. The term social media optimization is still widely used, and again it is different than social media marketing, though perhaps a component of it.

    3. Social media is about a lot more things than just links.

  5. Please enlighten us with more, Cameron. I agree with your last statement, but there’s very little that happens in social media that doesn’t involve links.

  6. I didn’t mean to sound like a smart ass… what I meant was, explain a little more regarding your thoughts on one and two.

    Probably a whole post there…

  7. I agree with Cameron. Social Media Marketing is more of an umbrella term, while linkbaiting is a “practice.”

    Brian, what if you created a new post in which you ask your blogging community to “name that brand” in three words or less, and tackle it wiki-style. Since everyone here has pretty much distinguished what it is and what it isn’t, why not step out ahead of the trend. Fahgadsakes, we tag and name and brand all day, don’t we?

    And then you can write a book called “Linktrain Manifesto” and the rest will be history.

    (I’m serious, BTW).

  8. I pretty much consider social media optimization as anything that takes place onpage. It’s the process of refining (optimizing it) and adding hooks to existing content so that it’s easily spread through social mediums and online communities by users and visitors of the website.

    Social media marketing on the other hand is the more active role in relation to the creation and distribution of the content through the social web by some form of viral marketing.

    Social media marketing doesn’t always have to be about just the links. It includes other things like branding, traffic, sales, communication, etc.

  9. Cameron, thanks for the follow up.

    OK, SMO is a bit simple in my mind. I think that’s about 20 minutes of consulting time with a client, and it’s just good marketing.

    And I think everyone who peddles “linkbaiting” services points out that promotion of the content is crucial.

    Your third paragraph is where we agree 100%. In fact, linkbaiting without attention to “branding, traffic, sales, communication, etc.” is a huge waste of opportunity. The term “linkbaiting” not only carries a negative connotation, it sells short the total value proposition of the service.

  10. The word does have negative connotations which is unfortunate because ultimately what you are doing is offering a way for online surfers to get highly targeted information exactly when they need it.

    “Magnetic linking” or “viral linking” might be more appropriate, descriptive terms.

    Of course they’re not as sexy as “linkbaiting”.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  11. We use overture-esque tools to find keywords because they are the words that people are _actually_ using to talk about stuff.

    Who cares what it should be called as long as everyone ‘gets it’?

  12. Who is “everyone” Ross? And who is searching?

    How many people a month search for linkbait or its derivations?

    There’s plenty of providers staked out in the SERPS for “linkbaiting,” anticipating business, but very few people with money searching for those terms.

    Maybe I’m missing your point?

  13. First of all, this is great linkbait.

    Secondly, linkbaiting is one of..what?…15 dominos that you can implement in SMM.

    Thirdly,…I’ll give you $100 to change Todd’s anchor text to something more feminine.

    Fourthly, Power Accts make up for shoddy writing skills. Not sure if that’s SMO or SMM. I defer to Big C.

    Lastly, this is all really good stuff. Copyblogger lives on thru my mass subscription deletions.


  14. I do think a lot of people beyond the SEM industries are gonna have a hard time distingiushing between viral marketing and linkbait.

    While its quite clear what linkbait’s intention is, and viral marketings can be a bit more sketchy, I do think there’s similarities that to many will make it difficult to split.

    I like to think of both however as an evolution of good old fashioned word of mouth.

  15. I’m surprised to see no one has commented on the announcement of your services. Is this what you meant when you announced the future monetization of Copyblogger? I, for one, think it’s more interesting than the whole discussion of linkbaiting.

    For 2 reasons: is the connotation of the term important to anyone outside of this small group, and does the negative connotation have any real negative effects?

    Maybe I don’t get it, but I honestly can’t see what changing the term will earn everyone. Legitimacy? And in the eyes of whom? And is having their respect really that important?

  16. Jon, I think ultimately everyone will do exactly what they feel is right, depending on the context. In some settings, I’ll say linkbait, in most others (general business), I won’t.

    It would be cool if we could come up with a universal alternative term, but it isn’t going to happen. Having the discussion, however, has still been worthwhile, at least from my perspective.

  17. There are ephemeral links (Britney shows her butt) and eternal links (Nobel Prize winning author outlines comprehensive plan for world peace).

    And there is rather a range in between.

    I like to think that people, search engines and social media directories will get smarter. Ephemeral linkbait items with high peaks and troughs will downgrade; while the steady climb of eternal linkages will be rewarded.

  18. Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon and Squidoo all got mentioned in British Esquire magazine this month. No mention of linkbait though.

    But for how long?

    When the term seeps into the minds of mainstream press surely the conversation will be over.

    Linkbait is visceral, it’s meaty, exciting and dirty. It promises sex and scandal in seedy Soho eateries.

    Anything else is anodyne, buttoned down, starched and pressed until all the pizazz has gone.

    I love the term for it’s vision of sweaty maggots being threaded on the hook to bring in the punters.

    Dressing it up in bland clothes will not change the nature of the beast.

    I say celebrate it’s negative conotations.

  19. I have two questions:

    Are the terms “linkbaiting” and “link love” the same thing?

    When you include an URL to your blog within a comment on another site considered “linkbaiting” just as much as referencing another’s blog post on your own blog?



  20. I only started reading your blog and realized you didnt like the term link bait too much to put it mildly ;).

    Ive always thought link bait sounded like it was a sort of bad tricking other people, too and have been thinking of it as H.L.C. (=highly linkable content) before i came across the term link bait. Basically it refers to the same thing…but doesnt have a negative connotation like link bait might

  21. ‘Linkbait’ as a word is fine because it’s catchy.

    Don’t waste energy on trying to remove ‘negative connotations’, but instead focus on making it work the way it should 🙂

  22. given the fact that linkbaiting creates a network of sorts, does google have any actions against linkbaiting?

  23. >>creates a network of sorts

    Not really, I don’t think.

    I believe Cutts has been quoted as saying this is a legitimate promotional technique. But I could be wrong..

  24. Whatever it is called, the results are what really count. I do think “social media marketing” might go down better than “linkbait” round board room tables though.

  25. Brian Clark,

    Link Bait is really a good technique of link building.

    i want to asnwer to Jonathan Kantor,

    The term “linkbait” is used to describe content on a website which is designed to generate incoming links from other sites.

    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.

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