Link baiting is a very popular term these days. It refers to the grand art of viral marketing. Success at link baiting requires that you know how to create content that will be popular enough that people will want to link to it.
The concept is a great one. It’s simply the latest iteration of viral marketing. Of course, there are bad ways to do link baiting as well. For example, Eric Ward has a post about Link Bait Kool Aid where he takes issue with it.
Eric’s post does capture the basic danger with getting wrapped up into link bait. Basically, when generating link bait becomes a substitute for building a good site, you are headed for trouble. Frankly, like Eric, I am not fond of the term, because it can become a trap, just as he suggests.
However, the underlying idea of generating link worthy content is fundamental to a long term web strategy’s success. Then wrapping some great “link bait” articles that illustrate the depth of your overall content is likewise a great idea. It’s a fact – people like top 10 lists, humor about their space, and other similar ideas.
Just be careful, and mindful of your audience. If you are trying to get all your links from .gov and .edu sites, you are going to make link bait of an entirely different flavor than if you are trying to get your links from cooking hobbyist sites. For one thing, it’s unlikely that a blog will be involved.
Keep in mind the “trust” concept outlined in the Andy Hagans link above, and as discussed by Matt Cutts in his blog. Make sure your link bait strategy takes the notion of trust into account. What are the most trusted sites in your market? How are you going to get links from them?