How to Think About Link Baiting

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.

You can get a pile of good link bait ideas from Brian Clark. You can also get Rand Fishkin’s take on link bait.

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? tags:


  1. says

    Interesting. It all keeps coming back to good content doesn’t it. If web publishers focus on good and interesting content the traffic and links will follow. I do use many of the techniques of “link baiting” such as lists (top ten or otherwise) as a means of making the site more reader friendly. I try to present information succinctly and in easy to digest doses – I call them “web bites” (the web equivalent of sound bites). It is a way for overly busy visitors to your site to understand things quickly. I also package related web bytes up (things that I think are cool and believe others will think are cool as well) as articles for my article marketing. Maybe I have been accidentally link baiting??? BTW – congratulations for someone coming up with a phrase (link baiting) that can make “viral marketing” sound good.

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