I got into quite a tussle recently in the V7n forum. It amounted to me accusing someone of bad linkbaiting, in a linkbaiting discussion. Ironic isn’t it? I can’t believe I let some faceless, nameless individual get to me like that! You see, what happens in a lot of these forums is that people assume many names and identities, and within those identities, they attach in their signature, hyperlinks to their website. Now the hyperlinks are generally a key word that they are trying to optimize. Now the thinking is that by throwing around useless comments or saying inflammatory remarks within the forum they are pumping up page rank and hopefully driving curious users to their sites… Can you say Gambling and Viagra? Well that is the nature of their sig links. They point to nothing, their sites are terrible, have terrible content and I assume what they are hoping is that maybe someone clicks on an adsense add… Whatever.
Now the real purpose of linkbaiting is to provide some content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites. By doing this, you raise your sites page rank, visibility and viability. And you get that valued commodity, traffic. There are good ways and good intentions of driving traffic via linkbait, and then there are the bad ways. Tricking users, in my estimation is not one of the value added reasons for using link bait.
Matt Cutts, who is Google’s resident SEO expert has a good article on Link Baiting. The article is somewhat old (2006) but we, as SEO/SEM wannabe experts, are slow to catch on to some things, and ironically enough, link bait conversations abound right now.
Here is the best blurb from Matt Cutts, that you should take away from this.
“Linkbaiting sounds like a bad thing, but especially if it’s interesting information or fun, it doesn’t have to have negative connotations. I hereby claim that content can be both white-hat and yet still be wonderful “bait” for links. And generating information or ideas that people talk about is a surefire way to generate links. Personally, I’d lean toward producing interesting data or having a creative idea rather than spouting really controversial ideas 100% of the time. If everything you ever say is controversial, it can be entertaining, but it’s harder to maintain credibility over the long haul”
In summation, there are many way of getting inbound links to your site, and link baiting is merely the “nom du jour”. Tomorrow and beyond there will be another strategy and technique for aquiring links, traffic, and making money on the net. But it’s up to you to decide which will be most effective in your efforts to build and maintain a winning site in the long run.