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Link Building and Link Baiting: A Newbie's Guide to What's What

According to McGaffin and Binnie, “If a site or a writer that you respect gives a link to further resources, then because of that respect you’re likely to follow it.”

Search engine marketing relies on several optimization strategies, including link building and link baiting. Put simply, link building is the process of going to other sites and creating inbound links back to your website; link baiting, on the other hand, is the art of getting other people to link to your site. Both will help get your website higher up on the search engines because the more links you have pointing back to your site, the more link popularity you have.

And you know how important it is to be popular.

Link Building Defined

Link building uses textual links on other sites (blogs, e-zines, newsletters, directories, social bookmarking sites, etc.) to drive traffic back to your own website. Building link popularity can be one of the most difficult aspects of SEM because not only is it time consuming, it is hard to determine what people and search engines will click on.

There are many strategies out there that can help you in your quest to build better links:

  1. Link Building Guide: Jim Westergren’s five-step guide to help you in your link building
  2. 131 (Legitimate) Link Building Strategies: 131 strategies highlighted by Chris Sherman with the help of guest writers and contributors.
  3. What Is Link Building?: Definition and directories of companies dedicated to selling links.
  4. 101 Link Building Tips to Market Your Website: Hagans and Wall give us, well, 101 link building tips to market your website.

Getting traffic from other sites is what drives SEM and is what will help sales.

Link Baiting in a Nutshell

Link baiting uses viral marketing, which causes other people to spread your message and link to your site. By creating something that appeals to a certain audience, they will “bite” and get the word around for you by linking to your site and/or by putting the link up on social bookmarking sites. This is often referred to as “organic” in that it is not forced – people are getting the word out for you instead of you having to go out and link back to your own site.

Here are some helpful sites to get you started on your link baiting adventure:

  1. The Art of Linkbaiting: Nick Wilson gives us five different “hooks” to bait our links.
  2. Golden Rules of Linkbaiting: A fantastic article from Vitaly Friedman and Sven Lennartz that compiles 50 resources into one lengthy but helpful article.
  3. Making Link Bait and Viral Marketing Work – Part One: This is Jennifer Laycock’s first installment in a ten-part series that explain how to launch a link baiting / viral marketing campaign.
  4. 3 Legitimate Ways to Include Link Baiting in Your Web Strategy: Randy Boss’ ways to include link baiting into a web strategy along with tactics to avoid.

What It All Means

Link building and link baiting are two more things for us copywriters to think about when when optimizing text for our clients. But when done effectively, they can be the golden ticket to drive more people to the site.

So build those links and bait those hooks and start increasing traffic!


Buy The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period! and download the cheat sheet.

Max Speed

If the Pole Position Marketing team had a muse—and it does—it would be Max Speed. We love Max’s occasionally off-color, usually amusing and always pointed “Maxisms.” (Maybe “Maxims” would be a better word.) Max gives voice to some of the things we think but, bound by professional decorum, aren’t permitted to say. At least, not out loud. Read Max's full bio.

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