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Real Search Engine Optimization Link Baiting

There has been a lot of talk recently about linkbait, the new SEO buzzword for doing something that makes generates a lot of links to your website. Jim Westergren has a great list of things that make for great linkbait to your site:

* Build a useful tool
* Make a valuable resource (lists, special reports, history of, how to, etc.)
* Write an interesting article
* Run a newsworthy ‘event’ such as a contest
* Test something new that has not been done before
* Be the first in doing something on the internet
* Write something controversial
* Be the first to write the latest news in your niche
* Be the first to expose a scammer
* Disagree with an authority
* Write some funny humor
* Make an interesting picture
* Be the first to research and document something
* Make a theme, plugin or piece of software
* Make a tool that others can put on their sites but that links to you
* Make a joke about a known person
* Make a resource that is just in time for a major event
* Write an outrageous theory and back it up with logics
* Write useful comments on something that is happening
* Give something valuable for free
* Coin a new acronym in your niche and get people to talk about it
* Become an expert in your niche and write valuable information

Link baiting can be so effective that some SEOs are now offering specific link baiting services or are integrating link baiting services as part of their SEO campaigns. That sounds like a great SEO “strategy” but the more I considered this, the more I realized that linkbaiting is really already part of a search engine optimization/marketing campaign, or at least it should be.

Shouldn’t a well developed website with lots of great information already be it’s own linkbait? Isn’t the SEO Marketer’s job to make the site more appealing to both search engines and site visitors alike? Good sites that provide valuable information and/or services get links. It almost seems that linkbaiting for the purposes of getting links (as opposed to helping a company bring in targeted traffic) is a sham. Or is it? Are there valuable reasons to strive for links and links alone, even when the links by themselves don’t help with the actual marketing of a site?

When you boil it down, link baiting is really similar to the job of a publicist. A publicist is supposed to manage an individual’s or company’s public presence (also a form of public relations). A publicist’s job is to get exposure and build branding. Tactis provide by this type of service may not have any immediate returns in regards to sales, but we all know that branding can play a significant role in long-term sales.

In the SEO industry, web tools, such as our CodeMonitor tool, are often used as linkbait. These web tools are often used by industry insiders and therefore have absolutely nothing to do with getting more sales. So why spend the money in the tool development? Because good tools get links, links create exposure, and exposure drives traffic and traffic brings targeted visitors who may purchase the services, which does equal sales. In a round about way, linkbait such as this can have a significant effect.

Linkbating has a role within SEO, but it should already be considered as part of the Marketing side of the SEO campaign. While the SEO Marketers are looking for ways to improve conversions, they should also be thinking about how to “linkbait” others into linking to their site. It might be a one-time only thing, or maybe they can come up with a significant linkbait every few months, but either way, doing what any good marketer does should be a form of linkbait in itself.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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2 Responses to Real Search Engine Optimization Link Baiting

  1. Igor M. says:

    Very well put.

    I spoke to one SEO who suggested running a “Award Program” Where you award a site for something as if you’re an authority and put your seal on their site with a link back to you.

    The only problem here is … not every site can do this. If I sell a product/service on the home page, how can I distract my visitor from the conversion funnel with all the tools or “tricks” to get others to link to my home page.

    This means I’ll need a separate page for that. So I’ll get links to my inner page and that’s fine, BUT it won’t give the full 100% benefit to the home page.

    On the side note …. Stoney, why don’t you put few links to good related blogs? Many marketing blogs do this and when you carefully chose who you link to it helps with SE.

  2. Stoney G deGeyter

    That “awards” program was really big in the early days of SEO, even before links were a big deal, but you really have to be a big dog for someone to place your award on their site. Besides, the award rarely has crucial link text.

    As for links to blogs, yeah it wouldn’t hurt to have a blogroll of some kind.