The term “Linkbaiting” meets with mixed reaction among internet
marketers. It refers to the practice of “baiting” viewers into linking
back to your site from there site. You write something on your site
that catches the interest of other website owners and bloggers, and
they trackback to your site with comments about what you wrote.
The reason that linkbaiting is sometimes looked down on is that some
marketers use somewhat controversial methods to get those links.
While most of the methods are very legitimate, there are some that
many feel cross the line, and are not appropriate to use.
There are several ways to get other site owners to link back to your
site, many of which I’ve already discussed. The first is to provide
useful information that is new, or a unique view of existing
The second way is to offer fresh, hot information. This is especially
good if you are credited with breaking a story. When it works, this can
generate a lot of traffic very quickly. The downside is, news stories
have a very short life. The viral effect from a hot news story could be
over within a day or two.
The third way is to use humour. People love jokes, cute or funny
stories, and things that make you go, “hmm…” Everyone likes to be
entertained. The trick is to get your message across, while being
entertaining at the same time.
The fourth way to get links is to offer free tools or games
that people can use from your site. Banks and insurance
companies take advantage of this when they offer financial and loan calculators
on their websites.
While you are using the calculators, you are also being shown a message
about other products and services that are offered. Even if you are
not actively looking at the information, it is still planted in your brain,
and builds brand recognition for the company.
The final method is the more controversial one. It relies on the power
of controversy to get links. The way it works is for the site owner or
blogger to take a contrary position on a popular subject, or to attack a
popular person. Other blogs start to comment on what you said, either
because they can not believe you had the nerve to post it, or they are
coming to the defense of the person who was attacked.
The reason this is seen as somewhat controversial is that often times it
is less than honest. The person making the post may not really feel
that way at all, they only take that position for the passion, and links,
that taking a contrary position it evokes.
The danger of this last method is the damage it could do to your
reputation. If you are seen as a trouble maker or rabble-rouser, many
of your regular viewers may leave your site and begin frequenting
other sites that are a little more in line with their way of thinking.
So why would site owners risk damaging their reputations for links?
The first reason is the immediate flood of traffic it can send to their
site. Even though they may not agree with your opinion, some people
will still check your site out to see if there is anything else
The second reason is that links represent popularity, and some search
engines, most notably Google, use the number of sites that link to
your site when they determine the ranking of each site. When other
sites link to your site, it improves your ranking with Google. This is
especially true with sites that are ranked higher than yours are. The
more sites that link to you, the higher your site climbs.
For some site owners, the traffic generated by getting links outweighs
the negative consequences that might come from a bruised reputation.
For your business, you need to consider whether it is more important
for you to have a quick burst of traffic to your site, or whether you
would rather build a steady stream of regular customers that will
continue to return to your site long into the future.
There are a number of sites that have effectively used gotten other
sites to give them a link. Most notably are The Million Dollar Home
Page, One Red Paper Clip, and All My Life For Sale. All three of these
sites used unique ideas that made other site owners and bloggers
want to write about what they were doing. The resulting surge of
traffic made all three of these efforts overwhelmingly successful (and
yes, the Million Dollar Home Page really did earn a million dollars).