Linkbait: A New Name For An Old Rule

With all of the recent talk about “linkbaiting” and this mention of several excellent ways to bring traffic and natural links to your site, I’m reminded of the old days (OK, it wasn’t that long ago) way back in 2000 when my first online business, Surreal Web Design, was in it’s prime.

The site really didn’t offer a whole lot in the way of information to visitors, but what it did offer was an easy way to receive a quote for web design as well as flash website templates that could be customized online, right from the visitor’s browser. We received many inquiries and sales from the site, but one thing really set us apart from the competition. We also offered several flash website templates for free, and it created a buzz with those new to Flash or looking for a simple website to just get their company online. We had great natural rankings and links to our site because we offered something useful for free, and sold custom sites and templates to those that needed more than what our free templates could provide.

Since picking up my first book about web design in 1998 and buying Dreamweaver 1.0, every piece of advice I have read on building a site has pointed to one rule: create a resource that naturally attracts visitors. I didn’t really pay attention to on-page optimization and links (although obviously they were factors back then), because we didn’t need to. Internet marketing was something we didn’t know much about and therefore never offered as a service to our customers in the beginning. All we knew is that we had great rankings because we gave away free flash website templates that visitors found useful.

It used to be called creating “buzz” for your website, defined as anything which made people talk about your business, in a cult like fashion, producing tons of free publicity. I guess that pretty much made me an accidental SEO, since I would view our site’s rankings from time to time but didn’t actually put the effort into reading about search engines and how to effectively market websites until our rankings dropped some time later.

Linkbait or Linkbaiting really means providing something that end-users enjoy, for whatever reason. There are literally thousands of ways to go about creating something that hasn’t been done before and making sure others find out about it, so I won’t attempt to list those here.

What I will do however is offer some suggestions for linkbait inspiration:

  • Find a need within your industry such as a common problem or task that can be automated and share it with others
  • Invent a new word for your industry. This can get annoying, but it also works and will continue to work in the future
  • Invent a new process, system, cycle, or technique for your product or service. Offer for free to visitors
  • Create a game that people will enjoy or come up with something funny. Everyone loves to take a break and laugh
  • Sponsor something out of the ordinary
  • Protest something which has a majority favorable or positive public response
  • Document and share common questions and answers that most companies in your industry encounter on a daily basis or study a particular subject and post your findings

By conducting a quick search of the web I’m sure you’ll find better and more creative ways to generate buzz…err…I mean linkbait for your site, but hopefully the suggestions above will at least get you started down the right path.

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Comments

  1. Justilien
    January 27th

    Great observation Jason. Link Baiting is just good old fashion guerilla marketing and promotion. This was a smart move on someone’s part to rename it to attract links.

    I am glad using guerilla marketing/promotion is finally being discussed more for promoting websites. In the past it has kind of gotten the cold shoulder by most in the industry.

  2. Jason Hendricks
    January 27th

    Definitely, it’s interesting to see online marketing come full circle in the last few years and how it is now being fused with traditional marketing concepts.

    Thanks for the feedback, Justilien.

  3. Pingback: What is Linkbaiting? » by Marco Richter

  4. Alice
    November 21st

    Agreed with your point!! link baiting is nothing but an old phenomenon wrapped with a new name. I think form SEO perspective, something that used to get backlinks in a natural way comes under link baiting. Indeed, if you can have best practice of seizing the attention in terms of writing, you can easily drive the traffic to your site.

  5. MJ
    January 11th

    One question, is this viral, or link baiting?

    http://www.blackhatbotanicals.com

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