First off there is an overwhelming amount of buzz in the blogosphere over the term linkbait, or linkbaiting.
What is linkbait?
First off to understand what linkbait is you have to understand who is using this term. Linkbait is a term that is largely used by people who are involved in Search Engine Optimization. Over the years that industry has had to change and over the last few years especially it has been effected by bloggers creating high quality content and its large growing effects on the SEO Industry.
In years past SEO was more about creating doorway pages, optimizing copy, and buying inbound links from other older sites. In today’s internet the blogosphere is a large driving force because of how bloggers link outbound so frequently. Let me show you an example of why ‘linkbaiting’ is emerging.
An older site on the internet called Service Magic, which is a network of home improvement specialists.
The site itself has 736,000 pages in Google. With this amount of content you would think it has a lot of inbound linkage right?
Google estimates roughly 1,000 inbound links.
After analyzing all the inbound links I realize that the majority of these inbound links are from other sites within its corporate structure.
I then fired up Technorati to analyze its inbound link health within the blogosphere. I found mostly splogs, and paid links outside of its corporate shell games. I’m pretty familiar with scoping out what’s a paid partnership and what’s not. It’s back links are almost entirely paid or partnerships. In the corporate world this is fairly common.
Analyzing its outbound linkage is also pretty interesting. They link out with only roughly 170 links. So what they have created is what is called High Link Equity. They have a lot of internal pages, with lots of inbound links, and lots of internal links.
However if a small company wants to compete in today’s world it can. Because of how Google is changing it’s algorithm around linking. In today’s world a link from a site you own to another site you own is not nearly as valuable as a link from a competitor or someone else on the internet. Thus, Google has actually made high quality inbound links even more valuable than ever before.
As links have become more valuable whole economies have started based on the value of high quality links. Newspapers began selling links using a service called Text Link Ads. Many in the blogosphere are familiar with Text Link Ads and are familiar with them.
Google largely has algorithms in place to determine the value of links and the source of links. And can fairly easily detect if the link is purchased or natural. Google values links different that are in various content areas of sites. Thus links within content are valued higher than links in sidebars or footers.
Link baiting is creating high quality content that others will find compelling enough to link to.
Usually link bait is defined best as controversy, news, or high quality resources that are linkable.
In my opinion the world’s greatest living link bait is Wikipedia.
Creating high quality resources will result in high quality inbound links. It’s just that simple. SEO’s are a dying breed. Most of them are switching gears to Social Media Optimization and Link Building and Link Baiting Services. The reason for that is because Google is harder to game, and its better to play it clean by creating high quality resources that are naturally link receptive. Thus the rising use of the term linkbaiting. Which is largely fueled by the cross interaction between the SEO Industry and the Professional Blogging industry and Online Copywriters.