The question of link baiting got a huge bump late last month when Lyndon Antcliff now notorious hoax made headlines in major news sources in both the US and the UK.
The story concerned a 13 year old boy’s shopping spree that supposedly included a rendezvous at a TX motel to play X-Box with call girls. It hit Digg and shot a ridiculous number of links to the UK financial company Antcliff was working for, as well as being picked up by Fox News.
Matt Cutts, Google’s head of the ‘spam division’ still says linkbait can be a good thing, so we can all relax and keep posting controversial stuff to lure people to our site. Just so long as we label them “Fake picture of alien” rather than “See the real alien the government doesn’t want you to know about that I found living in my garage.”
Okay, that was an extreme example. Seriously, though, there is plenty of interesting content we can tag up with a catchy phrase for a hook and use to catch us some fish… uh, customers. People still like to share, and you can get some nice natural links if you have a particularly good piece of helpful info or a cool slant on a news story that everyone else missed.
Which brings us to widgets. Who doesn’t like free stuff? If you have the tech skills, you can put together a nice little package or tool that will be attractive and give it away – along with a link to your site. Don’t be snaaky about it though, let people know that they will be downloading a link to you along with the widget – most will not have a problem if you tell them up front, but might be a little ticked to see a link they didn’t know about down the road.
A widget for a specific type of calculation is fun, as algorithms can be tiresome. Also popular are widgets that let the user customize to fit their own parameters. Don’t forget to package it attractively – no-one like s an ugly widget!
Another cool way to bait your site is to advertise free content – offer to provide original short articles or blurbs in your related fields in exchange for having your byline (and your link) posted with the article. This is great for publications that archive online, so if you are your own article writer and freelancer you might find it worth your while to hook some fish with the promise of some top shelf freebie content.
When it comes right down to it, baiting your site runs right along with all the other SEO practices, and staying out of trouble is as simple as this: keep your nose clean, look at each action from the viewpoints of Google and the consumer, and gauge how you would feel if you saw the hook, and then the actual site. Would you feel inclined to take the bait?