Are Linkbait Campaigns Hurt By NoFollow?

    November 28, 2006

During the 2006 Las Vegas PubCon, the catch phrase of the week was linkbait. The idea is to create compelling enough content that your niche’s audience (and beyond) will want to link to your work. Most of the time, this content is distributed through blog entries or articles focusing on the subject you are targeting. It’s a simple concept really – create interesting enough content and people will link to you.

Because of the nature of this golden content (blogs, articles and feeds), many links will probably come from social bookmark sites like or tag havens like Members of the blogosphere are also known as being an active linkers to any content they find worthwhile and the same applies to the MySpace and Facebook crowd (great places to attempt viral marketing campaigns).

However, some WebProWorld members are skeptical of links from coming from the social bookmarking scene and after reading through the post, their primary concern comes from the “nofollow” link attribute that sites like are using. What’s the point of targeting the social network scene if tagging hubs (and bloggers) are using a command that tells search bots to ignore the outgoing link?

First off, not all bloggers and tag hubs use the “nofollow” attribute. While it’s true does, other sites like Digg and Reddit do not. Furthermore and like poster incrediblehelp said, not all bloggers use “nofollow”. In fact, it’s doubtful that the majority of the blogosphere even knows what this attribute does, let alone knows how to implement it (of course, a simple Google+Search”>Google search rectifies this, but I digress).

Although, that thinking brought up another issue – a lot of blog software already has the “nofollow” attribute included in the back-end and therefore, it inserts the command automatically. The WordPress interface, which apparently adds “nofollow” to outbound links automatically, was mentioned during this discussion. This could be a problem if you are targeting bloggers using WordPress because a lot them are probably not aware their blog software does this or what to do to correct it. But that’s no reason to ignore the benefits of marketing to social networks.

As mentioned by Lee Odden in his Viral Marketing or Linkbaiting article, a number of SEO consultants offer services that do indeed market towards the social networks and one of the BIGGEST proponents of this approach is Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz. During the Vegas PubCon, Fishkin was a speaker at the Viral Marketing Session and he dropped this gem of knowledge – stories and articles that make it to the front page of Digg receive an average of 2000 new links in 2 weeks…

…And that, my friends, is reason enough to continue focusing your content at the social bookmarking community.