Is Linkbait On Its Last Legs?

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Many popular optimization strategies center on the practice of link baiting, which is SEO slang for developing content with the express purpose of luring in a large number of inbound links. As companies like Google continually tweak their algorithm to prevent the system from being gamed, analysts are beginning to wonder if linkbaiting has much of a future.

Everyone wants link love. Content producers are always looking for that juicy piece of linkbait that will pull in obscene amounts of traffic, generate tons of inbound links, and ultimately lead to higher search engine rankings. From a marketing standpoint, those all seem like worthy enough goals to pursue, right?

There comes a point, however, when linkbait transitions from viral content to something that ends up annoying users in the long run.

Brian Thibault echoes a similar sentiment in his diatribe on linkbait:

I do think it brings up a timely topic though. With marketers so consumed about creating the next big piece of linkbait or creating content that gets people excited, when does it stop being “funny” and become a turn off to users? And it’s not just linkbait that can turn people off. You may have a form users really hate or wording on your site that makes you sound less friendly and more pretentious.

As if the negativity weren’t enough, avid linkbaiters could have optimization issues to consider as well. It’s clear that the search engines, particularly Google, don’t especially enjoy it when people manipulate the system to achieve higher rankings. Although linkbaiting is about creating interesting content, the covert goal is always luring in those links so that the site can rank higher.

And if doing away with the Google Bomb is any indication of things to come, content producers might want to start reevaluating the entire concept of linkage.

Jennifer Slegg gives her take:

But like any hot SEO technique, as soon as it starts getting done to death – as arguably link bait is now – the powers that be at Google simply turn one of those many shiny knobs and suddenly the technique starts to count less and less in the serps until those link bait links don’t seem to add anything at all. Or worse, sites utilizing it to an extreme level get penalized.

This is just more evidence that the realm of SEO is constantly shifting. As the search engines continue to evolve, content producers will be forced to either keep up with the changing climate or face the prospect of extinction within search results.


Is Linkbait On Its Last Legs?
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  • incrediblehelp

    Yeah and SEO is dead, lol. I would love to see Google “turn down” the back link factor and see what happens to its SERPs.

    As usual we all want to know when something is to end, but finding a way to get back links (link baiting) is not any time soon.

    • Matt Jones

      How could linkbait possibly be stopped by Google? They could punish sites that suddenly got a lot of links to a certain page in their site but think what that would do to news sites. ‘Getting the scoop’ wouln’t be much of a priority anymore.

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