The Linkbait Bashing Circuit

    March 22, 2007

Lately it seems to be quite fashionable to be on the linkbait bashing circuit. I came across a story on Digg which ties into my belief that you can make practically anything cool if you try hard enough.

See that image to right that’s a nudibranch or particular family of sea slugs. I became acquainted with them when I owned a saltwater fish tank many moons ago, but most people have never heard or seen them before. They come in a dizzying array brilliant, vibrant and awe inspiring colors, but the point is if you look hard enough you can find exciting, interesting and cool things all around even sea slugs.

What does all this have to do with linkbaiting? Well I’m continually coming across people who don’t think linkbaiting can be used to their boring clients such as carpet cleaners, when I came up with five ideas in less than 15 minutes. Lots of people are taking this position. In fact I was listening to Eric Ward on SEO Rockstars yesterday who echoed similar sentiments. Now don’t fire up the blogs with title’s like “Graywolf vs Link Moses in Smackdown” cause I’m so not going there.

In that episode of rockstars Eric talks about a lot of “traditional” link building strategies, while extremely “unsexy”, they are to be ignored at your own peril. However the point he brings up, which is brought up by others, and that I disagree with is how to effectively do linkbait for B2B based businesses. Not everything can be linkbaited, but there are very very few of those unabaitable sites. Example, how would I do linkbait a funeral home? Maybe we’d find a way to put an apple logo on coffin, or do sick PC case mod tutorial with a real coffin, maybe a photo based content piece with headstones of computing pioneers who’ve passed like Alan Turing or Seymour Cray. What about the example from SEO Rockstars of industrial ball bearing lubricants? Girls in Bikini’s wresting in anything slippery is a safe bet, but maybe your client doesn’t like things that risqué. Lets grease up a tarp with your lubricant and have a contest video taping college kids trying to get across without falling for a $500 prize? Need another, put your lubricant on hill and push things like a Yugo or Gremlin down the greasy hill and have them smash into a brick wall. How about something with less production value, coat everyday items in your slippery goo and ask people to grab/hold/pickup those items outside your local Starbucks for a $10 gift card.

Now to the question are any of those links going to directly result in sales, probably not. However what they will do is get you links from places your clients competitors sites don’t have and will have a harder time duplicating. Lastly in an age of the data mining Google borg and increasingly personalized SERP’s if you don’t think there’s any value in getting your URL flowing through as many toolbars and into as many Google bookmark accounts as possible I don’t know what to tell you.

So let’s wrap this all up, linkbaiting is not a substitute for developing a good foundation of solid, on topic, relevant, traditional links. Ignoring things such as trusted directories, reputable trade groups and organizations, or complimentary business partners is foolish. Instead think of linkbaiting as icing on the cake, that little extra bit on top that makes everything that little bit more attention grabbing and exciting.