There has been a lot of talk recently about link bait, the new SEO buzzword for doing something that makes generates a lot of links to your website. Link baiting can be so effective that some SEOs are now offering specific link baiting services or are integrating link baiting services as part of their SEO campaigns. That sounds like a great SEO «strategy» but the more I considered this, the more I realized that link baiting is really already part of a search engine optimization/marketing campaign, or at least it should be.
I understand what link baiters are doing, and it is a different kind of service, but shouldn’t a well developed website with lots of great information already be it’s own link bait? Isn’t the SEO Marketer’s job to make the site more appealing to both search engines and site visitors alike? Good sites that provide valuable information and/or services get links. It almost seems that link baiting for the purposes of getting links (as opposed to helping a company bring in targeted traffic) is a sham. Or is it? Are there valuable reasons to strive for links and links alone, even when the links by themselves don’t help with the actual marketing of a site?
When you boil it down, link baiting is really similar to the job of a publicist. A publicist is supposed to manage an individual’s or company’s public presence (also a form of public relations). A publicist’s job is to get exposure and build branding. Tactics provide by this type of service may not have any immediate returns in regards to sales, but we all know that branding can play a significant role in long-term sales.
In the SEO industry, web tools, such as our CodeMonitor tool, are often used as link bait. These web tools are often used by industry insiders and therefore have absolutely nothing to do with getting more sales. So why spend the money in the tool development? Because good tools get links, links create exposure, and exposure drives traffic and traffic brings targeted visitors who may purchase the services, which does equal sales. In a round about way, link bait such as this can have a significant effect.
Link bating has a role within SEO, but it should already be considered as part of the Marketing side of the SEO campaign. While the SEO Marketers are looking for ways to improve conversions, they should also be thinking about how to «link bait» others into linking to their site. It might be a one-time only thing, or maybe they can come up with a significant link bait every few months, but either way, doing what any good marketer does should be a form of link bait in itself.