Link Baiting States the Obvious

January 4th, 2007 | Categories: SEO, marketing, strategy

Over the past couple months, I’ve heard the term ‘link baiting’ used more and more frequently. I understand what the term means. What I don’t understand is why it hadn’t been coined already. In addition, it is my opinion that a term is not needed for the concept.

Wikipedia defines a link bait as “any content or feature within a website that somehow baits viewers to place links to it from other websites”. Ummm…

Now in my opinion, all content or features within a website should only be placed on that site if the publisher or author deems the quality and relevance as worthy. In other words, I truly believe ALL content placed on a given website should be ‘link bait’ if the site’s success is dependent upon the publisher. Websites with user-generated content may be an exception to this rule.

To me, it just makes sense. It’s inherent. I am not going to post an article, or video, or photo, unless I truly believe readers are interested in that matter and may want to link to it. I do NOT think that we need a term for such a notion.

The idea of baiting someone to link to your site is ridiculous. If someone likes what you have, they will link to it. The term is slimy and it sounds like trickery.

It is already known that the Google algorithm is based of back-links (or linkbacks). This concept makes sense, as is the case with a published academic paper. The more people that cite the article, the more important and influential the content.

Coining a term such as link baiting is redundant and simply adds ambiguity to the new web landscape.


  1. Ryan Coleman Says:

    I agree largely with your sentiment, however - I’ve personally always viewed “link baiting” as the act putting up or posting content that isn’t what you would typically blog about or content that that is “exagerrated” (played up) for the explicit purpose of generating more traffic.

    I’ve only ever viewed it as a slimy act but haven’t really confused it with people’s regular content.

  2. Aidan Says:


    Very good point.

    In many cases, ‘link baiting’ is essentially ’selling out’ in order to generate a burst of traffic. Straying from regular blog subject matter and posting about insignificant topics is a pathetic way to build a loyal user base, though the short term rewards may be handsome.


  3. Chris Sandberg Says:

    I think one way to distinguish link bait from regular content is that link bait is designed to target outsiders who aren’t necessarily regular visitors of your site, while normal content is target primarily toward your you existing visitors. I disagree that link baiting is “selling out”. Link bait does not have to stray from your regular subject matter. I believe the most effective link bait goes right along with your regular subject matter because visitors that visit your site through the links will more likely be converted into regular visitors if the linkbait is about what you are already writing about because they want to read more in the future of the same subject matter that brought them to your site in the first place. Effective link bait should just be your best content you provide that offers value to the community or industry that you are in, and should build loyalty and attract new visitors.

  4. Aidan Says:

    Hey Chris,

    Thanks for the in-depth analysis. I do have a couple of questions and points to note:

    -How do you target ‘outsiders who aren’t necessarily regular visitors of your site’?

    -You say that link bait does not stray from regular subject matter. So why is a term even needed for such a concept then? And how do you distinguish the difference between a regular post and a link bait?

    Much appreciated.


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