Web sites need inbound links to do well in search engines. One-way, unpaid-for links are clearly the types of links the search engines prefer. How does one go about getting such links?
Linkbait is the buzzword. Linkbaiting is the practice of placing something on your web site that is intended specifically to cause other sites to link to you. It’s baiting your hook with something so irresistable that it’s bound to get people’s attention and cause them to link to your site.
Linkbait can come in many forms:
Controversy: You can write an article for your site that takes a controversial stance on some topic that is of concern to many people. The thinking here is that other people will post something on their own sites disagreeing with you, and in so doing will include a link to your site. There’s nothing wrong with the spirit of debate — but be prepared to take some flak from all the people doing the disagreeing.
Humor: A cartoon, a Flash video, an essay. Self-deprecating humor. Poking fun at your own field of business. Humor is exceptionally difficult to do well — but great humor travels fast on the internet.
News: Be the first on the web to report something important. (Drudge comes to mind here.)
Do something newsworthy: Get arrested on trumped-up indecency charges. Run for office on some nutty platform. Get sued by somebody important. Sue somebody important.
Be an informational resource: Provide valuable information on a topic of importance that people can find no where else.
Reveal secrets: Post your tax return. Post the tax return of your boss. Reveal Google’s secret algorithm. Post the formula for Coca-Cola. Prepare to be sued — more linkbait!
Linkbaiting can be done at a local level, regionally, or nationally. You might have more success taking a controversial stance on that rezoning issue that’s a hot topic in your town, than trying to be the next Matt Drudge.
The above list is only a sampling of the types of linkbaiting that are possible. Use your imagination, and be aware of what people are thinking about and talking about. The gossip around the water cooler could give you your next great linkbait idea.