Even the Guardian Gets Linkbait

The Guardian has run a piece talking about linkbait as if it were an everyday thing. Has linkbait gone mainstream?

Jack Schofield knows his linkbait, the piece he has referenced is a cracking piece, although as I speak it has not been submitted to digg or reddit or Stumble, what’s with that? Are they awake in celebrity scandal blog world.

Still, they got a link from the Guardian. Jack, what do I have to do to get a link from you?

Good find Jack.

ps. I took the bait and dugg it.

Linkbuilding for Dummies

Linkbait is the honey.
Linkers are the bees.
The honey does not solicit the bees, it just is what it is.

“Long term, promotion of content that attracts relevant links from those empowered to publish will win. The act of linking is performed, unsolicited, by individual publishers.”

bold added

Great post by Lee Odden

Further commentary at Is Linkbait the Death of SEO?

Link Bait Ideas

How do you come up with a link bait idea? Ideas sometimes seem to come from nowhere, making the creative process seem like a magical, mystical thing.

Creativity does not exist in a vacuum and ideas do not come out of nothing. Good ideas are preceded by hard toil, time spent studying, thinking, testing, mulling over. Sometimes you may have been thinking about an idea for years.

One of the things I help people with at Magentic Web Content is to come up with fresh, innovative, effective ideas for their linkbait. Sometimes the ideas spark fresh thoughts in the reader and they are able to go off in an even more original direction. It helps to have a spark.

Here are some examples of the kind of link bait ideas I come up with:

Who Spends the most on web advertising?

For a marketing site.
Analysis of the companies and brands who spend the most money on advertising on the web. Difficult to make it 100% accurate, but an interesting discussion starter. You could look at those who waste money on the web, or which website is the most useless to advertise on. When was the last time you clicked on a banner? But ask the question, are you the target?

Most Powerful Home Speaker System in the World

For a gadget site.
I am sure it has been done before so worth a research, remember, if it has worked once it has proved itself and the same elements will probably work again.
Figure out the way to decide what is the most powerful speaker, as HiFi geeks will probably take you to task on your claims. But, this is good, having people argue with you and not agree does not mean they will not link. Polarising opinion is sometimes the best way to get people to link. What you are doing in effect is creating a platform for the discussion to take place, people may not be linking to your content but the resulting discussion.

Announce Payday loans as an attack on the Working Class

For a financial site.
As the credit crunch takes hold (not sure what you call it in the USA) more and more people are seeking unconventional ways to raise cash. Payday loans give you cash against your future wages, problem is it has a crippling interest rate and tend to be targeted at vulnerable groups of society. Taking an ethical stand against such practices you can attract the attention of linkers that wouldn’t normally link to a financial site.
You can highlight some of the horror stories that people find themselves in and talk of large men with baseball bats turning up at the door at 6am.
The purpose is to offer a different look at a competitive market. Most sites do the, “Payday loans are great”, type story as they want to attract people who will click on the ads. But you want links, so go for the social ethical crowd and start a conversation that will be worth linking to.
If you can get pro and anti groups discussing on the same page you have hit payday gold.

Why ergonomic furniture is rubbish.

For a furniture or office furniture site or a saving money site
I end up reading a lot of adverts regarding ergonomic furniture, as if that’s the best kind of furniture. I am equipping a new office at the moment and notice the stuff. I think it’s a load of crap and I suspect others do too, give me a second hand �20 desk and a decent chair and I am sorted. Detail how expensive this ergonomic stuff is and what does it actually mean. As far as I can tell it means furniture with rounded corners.
Make this piece highly opinionated and point out how expensive some of this stuff is. I would totally advise an office furniture linkbait client to do this, but I know they never would because they do not understand linkbait. But, it can be used to shock people into linking to your site, “maverick furniture website reveals shocking truth of furniture scam”. What the site does then is explain why they think the range which they are carrying is worth every penny.

Why you should never pay more than �30 for a desk
Imagine that as a headline on an office furniture blog? If you have a website that is about furniture design, or about advising people how to save money setting up their businesses, your link worth radar will be beeping. It presents a negative view point which is very juicy to link to but the body of the content should take the reader from a negative start to a positive finish. Positive in the sense that the business running this furniture blog is so cool and on the side of the consumer it is willing to present information which seemingly harms it and benefits the consumer.

View it in the sense of a narrative, look how a Hollywood disaster movie is framed, the marketing is always about how awful and dire the situation is, but then ends upbeat as the little white, blonde girl and dog are saved.

Try looking at your linkbait creation as telling a story.

Best American Cities to get Shot in.

For a tourist site or medical
I lived in DC for six months and on the first night, 8 people were shot dead. Coming from a country where a stabbing can make national news I expected uproar, I don’t even think the local news covered it. Sometimes I think it takes an outsider to point out that things are kinda crazy.

That aside, the amount of people getting shot dead in America varies from city to city. But the interesting thing to point out is that being shot in a city where gunshot wounds are more common may mean you get treated by a more experienced surgeon for that type of wound. I had read somewhere that the US military sent their surgeons to such hospitals to get training in treating gunshot wounds.

So, the more gunshot wounds a hospital treats, the better your treatment can potentially be. It would be interesting to grab data on the top ten hospitals who treat the most gunshots per capita. This kind of research and presentation of statistical data, if backed up proper referencing of sources can bring you all sorts of attention from journalists and news organisations who may link to you.

Take readily available statistical data, reshape and reframe it, give it an attention grabbing headline and you may have a nice bit of linkbait on your hands.

The headlines in the above examples are not what you would end up with. It’s possible you can come up with better by spending more time thinking about it. I came up with the headlines whilst writing this post, so they have not been through the grist mill yet.

Maybe these ideas spark different ideas that you can use. Ideas are all around, you just have to be able to spot them. Once you have adopted the linkbaiters frame of mind it becomes natural.


To be honest I have not used the personal attack hook that much. Not because I didn’t feel like it, but because I think it’s a slippery style of linkbait and one which can backfire easily, as we can see here with Marty and his shenanigans.

But hey, it got me to link. And if that was the point, then success. Of course there is a cost and that cost may not be instantly quantifiable. The cost must always be considered when indulging in controversial linkbait. Obviously for me it affects how I view the seomoz brand, calling what I do “outright fraud” is a little rich from a blog advocating sock puppet marketing.

I have learned, people do not need to like you or even agree with you to link to you. If you have an opinion there is always going to be someone with a different opinion. But, when you get personal as Marty as done here and I have done in the past, it transcends to a new level.

I am not moralising on the issue, people make their own decisions according to their own moral code and what they think Google will let them get away with.

Before you crank up the slagbait machine, do remember there are real people out there and that nuance and irony are sometimes difficult to communicate over a blog.