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I have been wandering around some SEO sites this evening and have been seeing this term linkbaiting. The word bait kind of makes it not sound so great.

What exactly is linkbaiting and how does it differ from article marketing? From the gist of some of these descriptions I'm seeing, this is something fairly new, but it seems almost identical to article marketing. What am I missing?

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"Stacy lost 5lbs in a week using this weird, old tip!", "Working mom got white teeth without costly trip to dentist" - or words to that effect – amelvin Apr 26 '11 at 13:03
IMO sites that use these type of links should burn in hell! – Marco Demaio Jun 17 '11 at 15:11
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Its not new. It means creating content that people want to link to. Infographics can be good link bait. The proper way to get links it to have something worth linking to. By creating something unique, or something very informative, you create link bait. Here is a good example of a very well written article that is link bait: http://www.seobook.com/economics-of-content-farms.

More info: http://www.ericward.com/linkbait-services.html.

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Its amazing how many so called experts are here. Aaron was right, the freetard system does not work very well. If the people who voted for the answer above would have read the link I posted to Eric Ward (the best link builder in the world) they would see my answer is better for their website. – Joe Apr 26 '11 at 13:41
I thought link bait was about attracting links as well. I think I read about it on SEOMoz somewhere. Maybe I was wrong... – Ewan Heming Apr 26 '11 at 19:21
@Joe - I would recommend that you quote the content from cited sources which supports your answer. Please observe the FAQ's "mutual respect" guideline and consider editing or removing the prior comment on this answer. – danlefree Apr 26 '11 at 23:14
@Joe, i haven't seen anybody denigrate your contribution, meritocracy has it's place - as the success of this site has shown. If your starting position is that you're more right than anyone else, or that your opinion counts for more, then you will struggle in this open environment. Additionally, constantly evangelising Aaron Wall (who I have profound respect for, but would never make the same claim you did) does seem self-limiting in your ability to accept other's opinions. – Mike Hudson Apr 27 '11 at 8:33
I don't think it's really a fight where people with a large number of votes prevent others from getting an equally high number of votes. I took a look at your profile and there seem to be a lot of posts you've made that have been voted down. As an SEO "pro", you should naturally have more rep than I... you answer a lot of questions. Perhaps it's how you answer and what you say. I don't see people on this site maliciously voting others down. If so, since all I do is ask dumb questions, I would probably be voted down a lot and I'm not. Just sayin' – Melanie Shebel Apr 29 '11 at 2:23

It is simply wording a link in such a way (using controversial or inquisitive/mysterious) language that makes it hard for readers not to click on the link. I don't agree with @joe that it's simply content that's worth linking to, its more than that - it's the emotive appeal. The final destination doesn't actually have to be link-worthy, but because the "hook" was so well crafted, then the "bait" was taken and the reader ended where they normally might not have.

E.g.: StackExchange now pays $20 for every correct answer!

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Great explanation. The link you included at the end was a perfect opportunity to describe the concept. Thanks. :) – Melanie Shebel Apr 26 '11 at 7:39
"Stacy lost 5lbs in a week using this weird, old tip!", "Working mom got white teeth without costly trip to dentist" - or words to that effect – amelvin Apr 26 '11 at 13:03
@Mike Hudson: Correct me if I'm wrong, but the example you gave looks like click-bait. – Enthusiast Feb 26 '12 at 12:13
@Programming Enthusiast I do believe you're right. – Mike Hudson Feb 26 '12 at 21:51

Matt Cutts defines link bait as anything "interesting enough to catch people's attention".

Further answer of your question: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/seo-advice-linkbait-and-linkbaiting/.

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