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Linkbait is such an ugly term, but there is a very real need for it at the moment. As the results pages of Google become saturated for most competitive online markets, the off-page factors, i.e. everything that happens elsewhere on the web regarding your site, become more and more important. I frequently make this point with my clients by saying that Google effectively cares more about what the rest of the web says about your site than what you do. Because of this, the development of content and initiatives that improve the likelihood of your site acquiring relevant links (the relevance is everything; we are not interested in quantity, but quality here) becomes one of your biggest priorities; increasing Reputation is a must!

Examples are pretty easy to find: One of my counterparts in the US is Jaimie Sirovich, who is far too young to be a proper consultant, forgive me Jaimie, and he recently posted an entertaining piece of geek content as linkbait. He writes about SEO from a very technical perspective, so acquiring geek links is valuable to him. Apart from the entertainment value, you can guarantee the main reason for creating such content in the first place was to acquire links, and quickly.

The best place to start an exercise in linkbait is to look at what you already do and see if you can repurpose some of it. For example, you can look out for an example from me in the coming weeks where, thanks to a telephony quirk, I receive telephone calls destined for Google in the UK. Despite the temptation, I am very honourable and pass the correct contact number on, but in the meantime, I am logging why they are trying to reach our favourite search engine. It makes fascinating reading and I will soon publish my market research summary of the top ten reasons people phone Google. Whilst this exercise is apparently unrelated to optimisation for Google, the relevance to ‘Google’ queries is something I want to improve on in general, whilst queries about results in Google may well end up featuring in the top ten anyway, so there will be some overlap.

For those of you wondering about Google’s approval of such tactics, just remember what we hear from them all the time; ‘Build sites for users, not for search engines’. What could be more for users than the sort of content that users just can’t help but link to, it is sooo interesting. So, get your thinking hats on. Why should your sector of relevant sites link to you? Huh?

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Filed in Blog, October 22nd, 2006. Leave a comment, or trackback from your own site. Follow comments via RSS

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