Linkbait - Chumming for Traffic on Social Media Sites

Oct 16, 2007 - 11:52 am 5 by
Filed Under SMX East 2007

Tuesday, October 16, 2007 SMX Social Media, NYC 10:40am-12:00pm

Attracting visitors on social media sites involves using the right bait -- link bait. Compelling content is best. Added benefit: it appeals to bloggers too. Do it right and they'll link to you, enhancing the prominence of your brand and driving traffic to your site. This session explains link baiting and provides examples and ideas to help you craft your own bait.

Moderator: Danny Sullivan, Editor-in-Chief, Search Engine Land

Speakers: Brent Csutoras, Online Marketing Specialist, Rebecca Kelley, Search Marketing Consultant, SEOmoz Cameron Olthuis, CEO, Factive Media

Last minute change in our blog schedule. I’m taking over for my blogging partner, Tamar, who was going to do this session. So…here I am. Danny is introducing Rebecca first.

More coverage at Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal and aimClear.


How many people have allergies? She sounds stuffed up and feels badly.

(Time out. Need to plug in to outlet. Battery going. Will try to catch up to Rebecca. I've relocated to a wall, sitting on the floor, plugged in and listening. There's an echo and I can't see the screens.)

If you have an authoritative site, that link passes link juice. It will increase visibility of your site overall. (Time out. Needed to move again. Getting a bad echo and can't hear her well.) She’s talking about link stickiness. Target "linkerati". Anyone who is likely to link to your site. May not be your normal users. They’re important anyway. The Net is evolving. People like share. They like to share. They link to blogs. Send links to friends. You want to take advantage of that. The best thing to do is create content.

Do a search for your sector, in Digg, Reddit, etc. See what others are doing and see if you can do something similar. Do your homework. YouTube is great for research. Look at current trends on places like Google Trends, Technorati. What are people talking about this week and tie your link bait to that. Don’t neglect your industry. Your own community may have a lot of closet sites. Search on blog search engines. Linking other sites to your site helps with relevance. People may come back again if you’re in the same niche. Not always about Digg and Reddit. You can keep your own niche in mind.

Brainstorming sessions are a good thing. Ask questions from friends. Link bait can be as simple or hard as you want to be. She’s showing funny screen shots I can’t see from where I am. Shows an example of a picture used for bait. Lists work too.

Be aware of negative link bait. "Are you being brave or being an asshole?" Is saying someone is a jerk going to affect your brand? Negative mudslinging is a kind of link bait but do the ends justify the means? She has everyone laughing with some of her remarks here.

Look before you leap. Contact people in the industry to get feedback. Bloggers will help you create a buzz. Make people feel included. The first few hours are the most crucial after sending out link bait. Monitor traffic. Check server. Keep offering fresh content. Watch trends. You can take advantage of trends and hot topics with your own spin. Your goal is to attract "linkerati" but be sure you’re educated on the topic. Link bait gets links in quickly. It’s one part of the arsenal you have to work with.


He’s a social media junkie. You want the links and you want the branding. Ways to link bait.


Top 10 lists – These types of articles are extremely effective at Digg. Digg is powerful. Don’t go with cliques.

How-to – Be helpful. Make sure you offer value. No one will link to you if you offer no value. Make it easy to read. Add some images. SM users are quick users and are intimidated by lots of text.

Current events – People are already looking for what you have. Make sure you act fast. You need to get something out there. Write it your own way; add more value to the topic. Be accurate. Don’t put out false information. Right jargon. No spelling errors.

Offbeat or extreme topics – “The smallest toilet” is an example. He launched a blog that did really well on this niche. Hardest type of campaign to sell to clients. You have to be careful with offbeats. Don’t hurt your brand. Don’t violate terms of service. You can be banned from some sites like Digg, even if you didn’t submit the link (someone else did.) Be careful.

Image campaigns – Avoid using long URLS for these. Links to long urls aren’t as valuable. People do steal images. Put it inside a post and people aren’t as likely to steal the post and will just link to you.

You need to research. Find out what worked, what was effective and what information works. You need to know what’s happening with current events. What’s worked in the past? Watch what was on front page in the past few weeks on sm sites. When you have your category, title and desc. are next. Make it simple. Be strong, Be focused. The description must back up the title with good description. If you submit just a title to a site like Digg, not enough. A description helps convey the point of the article. This helps people come to look at it. Capitalize the first letter of the first word. Avoid spelling out numbers (use numerical instead.) Keep people involved in what you want to sell. It’s a bandwagon kind of community. Make friends. Use IM to share links with friends. These people are there to help you succeed.

Tips – Relate to the community you’re submitting to. Find communities that relate to your topic. Use images. Limit ads. People have seen them. You don’t want to be selling ad content. Give summaries of what you’re submitting. Pull quotes. Make it easy for people to link to you. No spelling errors. No bad information. (SM readers have no tolerance for spelling errors.) No duplicates of something already submitted and popular. (Wait a year.) You can re-submit old favorite topics. Make sure your server can handle the load (Digg-effect). People will not wait for pages to load. He’s been kicked off SIX servers so far. Hosts don’t want that kind of pressure. Being on the front page of Digg will bring you links. Be “link worthy”. Submit at the right time. Friday eve is a no. Holidays no. Weekends no. Shoot for time when most people are online searching ("when at work", everyone laughs).

A lot of people miss out on what SM really is. Look at it like a real social event. Reserved until you feel more comfortable. You need to be social. He does an analogy of being social in the physical and translated that to online.


Digg effect example of a site that goes down. Story got buried. Talks about the importance. Link bait – information pieces, how to lists, controversial, rebuttals, ex. Is when people pick on the seo community. Make people laugh. Show funny videos. News, current events, tools, quizzes. Things that are useful to people.

Benefit – everybody wants links. Link profile, Google see’s natural linking going on. Traffic. Word of mouth. Bookmarks. People will bookmark your site or page at a later date. Immediate publicity.

Ex. Drug rehab center. Find an idea. Search the SM sites what’s out there. Use a whiteboard. List 25 topics. Create content. He uses ex. of writing a guide article. SM users have short attention spans. Give them info quick as possible. Provide lists with pictures. You need to seed the article. Submit to Stumbleupon, Digg, etc. Come up with a title. Write a review or description. Add tags if possible. People subscribe to topics. Target your articles to them. Get a “power account”. These are people recognized in the community. A great title can make a story. Look for social communities that are in your niche. (SEO’s use Sphinn, for ex.) Doing all this helped the drug rehab site perform really well.

(Needed to cut out of this one shortly before he ended due to technical problems with laptop.)


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