Richard Brennan

Content marketing: Link building vs link baiting

by Richard Brennan on September 20, 2013

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So, you’ve spent considerable time and effort on creating and implementing your website, but how do you ensure your content really cuts the mustard?

One of the main ways in which you can ensure your content marketing attracts visitors to your site, is to strike a healthy balance between two key tactics – link building and link baiting. But which method do you select and how do they compare?

Building or baiting?

While both of equal importance, distinct differences between link baiting and link building exist. Link building is essentially a long-term content marketing method while link baiting is a short-term strategy.

Link building

  • What is it?

The process of publishing ‘shareworthy’ content.

  • How does it work?

Increases organic links and traffic by establishing and forging online relationships.

  • In practice

A typical example of link building is a blog. Posts that are relevant, timely and compelling to read, are the secret to successful link building.

  • Why do it?

The more interesting the content, the more likely people are to share it with their own audiences and link to the posts. In turn, this activity will boost your incoming links and audience.

Link baiting

  • What is it?

While link building is predominantly focused on generating content that, if crafted correctly will be shared, link baiting is aimed at attracting incoming links and short bursts of traffic.

  • How does it work?

Link baiting content typically focuses on topical subject matters, such as breaking news or a controversial subject matter. If you’re among the first to write about a buzz topic, you’re likely to have a lot of other blogs and website links to your post as reference.

  • In practice

Link bait content does not have to directly relate to your business. It is published to generate a burst of incoming traffic, with the hope that some of the visitors will stick around, return at a later date or better still, even convert into loyal visitors.

  • Why do it?

It helps to attract traffic that may not have otherwise stumbled across your site naturally. However, in order for your efforts to pay off, you must make sure:

- your content does not frustrate new visitors, who want to find more of the same link bait content that has attracted them to your site.

- you do not anger your existing audience, who might be confused by irrelevant content that is not directly linked to your business.

I want to try link baiting, but where do I begin?

In order to start the ball rolling, we recommend you source and stockpile a batch of content ideas. The more you find, the better, as this will enable you to schedule and generate a constant source of information to entice and engage visitors with.

It’s vital you tune in to the stream of conversations and discussions that are taking place online. There are several ways in which you can go about doing this, which include:

  • Google Trends
  • Twitter Trending Topics
  • Yahoo! Buzz Index

But remember...

Link building or link baiting, make sure you weigh up these options to ensure you are embarking on activity that delivers what you are looking to achieve and what is best for your business. If you do intend to use link baiting, then ensure you use it with caution and for the right reasons.

Don’t fall into the trap of just simply writing a post about a topical issue strictly to drive short-term traffic unless the topic relates to your blog and can contribute something new and useful to the issue.
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Richard Brennan

This post was written by Richard Brennan

SEO & SEM specialist

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