Link baiting lures website visitors to leave URLs on a website. The reward for the website is a higher ranking by the search engines.

The major search engines have algorithms for ranking that includes the quantity and the quality of inbound links for an individual website. The goal for the website is to have many high quality websites. The process of link collection is also called “link building”.

In the case of link baiting, the website offers content or incentives to the visitors which induce the visitors to leave favorite links. Bloggers use this technique frequently to drive up their search rankings—this accounts for the friendly banter between bloggers and other bloggers. These chummy bloggers share links and recommended links with each other; this also accounts for the technique of guest bloggers who write a shared column with shared links.

Check out Seth Godin’s blog at His blog is reputed to be the most visited blog site in the marketing realm. He seldom writes an entry without a live link included. A key to successful link building is reciprocity. This where both sites recommend and promote each other. This pleases the search engines and provides for a certain viral feel to the whole affair.

Although there are no clear-cut subdivisions within link bait, Wikipedia offers the following categorization of the more common approaches to link baiting:

• Informational Hooks provide information that a reader may find very useful. Some rare tips and tricks or any personal experience through which readers can benefit.
• News Hooks provide fresh information and garner citations and links as the news spreads.
• Humor Hooks tell a funny story or a joke such as a bizarre picture of your subject or mocking cartoons also prove to be link bait.
• Evil Hooks say something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger.
• Tool Hooks create some sort of tool that is useful enough that people link to it.

Here is an example of link baiting. The link reads as Wikipedia: Flying Spagetti Monster while URL is This link is a legitimate entry in Wikipedia which makes it a reciprocal link. The sensational and goofy link title is the hook.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2007 All rights reserved.

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1 Comment
  1. Readers,

    Looks like I confused a few of you out there.

    Link baiting happens when a website encourages you to leave URLS. This is a way to build up website links which drives up search ranking.

    Link building is a more general process of linking your site to other sites with bloggers an example when they include live links in the blog copy.

    Sorry for the confusion.


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