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Linkbait – It’s a Cliché for a Reason

written by John Chow on July 10, 2007

The Ultimate Online Profit Model

This post was written by Matt Jones, the author of Blogging Fingers

Much like the phrases “write quality content” and “content is king”, “linkbait” has become such an over used phrase some bloggers have made resolutions not to use it anymore. However most of those phrases are repeatedly thrown about for a very good reason; because there is something to be learnt from them. However, there is a little extra in the story of linkbait.

Recently on the BBC news, the UK has been described as having a ‘knowledge economy’, I.e. where the commodity being traded is knowledge. It’s interesting that this is much the same as blogging. I guess all the latest booming industries mimic the UK…

A linkbaited article is essentially a blogger offering up his knowledge for trade. In-fact every blog post is, only by using linkbait the post has been especially well packaged in the hope to impress more potential buyers, who pay with a link.

Linkbait has gone from being a ‘must know phrase’ to being an old and overused gimmick within a matter of several months. It’s almost dangerous to say it (in-front of muggles), for fear of being shunned.

Why did the phrase “Linkbait” rise and fall so fast?

The answer is quite simple. Linkbait started of as part of a “lingo” that all the cool kids were speaking. Much like in video gaming, if you asked what the words “leet/1337″ meant and didn’t use them excessively you could prepare to be ridiculed and not included in the fun. Just like those phrases, linkbait was snapped up by everyone who understood how topical it was.

You can accuse me of confusing analogies (UK economy, Harry potter and now video gaming) but after all, isn’t making use of topical analogies the “in lingo” of today?


Linkbait may be getting very old but it had its use in the past as a buzzword and although we all want to stick it in a home it’s actual meaning of writing remarkable content remains the same.

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AsiaPartTime July 10, 2007 at 7:24 pm

How to use Linkbait effectively to help on SEO?

CASH for COMMENTS July 10, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Yeah, I read in the SEO-Theory. That link bait is just a term for contests or prize to generate link backs. For whatever reason if you can tie the contest in your blog correctly it would look like such a bad thing. It’s good if it can flow with the content.

a video a day July 10, 2007 at 9:23 pm

don’t overdo it and i think john has set us a very good example

mybloggo July 11, 2007 at 12:28 am

But i still cant understand

CASH for COMMENTS July 11, 2007 at 2:15 am

over do what?

Wahlau.NET July 11, 2007 at 8:33 am

you have a good point! :)

Debo Hobo July 10, 2007 at 7:33 pm

What? I don’t get it….

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 11:35 am

Same here. What is he trying to tell us?

CASH for COMMENTS July 10, 2007 at 7:46 pm

You can check out the SEO Theory White papers on Link Baiting.. here’s a snippet and their link.

[Link baiting has become popular among some SEOs because it borrows the best techniques from other areas of SEO Theory...]

source: http://www.seo-theory.com/papers/introduction-to-seo-theory.pdf

mybloggo July 11, 2007 at 12:29 am


Ur Blog is nice

CASH for COMMENTS July 11, 2007 at 2:16 am

Thanks bro. I’ll pay your site a visit soon.

Cash Quests July 10, 2007 at 7:46 pm

The phrase “linkbait” has been overused and now many are avoiding using it….but perhaps not avoiding doing it!

simon July 10, 2007 at 8:06 pm

Good point! :mrgreen:

CASH for COMMENTS July 10, 2007 at 8:19 pm

That’s a good point. I say we have topics titled LINKBAIT train / contest / prize giveaway.

Lewis Empire July 10, 2007 at 9:28 pm


Matt Jones July 11, 2007 at 1:17 am

Kumiko that’s very true, it’s use is the same as ever only now the bloggers who over-used the phrase to start with are realising the general population understands the term, so it no longer makes them seem more knowledgeable.

Goo Theory July 10, 2007 at 8:04 pm

What is wrong with the term “linkbait”? It perfectly describes a link that has anchor text that is somewhat deceiving or controversial to “bait” someone (to visit it).

It has nothing to do with “writing remarkable content”.

Lewis Empire July 10, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Linkbait is no different that other things people do to trick others into visiting their site. Domain names, ad text etc.

Matt Jones July 11, 2007 at 1:20 am

Lewis Empire, there is no trickery involved. My point is simply that as a phrase it is going out of fashion and that isn’t because the phrase no longer has any meaning.

Goob July 11, 2007 at 6:19 am

Who said anything about trickery?

Debo Hobo July 11, 2007 at 4:01 am


a video a day July 10, 2007 at 9:30 pm

there’s nothing wrong with the term LINKBAIT.
it does have sth to do with “writing remarkable content”, for example if you write a good piece of article, then many will use it and linkback to the source, the article naturally becomes the linkbait

Goo Theory July 10, 2007 at 10:21 pm

If you write a good article that naturally gets links it’s simply a good article. You can’t call it linkbait, otherwise you’d be calling everything you like to read on the web linkbait.

You could call it “linkable” or “viral” or something along those lines though.. :)

free website traffic July 11, 2007 at 7:46 am

I’d go for linkable and viral, yeah.

Debo Hobo July 11, 2007 at 3:42 am

Okay, that explained the article perfectly for me. Thank you

ouchs July 13, 2007 at 11:56 am

good explaination!

Matt Jones July 11, 2007 at 1:22 am

On the web, if the content is remarkable, bloggers often “remark’ it with a link.

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 11:36 am

Or an answer, for that matters.

CASH for COMMENTS July 11, 2007 at 2:19 am

I think it has a negative connotation because of the phrase. Bait and switch scam technique. I think its hard to disassociate the word bait as good.

Brian Clark July 11, 2007 at 6:47 pm

>>It has nothing to do with “writing remarkable content”.

Really? Than why do all the blogs with remarkable content have all the links?

You’re clueless.

Personal Blog July 10, 2007 at 9:31 pm

I don’t care if it’s a fad or not, I want links. LoL

Webmaster Money July 10, 2007 at 11:34 pm

To get links is linkbait much better that other ways of getting links.

Debo Hobo July 11, 2007 at 4:03 am

Isn’t the goal to get links, by any evil means nessesary?

Real Estate Editorial July 11, 2007 at 6:21 am

By any means?

Moses Francis July 11, 2007 at 1:18 am

Hi Matt,
do you the link to the BBC article? i would like to read that.Thanks

Debo Hobo July 11, 2007 at 4:04 am

Another fine example of linkbait….

Rhys July 11, 2007 at 1:39 am

Link bait works well, like my post on the secret to getting more relevant traffic to your blog :twisted:

Fable July 11, 2007 at 1:58 am

Personally, even the word, “linkbait” just grinds on me.

CASH for COMMENTS July 11, 2007 at 2:19 am

Bait is just a word that doesn’t sit will with other does it.

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 11:37 am

Does link grind or does bait?

CatherineL July 11, 2007 at 2:44 am

Many words and phrases become cliches with overuse, but until an alternative is invented linkbait will stay.

By the way, I’m not sure about the uk having a knowledge economy. Many people I know over here don’t even know what a blog is.

justinf July 11, 2007 at 4:14 am

linkbait seems to work for me.
do a google on “allison stokke photo” and you’ll see my blog at no.1



Quick and easy free linkback July 11, 2007 at 6:12 am

I used to love to go fishing…

free website traffic July 11, 2007 at 7:57 am

How about linkage — sounds better, doesn’t it?

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 11:39 am

Linkvault calls it vaultage.

Hip Hop July 11, 2007 at 7:26 pm

ahhh how I love linkbait

Jaan Kanellis July 11, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Well certain words or abbreviations like SEO have survived. I feel link bait will to a point as well. Really link bait falls under a overall social media campaign anyways:


Linkbait Cowboy July 12, 2007 at 4:13 am

Etymologists of the world rejoice.

It doesn’t matter if you or any individual likes/dislikes a word.

And don’t me give me, “yeah but it’s a made up word”. All words are made up.

Definitions of words are not static, understanding of such words depends on your cultural knowledge, as well as technical knowledge. Multiple definitions of words co-exist until a merging is forced by it’s users.

Sure, the word has an edge, it helps cut through the crapola of marketing speak with amazing efficiency.

Bloggeries July 13, 2007 at 6:16 am

I see what you are saying but do not totally agree. I know some people who to this day continue to build extremely great link bait. There is no “sponsorship” involved. It’s all based around writing an article that is so good or so informative that people all over the blogosphere will use it as a resoruce and link to it… FREE. Imagine if you built the 100 best widgets I used to make $10,000 a month on my blog. People will quote it, link to it do everything with it and it will result in hundreds or thousands of new links. That technique still works you just have to have a) authority and b) a great imagination as most top 10 lists and things of that genre have been done to death!!!!

ritchie July 11, 2007 at 11:35 am

That sounds pretty non-evil.