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SEO terms: what is ‘linkbait'?

Linkbait is a term that has been floating around search engine optimisation circles for several years. You often hear bloggers discussing the best forms of linkbait and how to apply them. The term itself seems a little nasty, but linkbaiting is not something any smart site owner can afford to completely shun.

There’s a fair amount of disapproval of linkbaiting in the SEO community, mainly because of the negative connotations the term brings up. The term doesn’t exactly foster images of professionalism and integrity. The thought of sending out bait for links conjures up all of the lowdown things marketers have been known to do for the sake of increased custom.

In truth, linkbaiting is what any smart website does. It involves some taking, yes, but it also involves giving. Without high-quality things to offer the sites that are providing links, linkbait doesn’t work. Just as offering a piece of bread on the end of a fishing line won’t get you many fish, using poor-quality content as your linkbait isn’t likely to get you the right sorts of links.

Linkbaiting is exactly what most businesses have been doing all along for their SEO. The basic process begins when a business decides it needs more links of a certain quality or from a certain area. Having done some research, the business formulates some content that is likely to appeal to that area of the internet. The content is then sent out into the world, where it hopefully pleases the sites the business is targeting. The sites view the content, approve of it and link to it or pick it up.

This generally gets a site links in one of two ways. When the content is hosted by the business’ site, those links come directly back to the site’s pages. When the content is floating free, a link housed within the content itself acts as a seed for a link. Another way in which linkbait garners links is simply by promoting the business, impressing other sites enough with the quality of content for them to provide a link.

This technique can involve all types of content. Multimedia content is often used, as it presents a more exciting opportunity for linkers, but basic text-based content is also very frequently used as a form of linkbait. The only absolutely essential thing about linkbait is that it’s attractive, and you can discuss the options available to your business with us at

For your linkbait to work, you need to be able to define its audience and make note of what is likely to attract them. Companies often try to attract links in a general fashion. This is one area in which the term ‘linkbait’ can give you some real clues as to how to proceed: just as you can’t catch all kinds of fish with ‘general bait’, you can’t attract every kind of link with just one form of linkbait. Linkbait is not something to be scared of. It should form a part of every smart search engine optimization strategy, but the key word here is ‘smart.’ Think smart for linkbait.

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