If you've been around the SEO block a few times, you've definitely heard that "Content is King", well sure, but if "Content is King" then "Links are Golden" if you ask me and linkbait is a beautiful marriage between the two. The idea of a "linkbait" generally describes great content (in the form of a video, blogpost, or even a microsite) that entices other popular websites to link out to you.

There are many ways of practicing linkbaiting, each with varying degrees of success, that play on our basic human emotions – humour, fear, lust (did you see that nude acai berry wrestling match video?) hunger (the Big Bacon Explosion phenomenon) and many others. The underlying principle of a linkbait is to provide really interesting or unique content to create a strong enough buzz online that it will encourage other sites/bloggers/webmasters to link out to your target destination.

For some, the links aren't as important as is driving traffic or increasing their authority through online mentions from powerful sites. In this case they might not get any links, but will create a strong buzz or awareness of their product or whatever they are trying to market online. The goal of this session is to redefine the most current linkbait tactics and describe how to best approach journalists, bloggers and other authoritative sources to enhance your company's online reputation, whether or not you get links.

Kevin Newcomb, Greg Jarboe & Mike McDerment

Kevin Newcomb, Greg Jarboe & Mike McDerment

Mike McDerment, CEO & Co-founder, FreshBooks

  • Started off with talking about how to "make love" to your customers using social media – describing how at the end of the day, both getting links and getting authority mentions online is about building relationships and interacting with people.
  • Talked extensively about his background in search and his online experience; quite an interesting story where he dropped out in 4th year business school to start his online marketing ventures.
  • Talked about his 4E Mantra – Execute on Extraordinary Experiences Everyday; describing that as a business person, your goal is to continually provide extraordinary experiences to your customers/or anyone contacting your business, no matter what service or product you offer. The message here is that by providing extraordinary experiences everyday;¬† you can increase your online reputation, then more people will talk about your company, then others will be encouraged to link out to you and so the cycle continues. Even goes as far as to quote "Relationships is the currency of your business".
  • Provided a neat example of his 4E Mantra – basically had blogged about the new flavors of Triscuits (Mike goes on to explain how he loves Triscuits dearly) and had dearly upset a client of theirs who was unable to get any of these new flavours of Triscuits to his home in Fiji, so Freshbooks sent him a couple boxes on the house. In turn, his client was so pleased he blogged about it himself and this post got picked up by a couple of top publications online. All this positive press just from engaging with their customers and following his 4E Mantra.

Greg Jarboe, President & Co-Founder, SEO-PR

  • Started off by talking about the "old days" of link building – link exchanges, requests, paid links and much more. Then goes on to describe how getting links is all about having a great story to tell and that the days of link begging are gone.
  • Very happy to hear that he dismissed the previous keynote discussion and admitted that links are still important, and that they will be for at least the next few years. Remembers back when he started that links didn't even affect the SERP's, but back then were worthwhile in terms of driving traffic to a site.
  • Then goes on to tell of a story whereby they sent out a funny questionnaire for Harlequin romance asking men and women a variety of sex and love based questions & ended up getting a couple hundred blogposts with hundreds of links, and even got mentioned on the Jay Leno show along with some of the top publications in the country!
  • Then describes how some of the best linkbaits are not subject to time, hence they can be refreshed each year. If the linkbait is static or has a minimal lifespan, then the linkbait is limited and will not have nearly as much longevity or success as a linkbait that plays on our basic human emotions : sex, fear, humour, etc. and can be repeated at any time.
  • Another great part of linkbait is that the links you get are really unique, powerful and authoritative; whereby you could not possibly get that link without having a really interesting and informative piece of content.
  • Plus, with linkbait, you can really get strong deep links that point to your specific sub-page, so when you have that great story you can really make sure it gets found online without having to change or reformat your homepage.
  • Talked extensively about optimizing press releases for Google News, describing how you can not only optimize the titles so that they are included within Google News search results, but you can even include and optimize for photos and videos within press releases.
  • "That's what link building is all about – great content and a little schmoozing" and reminds us that as internet marketers, we need to think out of the box for strong linkbait ideas, especially if working with clients who may not have the most exciting business services or products.

Once again, another great session. I personally don't believe that all of the old methods of link building are ineffective (and was good to hear Greg agree), but I definitely do agree with both of the speakers on the panel that going forward, linkbaiting will be much more important as a tool to attract strong, authoritative MENTIONS (and ideally links) that will ultimately affect your bottom line.

Paul Teitelman

I'm a SEO Manager here at SEP and am responsible for overseeing the organic ranking of clients for their major keywords. When I'm not in front of computers my main passions are drumming, hockey and hanging out up north at my cottage in Muskoka.

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3 Responses to “Beyond Linkbait: Getting Authoritative Online Mentions – SES Toronto Day 1”

  1. Michael D says:

    The title alone had me clicking through from my rss reader. Great job blogging from SES, we appreciate it.

  2. [...] With  linkbait, it seems to me that Tara Hunt should have been one of the speakers. The "Beyond Linkbait" session provided major tips on how a company should portray themselves online. Instead of [...]

  3. Cool Gifts says:

    Great report. This reminds me of the saying "no press is bad press". It may not be so important that you build links with every attempt, but getting your content out there and mentioned is most definitely going to help your business.