Linkbaiting is a term that is getting thrown around quite a bit lately in web site design and in SEO. If you look on the web, you find people that are both pro and con of the practice, but the controversy of the practice is in how some people go about it. Many people use linkbait articles as useful resources that people will bookmark and return to again and again. These articles are useful and add value to the readers’ experience.
Linkbait can also be controversial. Say you own a blog and you are trying to create traffic to your site, you may start constantly going against the opinion of a popular blogger on the same subject. You do this in an attempt to get the more popular blogger to get into a battle with you and hopefully reference your site in his counter attack. After all, he already has the audience and can direct his traffic to your site as his readers will want to see what all the controversy is about.
Another common practice is to run some type of award or competition that will get traffic to your site. For instance, you own a sports site and run a handicapping competition where you award an end of season prize. You could then go on forums and start making entries about how great of a competition this is and it costs no money to enter. Now you are giving readers a reason to head over to your site.
Now is linkbaiting good or bad? That is something that is probably best answered in how it is used, but realistically, the only bad thing about it is the terminology. The term baiting seems to be somewhat dishonest when all you are trying to do is what everyone is doing, drive traffic to your site. Getting into a verbal conflict with another blogger is a tact that has been used since blogging has started. In fact, you sometimes have the same blog owner created their own blogs that go against themselves to create that cross interest.
If you are using the technique of offering awards for competitions, what real harm is being done? As long as you are not deceiving your readers and are giving them what you promise, where is the harm? You are merely creating interest in your site and giving readers a reason to check out your site.
When you really look at it, linkbaiting is nothing more than using marketing techniques that have been used for years, just not with so much press. All of sudden, someone has coined the term linkbaiting and the search engines are going crazy with hits. In reality, coining the phrase of linkbaiting is the greatest form of linkbaiting!