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'link Bait' Or 'link Worthy'


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#1 rynert

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 06:26 AM

When somebody writes an article entitled : "Kim Krause Berg ate my hamster!" you can be pretty sure it is 'Link Bait'

When somebody produces an indepth article on internal linking structure, it may well be 'link worthy'.

However, in the latter case what I am seeing more and more is people add a link and preface it with [..] great link bait from blah at blah blah.com [..]

It seems as though anytime you link to something, it has to be because it is 'link bait' and not simply because it is an informative or useful article.

Are others seeing this, or is it just what I read skewing my perception!

#2 A.N.Onym

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 06:49 AM

In my opinion, there's a difference between link bait and link worthy content.

When you write link bait, you aim for links. So you jump for controversial, emotional subjects and linking people.

When you write great content, you focus on the core of your visitors, on the depth of the article.

While both of them will get links, but the latter will be getting them, because the people will find the article useful and it'll help them improve their life, while link bait is mostly about entertainment, opinion and emotions.

Lyndoman once said that link bait is about emotions. On my part, I'll say that the only emotion about link-worthy (great) content should be "Holy moly! This article is so good, why haven't I shared it with my friends yet?", not "Ha, my buddy will have a chuckle at this too <send>."

Asking this question on your blog and state your controversial opinion, this could be a link bait. But, depending on your stance and post, it may not be great content.

Overall, I think we should name such content 'great' or use similar synonyms, but not use the word 'link' in association with it. I try to do that, at least.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 06 July 2007 - 08:12 AM.


#3 Ruud

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 08:47 AM

Interesting, yes.

That some will preface a link with a reference to "link bait" can simply mean they've heard something but aren't completely familiar with its meaning. Of course reading the linked article itself it can also be that you do find the article link bait.

Link worthy content can be link bait; there is no reason why link bait should be thought of in the "Forward this to all your friends"-email category.

I guess then that "link bait" pertains to intention where "link worthy" pertains to quality.

#4 joedolson

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 10:41 AM

I guess then that "link bait" pertains to intention where "link worthy" pertains to quality.


However, any statement which pertains to intention is innately uncertain --- you may have read somewhere that "so and so had written x great link bait," but that may not have at all been their original intention.

Link bait is a question of perception, I think. It has little to do with author's intention, but everything to do with the audience's perception.

#5 A.N.Onym

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 11:10 AM

Joe, but the quality (in its general sense) of the piece depends on the intent of the author, right? And the quality and the content of the piece form the perception of the audience. Yes, it may not be the same as of the author, but its close.

#6 Ruud

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 11:15 AM

True, the terms can be applied from more than one point of view. For example, the intention to publish link bait can be with the site owner while the hired author is unaware of this and feels she's simply crafting a link worthy article.

Yet you cannot take the terms away from the author either. Both the author and the reader can have their own impression of link worth/link bait.

But expanding on your view then, I would venture to say that when it comes to our perception of content, both "link bait" and "link worthy" can express levels of perceived value and quality. The former probably being applied to lower standards. The "10 Link Bait Definitions You Can Disagree With" format has given the concept a low standing.

I wonder... Many people know of and understand the concept of a loss leader -- but outside our industry, how many people are aware of "link bait". Not many, I guess.

#7 joedolson

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 12:58 PM

Joe, but the quality (in its general sense) of the piece depends on the intent of the author, right? And the quality and the content of the piece form the perception of the audience. Yes, it may not be the same as of the author, but its close.


But I think it's also fair to say that "link bait" and "link worthy" are not mutually exclusive terms. Link bait has subtly negative connotations, because it implies that the article was written exclusively for the purpose of attracting links. This does NOT, however, necessarily mean that it's not a article which deserves those links.

The "Top 10" (or 5, 7, 50, whatever) list format is now so thoroughly abused that any occurrence of it tends to be seen as link bait. But this doesn't mean that every top 10 list written is just "link bait."

Link bait is a question of perception, I think. It has little to do with author's intention, but everything to do with the audience's perception.


I'm going to completely reverse my position, now.

I guess I'd have to say that "link bait" is entirely an authorial intent issue, with no relationship to quality whatsoever. You can write wonderful link bait or atrocious link bait. "Link worthy," on the other hand, is entirely an audience perception issue: and each individual potential link-giver makes their own decision. The two don't necessarily have anything to do with each other.

#8 Black_Knight

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Posted 06 July 2007 - 08:56 PM

Just as Joe says, link-bait, for me at least, is wherever I am deliberately baiting my hook in the hope/attempt to gain links as a result. While link-worthy is where the users have agreed with my rationale on what actually merits a link in response.

Sure, cheap link-bait is often aggressive and fairly obvious. One instant example I can think of is from just yesterday where someone dropped a link to their article about how they'd attained good (niche) Search placements on specific keywords, and wanted to thank Cre8asite members for their part in that attainment.

In actual fact, the article linked to did not cite Cre8asite at all, and thus ended up being deleted as a link-drop, but you surely see the point? Dropping an article of thanks that had credited Cre8asite might well have remained.

In that case, the link-bait was a little too obviously faked to earn our forgiveness, but if the author had only thought to credit Cre8asite even once within the overall article itself, it would likely have remained.

Link-bait is your attempt, link-worthy is whether you succeed or not.

(excuse any typos please, this is the early hours of a Saturday afgter a complete skin-full of shots and beers. :( )

#9 rynert

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 03:10 PM

Link-bait is your attempt, link-worthy is whether you succeed or not.


That does not fit with my original comment though - in that people WERE linking to the article but doing so by prefixing a comment saying it is 'link bait' - by your comment (albeit an inebriated one...) the fact that it was linked to makes it 'link worthy' but the 'linker' said it was 'link bait'


It can't be both.. can it?

#10 Black_Knight

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 05:06 PM

It can't be both.. can it?

Yes.

Just as Joe mentioned, the two are independant, like diferent perspectives, and both can be true at once.

Simplest example is to think of a house built halfway up a hill. The guy at the bottom of the hill sees a house that is uphill. The guy at the top of the hill sees a house that is downhill. Can a house be both uphill and downhill? Yes. It all depends on where you are standing.

Link-bait or link worthy, depends if you are the author, or the person wanting to link to it. All depends where you are standing. :)

#11 Ruud

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 06:23 PM

rynert, what I read in your comments comes across as confusion between the author's intent, your perceived quality of the content, and the linker's perceived quality of that same content.

Let's step away from "link bait" and "link worthy" for a moment.

Someone sits down to write one of the best, if not the best, article on link bait and its effect on traditional media in the lower 24 states during wet days in a hot season.

When finished he checks the article and, yes, it is good. It's solid.

You read the article and you deem it good and interesting.

Someone else reads it, links to it and precedes the link with the words "a piece of trash which elevates common household trash to a treasured possession".

Now comes the million dollar question: what is the true nature of the content?

...

Its true nature is subjective. A more objective assessment can be reached by consensus but if that assessment will stand the test of time and culture remains uncertain.

Some things we suspect are link bait were never intended as such. Some link bait is link worthy, some is not. Some link worthy, non-link bait content can become link bait. Etc.

It's all in the eye of the beholder :)

#12 EGOL

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Posted 07 July 2007 - 08:20 PM

If you understand these terms and have the ability to execute them repeatedly then you are in a minority of webmasters.

#13 rynert

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 03:15 AM

rynert, what I read in your comments comes across as confusion between the author's intent, your perceived quality of the content, and the linker's perceived quality of that same content.



I was not really talking about the quality of the 'article' in the first place - more that it seems to be increasingly popular to simply prefix a link with 'this is great link bait..' irrespective of the quality. It's almost as though people are starting to believe that if they decide to link to something, it *must* be link bait - else they would not link to it in the first place.

#14 bwelford

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Posted 08 July 2007 - 05:34 AM

I think you're being a little sweeping there, rynert. I think link-bait is all about getting more attention than you really deserve on the Web. Getting attention on the Web means being highly Google-visible, so that means getting links.

I would think that is why Jason Calacanis wrote the following post, Why is Seth Godin not talking about the Squidoo problem?. Both he and Seth Godin are highly visible on the Web anyway so this is bound to get more attention. .. and of course Jason Calacanis is trying to get attention on his search vehicle, Mahalo, so that's why he is seeking even more attention.

As I so blogged, to me it's the ultimate linkbait



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