Rand over at SEOmoz started a great discussion today about the two types of link bait.
The first type of link bait is what SEO types and I always talk about—reader focused, compelling content that provides a benefit.
The second type of link bait is what many long-term bloggers mistakenly think we are talking about, which is controversial statements and attacks on others.
As I pointed out awhile back, historically the term bait and its fishing buddy hook have always meant something the reader finds irresistible and satisfying when used in the context of content.
So that’s why I don’t have a big problem with the term link bait.
Over in the comment section of Rand’s post, Thomas Schmitz smartly labeled the second type of link bait as link trolling, borrowing a long-time term that refers to antagonist sorts who hang out in BBS, Listserv, Usenet and web forum communities. Another reader suggested spam bait.
There are plenty of high profile bloggers who rely on trolling to get attention. And it works for them to a certain degree, but these same people also seem to complain that blogging is not all it has been proclaimed to be, faulting the blog evangelists for misleading them.
Meanwhile, those that focus on creating beneficial content are finding many ways to take blogging to the bank.
By all means, engage in link baiting that results in reader-focused, compelling and beneficial content.
An occasional bit of link trolling won’t kill you, but if it’s all you have to offer, you’ll end up disappointed.
Let me know what you think.