• Tom Demers

    Hey There,

    My name’s Tom Demers, I’m with WordStream. Interesting take: I’d agree that links that drive direct sales and leads are very valuable. I’d also agree that things like getting links from vendors and friendly companies and getting links from Ivy League schools are very valuable.

    But what’s the difference between a link from an Ivy league school and a link from the NYT? We’ve used the same tactic and it almost never drives sales/leads/relevant traffic. Not unlike a lot of link baits, though, it drives traffic indirectly, by improving your domain authority, link popularity, and trust and allowing you to rank for the term. In a lot of query spaces it’s enough to pull together as many nepotistic links as possible, but for more competitive verticals to drive large volumes of traffic you often have to implement more leveraged means of attracting link popularity, and some times the best means of doing that is with link bait.

    Plenty of sites drive tons of traffic without gimmicky link baits, and many sites drive a lot of traffic and develop great rankings on really heavily searched terms on the back of well-thought-out link baits. If this isn’t an area of expertise then it very well may make more sense to focus on other types of link building, and if it is then it may be a much more leveraged means of generating a lot more link attention than some of those outlined above.

    Anyway I wouldn’t disagree with your approach, and I’m glad you’ve seen success with it and have happy clients, thanks for the comment: interesting rebuttal!

  • Jon Payne

    Wil – Amen. We had a client with a real nice link from a couple of major media sites (shall remain nameless) recently too, and also didn’t see much impact in terms of rankings and search value. The traffic was decent but very much not on target (not buyers).

  • Adam

    Tom – definitely good points. As far as ivy league schools, we saw traffic & leads from these, although I’ve seen better with some community college links. As John also saw above, the NYT link did not lift the rankings for the keyword that had the anchor text. While we don’t expect one link to ever do the job for a specific word, the keyword targeted actually decreased in rankings. Many other factors involved of course, but the link didn’t drive traffic, sales, or increase rankings.

    Another post we’ve been meaning to kick out is how much time to spend on linkbait. Definitely worth doing with clients who are flexible and don’t have the red tape, but others may decline on 19/20 ideas that could be killer. Worth thinking them out & presenting? Maybe. Worth spending a lot of time developing? Definitely not unless the client gives you a big green light.

    As we’ve said in several other posts, it’s always better to do something than nothing. In this instance, we want to provide realistic expectations for our clients on what is a big link win and what is a link that’s just nice to talk about. Hopefully your NYT link was more helpful than ours. We thought it would be great for our client but were definitely wrong. Thanks for the reply!

    Jon – thanks for the info too!

  • Josh Ziering

    I agree with Wil — links for the sake of links is fine for a case study, but if those links don’t provide intrinsic value to the client, they aren’t worth much. Carefully designed linkbait will make it easy for people to include keywords in the anchor text and then you’ll have one way inbound links from authoritative sites with your keywords, something that will help your rankings.


  • Jon Payne

    Adam – sorry I totally assumed Wil wrote this in my previous comment. I won’t make that mistake again!

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