Link-Bait Ruining the Web? Not really…

A member over on Cre8asite Forums started a topic suggesting that Link Baiting was ruining the web.

At first glance, the content seems informational, educational, or perhaps it’s just entertaining. However, that’s usually not the case: the content was only created to cause a temporary stir, a short sensation, a short-term mass of links, a short-term rise in popularity; perhaps in the hope of building a medium- or long-term reputation.

I don’t think it works that way, however. A “bubble-gum” content – nice, juicy, makes big bubbles: but stale after an hour. Boring. Lots of stale bubble-gum is just that: stale bubble gum. Lots of short term sensationalism / link-bait is the same: fresh for the moment, stale before your coffee gets cold. The only reputation that is built up is for providing stale bubble-gum. Looking at a website like that, you see a few fresh pieces, but 99% is old, out of date, out of fashion. Do you really want to be caught keeping old link-bait online?

Link baiting is one of the hottest methods for SEO companies and bloggers to increase their marketshare and their incoming link popularity.  All you need is a story or idea that people agree with and want to link to, or that they disagree with and make a big stink about it (gaining exposure for the original poster).

The comments in the forum post suggest that most link bait becomes stale pretty quickly, but I think it really depends on what the topic is and how useful the topic is to each reader.  For some folks, the information will become stale very quickly, but for others the topic could live on for several days/weeks/months or even years if it’s applicable to them or their business and it’s provides a benefit/value to them.