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SES London – Linkbait, and When It’s Not

Posted in: Link Bait,Link Building by Richard Hearne on February 20, 2007
Internet Marketing Ireland

The link baiting season promised to be one of the highlights of SES London. With linkbait being one of the hottest contemporary SEO themes, the crowds filled the room to hear what the industry experts were going to share.

The widget as link bait

First up, Nick Wilson gave a good high level introduction to ‘viral link building’. Giving a passionate speech, Nick discussed widgets as the ultimate linkbait, and his observations were well worth hearing.

Heellloou Jason Calacanis

Dave Naylor gave another extremely passionate speech. During the entire conference Dave entertained the crowd, and this session was no different. Jason Calacanis was the main target, as Dave vented vitriol on the ‘SEO is bullshit’ argument. All highly entertaining.

‘Textual advertisements’

Alan Webb of Abakus gave a presentation on link buying with some interesting, if not ground-breaking, discussion about how to approach site owners when buying links purchasing textual advertising . Bread an butter stuff.

This is the bit When Link Bait Isn’t Link Bait

This last guy annoyed me so much that I actually bailed about 60 seconds into his presentation. The official handbook says his name is Matt Paines, MD of XSEO. This guy obviously does not understand link bait.

He started off by referring to the famous SEO ‘Chris’ until someone in the crowd told him it was Rand. OK, that’s a human mistake – anyone could make it. But the 30 seconds that followed showed that this guy doesn’t have a clue. So fumbling on he’s muttering ‘Wow…. yeah…. Rand Fishkin…. Superbowl….. now that was some link bait’. I got up and left right then and there.

Link bait is contrived content created with the intention of deriving inbound links. [My definition]

So what the final speaker was basically saying that Rand Fishkin contrived his engagement in order to generate links.

I don’t know Rand Fishkin personally, but do read his blog which regularly contains some great posts. Maybe I’m a sucker, but I believe that people are in general innately good. So the idea that someone would go on national TV (and the Internet) to say, first, that he loves his soon-to-be fiancé, and then ask her to marry him, that this was in some way link bait….

Well I didn’t stick around any longer so I’ll never know what else he said.

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  1. Richard – thanks for the vote of confidence. I forgive Matt for being a bit off his game; I think it was his first time speaking, and that’s always nervous business. My proposal was certainly seen by some folks as a marketing move, but you’re right to assume that it isn’t linkbait – it doesn’t fulfill any of the necessary qualities (particularly since the links didn’t point to a site I controlled) :)

    Hope to meet you sometime in the near future!

    Comment by randfish — February 22, 2007 @ 4:53 am

  2. Hi Rand

    Just to say congratulations and very best wishes for the future.


    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 22, 2007 @ 8:08 am

  3. You should have stuck around – Matt was the only one on the session who explained how to get links is you are not a “superstar blogger” (his words)
    Especially linked the QandA when Nick was preaching the “linkbait” and you’ll never have to buy links again, while Dave and Matt were arguing the real world.

    Comment by Baz T Edwards — February 22, 2007 @ 1:53 pm

  4. Hey Baz

    I probably should have waited. I just didn’t feel the presentation was going the right direction.

    The whole idea of link bait is fantastic in theory, but much harder to implement in reality. Great when you get it right though, there’s no doubt.

    Would have liked to see the QandA but c’est la vie.

    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 22, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  5. yes it is difficult getting links based on just content, the concept is good and Nick made a good case – but I think it only works if you are already well known. If you aren’t then what Matt was on about was good, the idea of pushing your profile (the idea of using PPC how he described I’d never thought of) syndicating the stories was interesting, as was “lobbying bloggers” although doesn’t that come down to knowing some.

    Comment by Baz T Edwards — February 22, 2007 @ 5:03 pm

  6. Baz

    If you post anything about he session or see it covered could you send me a link please? I’m interested now in what was discussed after I beat my hasty exit :(


    Comment by Richard Hearne — February 22, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  7. I dont know XSEO’s CEO nor Rand, but gawd… proposing on national tele, and during a superbowl commercial??

    THAT should have been the reason you got up and walked out, not becos some fella can’t speak or remember names.

    Comment by TackModerator — February 27, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  8. Richard,

    Not being there on the day and not having your level of knowledge I hope you’ll take this one in good faith but give the guy a break. We’ve all struggled at some point standing up in front of an audience and maybe this was just a bad day at the office. 30 seconds is not much time to judge anyone and had you stayed around longer perhaps you might have been able to pass on few more words of wisdom.

    Great for the high and mighty to get links from the big blogs like randfish but leave a few crumbs on the table for the little guy to pick up once in a while.


    Comment by Neil — May 4, 2008 @ 11:18 am

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