Getting your linkbait post, widget, or other content featured on the front page of Digg is one thing—a good thing, as this can drive a spike in traffic. Getting a whole bunch of links to that content, however, is entirely another matter. After all, the purpose of linkbait should be to attract links, not just short-term traffic. However, it seems that a lot of people measure success solely based on whether or not content becomes popular and the total number of Diggs it ends up with.
Contrary to popular belief, not every article that goes popular on social news sites gets good link volume. I’ve had campaigns that don’t even make the homepage for some reason or another, yet they gain a huge amount of links. I’ve also had campaigns that are hugely popular on Digg but didn’t collect many links at all.
This is why social media marketing and linkbait is hard to game and get good results. People can spam their crappy content to the homepage of Digg all they want, but that doesn’t mean it will generate links and work in the long run. Authority sites don’t link to stories just because they hit Digg’s home page. They link to them when they are solid resources and/or provide a real value to their readers. These hooky spam articles don’t. Therefore, they don’t collect good links. Sure, they get that golden link from Digg, but over time that’s not a very valuable link.
The point I’m trying to get across is that producing exceptional content is still the one and only way to go. And it really has to be exceptional, so be honest with yourself. It is also has to be presented in the proper way (but that’s a whole other article in itself). This can be very hard to do for a lot of sites. There are times where you really have to use that ace up your sleeve. But regardless, if you really want the long-term benefits of linkbait, excellent content is a must.
Social news sites are really nothing but a platform where you can expose content to very large audiences. It’s your hope that a small fraction of this audience will see your article as a valuable resource and link to it. If your article is spammy, people won’t link to it no matter how many times you put a “made by a Mac” button on the sidebar. Getting on the Digg homepage doesn’t impress me, but getting a thousand links to your incredible resource article does.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.