Linkbait Articles & Is It Linkbait Or Link Bait?

Eric Ward mentioned link baiting in his Link Week column this week, which first got me thinking, is it better to say linkbait or link bait? To answer, I did some searches, which in turn brought up some good articles on the topic. And now another good one has come out from Todd Malicoat. So here’s a rundown on a few linkbait articles and the "to linkbait" or "to link bait" decision I had to make.

The Art of Linkbaiting from Nick Wilson dates from back November 2005 and continues to stand up as a great read. In particular, Nick talks of needing a hook for your bait. Remember, it’s like fishing. You want to pull those links in. Some fish like particular bait. Links, to be baited, like particular hooks. OK, the metaphor is all confused, but roll with it. Nick covers hooks like being a great resource, providing news, being contrary to everyone else, attacking someone and being funny. POSTSCRIPT: See also Nick’s updated 2007 Guide To Linkbaiting: The Year Of Widgetbait?

SEO Advice: linkbait and linkbaiting from Google’s Matt Cutts in January 2006 offers three examples (I got to be one of them) on how to bait for links through being an original resource, being creative or being controversial.

Linkbaiting or Link Baiting? from Aaron Wall in December 2006 shares a variety of nice tips on targeting particular communities, controlling the message, having magnetic headlines, tapping into the "me me me" factor of others and more. Aaron also makes me laugh because like me, he’s clearly struggling with the "linkbait or link bait" question and goes with both in the headline for no other reason than I can see than to target both terms!

The Link Baiting Playbook: Hooks Revisited from Todd Malicoat came out this week. He picks up from Nick’s original hooks back in 2005 and adds some more, such as the "ego hook" and the "incentive hook." He also covers the importance of titles – a great story title can make or break your bait.

Now back to the "is it linkbait or link bait" question. First I tried a count of matches on Google:

So far, one word wins. Next I tried checking the Google AdWords Keyword Tool but came away with no volume for either. That sent me to the Yahoo keyword tool. And the count says:

  • linkbait, 124 searches in December 2006
  • link bait, 120 searches in December 2006

Linkbait, one word, hanging in the lead!

Now both Nick and Matt go with one word, and since Nick seems to have coined it, I’m coming down on the one word side as well. But you can vote to say what you think below:

Comments are also welcomed! And don’t be surprised if I slip up from time to time and say "link bait" rather than "linkbait." I’d like to be found for both, after all!

Finally, I leave you with this funny thing from Google, from when I searched on linkbait:

Linkbait On Google

See! Google doesn’t want you to linkbait. They want you to link a bit! Seriously, Google’s got no problem with linkbaiting. Stop The Freak Out Over Linking from me last month explains more about that.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Link Building: Linkbait


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • Michael Martinez

    I still spell out “Web site” (with a capital ‘W’) even though most people now write “website”.

  • FaithfulWeb

    “Linkbait” as one word follows the precedent of the related term, “linkrot,” from Jakob Nielsen in 1998.

  • Everett

    I hate to point out the obvious, but since the two-word version has about half the amount of competing sites and only slightly fewer searches… which term do you think we’re going to use in the title of our next LINK BAIT posts?

  • vangogh

    One thing I’ve noticed is if you opt for link bait as two words and you have AdSense you’ll likely get fishing related ads.

    I was originally using link bait, but found much the same as you Danny that more people use linkbait and since Nick coined the phrase and goes with the single word, linkbait it is.

  • chris boggs

    hehe it can be like “instalment” or “installment” in my spell checker

  • chris boggs

    I actually voted linkbait but now that I looked back and saw the session you named “Link Baiting & Viral Search Success,” I think that the verb needs to be two words because linkbaiting kinda looks stupid…

  • James

    I have writen my thoughts here:

    I don’t think there needs to be an official way to refer to it, overtime usage will tell. I wouldn’t be that surprised if we all started using ‘linkbate’ instead :)


  • Jungled Sales

    As the English language continues to adopt and develop new words, you will see that with time most words will tend to be simple: short, abbreviated if possible, chopping off unnecessary letters/hyphens, etc. Web site is now often just ‘site’. Web log (or is it weblog?) is now ‘blog’. E-mail is now ‘email’. But interestingly E-commerce is still not always ‘ecommerce’ according to And googlefight says ‘link bait’ still wins over ‘linkbait’ but I predict it won’t take long for ‘linkbait’ to be the most common.

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