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07 Apr 2009, Posted by admin in Social, 2 Comments

Incredible, Unbelievable & Creative Linkbait


Links are the currency of the web and getting the best links is an artform.

Instead of running through how to create linkbait, I wanted to talk about some of the most creative and inspirational pieces of linkbait I’ve seen and what made them work.

The Tale of John Bukkake

If you don’t know what bukkake is, then you’re one of the lucky ones. Peter van der Graaf was given the difficult task of building links to a bukkake site. Building authoritative links to a porn site was never going to be easy, so he turned to linkbait. That’s when he invented facial dermatologist John Bukkake – a fictional doctor from the University of Calcutta. He created a site for him, fake research, the lot. He gained links from both educational establishments (linking to the site because of the research) and links from around the Internet from people linking to his comedy name. He then cloaked a 301 from the site to the porn site, so the search engines thought all the links should be attributed to the client site, while users saw the fake doctor.

What’s Great About It?

I really, really like this linkbait example for a few reasons. It’s a creative and ingenius way to get links to an otherwise challenging niche. It’s amazing how it’s capable of getting highly authoritative links based on the research (whether it’s fake or not) as well as being able to ride off the comedy name to get links from a variety of blogs around the net. I also like how the linkbait had a high chance of going viral which would have further attracted more links. If the linkbait had really been pushed, there’s every chance it could have gained even more links by powering through the social media sites like Stumble and Digg.

What’s Not Great About It?

Peter van der Graaf told people about it, Google found out and the site is now banned. If you’re planning on doing this make sure you don’t publicly announce your cloaked 301s. Still, it’s a genius method of getting links to a difficult niche.

The 13 Year Old Credit Card Heist

Lyndon Antcliff was challenged with creating some linkbait that would attract links to money.co.uk focused on the keyword “credit cards”. He ended up creating this, an article about a 13 year old that stole his Dad’s credit card to go on a wild spending spree with his mates, ending with hiring hookers and then, not knowing what else to do, making them play Halo on the XBox. The story was fake, but that didn’t matter – it went viral in a big way, doing well on the social media sites and being picked up by Fox News. The story gained a shocking amount of links, many of them including “credit card” in the anchor text.

What’s Great About It?

The story had everything going for it – every part of the story had been tweaked and tailored to suit it’s audience. It was perfect for the Digg crowd, it was short, it got to the point and it was hard to believe but not entirely unbelievable. It had all the right triggers to create a reaction too, the whole story was designed to be picked up and shared. And it worked. Lyndon must have also used his social media connections to help the story went viral, it was distributed so well that, by the time Fox News picked it up, it already had a lot of momentum behind it.

What’s Not Great About It?

Word got out about Lyndon’s linkbait – Google found out about it and devalued all the links the article gained. There’s now a disclaimer on the article saying that the story is a parody. It’s a shame because it gained a huge number of links and attention, but it doesn’t mean that this style of linkbait isn’t repeatable.

Zombie Dating

Matt Inman has created some excellent linkbait in his time, and it was hard to choose one piece in particular. When working on a dating website, he created the dating site parody Zombie Harmony. It was a great concept that was implemented beautifully. The site had Shaun of the Deadesque humour to it, taking a ridiculous subject seriously, whilst also being beautifully designed. The piece looks like it was designed for the StumbleUpon & Digg crowd, and comes complete with embed codes to help spread the word.

What’s Great About It?

It’s well designed, it’s got triggers that make you instantly want to share it and it comes with embed codes to encourage bloggers to link to it. It’s nice design helps to get it that extra Digg or Stumble too.

What’s Not Great About It?

There’s not much that’s wrong with this. The anchor text is more likely to include “zombie” than “dating site”, but it’s still going to get some decent inbound links (and in fact did, over 2000 links to this page alone according to Yahoo).

I’d just like to end with a quote from Matt Cutts on the subject of linkbait, where he says

I think of “linkbait” as something interesting enough to catch people’s attention, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There are a lot of ways to do that, including putting in sweat-of-the-brow work to generate data or insights, or it can be as simple as being creative.

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2 Comments

April 16, 2009 9:00 pm

Reclaim Your Twitter Links | Shark SEO

[...] earlier examples of linkbait post, for example, is number 190. Try going to http://www.yourdomain.com/go/190 (or whichever [...]

June 3, 2009 9:57 pm

Bill Sebald

Zombie Harmony is clever and probably didn’t take long to put together. Nice link and anchor at the bottom for the main page. Wonder why they nofollowed the blog though.

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