The SEO world has been buzzing with tons of link bait ideas. Danny has an SES session on Link Baiting & Viral Search Success, there are top ten list out to wazoo, there are new tools, new games and controversy articles being released daily all with the intent of building links. Heck, even this piece of content is an attempt to get some links.

But at what point does the effort of a specific piece of content, the price of a tool, the cost of time worth the link bait you are generating?

Is there a simple equation?

PR6 = $400 per link, PR2 = $25 per link. Link lifetime value = 6 months on average? High trafficked sites that link to you generate links from other high trafficked sources and even more smaller trafficked sources…

Then you have to look at the content/tools that bring in one time links versus repetitive links over time. And then does that require additional work (more content, maintenance of tool, etc.) or not?

Let me pull out two examples:

DigitalPoint’s tool will

  1. Keep gaining new links
  2. Keep adding additional users
  3. Keep repeat users coming back
  4. Requires little maintenance
  5. Word of mouth referrals for that tool keeps coming
  6. Generates links as long as the tool is useful

The AdSense Game will

  1. Generate some initial buzz
  2. Will drive initial users to the tool
  3. Will generate some word of mouth referrals
  4. But after you play once that is it
  5. Very little repeat usage
  6. Link bait is built once, and not repetitive

I suspect DigitalPoint’s tool over the years, took him about 50 hours of work, guessing (shawn says it is less than 50 hours). Let’s say his time is worth $100 per hour (we all know he is worth way more than that). Cost of link bait is around $5,000.

I suspect the AdSense Game took a heck of a lot of time to build also, if I had to guess, let’s say 50 hours, minimum. Let’s say the time is worth $100 per hour, to make it round. Cost of link bait is $5,000.

Now how would you figure, with both these types of bait, what the ROI (return on investment) is for each?

For some reason, I would think the DP tool will come out better.

So at what point does it not pay to build link bait? Would love to see some scientific equations? Orion?

Website Comments

  1. chris boggs

    Hey Barry very nice post, for a cartoon. 😛

    There are so many variables that come into the equation. Will these effect rankings? Will those increased rankings lead to more business? The list goes on…

    I was thinking that analyzing the backlink anchor text, and maybe specifically monitoring for traffic from searches geared around the most “Bursty” anchor text could then be associated to the “viral.”

    Also, I am not totally sure if this is close enough to apples-to-apples. AdSense game site doesn’t really have any other “pulls” that I know of… How can you tell if DP is moving up some spots because of the tools and not something else? DP has the advantage of having the forums and other draws.

    I would certainly love to be able to see a nice equation to determine value, but as I said I think there are too many variables. Orion where are you? 🙂

  2. SEM Basics

    I don’t know if there will ever be a formula, but I do think that you hit on an important point and that is user benefit. Digitalpoints tool keeps sticks around because it addresses a real need and does it in a way that is useful. In other words, if you want to link bait then you should first take the time to figure out what people need and/or want and how you can satisfy that need. You can then watch the links come in.

  3. Vessel Sinks

    This article has given me an idea of a cool flash based utility i can design for our site, providing this will actually gain us links, i do thank you for the advice!

  4. Owen Daniel

    Hey Barry, nice article – appreciate your honesty too…

    So judging by this, the $30 I’ve just been offered for a ad on a PR2 page doesn’t sound like a bad deal?

    This is of course slashed by 50% to be converted into sterling ££££…

    Seems like a poor amount for a web-task?

    Am I just being ungrateful?

    Owen @ Clubbing UK

  5. Julia Stott UK

    No Doubt link baiting can provide us alot of links in no time but shouldnt we have to do it daily.

    As on every second home page stories are shifted down.

    Whats future of this social bookmarking thing ?

    Cant we see 1000 of sites like – like i just saw one of indian guys site

    Where this storm will end by the way ?

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