Lee Odden

Link Bait vs Digg Bait

There are two perspectives on creative link building that I’ve been thinking about lately involving creating content and resources that offer value and the sensationalism of content promoted through social news communities. My take is that link bait focuses on creating unique, useful and provocative content that people respond to by linking to it and sharing with others.

Digg bait, which is not limited to Digg but all social news and bookmarking sites, focuses specifically on the interests of social communities and what they respond to. With Digg bait, the power is not in the usefulness and value of the content, but the title and description of the news item, sometimes bordering on the sensational. Think tabloid style writing, “Elvis gives birth to alien baby”.

Can link bait become Digg bait? Yes, I think it can but not without some creative attention to the title and description. However, more often than not, I don’t think most stories that hit the home page of social news sites like Digg, Reddit or del.icio.us would be so viral if they were promoted in the absence of social news communities.

In a way, it’s sort of like creating content and linking with the perspective that search engines don’t exist so as to focus on value for the user. Link bait focuses on content that becomes viral based on it’s usefulness and often becomes a long term resource and source of traffic. Digg bait is short term and emphasizes clever hype, knowing that many readers will not actually read the content. Somehow combining both will yield the best short and long term results for both users and as a marketing tactic.

So what do you think? Is there a difference between link bait and Digg bait?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. A very important subject – quality content continues to be linked to a month or more after it was published, and viral content such as widgets, plugins and themes continue to generate links for as long as they are a suitable solution to people’s needs.

    Viral content has never needed social news to make it work as linkbait, although having 10,000 people pick up the content in the space of 24hrs certainly helps accelerate the viral process.

  2. I think quality content without sensationalism can still make it on Digg, et al, as long as it has an interesting angle. For example, my recent “Zen and the Art of Remarkable Blogging” was not exactly suitable material for the National Enquirer, nor standard Digg fare, but it made the Digg home page because it was different and prompted curiosity.

    I love to write stuff that people say has no chance on Digg, and then prove them wrong. Otherwise it gets boring. 🙂

  3. Avatar Andy Beard says

    Brian you do have a fairly cultivated and large Digg audience from previous high profile content.

    As an example my Ultimate list of Dofollow plugins currently reports over 500 links to the page in Yahoo, and some fairly high profile links that sent significant traffic. WTC (inside the WordPress dashboard), Lorelle, BlogHerald and loads of friends.
    Some of those Yahoo links are certainly my internal pages as site explorer never seems to single them out correctly.

    So far it received 6 Diggs (and for a long time it did have a Digg button displayed)

    That one article I am sure accounted for more than 100 new (longterm) subscribers, and brought me a whole lot of regular linking partners.

  4. Hey Andy, I do think they can work together and there’s no doubt that the spike in visibility is beneficial. At the same time, I think we agree that it’s worth noting their differences in order to get the most return for effort from link building.

    Brian, quality content without sensationalism making Digg’s home page is certainly possible, but not the norm. Heck, even legit stories sneak their way into the National Enquirer once in a while. 🙂

  5. >>Is there a difference between link bait and Digg bait?

    Certainly not the norm, but I guess my answer to the question you posed is “not necessarily.”

  6. my blog rocks, but since china banned my blog because im cute, i have now only 100 readers.

  7. “Link bait focuses on content that becomes viral based on it’s usefulness and often becomes a long term resource and source of traffic. Digg bait is short term and emphasizes clever hype, knowing that many readers will not actually read the content.”

    In a very real sense, the issue is home-cooked food like our mothers would make versus a burger from a street corner stand…

  8. Avatar Rick Garcia says

    Today Digg bait IS link bait. I think that traditionally, link bait has been directed at targeted traffic and a longer term process focussing on generating quality links, whereas getting Digg links is a link bait tactic that doesn’t care about any sort of relevance, but getting the most links in the shortest amount of time

  9. It’s all about the criteria for action. What motivates people to digg web pages can be different from what motivates others to bookmark it in del.icio.us or blog about it. And these are different criteria that Reddit and Netscape users use.

    You really hit a home run with content that meets the criteria for everything, but that is a tall order. The best thing to do is to really study what makes it in the social media you care about and try to understand what works where.

    In many ways it may be better to recast the content for baiting different social media, much in the same way that press releases are customized to different outlets.

  10. So they are both links but with different purposes? Link bait helps build link popularity and is more permanent; Digg bait is to get exposure (visibility) on the Web.

  11. mblair, I think you’re right on with the notion of customization according to the audience. That’s straight marketing, something many SMO’s and SEO’s lose sight of when they get too caught up in the “latest” tactics.

  12. I think that content is the king in both cases. If one has some unique content it will help in both link bating and digg baiting.

  13. Link baiting is a new and progressive method of increasing link popularity.
    You can easily create quality content on Link Bait .once it is online people will come to know about your views and wouls automatically link to it. It is more or less anything you create anywhere on the Web that inspires other people to link to it.
    The above given points are very useful but it involves a lot of hard work,writing high quality content and proper popluarity.palcomonline is a web design,development and hosting company based in noida,we provide expert seo services.

  14. Nice to read a very new concept of link baiting from you…I would like to see some more posts from your end for better link baiting understanding..
    Thanks again for this gr8 post…

  15. Thanks for the post. I have a blog about real estate in San Diego and really try to stick with the unique content approach. I post unique ways to market real estate on a daily/weekly basis. All content is unique and hopefully people will start bookmarking soon. Thanks for the article!


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