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Dictionary of marketing swearwords. 1: Linkbait

Linkbait [ lingk bayt ] SEO noun: the process of creating and promoting content that’s primarily designed to attract links.

Standard form: “we need to create some linkbait”.

Active form: “that’s an AWESOME piece of linkbait!”

Passive form: “…the client’s just been sold three pieces of linkbait per month”.

Modern form: “It’s not linkbait anymore man, it’s all about Likebait now”. 

Here’s some more detail on this swearword…




A word that has its linguistic roots in the dark, one-dimensional realms of traditional SEO, where traffic’s not important, shares aren’t important, discourse isn’t important. But links are almost as important as life itself.

Current Use:

This term’s still frequently used but should be going out of fashion, not because the idea behind linkbait is a fundamentally bad one but because of the tunnel-vision that the term communicates.

Content shouldn’t be created just to get links. That’s short sighted, surely?

Maybe not in the bad old black-hat days, but definitely now.

It could be argued that linkbait isn’t just about links anymore: but that’s a bit like the fragrant denial of saying SEO isn’t about search engine rankings anymore. If that’s the case then isn’t the term redundant?


  • It’s all about Likebait now. It’s not all about links anymore.
  • ‘Bait’ is plainly patronising and manipulative.
  • The announcement of linkbait usually precipitates a hastily prepared infographic or eBook.
  • Cliches are annoying. And it’s a cliche.
  • The words inevitably conjure up unwanted imagery of fishery, or mammal traps.

Questions: Does the term still have value? Should the term be replaced with something else? Is it all about Likebait now? 

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