Aaron Wall of Seo Book states here that many sites have no way to easily garner links naturally, despite providing a useful service or information.  He cites traditional examples of link bait, like the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  These are amazingly effective ways to get traffic and visibility.  The problem with this form of marketing, though, is that it's usually not suitable for a site that has to maintain a semblance of professionalism.  For example, publishing a spoof article about "Aliens Stealing Sperm from Heavy Viagra Users" may amuse the public, but it will probably only attract irrelevent traffic, not to mention damage corporate image irrevocably.  For example, I cannot use it for the legal site I am developing currently.

So I won't be discussing link bait in one of its most traditional media, parody articles. I will discuss what I term the "free service model."

One of the oldest hackneyed examples of this is the free counter.  Traditionally, a site provides users with a free and easy-to-use service that gives you a counter in the form of ready-made HTML, but embedded in the code is a link. Relevence issues aside, this is a nice way to earn links.  There are many sites along this model.  Some examples are the aforementioned free counters, voting booths, and MySpace themes.

Other ideas of electronic link bait:
Fortune Cookies
Quote of the Day
… etc.

It cannot be asserted that the links earned will be particularly relevent, but they are links nonetheless and will count positively in a comprehensive link-building campaign.  Strategies like these supplement and augment, but do not replace the fine art of link-building.  So don't get too excited!

So perhaps a Chinese newspaper could give out free "fortune cookies" with your fortune and the latest news headline, or a Chinese horoscope.  I'm not sure why I thought of fortune cookies.  It may be because I have a hankering for Chinese food right about now … :)

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