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December 4, 2006

DrinkBait? No, HatBait!

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Without Lisa here, it’s my job to keep myself entertained keep up with all the search news that isn’t SES Chicago but I simply can’t let these feats of haberdashery go uncommented on.

While surfing Flickr’s seschicago tag, I discovered the delight that is HatBait.

But who is behind this clever new scheme? Who are the clever haberdashers? Why, it’s none other than the folks over at Search Marketing Gurus. Armed with an array of black hats, white hats and ridiculously awesome hats, Li is roving around looking to take the best HatBait picture. The winner gets a $25 gift card. To where? Well, they don’t say. Hopefully it’s someplace warm.

Why hats? Well, SMG didn’t answer that question exactly but here’s my take: What’s better, drinking or funny hats? The right answer is funny hats because while drinks are temporary, funny hats are forever! Sure everyone likes to have a drink on someone else but what people really like is mocking their friends and associates.

Link bait schemes like HatBait and DrinkBait serve up an interesting question, how well do they work? Sure SMG is going to get links out of this but how much will it help their ranking goals? Is the idea just to rank for the name of the contest? Is there a larger search engine optimization goal? Do they just want the links and they don’t care why or how they’re coming in?

Hopefully once the conference and contest is over we’ll get a longer explanation of the point of link bait schemes like this.

We always urge our clients to get links from sites that complement their business, preferably sites that have already established themselves as experts. What’s more, we encourage these links to be thoughtfully written and placed on a page that is meaningful and lasting.

I’m not sure that a linkbait contest like this one, fun though it may be, is worth the effort. Can anyone tell me if there are indeed long term benefits from fun little things like this?

[This post brought to you entirely by the fact that I wanted to say “haberdashery”.]

Update: Li graciously addressed my question of “So Why is Search Marketing Gurus Doing HatBait?” Turns out that it’s not for the links (which I suspected was probably the case since I know that the SMGs are pretty darn bright) but just for the fun of it. In Li’s own words:

Girl Scout’s honor – it is all for fun. I love meeting people and this gives me a great way to introduce myself and get to meet new and interesting people I might never had had the opportunity to meet before. By meeting people I learn so much, and then I file that information away to possible contact them for projects later in the future.

Honestly, that’s the very best reason for this. Making connections with people and leaving them with a good memory of you will build up your brand in their minds.

Thanks, Li!

(By the way, she answered the gift card question too.)

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