Wednesday, January 17, 2007

To Linkbait or to Link Bait?

Over at Searchengineland Danny Sullivan debates whether is correct to use the word "Linkbait" or the phrase "Link Bait".

For those of you who don't follow search engine optimization circles and who have no idea what linkbait is I'll explain. Linkbaiting is a term originally coined by Nick Wilson in his article The Art of Linkbaiting it refers to the practice some webmasters/bloggers are attempting in which they publish a piece of content in the hope that other people will link to it. This isn't really anything new as most webmasters and bloggers hope that the articles they write will be linked to by others. The difference is that in this case you specifically write the article or blog post with that purpose in mind.

I didn't really write this post to define linkbait, but more to comment on the fact that a) people seem to believe that there is or 'should be' one correct way of spelling or referring to this concept and b) that they are interested enough to write about it. Or is the post itself just another piece of linkbait? If so it worked for me...

I am always interested in language change, and I find it fascinating when people start arguing over the correct usage of a word. To my mind the correct usage of a word is just the way it is actually used. For example the word "sucks" once had a pretty crude meaning, but now days it is just used to say something is useless or no good.

Sucks is the most concise, emphatic way we have to say something is no good.

Surprising this is more or less what Danny suggests in the linkbait his article. He says that more people use the term linkbait than link bait so we should all use that. Perhaps. I think it is probably a bit too new a term for that type of analysis to work. There are other forces at play, For example linkbait shows up as a misspelled word in most spellcheckers, it will be interesting to see if that has an effect on usage.

My thoughts on the issue? Lets check back in a years time and see if the term is still being used at all and if there is a strong lean towards one or the other.

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