There is also some interesting follow up discussion from Aaron Wall about linkbait being the new reciprocal links page
DaveN hinted that he believed that Google is looking at how natural a site’s link growth profile looks like, and discounting many of the rapid growth spikes if they are not followed up by an increased baseline link growth rate. Which ultimately means linkbait only creates significant value if you can keep launching one right after another.
The issue of Google looking at link profiles is a complicated one. On the one hand they rank old sites at the top of the search results even though the information on those sites is 3 or 4 years out of date and they haven’t got a single natural link for years.
Conversely they look at link growth profiles for newer sites and may devalue huge link spikes if they make your site start to rank when an engineer thinks it doesn’t deserve to.
This presents a tricky situation for marketers – the key issue is to make sure that our links keep growing at as steady a rate as possible to keep growth looking natural. One good method to help with link growth is to make sure that you make the most of every link & traffic spike by building new RSS and email subscribers, these subscribers will hopefully remain loyal and link to you again in the future.
Probably the easiest way to produce long term linkbait such as “How To” articles rather than topical content. This works well if your article ranks highly or you have a large readership to leverage.
Sometimes bloggers struggle to linkbait without using topical content, especially in the tech/gadget industry. If this is the case for your niche then try to make sure you have a long term linkbait strategy so you can keep reproducing link spikes on a regular basis rather than just once or twice.