Social Networking & Link Baiting: New opportunities?

Filed in Link Building, Social Media by Matt McGee on November 13, 2006 0 Comments

I found myself reading a couple Australia-based news sites over the weekend, and was a bit surprised to see social networking being adopted by News.com.au. Sure, it’s the biggest news organization in Australia, but to read a story online and see buttons at the end for Digg, del.icio.us, and Newsvine caught me off-guard.

Is social networking making its way into the mainstream? Does this broaden the scope of link baiting, and open the doors for businesses (small and large) outside the social network-loving tech industry? I decided to do some quick and incredibly unscientific research about U.S. newspapers, to see which ones (if any) are doing what News.com.au does.

I picked a half-dozen newspaper sites, ranging from big city (Washington, DC) to small town (Tri-Cities, WA). The results, as shown below, are not all that surprising: The bigger newspapers are beginning to invite social networking with various links inside their articles.
The Washington Post has a “Save & Share” box with an impressive six social networking links. The Dallas Morning News lets readers add articles to their “My Yahoo” page. The Seattle Times has yet to include any social networking links in its articles, which I find a bit surprising given the tech-heavy reputation Seattle has. The smaller papers, not surprisingly, are completely devoid of any links to Digg, del.icio.us, and the like.

newspapers and social networking

What does this prove? Not much, frankly. But common sense suggests that the use of tools like Digg and del.icio.us on mainstream sites like WashingtonPost.com will only serve to bring new users to those social news/linking sites. And that just might mean more opportunity outside the tech focus they all have now.

It just so happens that the same questions on my mind over the weekend are discussed today by Neil Patel and Andy Hagans on the Link Building Blog. Says Neil:

At the current moment tech sites are using link baiting more then non-tech related sites. Non-tech industries have not been using link baiting practices as much because it takes more creativity thus making it more difficult in those sectors. After Netscape was released and Digg expanded into non tech related categories, the non-tech sectors are beginning to use link baiting techniques a lot more. Due to the expansion of these social sites and the acceptance the idea of “social news”, I think everyone who is looking to increase their search engine traffic should give link baiting a try.

Here’s the full interview – worth the read.

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