Widgetbait: A Short-Lived SEO Strategy

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Widgetbait: A Short-Lived SEO Strategy

Widgetbaiting used to be a very effective SEO strategy that allowed widget creators to accumulate a great number of backlinks in a very short period of time.

Some big companies used to use widgetbaiting strategies on a large scale and got very good results with it.

Google eventually caught onto this though and changed up its algorithm to greatly diminish the effectiveness of this SEO technique.

What Exactly is Widgetbaiting?

Widgetbaiting refers to the practice of embedding a link in a widget that you offer (for free) for people to use on their website. A widget is a small piece of software that can be installed on a website and offers certain functionality. Accuweather.com for example offers a number of weather widgets that people can use on their website.

If Accuweather embeds a link – that is not necessary for the widget’s functioning – into the code of their weather widget, they are widgetbaiting. Any time someone places this widget on their website, a backlink will be created. As you can imagine, this practice can be a very effective and cheap way of creating links to your website.

What’s Wrong With Widgetbait?

Essentially, nothing is really wrong with widgetbait. Google used to be fine with it, as long as widgets were only linking back to the creator’s website and were not used for selling backlinks. When you start including a bunch of different links in your widgets, and using keywords that are not relevant to the widget itself, Google’s not so fine with it anymore. Many websites that were using these types of strategies have been penalized in the last few years. Google also revised its quality guidelines regarding widgets, reflecting their stricter policies on the topic.

Can I Still Use Widgetbait for SEO?

This is a bit of a tough question surrounded with a bit of controversy in the SEO community. Some SEO experts argue that if you only link back to the widget creator’s own website, make the link visible so it can be removed by the webmaster, and do not try to stuff in keywords, you should be fine.

Widgetbait: A Short-Lived SEO StrategyOthers opine however that using widgetbait as a backlinking strategy is not worth the risk of being penalized by Google. The main issue with widgetbait is that you don’t know what kind of website your widget will end up on. If for any reason a porn site likes your widget and you’ve embedded a backlink in it, you’ll be adding a backlink to your portfolio that you probably rather wouldn’t have.

One way to still use widgets for SEO in a completely legitimate way, is to leave out the backlink, but instead ask the webmaster of the website that is using your link if they would like to link back to your website. If you only do this for websites that have relevant content to the backlink you are asking for, there shouldn’t be any worries about getting penalized.

While widgetbaiting as an SEO strategy is not completely dead yet, its best days are definitely over.

Category: Internet Business Blog |