Posted November 9, 2007 3:03 am by with 25 comments

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A few days ago I touched on a post about whether or not User Generated Content (UGC) was a Myth. Now I have discovered a great post from Tom Critchlow, talking about taking the next step up and going from UGC to User Generated Link Bait (UGL).

Tom provides a terrific step by procedure to follow to generate UGL.

  1. Find a forum with a decent traffic level in your niche
  2. Spend some time contributing to the community, get your name respected and ensure the mods don’t see you as a spammer (having a trusted profile in your niche community/forum is worth its weight in gold—treat this as a serious investment and don’t ruin it for a one-shot chance at linkbait)
  3. Start a post on the forum with the seed of an idea, and a couple of examples from you
  4. Let the forum community chip in their own ideas and funny comments and let them grow the idea for you
  5. Wait for the thread to die down and compile all the best bits from it
  6. Write this up into a piece of linkbait for your site
  7. Social media success!

Tom goes on to give an excellent description of how the process might work and some important guidelines to remember if you are going to attempt the process. Tom stresses that the process should be an easy one for those people participating in communities that they are already active in and odds are already passionate about. It seems like it would clearly a bit more time consuming and challenging if you were starting from scratch. Tom also provides a number of good thoughts to ponder before you begin.

Anyway you look at the idea if you own a niche site and are active in a similar online community this idea seems like one well worth testing out if nothing else. This is one of those ideas that seems like so much common sense that everyone would be doing it, except that until someone actually puts it down in words most people, myself included, just are missing the opportunity.

  • Tom

    Hi Roderick, thanks for the links and the kind words 🙂

    It is harder to implement as an SEO agency for a client but for anyone doing SEO for their own site in a niche they’re passionate about I think this is a really good tip. Would be great to hear back from anyone who implements this!

  • Barry Schwartz has been doing this for years on the SERT blog and he does a FANTASTIC job of it.

  • Zen

    Very interesting post! I’ll read the full article for further detail. Keep up the UGLB posts!

  • We must also pay attention to authenticity and accountability when entering and contributing to a forum.

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  • Being active in a forum can take some time, especially building up a solid rep. Don’t expect this kind of thing to happen over night. Just be patient and stick with it.

    I’ve seen this work pretty well myself.

  • I’m seeing agencies from around the world hiring for this position

    Wanted: Social Media Manipulator

    qualities desires:

    – supreme liar (that includes lying to oneself)
    – ability to manufacture relationships based on false premise
    – complete lack of integrity masked in big comfy blanket known as marketing creativity

    (for the record, I’m not judging…i’m just sayin’….)

  • Leigh: not saying you are wrong, but bear in mind that Tom is talking mainly about doing this for something you are passionate about – not something you are pretending to be passionate about!

  • Yeah I hear you (although I still think misuse will run rampent) – but think your point that you made in the comments to his post are important to highlight ….

    “It’s a bit harder to do well for clients (I just wanted to say that before someone turns up and asks “great, how do I do this for a client selling mortgages?”).”


  • Roderick Ioerger, you outed my whole Social Media model for success!!

    Damn Youuuuuu

  • That is a great idea, thanks!

  • But what Copyscape would tell in this case?

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  • The idea is a good one and oddly enough I tried my hand at this earlier in the week. In my case I’m turning out to be the most active person in the thread so it’s quite working out like I would have hoped, but I think the idea is still sound.

    You might not need to build a strong profile for this to work. You would if you planned on linking out from your thread, but if you find the right topic for the right community a few thoughts to get things started might be enough.

    It won’t always work, but I think Tom’s idea is a good one. There’s no reason why you can’t plant seeds wherever you are a forum member and see of your thread takes.

  • rcjordan

    >Being active in a forum can take some time, especially building up a solid rep. Don’t expect this kind of thing to happen over night. Just be patient and stick with it.

    If you go into a forum with the intent of building a brand-name nick so you can use it for client and/or content-gathering then I think you’re in for a shock regarding just how much time you’ll end up devoting to that effort. OTOH, if you’re there anyway because it’s your interest or your job to keep informed on the subject it works.

    “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” –Jean Giraudoux

  • Aren’t forums considered in low value by Search Engines in terms of SEO?

  • @tarihteneski: That has absolutely nothing to do with it. The point is basically “Picking the best bits from a forum post and making a blog post about it”.

  • those are great tips, some of them i have experienced myself, for example the trust on forums, you make friends among experts and important players in your niche. which helps a lot.

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  • Good article. After being on various niche forums for 3 years, (including 2 that I mod for) I cannot believe that I haven’t thought of this before.

    The only drawback other than the thread bombing, but the ever lurking trolls that every forum gets.

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  • sh, sh, don’t tell any one, I already used this technique by the way.