SEO and Current Events: What You Need to Know about Link Baiting


What You Need to Know about Link Baiting - Eric Sachs SEO

You’re watching the news and you see a popular story item trending just about everywhere – especially on online outlets and across social media. The first thing you might think to do is create a blog or social post of your own to take advantage of the viral nature of the story, but that isn’t always the right choice. Link baiting can be effective in some cases, especially if you are a news outlet yourself, but it is rarely the best choice for all businesses. In fact, sometimes it’s just plain inappropriate to incorporate current events into your online strategy.

Wait – What IS Link Baiting?

Link baiting is an online tactic used when you create website content with the sole intention of having people link back to it from other sites. While the concept of creating as many links as possible seems like a great idea, it’s just not that simple. It’s important to make sure the content you are putting out there is relevant to your goals, contains valuable information, and isn’t pure spam for the sake of rank.

The idea that any link is a good link is just a misconception. In fact, Google can and will penalize your website if you start publishing irrelevant content just for the links.

Is Link Baiting the Same as Clickbaiting?

Link baiting and click baiting sound similar, but they aren’t the same thing. Click baiting is when a news organization or blog writes a sensational headline that is designed to make a person click but doesn’t necessarily deliver on content. In a lot of instances, the content ends up having nothing at all to do with what the headline suggested. This is not a method you want to use.

In contrast, Link baiting has a defined goal and delivers exactly what the intended reader expected. This makes it a step above pure clickbaiting, but does not mean it’s any less inherently risky.

SEO and Current Events

Publishing content that ties into current events can be tricky. While your site may gain some traction from the SEO value of the keywords and the popularity of a topic, it can also suffer if the issue in question is controversial or badly matched to your audience. You must ensure the content provides some sort of value to your clients, even if just as a handy resource or entertainment piece.

Let’s use Hurricane Michael as an example. At the time I sat down to write this piece, Hurricane Michael was about a day away from the Florida Panhandle. Could your website leverage this current event? Maybe, maybe not. Here’s a few examples that demonstrate good link baiting:

  • Medical: Medical sites might write about hurricane prep from a health perspective – making sure you are stocked up on medication or having the proper access to generators for medical equipment.
  • Home Renovation: Home supply companies have a unique opportunity to use current events to their advantage. For example, a building supply center could provide valuable content on how to properly board up a home or minimize exterior damage.
  • Insurance: Insurance companies and agents can write about hurricane prep from a myriad of perspectives. Options include home preparedness or even specific details on how to ensure your home is properly covered from an insurance standpoint.
  • Electric and gas: These companies may have valuable information about how to stay safe and protect your home in a storm. This includes advice for turning off breakers during times of flood and how to stay safe after a storm passes.
  • Pets: Pet supply companies, veterinarians, and relief groups have loads of valuable content available for storms. This includes how to make sure your pets are taken care of during a storm and/or what to do if you find livestock or pets outside (or even wildlife).
  • Restaurant/Food: Restaurants and food suppliers, or even food retailers, also often get in the game with current events like storms. They give great advice on what foods to stock up on and how to safely prepare foods in the event there is no power or proper storage.
  • Churches/Faith Groups: Religious organizations offer significant comfort in times of high stress, and frequently lead charity recover efforts. They can offer words of encouragement, prayer, or advice for their specific audiences.
  • Disaster Relief: Emergency prep groups, such as the Red Cross, share information that can literally be the difference between life and death for citizens in a storm. They help homeowners determine the amount of supplies needed for a family and tell them how to store those supplies.


It’s OK to tie your content and it’s headline into a relevant current event, but only if it really makes sense. It would be short-sighted of a beauty supply store, candy shop, video game outlet, or purse manufacturer to try to tie a hurricane into relevant website content – and it might even come off as gratuitous and offensive.

There are, of course, always exceptions. Thinking of the same example, if those businesses were running some sort of event to benefit people in need before or after the storm, using the current event would probably be fine. This might look like a clothing store using their location as a distribution point for food and water, phone charging, or e even free outfits for displaced individuals. Even then, the content should be targeted specifically to that event and shouldn’t include any other sort of business information.

Here Is What NOT to Do

Never, ever run a flash-sale or special promotion around a current event unless it is a positive event. Supply stores may run sales or give discounts to make it easier for community members to protect their homes, but a “Hurricane Flash Sale” to offer free shipping or a discount on makeup or luxury clothing would be tone-deaf and insensitive. It’s also far more likely to backfire and create bad press than do you any good.

How to Find Relevant Current Events

Finding current events that are relevant to your industry isn’t difficult. You can do a simple news search each day by going to Google and hitting the “news” option after you type in your keyword of interest.

Another effective method for staying up to date with industry news is by setting up a Google Alert. Head to and enter the terms you’d like to keep track of. When the words you flag come up in new articles or blogs, you’ll receive an email alert you can search for relevant, usable content.

Think outside the box when it comes to relevant content. For example, a lot of sports organizations are showing support for Breast Cancer Awareness by wearing pink during games this month. While you have to be careful about using a subject like this to make a sale, medical providers and groups that offers support services to breast cancer patients and survivors can definitely incorporate headlines that feature different teams or players and their efforts to support the cause.

Take a closer look at your current target audience. What are their interests other than your product or niche? Look for creative ways to draw direct or indirect relationships between the niches you might see featured in the news and your own. Your content doesn’t need to be boring. With a little creative research, you can create content people will be thrilled to share.

Finding my suggestions helpful? I’d like to help even more. Let’s work together and take your SEO project to the next level. Connect with me here.

SEO virtuoso, CEO @Sachs Marketing Group. Focused on being of service to business owners - helping to better position them in the eyes of their audiences.

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