Case Study of the Mullet Link Bait Strategy

A few weeks ago Maki from DoshDosh wrote an article about the mullet link bait strategy. The mullet strategy that Maki covers in exceptional detail is when you use a page outside the normal flow of your blog or website specifically for link bait content. This is used for content that for whatever reason you do not want to be sent to your subscribers.

This is a method that I had been wanting to try for a while, but Maki’s post gave me the push I needed (plus some valuable information that helped me along the way). There are a few different reasons for using this strategy, which or course are covered in his article. In my case, the link bait that I wanted to use was a list post, and I had just published another list post about a week earlier on the blog. I felt that it may be bad timing to publish this on the blog that close to the previous list. Not wanting to annoy subscribers, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try the mullet strategy.

I would like to share some information from my experience that will hopefully help you if you are looking for ways to generate inbound links and create more traffic. On October 4th I published 40 Firefox Extensions for Web Designers as a page on my WordPress blog, rather than as a blog post. By using a page instead of a post, it did not get sent out to RSS subscribers and so any traffic that came to the page would have to be generated by other methods.

I didn’t link to the page from anywhere on the site because I wanted to test how much traffic and links I could get to the page starting with only social media websites. I immediately submitted the page to DZone, CSS Globe, and Design Float, 3 niche sites that focus on web design articles. I also submitted the site to Digg and StumbleUpon. Typically I don’t submit my blog posts to StumbleUpon right away, but I did with this one. I also don’t submit many of my posts to Digg because I don’t have a very powerful profile, but again, I did submit this page.

Here are some stats for the page from October 4 – October 18:

  • 6,337 pageviews
  • StumbleUpon was the leading entrance source by sending 2,793 visitors.
  • Design Float sent 1065 visitors.
  • CSS Globe sent 716 visitors.
  • Digg was the #17 entrance source with 14 visitors.
  • Technorati is currently showing 20 incoming links to the page.
  • 96 del.icio.us users have bookmarked the page.

My goal with the page was to get significant traffic from the niche sites that I submitted to and hopefully enough bookmarks to land on the front page of del.icio.us (in the past when I have made it to the front page of del.icio.us a lot of inbound links have followed). However, the page never took off with DZone and the bookmarks didn’t come fast enough to get to the front page.

While I am happy with the 6,000 page views in 2 weeks, there are a few things that I could have done differently that I think would have made this experiment much more successful.

1. Find someone with a more powerful Digg profile to submit the page.

Digg generated almost no traffic to the page, which didn’t surprise me. I do use Digg fairly often, but I haven’t been active for long enough to have built a strong profile. If someone else had submitted the page I think it could have drawn more attention. Maki has also covered the topic of influencing powerful social media users in a recent post.

2. Include a Digg button on the page.

While the page did not generate much traffic from Digg, it did get a respectable amount of visitors from StumbleUpon and Design Float. I imagine that a sizable percentage of those visitors also have Digg accounts. If a “Digg This” button had been included at the top of the page it may have helped to translate some of the other traffic into Digg votes.

3. Ask friends for a vote.

If I would have emailed a few friends for a stumble or a digg I probably could have helped the cause. A similar option would be to use the shout feature at Digg and the send to a friend feature at StumbleUpon. There are a few people in particular that I think would have been interested in the information and willing to help out, but I wanted to test the process on its own without the help of others. I think by combining these first 3 options I could have made a huge difference.

4. Buy traffic from StumbleUpon.

You may not be aware of it, but you can buy StumbleUpon traffic for $0.05 per visitor. While this traffic typically will not stay on you website for very long, it is low cost and if some of those visitors give your page a thumbs up it can lead to even more traffic that will be free.

Looking back on the results of the experiment I think it is definitely something that I will try again at some point, and it’s a method that I think could benefit a lot of other bloggers. It will probably be a while until I use this method again, as I don’t have a lot of time to create extra content in addition to what I use for blog posts. If you’re looking for a way to gain some new inbound links, be sure to read Maki’s article.

Published October 18th, 2007 by

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26 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Maki, October 18, 2007

    Thanks for the mention, Steven. It would definitely help a lot if you pushed the bait via an influencer on the big sites.

    Feel free to hit me up via email, IM or SU the next time you want to launch a killer bait.. I’ll be happy to help.

    Cheers. :)

  • Vandelay Design, October 18, 2007

    Thanks for stopping by Maki, and for the offer. I may take you up on it.

  • Karen Zara, October 19, 2007

    I’m not a power user in any sites. :( But in case you want an additional stumble or digg vote, you can always count on me next time your try the mullet strategy. :) In fact, you can count on me whenever you need votes for any of your articles. You know how much I like your posts. ;)

    By the way, I’m glad to see someone putting Maki’s idea in practice and reporting the results. I like learning from other bloggers’ experiences.

  • Lyndon Antcliff, October 19, 2007

    Another great post. I am really impressed with Steven Snell. My accounts has a bit of juice also. If you have killer content, ie in the top 10% of all the posts you have ever made I would be glad to submit.

    My criterior is that if people work really hard and produce stuff of quality it deserves to be pushed.

    Of course, one day I may ask for a favour in return ;)

  • Andy Beard, October 19, 2007

    It will be interesting whether it is possible to push a 2 week old story onto Digg popular. I saw one yesterday go popular after 7 days.

  • Felix Ker, October 19, 2007

    I wonder how can StumbleUpon bring so much traffic.

    Steven can you share?

  • Vandelay Design, October 19, 2007

    Karen,
    I’m glad the information from this experiment is helpful to you.

    Lyndon,
    I would say that your account has more than a little juice. I don’t know if you remember or not, but your Digg submission of one of my posts had some great results.

    Andy,
    That’s crazy that a submission went popular after 7 days. I’ve assumed that after 24 hours it’s pretty much a lost cause.

    Felix,
    It’s not that uncommon for a page to receive that much SU traffic over the course of two weeks. It looks like that page has had 21 people give the thumbs up. I don’t know exactly how SU determines traffic amounts, but it seems that reviews with a thumbs up carry a little bit more weight than just a thumbs up without the review.

  • Okinawa Japan, October 20, 2007

    Why does Stumble generate so much traffic? I get more traffic from it than from Google. Is the age of the search engine coming to an end?

  • Karthik, October 20, 2007

    @Okinawa
    That would hardly be a possiblity – search engines provide consistent traffic over a long period of time while SNWs provide a burst of traffic over a short period of time. I remember Steven making a post earlier about how SMO and SEO go hand in hand.

    @Steven
    You can count me in whenever you need a thumbs up, most of your “average” articles should have easily made it to the front page of Digg, let alone the above average ones!

    And I would appreciate it if you would publish the page as a post so that the rest of us could read it too! (You could set a permanent redirect in the htaccess to avoid a PR/backlinks loss)

  • Vandelay Design, October 20, 2007

    Okinawa,
    I get far more traffic from StumbleUpon than Google too, but it doesn’t replace the need for search engines or search engine traffic. It’s fun and useful to use SU to find information, but if you’re looking for something specific you’re still going to use a search engine.

    Karthik,
    Thanks for your offer, I appreciate it. There is a link to the page in the article, but in case you missed it here it is. I don’t want to publish it as a post because many people have already seen it.

  • Karthik, October 20, 2007

    whoops, what a blooper – can you believe I actually saw the link but didn’t click on it? I was very eager to know what your conclusions about the strategy were and I barely skimmed through the introduction. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Vandelay Design, October 20, 2007

    No problem. Thanks for your interest in the article.

  • Karthik, October 20, 2007

    A good collection as always – do you look at specific resources while compiling such lists or do you sit down and test each service?

    Was the delicious toolbar put at the end deliberately? ;)

  • Vandelay Design, October 20, 2007

    Karthik,
    I did a lot of searches and looked at a lot of reviews. I haven’t used all of them personally. Yes, the delicious info was added deliberately. It seems like seeing a count of how many people are bookmarking it helps others to also bookmark it.

  • Hugo Peppers, October 21, 2007

    I’m very interested in seeing what sort of residual traffic the page gets.

    You really did the bare minimum from a promotion standpoint by just bookmarking, and if the page ends up getting 100 visitors per month, a bimonthly mullet might yield some great traffic, as well as some more great links.

  • Vandelay Design, October 21, 2007

    Hugo,
    You have a good point. Long-term traffic is something that wasn’t discussed. Thanks for your feedback.

  • SEOv, October 22, 2007

    All I’d Say is be smart and a link is what you get :)

  • Hefeweissen, October 24, 2007

    Thanks for the info Steve. I’m a fairly new digger, and trying to develop my profile by digging other’s submissions and trying to become their friend. I enjoy your blog very much, so if you would like one more digg vote, look me up (Hefeweissen) and add to your friends list. If your nick is not self explanatory – send me and email so I know that is you :) Good luck!

  • david deangelo, October 24, 2007

    Good article. I have found it difficult to get traffic from stumble upon, digg and other networking sites. The traffic I get from there are within 10 or less. I think the way to succeed with them is through a network of traffic/reputation building friends.

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  • Benny, August 20, 2008

    nice article, i like to try this method in my blog & than again comment, is it hit or flop.
    Benny from SSN search

  • ssn search, March 22, 2009

    Good article. I have found it difficult to get traffic from stumble upon, digg and other networking sites. The traffic I get from there are within 10 or less. I think the way to succeed with them is through a network of traffic/reputation building friends.