the mod's of another SEO-forum told me the search engines weren't really good enough to tell what kind of link is truly relevant
Back around 2003 or 2004, Marissa Mayer of Google stated plainly that they deprecated irrelevant links. I asked her about this and she confirmed that Google was deprecating irrelevant links. Not coincidentally, that statement came about the same time I noticed a drop in PageRank and ranking ability of web design sites that had thousands of clients linking back to them. It also was about the same time that other kinds of links were deprecated and lost their usefulness in ranking sites.
We all know Google deprecates the amount of PageRank given from run of site links. We all know they depreate the PageRank from links in the footer of a web page. It is disingenuous for these SEO marketers to agree about that from one side of their mouths but from the side of their mouths that sells link bait services they state that Google cannot deprecate them. I'm sorry, you can't have it both ways.
We all know Google deprecates. We all know links in content work better than a link in a footer (which is deprecated). Google has been doing it for at least seven years. It's either a lie or self-deception to state that Google cannot detect an irrelevant link-bait link to deprecate it.
I did a post about link bait
[webmasterworld.com] not long ago, if you're interested in reading more.
It seems that our industry should give this topic more thought so we can move on to ways of doing things that work.
The strategy of link bait has been around longer than the phrase itself. It really hit it's peak after Google whacked some high profile link buyers and it could be said that Matt Cutts inadvertently started a link bait industry when he made an approving blog post about content
as link bait. However some SEO agencies twisted Matt's post to justify promoting widgets, contests, strange or outrageous products for sale, kung fu fighting baby videos and other attention getting gimmicks as a way to get links- which is not at all what Matt approved of in his blog post about link bait.
Based on what we already know and experienced about Google's ability to deprecate links, then it's easy to see why these kinds of link bait links are going to be deprecated. They fail in the ways I pointed out above:
1. The links are generally not from a site or web page that is relevant to your topic. This means the links are subject to deprecation and will pass less PageRank.
2. The links lead to the bait, not to your important money pages of your site. In addition to the initial round of deprecation of the PageRank being passed to the link-bait landing page, the links are also not relevant
for your money phrases AND they will not help your important pages rank since they don't have the anchor text for your important pages AND since they are not direct links
to your important pages this means what little PageRank is left, minus the lack of relevance to those pages, must filter around and be further deprecated through your site navigation before it can bring any PR to the pages that matter most.