Being controversial is often a great way to get more eyeballs on your content, more links and more followers. One way that has worked well over the years for many bloggers is calling people out, or picking a fight online with someone else who has a large following. This strategy isn’t always a great idea, but if done properly it can work. Basically there are 2 ways to pick a fight online: the good way and the bad way.
The Good Way
You call out someone who is clearly in the wrong. An example of this would be calling out someone who says that meta keywords are still important. Or you could do something like SEO supremo Aaron Wall did and call out an SEO company like Traffic-Power.com for offering craphat SEO services that gets their clients banned from Google. They were so angry that they tried to sue Aaron with a bogus lawsuit. You can read more about it here.
The Bad Way – Slander
This is where picking a fight is very ill advised. Rather than backing up your argument with facts, you can just start calling people names, ‘dissing’ them and basically doing anything and everything to provoke a reaction from them.
If they react, then it’s a very short term win for you. They will be talking about you on their site and possibly linking to you too. This will draw more attention to you and hopefully get you more eyeballs and links. But because you can’t back anything that you said up with facts, you are going to be in serious trouble in the long term. You will lose the trust of your readers and be potentially labeled a troll.
Drama is something that grabs people’s attention, so if you can cause a big enough fuss or drama online, people will start linking to it. It’s something we have used to good effect on our blog previously but if you use it continually people will start to respond to you much less as they realise you’re doing it just for the sake of it. In other words have to be genuine.
Richard Querrey. Source.
How to Pick a Fight Online
Forums – Forums are probably the easiest place to pick a fight. All you need to do is strongly disagree with something someone posted. As the argument is taking place on the forum, that’s where people will go to see it. Sure they may check out your website in your signature and possibly link to it, but most likely they will link to the thread, not your site.
Blog Comments – Picking a fight via blog comments is another way to go about it. You can start it with an inflammatory remark on a blog post, but you may often find that your comment never gets published. Especially if it’s very cutting or malicious.
Publish An Article On Your Site – Publishing an article is probably the best way to get links to your site. People will come to your site to read it and people are more likely to link to your site and the article.
Make A Video – The same as publishing an article, except you will usually need to host it on a site like YouTube or Vimeo.
Make A Brand New Site – That’s what Aaron Wall did. It’s a little different than publishing a new article as people linking to it will not be linking to your main site.
In truth, most people who pick fights use a combination of these methods. They might publish an article on their blog, then they’ll start commenting on other blogs and forums trying to get people’s attention and reactions.
Please, please, please be very careful if you plan on using this tactic, you have the potential to destroy your reputation online by picking an ill advised fight. And only do it if you genuinely disagree, not just for the sake of it.