Cats vs Bugs: The battle of the linkbait

We all know by now that the internet is made of cats. If you don’t believe me, check out this informative, educational video:

But in my (admittedly somewhat limited) experience, I’ve found that people are really eager to link to content that allows them to post nasty, close-up pictures of bugs. Seriously, we’ve got coverage from news outlets and other places that don’t normally link out, just because we put a bug-ugly photo in the pieces we were promoting.




So that got me thinking: even though everyone would expect the internet to respond more strongly to cats than to insects, is that what happens in real life? What if the internet is made of bugs?

That’s probably the most like Carrie Bradshaw I will ever sound...



The research process

I engaged in some very rigourous research to find out the answer. Well, I researched it, anyways.

I looked at the top ten relevant results for the following:

  • A Google search for ‘cat infographic’ and ‘insect infographic’ and the top ten relevant results respective number of links*
  • A Google search for ‘cat blog and ‘insect blog’ and the top ten relevant results respective number of links*
  • A Reddit search for ‘cat’ and ‘insect’ and the top ten relevant results respective number of upvotes
  • A Digg search for ‘cat’ and ‘insect’ and the top ten relevant results respective number of Diggs
*I used Majestic Site Explorer to determine the number of inlinks.

Then, whichever column had the most links, upvotes or Diggs was declared the winner of that cat-egory.

Okay, I’ll try to stop doing that, but I’m not making any promises...

The results

Google search for ‘x infographic’

Winner: BUGS

Google search for ‘x blog’

Winner: CATS

Reddit search

Winner: CATS

Digg search

Winner: CATS

The analysis

Well, the cats won in three out of four categories, so they are the clear preference of the internet. Interestingly, though, that doesn’t seem to apply when talking about infographics.

Of course, infographics are by their nature meant to be interesting and data heavy, and insects usually feature in scientific posts. Cat infographics, on the other hand, tend to be very visual, but light on truly interesting information.

But the cats won in categories that rely on sharing (blogs, Reddit and Digg), suggesting that pieces which are visually interesting, light on hard-core facts and part of an already established in-joke are better for getting attention.

Anyway, since I have determined that the internet is indeed made of cats, we shall celebrate in the only way appropriate.


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