Cringe-worthy Clickbait is a thing of the past – here’s why

25 October 2016| Post by Graham

AuthorGraham

Your content should be as sharp if not better than your creative. So why flood it with cringe-worthy clickbait titles?

Sadly a large portion of what we read online is because of clickbait. This content offers nothing but falsified claims that gets traffic, but no engagement.

Now’s the time to sharpen your pencil and be aware of this as Google, Facebook and others are cracking down on naff content boosted by manipulated headlines.

What on Earth is Clickbait?

Clickbait is cheeky, manipulative and even annoying at times. The Clickbait technique preys on inquisitive readers by offering very little information (sometimes extremely exaggerated) about the content of the post just to spark curiosity and click-through.

It’s because of this that search engines are having to continually improve their algorithms and newsfeeds to ensure the results presented are legit and not going to frustrate the user.

Why should I stop using Clickbait?

Manipulating users to come visit your site might seem witty at first glance, but as customers are now becoming wise to it – this technique definitely isn’t going to position your company as trustworthy nor reliable.

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We’ve all seen titles like this before:
  • 4 Signs You’re A Terrible Designer
  • This Man Walked In A Bar – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next
  • [LEARN] How This Company Made 6-Figures in Their First Year

I bet now you’re reading them, you can see even from an ethical perspective why these headlines are not suitable. They are playing with the emotions of the reader.

The issue is, simply by reading a title you cannot decide whether it’s clickbait or valuable content. The lines are blurring.

How can I avoid Clickbait in my titles?

Here are some factors that differentiate a clickbait title from a valuable title.

Exaggerations

When reading a title such as “This Man Walked In A Bar – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next”, your expectancy is for something shocking, something out of this world… Unfortunately, you’re met with something often sedate, dull and boring.

On the whole, most clickbait is prone to misleading consumers to not-so-good content. Very disappointing!

Clickbait titles bring traffic, but lack substance

Clickbait WILL most definitely drive inquisitive traffic to your website, however, this success will fall flat very quickly and you could be prone to massive spikes in Bounce Rate, that won’t go unnoticed in the eyes of Google.

The problem is a Clickbait title doesn’t give you any idea of what information the post contains. You are simply driven to imagine what’s behind the title.

Clickbait is bad for SEO

We all know Search Engines want to improve users experience when browsing and searching for answers to their queries, if your content is marketed by a Clickbait title and that title misleads a consumer, they will simply visit and bounce very quickly, causing Google to realise that the content you provided was of no use to the consumer. This will eventually become detrimental to your website.

How to grab people’s attention without Clickbait

It’s obviously vital to get people clicking your headline blog post titles in the first place, otherwise, there’d be no traffic heading to your site. Just make sure you’re not failing to fulfil their expectations. The main issue with Clickbait is that it tends to focus on getting “bums on seats” but doesn’t focus on what the users needs and addressing their search query with suitable, well-formatted information.

Be professional and build authority

Work on establishing your own tone of voice and inform your audience that you are an authority in your field. When you can meet their expectations every time with high-quality content they naturally re-visit your site again in the future.

Create clear and informative titles

What are your readers likely to read about in the next 5-10mins when they click through? Let your title encapsulate that message. Don’t hesitate to add energy and personality into your title where possible, these are all traits of ‘good’ titles – the trick is to respect the thin line.

Inspire learning

If your title is TOO obvious, chances are you’ve given away too much information and the user has learnt all they need to in one sentence. This could lead to a lack of engagement (click through) so consider, what would entice you to click?

People like to learn, in short, snappy chunks of content that get the messages into their heads.

Offer trigger words in your titles such as how, why, what to do, when etc. These words will inspire learning and naturally entice your users to discover and educate themselves on something relevant to their field, so they too, can become an authority.

Conclusion

Valuable content supersedes catchy titles.

If your content is good, and you know it’s good, with the right distribution and suitable headline it will be shared and thanked by many around the world.

Here’s what to do

This week, revisit your blog posts you’ve published over the last few weeks and apply the above tips to create headlines that inspire trust, education, discovery and genuine interest, without relying on outdated Internet marketing trickery.

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