Clickbait – You’ll Never Guess What It Is!
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Clickbait as ‘content whose main purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link to a particular web page’.
Simply put, Clickbait = High Traffic + Low Engagement.
Very often, clickbait sensationalises or knowingly misrepresents stories to draw in potential readers. It almost always fails to live up to the reader’s expectations, as articles bear little relation to headlines. It works by playing on the reader’s curiosity by using headlines which contain words denoting strong sentiments. They are also aimed directly at the reader with certain catch phrases.
The articles themselves are often short, and do not contain original material. Content is aggregated from other sites where pieces have gone viral, and is then reworded, with limited attribution to the original writers. Sometimes, the clickbait article is simply a summary of someone else’s work, with the original cut-and-pasted in its entirety.
You Shouldn’t Be Using Clickbait – The Reason Will Make You Cry!
Although a key aspect of content marketing is generating web traffic, clickbait is not necessarily the best way to do this. When used sparingly, it can be highly effective; but this is rarely the case. Online audiences have become more aware of clickbait now than they ever were in the past and are therefore becoming less likely to click on links with clickbait titles. They know they will be misled. Google’s algorithms also filter out clickbait, and this could lead to a fall on the search engine’s results pages for websites which produce such articles. Similarly, if a website has a high bounce rate, (the rate at which users click away from an article), Google will push the page down its rankings. The more bounces, the lower the site appears on the results page. This is therefore terrible for SEO.
Clickbait has become so prevalent that social media sites such as Facebook have begun to penalise posts which contain it. If Facebook’s algorithms recognise that a page has posted clickbait, it will attempt to stop these articles and pages appearing on a user’s News Feed. Social media followers may also become tired of clickbait titles, and you may see your follower count fall.
Often, clickbait will encourage curiosity click-throughs. Although you might see the number of site visitors increase, and an increase in rankings on search engines as a result, visits will be short, and the bounce rate will be high. A large number of site visits will not necessarily create a meaningful conversion rate.
Avoid sharebait too. These are articles with headlines which reinforce people’s long-held beliefs. Users often share these articles on social media without actually reading the content. They just want the headline on their profiles when it appears to support their views.
Effective Clickbait – One Weird Trick
You should only use clickbait sparingly, and ensure that the content relates to your industry or target audience. Additionally, make sure the content of the post is of good quality. It shouldn’t be secondary to the headline. Remember the mantra ‘quality over quantity’. Produce a few excellent articles, and you will create the same desire in the reader to read on, as many poor articles with an occasional good one will. Try to avoid lists, a mainstay of clickbait articles. They are terrible for SEO and will not encourage users to stay on your page. Some sites prioritise images over content, with articles of only two hundred words being filled out by GIFs and videos. There is nothing wrong with including images in your article. Remember not to overload the reader though. Maintain a good word count (300+), and don’t forget to put a keyword in the alt text of all images.
If you continually post clickbait articles, your site will become known for the spread of timewasting material. Instead, you ought to be developing a level of trust with your readers, by avoiding over-exaggeration and superlatives for link clicks. If readers feel that you are exploiting their emotions for clicks, it’s likely they’ll become alienated, and will stop viewing your site.
Before writing or posting any piece, stop and ask yourself: does this article need to be written? Will it develop the reputation of my business?
An Agency Here to Help
If you are searching for help producing great content marketing campaigns, Manchester based Creation ADM are here to help. We are a full service advertising, design and marketing agency and offer a copywriting service to produce articles for your website, and can run social media channels on your behalf. For more information, get in touch.