The need for more clicks and page views is pushing sites to some unimaginable extent. Site owners have to consistently fight or find a balance in click-baiting, especially if search engine optimization (SEO) goals have to be achieved. It’s no wonder some professionals have questioned the effectiveness and the future of clicks.
So should click-baiting be considered in an SEO strategy, and is it effective? Let’s look at what click-baiting is, some of the pros and cons, and how you can go around it to find a balance.
What is Click-Baiting?
As the name suggests, clickbait is content specifically designed to attract as many clicks as possible. Some of the major characteristics include:
- A captivating and seemingly irresistible headline
- Easy to skim
- Created to encourage social sharing
- Memorable or funny
- Intended to appeal to one or more emotions
While not all clickbait has these characteristics, they won’t miss two or more.
Pros of Click-Baiting
To most people, click-baiting may seem all negative. However, it can have some benefits when done well.
1. Sparks Curiosity Which Leads to More Clicks and Higher Ranking
Headlines are powerful, and sometimes, it’s pretty obvious that it’s written as clickbait – but we cannot help clicking to see the content. In this curiosity, people get to read the content, and if it meets their expectations, they can engage further or even make a purchase.
When a site has more clicks continuously, and people engage with the content, the search engines will interpret that as relevant and result in a better ranking.
2. Increased Social Shares
Clickbait, by nature, is designed to evoke some emotion – hatred, shock, excitement, disgust, surprise, among others. When people click on that link and find content that resonates with their personality, they will share it with their social circles. They may post on their social media feeds or even email a friend.
Social shares are good for SEO – it means your content appeals to your target audience, and they find it good enough to share with other people.
3. Increased Brand Awareness
Ever heard of Buzzfeed? This brand is known for click-baiting. Likewise, if you master the art of using clickbait to your advantage, your brand will be more exposed to people. This brand awareness can be good for your business as you can reach your target audience with more content.
4. Better Conversions
No matter how good your content is, you won’t meet your content marketing goals if no one clicks on it. However, you’ll achieve better engagements and conversions if you use captivating headlines and target the right audience.
Better engagement and increased conversions will ensure you meet your SEO goals and the traffic you get is from the right people.
Cons of Click-Baiting in SEO
While clickbait can have incredible benefits to your SEO efforts, it could also present some negative aspects. Here are some:
1. Loss of Brand Credibility
The desire to have more clicks has pushed brands to use click-baiting just to get more of them. When people have high expectations of the content, only to be disappointed, they lose trust in the brand, meaning no future engagements.
Even if you had regular clients, they might not want to be associated with a brand that’s not truthful. It may result in bad ratings and reviews on Google, reducing your ranking and negatively affecting your business.
2. Loss of Important Keywords
Striking a balance between using the high-performing keyword and the clickbait on the headline may seem quite challenging, especially for long-tail keywords. The outcome is the keyword is forfeited for a more captivating title.
This means the short-term clicks are esteemed over the long-term steady growth and traffic from the right visitors. This will hurt SEO, and increased ranking over time may be lost.
3. Clicks can be a Vain Metric
There are various SEO goals that you want to achieve with increased traffic – more conversions, brand awareness, educating your readers, email subscribers, or gaining a following.
To reach any of these goals, you need clicks from the right people. Otherwise, they won’t be measurable because no value is being added or given to the thousands of people visiting your site.
Wrong traffic means people won’t engage much with your content. This signals to Google that you are not meeting the searcher’s intent, and the outcome is reduced ranking on search engines.
4. High Bounce Rate
Most clickbait is designed for more clicks without much regard to whether the reader’s expectations are met or not. When readers cannot get what was promised in the headline, they are disappointed, leave the site, and go to other sites that match their expectations.
When Google picks up on a high bounce rate, it reads irrelevance, reducing the chances of appearing on the first page.
5. Sensationalism if Fading Away
Clickbait is an old trick that’s losing its appeal. No one wants to feel duped or misguided. Readers want truthful headlines and nothing that screams ‘click me.’ Headlines should be compelling and match the content to avoid wasting time on irrelevant titles.
So, click-baiting may not be the best strategy if you want to use content marketing to grow your site and business.
Clickbait is not all wrong. However, it should be tied to your SEO goals and should not be the driving force behind your content marketing goals. Yes, you should use captivating headlines, but it’s important to remain truthful and, if your brand credibility matters to you, to not exaggerate. Otherwise, clicks can be a vain metric and mean nothing to your business in the long run.
Need help figuring out if you’re doing clickbait right? Our team at Zero Gravity Marketing is here to help. Reach out to us today to learn how!