Why clickbait won’t work in the long run

You’ve seen at least one clickbait title today if not more. Something like “5 Things about Garden Gnomes that will Shock You!

No, I won’t be talking about garden gnomes (though I am sure I can find a shocking fact or two about them).

What clickbait does is playing with your mind, teasing your curiosity, but never ever giving you a satisfying answer.

Why clickbait exists

Well, I am pretty sure for as long as we had published writing, we have had clickbait in whatever form.

Clickbait technically refers to a web behavior “click”bait. However, if you think of its printed form, the yellow press, you see how titles have been used for centuries to gain attention through exaggeration and sensationalism to increase paper purchases. It’s not much different on the web. The goal is to increase visits to a web page, usually to make money through advertising on that page.

Why clickbait won’t work in the long run

Though clickbait drives tons of traffic through the interwebs, Google’s SEO algorithm (and PPC as well) uses engagement as a quality signal rather than traffic volume alone.

Engagement means, a user stays on your site for a longer period of time, they visit several pages, they follow a call to action like sign up for an email newsletter or purchase something.

Most visitors lured to your site by clickbait will quickly realize that they have been duped and leave your site. This increases your bounce rate, which is a negative signal to Google’s algorithm. Bad signal.

How you can use clickbait practices without being clickbaity

The best performing clickbait articles tend to be lists. So write lists. But deliver on your headline. If you promise the “5 things of…” deliver quality 5 things.

Write long-form content and break up your content into little chapters with sub-heading for easy reading and understanding.

Always deliver on your promise in the title. Don’t disappoint by not delivering on what you promised the reader when they read your headline.

In summary, write quality content from headline all the way through to the end.

Let’s have another cup of joe’s or “the best cup of joe you’ve never heard of”…