Clickbait works exactly as it sounds—it puts out a headline that makes you want to click to learn more because it has an ere of mystery or an astonishing fact that you just have to learn more about. Understanding clickbait is probably best explained by simply looking at examples. Pay close attention to the fact that these headlines don’t really tell you anything about what you’ll find when you do actually click:
To get more technical, clickbait is a strategy marketers use soley to improve their CRT and pageview numbers, meaning it doesn’t matter if the headline or link tells readers anything about what they’ll actually learn if they do click. It doesn’t have to be relevant, make sense, or be factual; it just has to be interesting.
Keep in mind that for most websites a clickbait style article, headline, or link is done on purpose, but sometimes it can be accidental. It’s important that all Webmasters know what to look for when identifying clickbait so they can decide whether or not the strategy is right for them. You can check out more examples here.
The Pros of Clickbait
- It will earn you more pageviews. Whether or not those pageviews will return is up for debate, but you should get a large number of new pageviews and clicks every time.
- It’s easy to share on social media. Because people took the time to click (and usually see these articles on social media), they are more likely to be re-shared on social. This also helps extend your reach as a brand.
- Because of the last point, it’s more likely that your post will go viral.
- Because you get more pageviews and social shares, you build brand awareness. Wordstream also reminded in their article that going viral is not even necessary. If you’re producing more pageviews and social shares, you’re building crucial brand awareness.
The Cons of Clickbait
- It can seem tricky, which could cause you to lose future readers or urge people to “unhide” your stories on Facebook or unsubscribe to your newsletter.
- Going off of the last point, this can sometimes lead to a negative reputation. Readers may decide they can’t trust you, which could lead to negative reviews as well.
- Just because you get a lot of pageviews doesn’t mean your conversion rates are improving, which is usually the bottom line for a company.
- Everyone is using clickbait these days, so the appeal is losing traction fast.
The Verdict: Is Clickbait Worth It?
In my opinion, in almost all situations the cons will outweigh the pros for this one. The risks are far too risky than the rewards are sweet. It is worth it to put your credibility and trust on the line to earn more pageviews? If pageviews are what you’re after then maybe, but you have to ask yourself how sustainable this tactic will be in the long run. I personally think that clickbait is losing momentum with readers as more and more websites jump on the bandwagon, so as a long-term strategy is seems like saying “no” to clickbait is important.
Nevertheless, sometimes pageviews are going to be your number one goal, and it certainly has worked well for websites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. It’s up to you what you value most for your company. For many, publishing a clickbait style headline on social media every once and a while is just what they need to increase brand visibility, and if it doesn’t happen all of the time then trust may not be lost. It’s all about finding balance!
So are there any SEO considerations? Not really. If you earn more pageviews it could lead to helping you build more natural links because your visibility increase which will affect your SEO, so that is also something to keep in mind if clickbait works right.
What do you think about clickbait as a Webmaster or as a reader? Let us know in the comment section below.