Clickbait headlines have been around for a few years now. Blogs, Youtube video titles, social media – clickbait titles can be found all over the interweb! Just because it is something that has become an “online norm” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.
In fact, most people believe that clickbait is detrimental for SEO (search engine optimization), while other’s will argue otherwise. We want to clear the air today and let you in on the pros and cons of clickbait from a SEO specialist perspective.
Clickbait and SEO
The SEO Pros to Using Clickbait Headlines
We’ve all seen ridiculous and outrageous headlines before. Outrageous headlines tend to spark curiosity and sometimes, it’s hard for us humans to resist despite being fully aware of clickbait culture. As a result, we click on that super cheesy, too-good-to-be-true title and provide that blogger, that video, or article with another view. This is a pro because that’s exactly what you want from your online audience!
Like stated in the previous point, by clicking on someone’s clickbait title, you are giving them attention and views that they want. Views, duration (how long you stayed on their website or watched their video), whether you hit the “thumbs up button” or not plays a role in helping them increase their ranking on search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This is huge simply because everyone wants to be at the number one spot when searched.
The SEO Cons to Using Clickbait Headlines
Sacrificing Important Keywords
Keywords can help your business appear when relevant searches are being made, however, most of those keywords do not provide the “wow” factor clickbait might bring to the table. Although important keywords might not grab as many eyes as clickbait would, they are very important, especially for search engines like Google.
Google, for example, prides themselves in being an easy-to-use, convenient tool for all. So, if Google thinks your clickbait titles are spam-like, there is a risk in them decreasing your online ranking. This means that, even if someone is searching for something relevant to your business, Google might place you on the 10th search page instead of the 1st because of missing keywords and a hunch that your content might not be the most credible.
Clickbait culture often goes hand in hand with “meme” or Internet humour. This is a good and bad thing. It is good in a sense that it showcases the “human” side of your business but it can also go terribly wrong if there isn’t a happy medium between industry related content and easy-to-relate to content. Worst case scenario: your business loses credibility.
Because clickbait is so outrageous, fun, and light hearted, it can be very hard for your audience to take you seriously. Losing that credibility can lead to a lot of missed opportunities – from online traffic, partnerships, leads, and even employment. This is the risk you could be taking if you are heavily relying on clickbait or spam-like social shares and online headlines.
How To Use Clickbait to Improve Your SEO
Believe it or not, there is a way to use clickbait without undermining your business and industry knowledge. Start the headline off with a punchy line (clickbait) and end with a more industry friendly statement. For example:
- 5 Facts About…
- Top 10 list of…
- What you need to know about…
The common ground between these three headline starters is that they are honest clickbait. Readers know what to expect, even with a punchy starter, as long as it ends on a relevant, factual, and honest note.