You Won't Believe What We Found Out About...

October 20, 2015

You won't believe what we found out about the downfall of Clickbait and how you actually have to write good content.

We've all been there. A quiet lunchtime in the office or Sunday morning in bed with a hangover, messing about on Facebook. You come across someone promising to show you a photo of a cute UNICORN KITTEN playing with a celebrity who has done something TERRIBLE OMG.

And how often do we click through, only to be disappointed by something tenuously related to the headline? We feel at best annoyed and at worst ever so slightly used and stupid.

This my friends, is the lure of Clickbait. It works in a couple of ways:

By including Keywords in its headline, Clickbait is great at making sure articles are highly ranked by search engines so they are found and read.

These headlines provide just enough information to make us curious enough to click on the link.

The backlash has started. In August 2014 Facebook itself declared war on the clickbait, promising to change the way they optimise searches. Instead of prioritising the number of clicks they now look at the amount of time users spend on these sites. If visits are extremely short, inferring that the content is rubbish they won't be ranked well.

Buzzfeed and other similar parties have leapt to their own defence arguing that the content they provide actually exceeds the promise of their headlines: www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/why-buzzfeed-doesnt-do-clickbait#.plnNPLnYK - They say what they are producing isn't Clickbait at all - just cleverly signposted entertainment. I'm not getting involved.

What is clear is that honesty is the best policy, and producing quality content is vital to not alienating your potential customers. Having said this, there are some lessons that we can take from Clickbait:

- Using keywords in blog headlines will up your Google rankings. For more on this read our article on successful blogging

- Headlines can leave a reader hanging to encourage them to keep reading. This website has loads of tips for gently making people want to read more.

http://www.poynter.org/news/media-innovation/255886/top-8-secrets-of-how-to-write-an-upworthy-headline

- Unicorn kittens ALWAYS generate traffic... You just have to find one, or at least a clever way of including them in your business model.