How to Avoid Click-bait

Click-bait is an article headline written to entice the reader to click-through, but lack information about the article’s contents, for example: “You won’t believe what this marketer did to get more clicks” could be a click-bait title you might see.

The problem

Click-bait leaves the question of content open to the reader’s imagination – and this is the reason why most often it fails to deliver on what is promised.

If the article does not meet the expectations promised in the click-bait title, the reader can be left feeling frustrated. The reader feels duped that they took the bait and that they wasted there time, which in turn can tarnish brand trust.

A click-through to an article isn’t everything, and click-bait will most likely reduce your chance of attracting quality traffic.

Quality traffic leads to a conversion, whether that conversion is a share of the article on social media or a purchase on an e-commerce site of a product advertised in the article. An article headline that informs the reader, rather than baits them to your post – can help generate quality clicks that will lead to such conversions.

The Best of Both Worlds

If you find yourself writing headlines for your own content, the best of both worlds are the titles that entice the reader to click-through and are also representative of the content.

Here are 5 things that a good headline should have:

  1. Use numbers. Odd numbers especially seem to be effective. Headlines featuring odd numbered lists have a 20% better click-through rate.
  2. Click-bait is bad SEO. Use tools like GoogleTrends or AdWords Keyword Planner to help you optimize your headline SEO.
  3. Focus on the benefits. Having a reason to click, instead of the mere curiosity provided by click-bait, can increase the value of your article for your readers.
  4. Be short and sweet. Keep your headlines to about 8-10 words or 65 characters.
  5. Avoid puns, idioms and hyperbole. Not only will you turn people off, but you will also lose valuable space for your keywords or content to shoehorn in a joke.

Writing slick, SEO headlines that are representative of your content will give you the quality clicks that click-bait never will.

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Nick Seebruch

I am an External writer at ShoutEx. My interest lie in marketing, communications and journalism

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