How Clickbait Can Hurt Your Brand

With so many brands looking to drive traffic to their websites, many rely on clickbait to drive attention.  Clickbait is “something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.”  (Merriam Webster). Using these tactics can drive traffic, but can also have an additional cost. Check out the video to learn more.

Video Transcript

So this video is going to be short and sweet, but it’s more of a public service announcement, because this is something that I see all the time and honestly it drives me nuts, and the reality is that in the long run it also hurts businesses.

Maybe you’ve come across something called click-bait. This is an outrageous article or maybe an outrageous title where the sole purpose of this title is to get you to actually click on that piece of content.

Now in order to do this, they usually stretch the truth, and sometimes it goes too far, and honestly in the time that we live in right now, and the way the internet goes, it goes too far quite a bit.

A lot of businesses like to do this because they can drive up their ad revenue if they show a number of people coming to their website, but the problem is that a lot of people who click on click-bait end up like this guy, and they’re not really happy about what they just found themselves stumbling on.

Instead, you want to make sure that your readers are excited about the content that they’ve engaged with. So instead of writing high end content like “The secret tip to making sure that this “X” won’t ever happen to you in your life”, you know actually provide some value in what people want to know about, like how click-bait can hurt your website.

A lot of people think that all they need to do is get somebody there and things are going to change. The reality is if you drive people to your website using click-bait, they engage with your article for two second and then leave because it’s a piece of junk, and they feel like they got duped.

You’ve done two things. One, you’ve increased your bounce rate. So you’ve actually shown that you’re driving users but users like your content less.

So this can negatively influence you in the social channels as well as the search results. If people click on that click-bait and then bounce and leave because they didn’t like what they saw. So you’re decreasing your ability to see organic growth over time.

The other problem is you’re pissing off people. Now when people come to your website, and they think they’re getting one thing, and then they feel like they’ve been mislead, that’s breaking trust, and when you break trust with people, they don’t want to share your content. They don’t want to visit your website. They don’t want to engage with your brand.

So if you want a quick win, and just drive traffic to make your numbers look good, click-bait is not the way to go. What you want to do is look for systematic short term wins that can continue to compound your growth so that you see that exponential growth over time.

Yes, it takes a little bit longer, but it’s actually sustainable and it produces real business results. Stay away from click-bait. Don’t make your users like this guy. Give them what they want. Solve their problems. Let them engage with you. That’s going to help them share your content more, stay on your site longer, which is going to increase your organic visibility, and help you grow your business over time.

Do you have any questions? Please comment below. Until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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