Clickbait headlines are tempting, but they are terrible SEO
We all want to get more traffic to our blogs sites.
It doesn’t matter if you have a hosted blog using Wordpress hosting or if you are using free blogging platforms.
When you start a blog and writing blog posts, you want to appear in a Google search results page to get traffic. You probably also use social media sites to promote every piece of content you write.
In today’s world of fake news, it is easy to think that a sensationalistic headline will help attract attention. It is sometimes referred to as creating a curiosity gap.
Every media outlet, from the New York Times to your local newspaper and most online news site uses this technique. It is used to make readers curious and eager to read an article. A compelling headline is worth its weight in gold.
But a clickbait, or click bait article suffers from an information gap because the headline is not related to relevant content.
If you use a headline like, madman attacks innocent dog, and your content is promoting your new science fiction book, a reader will feel cheated and leave immediately.
Sure, you gain a click, but when a visitor leaves a web page after only a few seconds, it is classed as a bounce and will not help your site’s page views or ranking for organic search results at all.
You might get some attention on a social network like Facebook or Twitter. But a social like or even a comment does nothing to help your search engine results.
Trying to trick people into visiting your blog or website with a startling or lurid headline is a strategy that leads to nowhere.
If you want to succeed at blogging, it is far better to learn how search engines work. Then you can write your articles and blog posts to take advantage of them and get more organic blog visitors.
Related reading: The Long And Winding Road Towards More Website Traffic
How to use search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engines such as Google and Bing are getting smarter and smarter.
When they crawl your post, they analyse a long list of ranking factors. According to Backlinko, there are 200 ranking factors that Google uses to rank a web page for search queries.
You have no control over some such as site age, but you have total control over content factors such as keyword use and relevant content and making sure you do not post copied or duplicate content.
The most important issues are your post title, SEO title meta tag, meta description, the length and quality of your content and user experience.
If you use WordPress and have your own web hosting, there are many SEO customization options you can build into your blog editor. Yoast and All in One SEO are the most popular. Here is a screen grab of my SEO for this article.
Because it is an open source content management system, you can optimize all your articles for web search and even link directly to Google Analytics to monitor your progress.
For bloggers using a free platform or free website builder on a free domain, you should have basic SEO features including SEO title and meta description. But if not, concentrate on your post title and content.
Whether you are blogging to promote your books, a local business or a marketing service, the key to success is in choosing appropriate keywords for every one of your posts.
What is the difference between keywords and clickbait?
A search keyword is a word or short phrase that real people use every day to find information on the Internet. It is not guesswork.
Finding these phrases requires research and taking the time to find the best ones for each article you write.
In this article, I am writing about the downsides of clickbait and how SEO helps blog sites gain regular organic traffic.
Here is my research data on the three keywords I selected using Semrush.
All three have modest monthly search volumes but are exactly relevant to my article. If I manage to rank on Google and Bing and get a 2-3% click-through rate I will be more than well satisfied.
However, if I was to be greedy and think about using a clickbait headline, I would take a different approach.
For an inexperienced blogger, this is something that would certainly look very tempting. Two and a half million looks like a much better bet than only ten or twenty thousand.
All you would need to do is include Taylor Swift in the blog post title. Perhaps, How Taylor Swift Uses Clickbait And SEO On Her Blog Sites.
But without any proof or accurate knowledge about how or what techniques she or her staff use to gain traffic, it would definitely have a huge information gap.
It is something that search engines would spot in an instant. There is no way any regular blogger could write an informative post about this headline.
The attraction of using high volume clickbait keywords is a trap that leads to rapidly devaluing your blog. It can only result in a less than possible short-term gain for a lot of long-term pain.
On top of that, it gives you no chance of link building. Who would bother to link to a blog post that is irrelevant and void of any useful information?
SEO, relevant keywords and informative content
Quality SEO will always win in the long run.
There are no shortcuts or black hat tricks to building a successful blog.
Inappropriate keywords, keyword stuffing and buying backlinks are too easy for search engines to recognise.
The only way to win is to write fantastic long-form articles that are both informative or entertaining.
They also need to be grammatically perfect and easy to read. Using an online grammar checker is an absolute must today.
You will often read that content is king in blogging and content marketing. But it is only half true.
Without strong and related SEO keywords to help people find your article, even the best-written article will fail to attract people to read it.
It is by effectively combining great content with solid keywords that you will win at blogging in the long term. There are no quick fixes or shortcuts to success.
Related reading: Google SEO Is The Solution As Social Media Use Drops Away