The negative effects of clickbait headlines
When you start a blog, your main goal is to get traffic. Unfortunately, clickbait headlines only work to increase clicks.
Once someone actually reads the article, the subject matter isn't as interesting as the headline made it seem. What you end up with is lots of clicks on an ad or social media post, but the article itself doesn't actually perform well.
Here are just a few examples of what can happen when you use a clickbait title.
High bounce rates
Clickbait tactics result in high bounce rates because your headline overpromises. Once the user determines that the article they've landed on actually doesn't provide useful or relevant content, they're more likely to bounce, increasing your site's bounce rate and lowering its engagement rate.
If you want your users to stay on your page, your clickbait headline must link to relevant content that actually delivers on its promises. Otherwise, users will get a bad impression of your site and leave.
Decreased trust in your brand
Once a user determines that you use clickbait to attract website visitors to poor-quality content, they won't trust you.
Ultimately, if your website is known for claims, sensationalized headlines, and poor-quality content, your reputation will suffer.
Clickbait rarely lives up to user expectations, so they'll stop trusting your content. As a result, most companies have moved away from these titles and focus more on generating headlines that tell users immediately what the article is about.
A high bounce rate means a low engagement rate. If someone clicks your clickbait headline and ends up on an article that doesn't actually deliver on the deadline's promise, they won't engage with your website. Instead, they'll leave and never return.
While headlines can play on your users' emotions, allowing you to deliver quality content, clickbait content tends to fall flat with audiences.
This is especially true for news sites. If you have a history of using outrageous claims or over-sensationalized headlines, visitors believe the news is fake or written as a joke. Users want to trust the news they read, so if you use clickbait headlines, they may not even click them.
Negative impact on search engine rankings
Clickbait is unlikely to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs). If your blog page titles, headings, and URL don't match the content of an article, you could be penalized.
The goal of any website isn't just to increase website traffic; you want to increase traffic while attracting new customers. Using clickbait headlines in your articles makes you more likely to lose website traffic over time.
Google isn't the only company cracking down on clickbait. Many of us still see clickbait headlines on social media. Social media platforms like Facebook have specific policies against these headlines because its users don't like them.
Any headlines that withhold information and have to click the article to understand what it's about is prohibited.
Both Google and Facebook take into account the time people spend on websites, so they can penalize you for using clickbait headlines.
The importance of writing authentic headlines
The headline is one of the most important aspects when you write a blog. Every content marketing strategy relies on headlines to attract readers.
However, your headlines should help users understand the article; you should not use clickbait tactics to attract web traffic and then underdeliver by providing irrelevant, untrustworthy, or poor-quality information.
Authentic headlines are key to attracting website traffic that is more likely to convert into paying customers. Here are a few reasons why you should move away from clickbait titles and focus more on authentic headlines:
Builds trust and credibility with your audience
When your headline tells visitors exactly what to expect from your content, they're not left guessing.
Setting expectations with your content marketing strategy allows you to meet those expectations and delight visitors with quality, relevant content — the whole reason they clicked on the article, to begin with.
Writing authentic headlines can also build trust with your audience by allowing you to use curated content on your social media or channels with your own unique thoughts on it. For instance, you can use content from an external source as the basis for a new post or blog.