Being clickable comes with baggage. Journalists and readers alike lament the rise of clickbait headlines, used to entice readers into clicking on a story that’s actually much less interesting than originally promised. The rise of the practice has led to a loss of trust from readers, with people becoming more cynical about what they click through to.
This doesn’t mean it’s a dead practice though. Catering your headline copy to be as clickable as possible is still a vital part of gaining clicks, no matter how much readers complain about it. So even with all the negative press, why should you trust in the method?
Powerful headlines influence SEO
When you’re trying to appeal to a search engine, how you write a headline can be as important as the on-page content. Headlines play a part in determining whether the content on the page is right for what the user is searching for. While you shouldn’t focus your writing entirely around the whims of Google, making smart use of keywords will have an impact on your ranking. As Mashable suggests, your page will better appeal to search engines if it has a headline that combines both creative clickability and SEO best practices.
It Attracts Readers
The truth of the matter is we all still fall for clickbait. Even when we know what we’re clicking through to can’t be as good as expected, we still can’t resist. A headline that grabs attention and appeals to key emotions is much more likely going to gain clicks than one that dryly conveys facts.
If you’re giving me the full story in the headline, why should I click through? There’s a reason clickbait-style headlines from BuzzFeed continue to get so many clicks years after everyone worked out what they were doing, the style appeals to our need for answers and plays with temptation.
A well-crafted clickbait headline withholds a certain level of information. Treat your webpages and content as a news story and drip feed hooks of information in your headline. If your readers have something to grab their attention they’ll pay the cost of a click to see the rest.
It Encourages Sharing On Social Media
Social media is a battlefield for attention, and some of the biggest success stories on the platform have mastered the art of clickable writing. Many of the more clickbait heavy news and culture websites have made good use of clickable writing practices to build their brand.
The constantly changing nature of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook means you’re less likely to lose a reader if your content is good, as the clickable practices that got them there will be forgotten.
It’s Testing for Email Campaigns
See writing clickable headlines as testing what your audience, and a possible future audience, respond to. Rather than limiting your email headline testing to simply emails, let your webpages guide future campaigns. If you’re finding success with certain headline styles and seeing improved click-through rates then it might be worth implementing the style in your next email newsletter.
It Appeals to Search and Reading Habits
Consider your own searching habits. What makes you click on a website link while searching for information? Is it the meta description? The URL? Chances are it’s not, it’s the headline. The habits of readers and search engine users are very specific, and you should appeal to that.
The practice of writing for clicks is familiar to people. It reassures them that the information they’re going to read is of the same quality as websites they’ve used in the past, and more importantly it’ll be presented in a digestible way that saves reading time. If you’re not following this style you’re going to be the only headline not enticing a click, which instantly puts you on the backfoot. Appeal to the style and structure search audiences have become accustomed to and helped shape, not your own personal sense of how something should read.
The Market is Competitive
If you’re appearing in a strong position in search results, chances are you’re already investing time and money into catching the right attention. Don’t let that go to waste but not keeping up with your competitors. Having artistic integrity is no good when everyone else is writing headlines that appeal to the human impulse to quickly click through. Using clickable language in your headlines is just smart practice to make sure you don’t fall behind.
As Neil Patel says the headlines that often do the best are useful, identifying a problem and offering a solution. The key to being competitive is leveraging being clickable to do the same.
Writing headlines with the aim of making them clickable may feel like you’re selling your creative soul or appealing to the lowest common denominator. Not only is it best practice in a technical sense, but it shows an understand of how modern reading habits have changed and what people see as a signifier of good quality and easy to read pages.
About the Author
Rodney Laws is an online entrepreneur who has been building online businesses for over a decade. Rodney uses his experience to help fellow entrepreneurs start and run their own companies. Find out how he can help you by visiting EcommercePlatforms.io or heading over to @EcomPlatformsio.