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What Is Clickbait and Is It Good or Bad?

What Is Clickbait and Is It Good or Bad?

Clickbait definition: Clickbait is online content created to entice visits and earn page views. Clickbait headlines and thumbnail links encourage Internet users to visit the link to read, listen, or watch content.

Clickbait sounds like an enticing content marketing strategy, because it’s meant to hook a user to visit your link. You want website traffic and more viewers after all the hard work you poured into creating content!

However, clickbait is one of the controversial buzzwords that can either mean good or bad. This blog post will go through these topics, so you’ll better understand what clickbait is:

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What is clickbait?

Clickbait is online content created to entice visits and earn page views. Clickbait headlines and thumbnail links encourage Internet users to visit the link to read, listen, or watch content. Clickbait content is highly shareable, too, because it uses emotional language.

Clickbait content is usually associated with misleading or sensationalized online content and even fake news, so this content has earned a bad reputation.

Who uses clickbait?

Several groups use clickbait for either good or bad:

  • Businesses: Businesses who want to increase website activity publish blog posts and videos with catchy headlines, which some content marketers consider a form of good clickbait.
  • Publishers: Some publishers use clickbait to drive site traffic, and earn more advertising money, clicks, or conversions.
  • Unscrupulous individuals and groups: They give clickbait a bad rep because they use it to send users to phishing and malicious sites, fake news, or content that’s not related to the headline or thumbnail image.

Is clickbait good or bad?

By its definition alone, clickbait is not inherently bad. However, it’s used for bad purposes.

“Good” clickbait is a pair of engaging headline and provocative thumbnail that lead users to the expected content.

“Bad” clickbait tempts users to click, without delivering the promise of the headline and image. Worse, it leads to an irrelevant or malicious website.

You’ve probably heard that all forms of clickbait are bad. Why is clickbait bad then?

Google might penalize your website if it finds out that you mislead online users with a headline and URL that are irrelevant to your page. As a result, your rankings will get affected. In addition, if your site visitors notice that you always use superlatives and exaggerated claims, you will lose their trust and they won’t click on your links anymore.

What is an example of a clickbait?

You’ve probably come across online content with headlines that are the modern-day equivalent of yellow journalism. Here are some common “bad” clickbait examples:

  • _____ did _____. You’ll never believe what happened next.
  • This weird trick did ____.
  • They didn’t know that ____. What happened next blew their mind.

Example of bad clickbait

Then, there are the good ones. These are content pieces that hook readers with their headlines or their thumbnail images and deliver relevant articles or videos. They can be useful how-to blog posts and listicles, which are inviting for users to click because they discuss handy tips.

Example of a good clickbait

What makes good clickbait?

Everyone wants their content to be read and watched, and their webpages to rank. However, bad clickbait practices are counterproductive as they’ll damage your reputation among readers and hurt your rankings.

Instead, practice the following to make sure your content is being consumed by your target audience:

Find out what your audience is searching for through keyword research

Keyword research helps you find target keywords that you can include in your page’s title, headings, and on-page content. Sprinkle your target keywords throughout your content, so search engines like Google will find your page to be relevant to these keywords. Tools like KeywordsFX can help you with your keyword research efforts.


Keyword research will also help you with your content marketing strategy and help you answer questions such as:

  • What blog posts or videos should I publish?
  • Which existing pages should I optimize for certain popular keywords?

Identify the searcher’s intent

Search intent is the reason behind a user’s search inquiry. A user is most likely looking for answers, so create content — or optimize an existing one — that addresses a searcher’s problem. There are four common types of intent:

  • Informational: The most common intent, this type of search intent wants to learn about a certain topic or subject. These searches take place when users are in the discovery phase. For example, users who search “what’s a good road bike” are looking for more information about road bikes and are not yet ready to buy one.
  • Navigational: This type of search happens when a user has a brand in mind but may need the help of a search engine to get to a product page. For example, a user types in “pinarello road bikes” to look for Pinarello’s webpage that lists all its road bikes.
  • Transactional: The purchase intent for these searches is high. Phrases like “price,” “sale,” or “pricing” are in the queries because they’re almost ready to buy.
  • Commercial: A mix of informational and transactional intent, commercial searches have users ready to buy, but want more information to guide them to the purchase. In our earlier example of road bikes, a user can do further research by searching, “pinarello dogma f8 vs. canyon aeroad.”

Are Internet users looking for your products’ price list? Optimize your existing price page, so users can easily find it. Are searchers looking for your products’ specs? Make sure you optimize your product pages, and they appear in searches when searchers look for “product x features.”

Create multiple headline options for your content

With businesses trying to outrank one another and get users’ attention, you must have a headline that convinces people that your page has the answer to their questions. Sometimes, this means writing several headline options and picking one or two to test.

Explore working with an experienced copywriter in your industry. They can help you craft headlines that draw people to click without compromising your reputation or rankings.

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Want to create click-worthy content that will drive revenue?

If you need help with your digital marketing strategy to avoid bad clickbait practices and create compelling headlines, look no further than WebFX. We’ve helped our clients generate over 7.8 million qualified leads.

Our team will be glad to help you create a digital marketing strategy that drives leads, sales, and revenue. Contact us online or call us at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about our digital marketing services.

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