I was reading the news online the other day, and a well-known writer used the word “zombie” in his headline. I figured if it was good enough for him, it was good enough for me (see above), although it was probably his editor who made up the headline. The author himself might hate it.
Then I decided to gather some of the information I’ve found over the last couple of years about using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) keywords to entice readers to click on articles in newspapers, blogs, and every other platform writers use nowadays. I was amazed to realize when I keyed SEO in this paragraph, I actually knew what the letters stand for without looking it up. I looked it up anyway, to be sure.
I’m no expert. Before I wrote this, I’ve never intentionally used clickbait. I’ve read about how to use it, why to use it, and why not to use it, though. And how to find it.
So, what is clickbait and SEO? In case you don’t know, they are words or short phrases that computer people use to entice people to click on an article. Or better yet for them, an ad.
You may have heard of algorithms, too. Those are the computer programs used to figure out which words are clicked the most. And other things.
You will find lists of these words all over the internet.
But before I continue with that, there’s this part of an ad:
“7 reasons why your dream pant is here” with a picture of trousers
Wait, what? Do you wear a pant? Or do you wear pants? Personally, I prefer two legged pants. And I have never dreamed of pants before, let alone a dream pant. What am I missing, besides a pant leg?
You may be, or not, surprised that I found this ad in the same publication where the author wanted to discuss zombies.
Next I found an ad for “one short, every sport.” Picture of a man running in a short, I mean in shorts.
Anyway, the question is, are some of the words in these ads clickbait? Did the writers figure out that pant and short worked better as bait then when the “s” is added? Inquiring minds (well, mine) want to know.
You know what the most common word for Twitter used as clickbait is… Twitter?
Or did you at least guess that?
Here are some examples of clickbait. Have fun filling in the blanks:
- “How to Get Results Using this…”
- “You’ll never believe…”
- “This happened, then this happened.”
- Ask a question
- Use a number
- Be brief
- Go ahead, be negative
- The Ultimate Guide to…
- How to…
- # of the Best…
- # of the Worst…
My eyes just widened. I realized that by listing all these clickbait words and phrases, this article, when published, should show up near or at the top of many Google searches.
Or maybe not.
You can be sure I’m going to click to check it out. When I stop thinking about pant and short. I suspect that’s going to be hard to do now.