Can sexy linkbait blog titles backfire?

Let’s face it: Sexy blog titles get clicks.

But is there a time when a blog title’s sexy tease makes us feel a little…misled…when the post doesn’t come through on it’s promise? Perhaps.

This came to mind after reading a really great article with a sexy linkbait title. The article was called, ““Warning! SEO Copy Bubble Bursting” from the Content Marketing Institute.

To give the headline its due – hey, it got me to click. The headline did its job. But then I read the post…

I was expecting the article to be a typical “SEO copywriting is dead” post – and for the first couple paragraphs, that’s where it was heading (for instance, read the line about “hucksters and self-proclaimed experts” in SEO). However, just four paragraphs into it, the author is discussing the importance of content marketing – and then defining some SEO writing techniques to use (hey, wait, I thought the SEO copy bubble had burst.)

It’s obvious once you finish the article that the writer is a SEO copywriting advocate. If anything, she’s talking about content mills – not smart SEO copywriting. She just chose a sexy linkbait blog headline – one that implied a completely different viewpoint – to get the click.

It’s an interesting strategy. But something to think about is:  It’s one thing to drive clicks. It’s another when the information you promise (via the headline) isn’t really what the article is about. This headline “bait and switch” – if it’s done incorrectly – could frustrate readers rather than drawing them into the story.  As an example, one of the comments was that the reader felt “mislead” by the headline:

So tell me. What do you think of this headline strategy? Is it too “bait and switch” for your tastes? Or do you think the author is a smart marketer – and her sexy headline is a fantastic traffic-driving idea?

4 replies
  1. Moosa Hemani says:

    The image of the comment Gloria Rand is kind of cool minded person… em not a copy writer but being an SEO i fairly know what is the real importance of title and how it should be used to attract the eye balls available online.

    I think this is simply mis-leading, there are so many articles available online over the internet and em sure lot of them will be related to your topic as well… then why a read will like the mislead? i think the title should be smart and sexy but in such a way that it delivers what it commits in the beginning…

  2. Jessica says:

    I understand the importance of content; however, I noticed that she had an ad on the page. Perhaps all she wants to do is generate clicks and reports those numbers to her advertisers so they’ll keep buying ad space. And as long as people can relate to the content in some way, regardless if it’s a “sexy” misleading headline, they’ll want to come back to the blog. The headline just gets them there.

    • Heather says:

      Hey, Jessica!

      I know that some sites will do things like that (or write really bad copy so people are forced to click on an ad!) In this case, the Content Marketing Institute is a quality organization…so I’m guessing that the headline just backfired.


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