Clickbait Strategy: What Is It And How Does It Work?

February 19, 2024 | Content Marketing

No matter how long you use the internet, you must have come across content with alluring headlines like “10 best ways to make money online while you sleep” or “Double your productivity overnight”, etc.

If you have clicked any of those headlines, chances are high that you have landed on a page offering content on a completely different topic or skinny content that is of no use.

Those are clickbait titles designed with the sole purpose of getting clicks and not satisfying the reader’s search intent.

This article shall discuss clickbaiting, how clickbaiting strategy works, examples of clickbaiting, and how clickbaiting can negatively impact your website, and how to avoid it.

Let’s dive in.

What Does Clickbait Mean?

Clickbait is a marketing strategy that offers misleading or deceptive content with alluring titles to draw readers’ attention, get clicks, and increase page views.

What does clickbait mean?

The main problem with most clickbaiting content is that it offers little or no value to the reader. If a website frequently publishes thin content using the clickbaiting strategy, it can lose readers’ trust. 

Moreover, search bots ensure a drop in the ranking of clickbaiting websites.

How Does Clickbaiting Work?

Clickbait advertising targets the following three psychological triggers of a reader to draw attention.

Curiosity Gap

The curiosity gap is the difference between what readers already know and what they want to know. 

It is a general human psychology to know something new. Clickbaiting content exploits that and offers compelling and catchy headlines to create curiosity in readers’ minds.

Create a curiosity gap

The sense of incompleteness in readers’ minds attracts them to click on clickbait headlines. 


FOMO (fear of missing out) is the fear in the human mind created by the worry of potentially missing any opportunity, event, or experience.

Fear of missing out

A clickbait site targets this fear by offering shocking, unbelievable, and surprising clickbait headlines to compel the reader to click. Most readers want to notice exciting content, and they click on those misleading clickbaiting headlines. 

Allure Of Instant Solution

It is another general psychology of the human mind to find a solution demanding minimum effort.

Trying to find quick or instant solutions allows clickbait websites to target you as a reader.

Instant solutions to your problems

For example, if you are trying to find online earning opportunities, clickbaiting content with a headline like “10 best ways to make money online while you sleep” can easily blow your mind.

The allure of easy earning opportunities with minimum effort can trigger you to click on the clickbait title.

Examples Of Clickbait Advertising

We will cite three examples of clickbait advertising targeting audiences using various platforms.


Suppose you are worried about obesity and looking for a solution to lose weight.

Clickbait title

The above example of the clickbait title on a medical site can immediately draw your attention. You will be curious about the worst carbohydrate to eliminate from your diet and will end up clicking the clickbaiting headline.


Suppose you have an Instagram account and you are looking for information on how to earn money from it.

Alluring YouTube thumbnail

The above example of the thumbnail of a YouTube video used for clickbait advertising can quickly draw your attention. 

It might be tough for you to avoid knowing how you can start earning $10000 using your Instagram account within five days, and that too without any followers. As a result, viewers often click on these clickbait headlines.


Curiosity about the lives of our favorite celebrities is quite common. And if the clickbait site offers sensational clickbait headlines that speak about the privacy of their life, it triggers more attention.

Clickbait heading of an entertainment news

News with clickbait headlines like the above example allures readers to satisfy their eagerness to know more about the status of Kim Kardashian’s relationship with Kanye West.

How Do Clickbait Headlines Affect?

Clickbait advertising helps in getting more clicks and driving traffic to websites. 

However, these clickbaiting benefits do not last long if the clickbait site does not offer high-quality content that adds value to its readers.

If the clickbait site offers only thin or poor content, readers lose trust.

Why do we never recommend clickbait titles?

Following are the three main negative impacts your website might face if you use clickbait titles, which is why we never recommend using them.

Damages Your Revenue Potential

When users land on your web page after clicking the exciting clickbait title and do not find relevant content, they quickly exit the page in frustration without any further interaction.

Clickbaiting decreases revenue potential

That, in turn, may damage your revenue potential by not allowing you to

  1. Showcase and promote your product or service.
  2. Display ads for more earnings.
  3. Encourage visitors to click the ‘Call-to-action’ and convert them to your customers.

Moreover, when users do not get valuable content, they immediately leave your clickbaiting page without wasting any further time.

That decreases your website’s dwell time and boosts the bounce rate.

Though these are not direct ranking factors, they describe search bots that your content is clickbaiting and not designed to fulfill users’ search intent

Damage Your Website’s Trustworthiness

Offering poor or thin clickbaiting content that provides little or no value to your readers significantly damages their trust in your website.

Clickbaiting damages readers’ trust

Users start avoiding your clickbait headlines and become suspicious about the credibility of your website.

Hurts Your Website’s Rankings

The main aim of search engines like Google is to offer the most relevant and valuable content in search results to satisfy the searcher’s intent.

Google prioritizes user experience while ranking.

Clickbaiting drops your Google SERP rankings

If you largely depend on clickbait headlines with the sole purpose of getting clicks, drive traffic to your website by misleading readers, and do not offer valuable content, it can seriously damage your website’s rankings for offering a poor user experience in the long run.

How To Avoid Clickbaiting And Engage Your Audience?

Google follows its EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) guidelines to evaluate the quality of a web page.

If you want your content to align with Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines and boost your chances of ranking higher, you essentially need to take the following steps.

Design SEO-Friendly Blog Titles

You must design SEO-friendly titles for your blogs that clearly describe to your readers what they can expect from your content instead of creating deceptive clickbait titles.

Write SEO-friendly titles for blog posts

Avoiding clickbait advertising and creating SEO-friendly titles that clearly demonstrate the relevance and purpose of your content to the readers and optimizing them with the right keywords can help you gain the following benefits,

  1. Increase your click-through rate (CTR).
  2. Drive more organic traffic to your website.
  3. Achieve higher rankings on search results.
  4. Demonstrate to your readers what to expect from your content.
  5. Describe the relevance and purpose of your content to search engines.

You must use RankWatch’s free keyword research tool to identify the right keywords to optimize your blog titles.

RankWatch keyword research tool

The tool will suggest a list of organic and long-tail keywords related to your seed keyword in the blink of an eye.

Keyword suggestions in RankWatch keyword research tool

The tool also provides search volume, cost-per-click, and keyword difficulty (competition) for each keyword.

Once you finish designing a perfect SEO-friendly title for your content, you need to check if there is any further opportunity to optimize the title.

You must execute an on-page SEO check to identify those additional opportunities. The SEO IQ feature of RankWatch can make this task a cakewalk.

RankWatch SEO IQ feature

The tool shows the usage of your exact seed keyword in your title and provides suggestions for further optimization.

Suggestion for further optimizing the title in RankWatch SEO IQ

The RankWatch SEO IQ also shows the usage of broad keywords, which can be a part of the primary keyword or a combination of keywords related to the seed keyword.

Suggestion for further optimizing the title in RankWatch SEO IQ

These combinations also provide you with ideas for various long-tail keywords that you may still need to target.

Create Content That Satisfies the Search Intent

As mentioned earlier, the main aim of search results is to satisfy users’ intent with the most relevant and valuable content.

Research and create content that satisfies search intent

Hence, if you wish your content to rank higher on search results, clickbait headlines won’t help you much.

Instead, you must research what your target audience is searching for and develop top-notch content around those topics to satisfy their intent.

One of the easiest ways to find those search terms that searchers frequently seek is to use the ‘Questions’ tab of RankWatch SEO IQ’s content editor.

‘Questions’ tab of the RankWatch SEO IQ’s content editor

It provides you with the list of question-based search terms users often search. Including those terms in your content can significantly help your web page rank higher.

Final Thoughts

It is almost inevitable that you have seen or clicked on a clickbait title while browsing the internet to gather information or look for a product or service.

Most clickbait websites use this marketing strategy to draw immediate attention from readers by using deceptive headlines to receive more clicks, drive more traffic, and boost page views.

However, most clickbait headlines do not offer any relevant information about what the headline suggests. 

Clickbait websites mainly target readers’ curiosity gap, FOMO, and allure for instant solutions to mislead them to clickbait titles.

If a site heavily depends on clickbait marketing, it can do more harm than good in the long term.

Clickbait advertising significantly damages your website’s revenue potential and trustworthiness that further decreasing its rankings in the long run.

Instead, it is recommended to create SEO-friendly titles for your content that help both searchers and search engines understand the purpose of your content and offer high-quality content that satisfies searchers’ intent.

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