How to optimise your article titles without using clickbait tactics

When it comes to SEO, content marketing forms a big chunk of the necessary strategy for a lot of websites. This is because Google’s algorithm gives higher rankings to websites that are associated with high-quality, relevant and useful content that its users can enjoy.

A big part of creating successful SEO content is to ensure that you have an interesting title that entices users to check it out. Unfortunately, enticing article titles have been conflated with the phenomenon of ‘clickbait’.

clickbait content

Clickbait refers to content that has a provocative title and/or accompanying image that is designed to garner as many clicks as possible. While these titles can be effective for short term boosts in traffic, they are not helpful for businesses that need to engender a sense of trust and authority with prospective customers.

So how do you create ‘click worthy’ titles without qualifying as using ‘clickbait’?

Include your keywords

The first, and most obvious, step of writing attractive article titles for SEO is to include one of your keywords. This should be easy enough as whatever content you are publishing will need to be relevant to your business for it to be worthwhile in the first place.

You want your target audience to be reading your content, so it makes sense to include terms relevant to your target audience in the title. It’s a good idea to focus on one main keyword and base your article around providing in-depth information relevant to it.

It’s also a good idea to keep your keyword close to the beginning of your title. This is because, since we read left to right, people will more quickly find your content relevant when browsing through search results.

Pose a question

A great way to attract your target audience is with a question about something that’s relevant to them. For example, if you sold pet food then a title like “How often do you need to feed a big dog?” would be interesting for people who might purchase your products.

A clickbait version of that title would be something like “Are you underfeeding your dog?” because it engenders a dishonest sense of urgency designed to entice people to click out of fear. It’s good to pique people’s interests by posing a question, just don’t do it unethically.

Disclaim that the article is a list

It’s no secret that internet users love to read lists. They’re an easily digestible format that is much friendlier to the eyes than a cumbersome, essay-like article.

If you have a way to break down your article into a list type format, you should do it and make it clear in your title that it’s a numbered list. This is one of the most effective methods you can use to get more clicks.

Use authoritative language

clickbait titles

If you’re trying to convince people you know what you’re talking about, then using words like “may” and “could” aren’t going to be very helpful in attracting clicks. People want a hard answer for their questions and are more likely to click on the link that is offering that.

It’s also good to use strong words that lend a sense of excitement to reading your content. Words like “surprising” and “clever” are great, but they should only be used when the content you’re offering actually fits those descriptions (otherwise it’s clickbait).

Directly address your audience

Another great method for generating quick clicks is to personally engage users with language that refers to them directly. Words like “you” and “your” help make people feel like the article is talking to them, making them more likely to want to find out what you want them to know.

If you keep the above tips in mind when optimising your article titles, you should notice a sharp increase in clicks and audience engagement!