“The 10 Hacks You Need to Stay Healthy This Winter”

“Wall Street Insider Reveals Single Best Investing Tip”

“This Is the Real Reason Doctors Make You Sit on That Tissue Paper”

You’ve seen these kinds of clickbait examples before, somewhere on the Internet.

They walk a fine line between sounding sort of spammy and genuinely interesting, but the point is that the line exists.

“Clickbait” is a word that carries such a negative connotation, and yet, in and of itself, clickbait isn’t bad or wrong as long as what’s on the other side actually delivers on the promise.

The issue is that so little content delivers on its clickbait title, and yet people continue to click those articles because they’re intrigued.

In this post, you’ll learn what clickbait is, see some clickbait examples, and learn how you can use good-faith clickbait to drive up your content engagement in ways that won’t hurt you.

At the end, you can take a survey to help you think more about your experiences with clickbait on the Internet.

What Is Clickbait?

The appropriately named “clickbait” is digital content designed specifically to generate clicks from users.

Clickbait’s strength lies in its title or headline, which is always written provocatively to “bait” a click, while leaving the big reveal for inside the content itself.

The three clickbait examples that opened this post perfectly represent the kinds of titles people write to get clicks.

You have a story to tell, something to say, and you essentially tease the most interesting part of it in the title of the post so people just need to find out more.

They click.

You get clicks.

Everyone’s happy.


In its most objective, neutral sense, that’s what clickbait is.

The Goods and Bads of Clickbait

Notice how our explanation of clickbait says nothing of whether it’s good or bad.

That’s because it wholly depends on the context.

Yes, like the Force, clickbait has both a light and dark side, and yes, like Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, it will pay to keep both sides in mind as you go about your content marketing.

white and black together

Pros of Clickbait

You are perfectly justified in using a clickbait headline for your story if the content follows through on it.

On that level, clickbait can be quite useful for attracting traffic to your content and attention to your brand.

Users will begin to trust you more over time when they see that, yes, you may write clickbait titles, but you also deliver on their claims wholeheartedly in the content contained within.

However, because clickbait does walk that line between reputable and sleazy, you have to be really careful that you don’t get lazy and go full clickbait mode with your content.

Let me explain.

Cons of Clickbait

It’s important to know that the word “clickbait” just has a bad reputation these days, plain and simple.

People hear it and immediately think, “This headline is just trying to get me to click by exaggerating something that isn’t a big deal.”

Think of how many times you’ve been scrolling through a web page and gotten to a block of sponsored content with titles such as:

“Woman Couldn’t Believe What She Saw on Her Nanny Cam”

“This Sweet Moment Between a Praying Mantis and a Blue Whale Will Have You Sobbing [Video]”

“6-Year-Old Told He Can’t Fly, Then This Happens”

The featured image of that content might include something tantalizing, as well, maybe a screengrab from a video right before the “shocking” moment happens.

That’s more of a tabloid setting.

But you can see clickbait in straight content, as well.

Say you write a title such as, “You Won’t Believe What This Business Magnate Said About the Economy.”

Even if the person did say something about the economy, will people really not believe it?

Does the individual really have a staggeringly vital piece of information on the economy that the public will refuse to believe?

Or, is it more likely the case that the business magnate simply stated a mildly off-center opinion on current national economics?

I have a feeling it’s the latter, and I think I would call that title misleading and sensationalist.

That’s the dark side of clickbait.

It’s a problem because, not only does it already look spammy, but once people get to the content, they see they were gamed.

They probably won’t let it happen again.

The other nasty issue with dark-side clickbait is that what it accomplishes actually means nothing at all.

Clicks? From people who will likely never be back?

And what are clicks by themselves, anyway, if not a vanity metric?

a gray computer mouse

What about engaging with users through actually useful content?

What about offering something of value?

What about getting conversions and growing your business?

So, when you take the fact that misleading clickbait just degrades trust in your brand, and the realization that clicks on their own do nothing for your business, you have a pretty strong case against taking the sleazy clickbait route.

5 Effective Clickbait Examples and Why They’re Okay

Once you understand that there is a good and a bad to clickbait, you can put the negatives right out of your mind and focus on getting traffic the right way.

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t use compelling headlines that draw people in by dangling something of interest.

Just make sure you actually produce what you promised.

With that said, here are five clickbait examples along with explanations of why they could work for your SEO content strategy.

1.) Numbered Lists

People love listicles because they present a ton of information in organized and easily digestible ways.

As far as clickbait, putting a number on a list of information is tantalizing because it promises quick value.

“4 Things You Need to Know About Doing SEO in 2023”

That’s a good title because it promises something worthwhile and gives you an idea of how much content there is to take in (four items).

So it makes good clickbait, and the best part is that you can most definitely think of four things to say about SEO in 2023.

When you deliver what your clickbait title promises, you’ve attracted clicks that actually present value to you, as those users could definitely come back in the future.

2.) “Before You…”

Another example of clickbait that could actually be an effective part of your content marketing strategy is a title that goes, “Before You Do That, You Have to Know This.”

You’ve seen these before.

“Don’t Hire an SEO Agency Before You Read This.”

The idea is that you’re implying you have information that could be valuable to someone who’s about to embark on a certain journey.

And, that not having the information could lead to mistakes.

In that way, you’re playing up fear and concern about possible disaster in the future.

As you’d expect, dark-side clickbait won’t really provide useful information on that subject.

It will be misleading at best.

Light-side clickbait will actually tell users the right factors to think about before hiring an SEO agency.

It’s really that simple. If you’re going to bait your clicks, deliver a good-faith payoff.

It’s just good SEO.

clickbait is like a hook

3.) “Here’s Why…”

Another decent clickbait title template you can use is the “here’s why…” routine.

You’ve seen these.

“Here’s Why Your Beard Isn’t Growing”

“Here’s Why Your Cat Always Darts in Front of You”

“Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Cut Your Grass Too Short”

This one is straightforward, too.

It identifies a specific pain point and promises to explain it and provide readers with a solution.

What draws users in is the fact that such titles are so particular in their claims.

Go too broad, and you risk not sounding interesting.

4.) The Expert Authority

Appealing to expert authorities also works as clickbait because you’re essentially borrowing from their public profiles to draw attention to yourself.

That’s why this method is sometimes called piggybacking.

As long as you’re not being dishonest about it, though, it works just fine as a content draw.

For example:

“Former NBA Official Reveals What Really Happened Last Season”

“We Asked This Design Mogul About the Biggest Fall Fashion Mistakes”

“Investment Bank Insider Shares Bombshell About the Next Six Months”

Now, where your information comes from is up to you.

Maybe you did land an interview with a prominent individual in a certain field, or maybe you’re just reporting on something that happened elsewhere.

What matters is that you actually deliver content that’s worthy of your clickbait title.

Make sure the expert’s advice or revelations actually benefit users in some way.

That’s called being authentic in your content marketing, and it’s one of the hallmarks of quality SEO.

5.) Provocative Questions

Questions can also be effective clickbait if you phrase them right.

The idea here is that you ask the question that users will expect you to answer within your content.

questions often make effective good-faith clickbait

Questions can be just as effective as statements, as long as they address real pain points.

Take a look at some examples:

“Can You Become an SEO Expert Without a College Degree? Experts Share Their Views”

“Could An Asteroid Hit Earth in 2068? NASA Finally Answers”

“Can You Prevent Heart Disease with This Daily Food?”

The question format works by taking on the personas of your users. You ask the questions they themselves want to know, which intrigues them and draws them to click.

In the ideal scenario, your content will address the question quickly and comprehensively.

Where You Should Use Effective Clickbait

Now that you know the ins and outs of clickbait, including what it is and how you should and should not use it, let’s explore some of the outlets for your clickbait.

Content Titles

This one goes without saying.

The titles of your blog posts and other content pages are exactly where you should be using clickbait to attract attention.

A bad or uninteresting title just won’t do it for you, even if the content itself is informative and useful.

Clickbait that actually works plays on human interest, emotions, and curiosity.

Keep this in mind as you construct your content titles.

Meta Tags

We wrote in our post on crafting meta titles and descriptions that the best of these need to encourage people to visit the page while incorporating all the right SEO keywords.

That’s always the case, but if you’re specifically going for something clickbait-y, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the types of meta titles and descriptions that you construct.

Yes, you should use your target keyword in all your meta titles, but build the clickbait around it.

With meta descriptions, you should, but don’t need to, use keywords, as descriptions don’t carry SEO value for Google.

But because meta descriptions offer you more space to sell an idea than meta titles do, it will help if you put extra effort into drawing in traffic through the two to three sentences you get for your description.

Cold Email Marketing

Cold emails and phone calls are notoriously difficult to make work, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible.

The average open rate of cold emails is 44%. Not bad, but it could be a lot better.

One thing that can help is a good-faith clickbait title and email copy that, once again, delivers what was promised.

gmail on a smartphone

Look, you want people to open those emails and see real value inside.

That applies whether you’re after subscribers, sales, or just traffic.

As usual, never mislead people, but by all means, do what you must to earn better open rates.

And really earn them by providing what you promised.

Social Media

On social media, the same exact rules of light-side clickbait apply.

Never, ever mislead people.

If you’re out there baiting clicks from your social media posts to your website content, do it with integrity.

Really get people interested and curious about what you have to offer. Put that link in the post. And then take users to the content that satisfies that curiosity.

Do that over time, and people will start to trust you.

When they trust you, they will be much more likely to buy from you or take whatever action is important to you.

Take Our Survey on Clickbait

Now that you know all about clickbait and its place in content marketing, you can take this survey to think about your own experiences with clickbait.

When you hit “Finish,” you’ll be able to see how other users have responded to these questions on clickbait.

Clickbait and You
What Is Your Experience with Clickbait?

This survey presents questions about how you think about clickbait

Have you ever been "fooled" by clickbait content?

Have you ever been "fooled" by clickbait content?

Do you trust a website less when it employs misleading clickbait as part of its content strategy?

Do you trust a website less when it employs misleading clickbait as part of its content strategy?

Would you trust a website more if it used clickbait content titles but actually delivered on its promises?

Would you trust a website more if it used clickbait content titles but actually delivered on its promises?

Has good-faith clickbait had a place on your content-marketing efforts in the past?

Has good-faith clickbait had a place on your content-marketing efforts in the past?

Let LSEO Help with Your Content Engagement

So, we’ve covered a lot in this post.

I hope the major takeaway from this is that clickbait, despite its bad reputation, doesn’t have to be all bad.

You can use clickbait titles to attract traffic to your website, but from there, it has to be all about authentic content marketing.

That’s where LSEO comes in. Our content marketing experts are happy to learn about your business from you to craft the content that matters to your audiences.

We’ll combine the best of your brand with all the elements of on-page SEO optimization as well as the correct practices of writing web content.

Hit us up when you’re ready to take your business’s online content marketing to the next level!