How do you feel about the term ‘click bait’? The average internet user thinks of click bait with the same disdain reserved for spam and malware. It is not good. As an SEO specialist though, you should have a different perspective. It is not that you want to create click bait content, but you shouldn’t be afraid to use click bait titles to improve SERPS.

What is click bait? Utah-based Webtek Interactive explains it as small pieces of rich content intended to encourage people to click so as to drive them to a new site. Click bait often appears as small snippets of text, images or videos, or any combination thereof. And more often than not, the content on the other side of a click bait link is stuffed with ads. Click bait is primarily used to gain exposure for those ads.

In this sense, it is easy to view click bait in a negative light. But what if you were to apply the same kind of thinking to the titles of your pages and posts? Even without linking to external pages packed with ads, you can still use the click bait way of thinking to produce page titles that knock your SERPs out of the ballpark.

The Letterman Trick

Retired late-night talk show host David Letterman is credited with bringing the top 10 list into mainstream American culture. Whether that is true or not doesn’t change the fact that people love top 10 lists. In some cases, they are even fond of top 20 and top 50 lists as well. It really depends on the topic you’re covering.

At any rate, top 10 lists generate very goods search results. So why not create some top 10 content along with a clear, concise title that let readers know exactly what your lists cover? It works. For example, ‘Top 10 Ways to Use Click Bait to Boost SERPS’.

Channeling ‘This Old House’

Just as Letterman brought the top 10 list into our culture, PBS’ This Old House introduced America to the ‘how-to’ concept. Titles with ‘how-to’ in them are click bait gold. Everybody wants to know how to do something, right? You might just as well give them what they want.

A good how-to article demands attention from people who want to know the information. You are a lot more likely to rank well with a clickable how-to title than a more boring alternative that doesn’t make clear that your content is an actual how-to guide. Remember, Google is trying to make users happy. That’s why they love the phrase ‘how-to’.

Take the Headline Approach

Another way to use the click bait mentality to your advantage is to take the headline approach to titles. If you don’t know what this means, Google some old newspapers and take a look at how article titles used to be constructed. Then understand this: writers and editors were limited by space back then.

Newspaper titles are seldom complete sentences with proper punctuation. In fact, they leave out entire words altogether. But that’s fine, newspaper headlines are not supposed to be fine English literature. They are intended to get to the point and grab your attention.

Titling pages and posts as though they were attention-grabbing newspaper headlines is rarely a bad idea. Headlines tend to be naturally optimized for keywords, and they are perfect for a generation that prefers to skim rather than thoroughly read.

Click bait does not have to be a bad thing. You can use the click bait mentality to your advantage, improving your titles and sending your SERPS through the roof.