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?