With the trend towards organic SEO, and the democratisation of news - away from traditional media sources such as TV, radio and newspapers - links from social media such as Facebook are becoming more and more important to websites.
Many SEO teams are engaged in a constant arms race with the Google ranking factors to pull traffic to their site: now Facebook is getting wise to abuse and it is firing back. The site, which now drives more traffic to news sites than even Google, has tweaked the algorithm that it uses to determine what you see in your newsfeed, in an effort to eliminate “clickbait” headlines.
Much of this is apparently due to user complaints about being misleading clickthroughs. But I can't help thinking that this is just a convenient excuse for Facebook to pick a fight with the publishers so that it can steal an even bigger portion of the advertising pie.
Which leads me nicely to my conclusion, which is that inbound marketing teams need to work in a more sophisticated way; use better tools in order to manage their efforts rather than using cheap one-off tricks that soon become obsolete.
At Prodo, we're staying ahead of the curve and improving our inbound capabilities by becoming a Hubspot Partner. We did this because we concluded that there is currently no better platform than Hubspot for managing inbound traffic towards a client site & improving the conversion % once it's landed.
According to the company, the aim is to get rid of headlines that “withhold information required to understand what the content of the article is”, typically by using phrases like “you won’t believe who” or “what happens next is” to create a “curiosity gap”. These kinds of headlines encourage you to click simply to find out what happened – and that’s exactly what Facebook wants to eliminate. Facebook also wants to get rid of headlines that exaggerate the issue. The example Facebook uses is “Apples Are Actually Bad For You?!” – they are, but only if you eat far too many of them every day. Facebook’s decision is likely to be a big blow to an entire genre of websites that have grown used to attracting traffic to low-quality stories by using clickbait headlines. And it’s likely to exacerbate the growing discomfort among publishers, who have grown used to relying on traffic from Facebook in order to serve enough ads to remain profitable.