Facebook

Facebook Algorithm Update: Combating Click-Baiting

SEO

Facebook has officially announced two algorithm updates for its news feed: Reducing click-baiting posts and increasing the visibility of link-shares. The aim of this update is to reduce spam posts that tend to generate a lot of clicks without offering any benefit for the users.

1. Click-baiting posts

Click-baiting is when a publisher shares a link with a headline or picture that encourages people to click to find out more, without sharing any valuable information on the target page.

The new Facebook algorithm identifies click-baiting based on the following criteria:

  • Length of time the user spends on the target page: If a user clicks on the link and directly bounces back to Facebook it can be assumed that the article does not contain any valuable information for the user.

  • Ratio of click-through-rate and user interaction: Click-baiting posts tend to have a high click-through-rate but a small amount of likes and comments.

With this update click-baiting posts such as the following example will receive less visibility. 

Example Click-Baiting

2. Sharing links in the link format

Facebook users prefer to click on links shared in the typical link format: In the news feed a teaser image and the beginning of the article are displayed. This discloses what to expect after clicking on the link. As a result link-shares are favored over links that are embedded in pictures or status updates by the new Facebook algorithm.

Implications for using Facebook

Facebook publishers that have not been doing click-baiting do not need to worry about this update. However, if click-baiting has been used a decline of Facebook traffic has to be expected. The following graph from Google Analytics exemplary shows a decline in Facebook traffic for a publisher that has been working with click-baiting. 

Click-Baiting Google Analytics

And share links in the typical link format in order to achieve the highest organic visibility in Facebook.  

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