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