Clickbait Headlines

I’m happy to report that the tidal wave of clickbait headlines — infuriating, manipulative teaser headlines whose writers will do anything to make you click — seems to have peaked.

For one thing, Facebook has tried to block clickbait headlines in its news feed and has had some success. For another thing, clickbait headlines seem to be moving, at last, into the public consciousness. We’re on to them. We understand them. We’re tired of them.

But that doesn’t mean that clickbait is going away. The growth of the tidal wave may be slowing, but we’re still getting drenched.

The editors who crank out these headlines are blatantly tacky and deceptive, so I take tremendous pleasure in yanking the carpet out from under their feet. Here, then, is my seventh installment of Pogue’s Clickbait Spoilers. If a headline says, “You won’t believe what happens next,” I’m going to darned well tell you, ruining the mystery.

Clickbait: It Took Him Only Four Minutes to Bring an Entire Middle School to Tears

Spoiler: This video shows a talk by former professional wrestler Marc Mero. He tells the school kids about how he used to get high and drunk but felt terrible when his mother died.

Yes, some kids are shown crying in the 4.5-minute video, but guess what? It Took Him More Than Four Minutes, Because This Video Is Only an Excerpt of His Full-Length Talk.


Clickbait: If You Drink Warm Lemon Water Every Morning for a Year, Here’s What Will Happen

Spoiler: Nothing happens.

The article doesn’t even answer the question. It says nothing about drinking lemon water for a year. In fact, if you click on this headline, you discover a different headline. They’re using one headline as clickbait and another, less breathless one for the story itself!

That story is: “20 Reasons You Should Drink Lemon Water in the Morning.” It’s a bunch of stuff like: Lemon water is hydrating, helps digestion, fights infections, helps you lose weight, benefits your skin, blood, joints, liver, bowels, blood pressure, fetus, teeth, etc.

Sure it does.

Clickbait: I Was Blown Away When I Realized What This Image Really Was

Spoiler: An elderly man with cerebral palsy creates amazingly good art using only the symbol keys on a typewriter (it’s a video). That’s it. Are you blown away?

Me neither.


Clickbait: Tim Cook said this word 5 times on Apple’s earnings call last night — here’s why it’s so important

Spoiler: “Switcher.” Because it means more people buying iPhones.

Clickbait: George Clooney Had the Perfect Response at Comic Con When a Fellow Actor Called Him Old

Spoiler: Beats me.

It’s video clip of a Comic Con panel, where George Clooney makes a “surprise” appearance to promote his movie Tomorrowland.

Hugh Laurie: “He’s 75 if he’s a day.”

Clooney: “It’s not lost on me that I’m spending my honeymoon at Comic Con.”

(It’s funny, but how is that a perfect response to the “old” remark?)


Clickbait: Dad Opens His Birthday Gift and What’s Inside Is So Overwhelming, Everyone’s in Tears

Spoiler: EnChroma glasses, designed to help colorblind people.

In fact, only one person tears up in this video: the colorblind guy.

I’m hugely disdainful of the text that accompanies the video, which implies that the guy can’t see the color blue (that’s not what happens with colorblindness) and that he can’t tell if a traffic light is red or yellow (um, how about noting its place?).


Clickbait: What Joe Biden Explains in 1 Minute Will Change Your Life Forever. Seriously.

Spoiler: Here’s another Facebook headline that leads to a different headline on the article: “Joe Biden’s 2012 Advice to Grieving Families Is All the More Poignant Now.”

Biden’s advice is this: When you lose a loved one (Biden lost his wife and son) and can’t imagine how you’ll go on, begin writing down your grief levels on each square of a calendar. “You’ll find that your down days get further and further apart. That’s when you know that you’re gonna make it.”

Clickbait: Forget the iPhone 6. Next Apple Sensation Revealed.

Spoiler: Apple Pay, apparently.

This one’s actually a clickbait ad. I see it all the time on Facebook and on the Yahoo front page.

Ordinarily, I would never click on such a stupid, clickbaity ad. I’m a tech columnist, for goodness’ sake — if Apple had a post-iPhone sensation, I’d have heard of it.

But for the sake of spoiling this clickbait, and to save you time, I went for it. I clicked.

What you get is an endless video — typed words on a screen, read aloud by a male voice — that, after 30 excruciating minutes of talking about how great Apple is and how great the Motley Fool is, turns out to be a pitch for a free annual report (regularly $99!) that’s plugging shares in an unnamed “patent-rich supply lab.”


I want my 30 minutes back.


Intro to SEO

Everyone nowadays seems to be interested in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). On most of the interviews I went to recently I was asked… ‘Do you know SEO?’

On many occasions I ended up asking myself, Does that person know SEO? You see, the web works in a pretty simple way… There are 2 types of websites:

  1. Applications (Services): A website that provides some sort of a unique service or product (Like Facebook, Twitter, Google, MySpace, YouTube… etc).
  2. Content websites: A website that provides, Articles, Discussion Threads, and information in general (Forums, Blogs, Online Magazines… etc).
Some websites (Those who have products they want to promote or want to control the information you have about their products use a mix of both and the best example would be Microsoft.
Their websites (Or website’s they sponsor) are usually on top of the search results when you’re looking for a specific problem in one of their products… And that ladies and gentlemen is brilliant.
So the first type of websites (Apps) usually depend on the hype they’ve created to get people to know them. And their unique service to get people to comeback.
In some cases the fact that the hype never ends (as in twitter) gets people to come back.
So what does the second category do to get people to know about them?
Well… They pick a specific topic. And they create a lot of pages about that topic (In cases like forums, they depend on the users to do the writing).
If you don’t have hundreds of pages on your website, you will need some specific techniques to get people to find you. And the best way to get people to find you is appearing in their search results for the topic of your focus.

How do you do that?

We’ll these are the basic steps you need to do.
  1. You pick a keyword or a bunch of them that you want people to find with.
  2. You analyze and filter your keywords. Google AdWords to do that.
  3. Incorporate keywords into your website.
  4. Fix your website.
  5. Sometimes people actually forget to submit their websites to search engines. You can either do that yourself, or have a tool do it for you.


Pick a keyword or a bunch of them that you want people to find with.
Well, this depends on you, the editor or the person managing the website. For example in my blog I focus on Software, SEO and Entertainment (It’s my personal blog so I choose those topics).
But if you’re in printing business you might want to focus on Books, Magazines, Articles, Papers… etc.

What’s next?

Filtering those keywords.

Best way to do this is the Google AdWords keyword analyzer. for example, I tried analyzing the keyword ‘entertainment’, opened the ‘Advanced Options and Filters’ and selected United States as a target country and got this:


which means, the keyword entertainment is searched for 16 million times across the world and 6 million times in the US, the competition is low. So this keyword is a good choice.

More related keywords are available below in case my website was just about entertainment, I’d be interested in those specific keywords.

Using those keywords

Now that you have your keywords, you need to put them into a good use. First of all you should select the most important ones and try placing them in the title and description of your home page.

Search engines are smart, really smart… So placing those keywords in pages with heading tags (h1, h2, h3… etc) means they’re very important to this page thus giving this page a higher rank for those keywords. Also, the more the keyword appears in your page the better. So try a page in my website titled entertainment gains a good rank for this keyword, and if the text heading had the keyword entertainment the page would gain a better rank. Next if the page had a lot of entertainment word count or entertainment related keywords, the rank will improve.

Simple, right?

Fixing your website

If you’re not a web developer or designer you’ll need help doing this. A good website with minimum html errors is a great website for search engines. You can use The W3 Validator to check your website for html errors.

You also need to make sure all your pictures and images have their ‘alt’ attribute set. This helps image search engines find your photos, which also increases the rank of your website.

One more thing is to check that your page headings use the h1 tag and that your pages have the meta description set.

You have to make sure that each page’s title is less than 70 chars and that its meta description is less than 140 characters.

What’s Next?

Make sure everything is actually working. Go to Google Webmaster Tools, add your site following Google’s instructions and wait for a couple of days.

Remember that Google has to follow up on billions of websites so it might take a while until they recheck your website. And it will take about 3 months until your website rank is changed.

After you see some activity on your Webmaster Tools account, be sure to check the “Diagnostics=>HTML suggestions” to see if any of your pages needs a fix.

What about other search engines?

Most search engines follow the same steps and checks as Google so if you work your website for Google other search engines will also index your website but keep in mind that Google is the search giant so what takes Google 2 or 3 weeks takes other search engines months.

Need more help?

You can use some service such as Attracta to help you submit your website and follow up on your site evaluation.


Facebook Vs. Google+

This comparison between the 2 social giants was originally posted on Business Insider… Enjoy

Facebook Vs. Google+


Social Wariors

I like twitter’s motto the best


Installing PHP on Windows 7

PHP is one of the most common web languages out there, Windows is the most used operating system in the world… So I’ll take a wild guess and say many PHP developers use Windows, thus have to install PHP on windows to do their work or test their websites before releasing them online.

Many developers use bundles like XAMPP Or WAMP to install an Apache server, MySql server and PHP. I personally use Microsoft’s ASP.Net for web development most of the time but sometimes I do things on PHP – which is still an awesome scripting language – so I tried to cut back on the resource consumption and get PHP to work on Windows IIS Server.

That was a bit difficult on Windows XP, there were too many things you had to do to get it working. But for Windows 7… Getting PHP to work on IIS will take a couple of minutes if you had a good internet connection. So getting to those steps:

  1. Download and install Microsoft Web Platform Installer.
  2. Start the web platform installer.
  3. While waiting for it to start click on the “Start” button and type “Turn windows features on or off” without the quotes of course.
  4. After the window opens go to the “Internet Information Services ==> World Wide Web Services ==> Application Development Features” And make sure CGI is checked, then click the OK button.
  5. Go back to the Web Platform Installer, and type PHP in the search box and hit the enter button.
  6. When the search results show up, click the “Add” button next to “PHP Manager for IIS”, and press the Install button.
  7. Follow the simple dialogs until you’re done, and voilà, you have PHP running on IIS now.

Let me know how it works out for you