When writing copy for websites there’s nothing like a good headline to grab the reader’s attention. The headline is the first thing the reader sees, and also acts as the title of your listing within the search results which, hopefully, will be on the first page of Google for relevant searches. So for maximum SEO impact you want a catchy headline, but you also want some keywords in it – this means that writing the perfect headline is tricky, especially when integrity gets in the way.
Luckily that wasn’t an issue for PC World * last week when they ran the headline: “Study: 60 Percent of Facebook Users Mulling to Quit”.
The headline suggested that 60% of Facebook’s users were thinking about quitting the social networking site. The article went on to explain how 60% of Facebook’s users were considering leaving Facebook over concerns about privacy, and the article was based on ‘research’ from Sophos – an IT security firm.
Now, 60% is an awful lot of people when you consider that Facebook has over 400 million users. 60% represents 240 million users – a sizable total indeed. So how many of Facebook’s users did Sophos speak to on their online poll?
Just 1,500… less than 0.0001% of Facebook’s membership. From this cross section PC World felt fine running with the title that suggested 60% of Facebook users were thinking of quitting the website.
The article even stated:
The online survey showed that almost two thirds of Facebook users are considering leaving, with 16% claiming to have already stopped using Facebook as a result of inadequate control over their data.
If 60% of those questioned on the online poll run by an IT security firm, a total of 900 people, were thinking of quitting Facebook – can the views of those 900 people be seen to represent the 240 million Facebook users that make up 60% of Facebook’s membership?
We think not… also remember that the poll was conducted online by an IT security firm, so who are the sort of people most likely to take part in that poll? The figures also showed that 16% of Facebook users have already quit Facebook… erm, we don’t recall Facebook panicking lately over the loss of 64 million members… do you?