If you want to standout in the search engines, you will need headlines that catch people’s eye. Yes, headlines. That’s one way you can think about the titles to your blog posts. When you read a newspaper, do you scan the headlines to see what grabs your attention? It’s the same with search engine results. We scan the list to see what catches our eye. So, with that in mind, you can see the importance of knowing how to write compelling headlines.
The headline, your article’s title, is probably the most important sentence in each and every article. The headline has the job of getting people to click on the link to open the article. If no one clicks on that title link, no one reads the article.
How do you write titles that make people want to read your article? Well, there are a few important things you’ll need to think about.
Start with a Great Topic
Before you can write a great title, you need a great topic. The title’s job is simply to communicate the topic as interestingly as possible. Just like a newspaper headline, it needs to draw the reader’s attention. In order for the title to do this effectively, the topic needs to be genuinely interesting to the potential reader. Luckily, your headlines can be more fun, or creative, than newspaper headlines.
It’s important that you understand what your reader wants. If you’ve researched your niche market, you should have some idea of what people are looking for in your chosen subject. What do they want to learn about? What interests them the most? Answer questions like those and choose your topics accordingly.
A great headline is the crucial first step to attracting a reader, but it can’t do the work all by itself. Once they follow the link to your article, the content needs to live up the promise. Having a relevant topic and a well-written article makes writing an eye catcher of a title that much easier.
Use Power Words
Use words that ignite the senses. Choose words that stir emotions and words that generate visuals in the mind of your reader. These are power words, that go beyond mere descriptions.
A well-placed, carefully chosen power word can set the whole tone of your title.
Let’s look at an example: “Tips for Making a Speech”
Instead, try: “High Impact Tips for Making a Dynamic Speech”
In this example, “High Impact” and “Dynamic” are the power words. They change the whole perception of the article.
Include Numbers & Specifics
Using numbers and other specifics tend to do well in article headlines. They often catch the reader’s eye and the search engines typically like them, as well. When I say “specifics”, I mean things like a specific location, number of items in a list, names of people, or dates.
Building on our previous example, it might look like this:
Instead of: “High Impact Tips for Making a Dynamic Speech”
Try: “15 High Impact Tips for Making a Dynamic Speech”
Or you could try: “A Debate Champion’s Tips for Making a Dynamic Speech”
See the difference? The first title uses powers words, but other two sentences add specific details. Those specifics add more weight to the titles. They seem more real and they add a boost to the power words.
Draw Inspiration from Other Writers
Even with a few tricks up your sleeve, you may still find yourself getting stuck from time to time. I know I do. If you find yourself having trouble with a winning title, just Google your main keyword.
Once you punch your keyword into Google, you are going to see a list of headlines that other writers used for the same topic. Not just any writers, mind you. These are the writers who were able to rank on the first page of Google’s search results.
What kinds of titles did these writers use? What keywords do they seem to be targeting? You see, there are other keywords that are relevant to your topic. Some good ones are likely to show up in the titles of these other writers. What kind of spin are they putting on the topic?
Do you see any of the techniques you just read about? Are they power words in their titles? Do the top-ranking headlines use specifics? On a side note, if these titles don’t include elements such as power words and specifics, this could indicate a good opportunity for ranking your own article on the first page. All the more reason to write an eye catcher for a title, right?
Hopefully, it goes without saying, but don’t copy someone else’s title. For starters, it’s kind of unethical. It’s not quite the same as plagiarizing someone’s content, but it’s not a good practice. Be the kind of person you would want to do business with.
Aside from being a little shady, copying someone else’s title will hurt your search engine rankings. Search engines do not like duplicate content and that includes titles. All that said, there’s nothing at all wrong with using other people’s titles as inspiration.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Don’t get stuck in a rut. Change your tactics around to create some variety in your content. Power words are a good tool, but you don’t need them in every single headline. Not every title needs to include a number, either. Switch it up.
Once you get a reader to click through to your website, you want them to enjoy the experience and to come back. If everything looks similar, that can be a turn off. It can make you look predictable and unoriginal. A little variety goes a long way in spicing up your content.
Crafting effective titles is a proven way to increase your click-through rates. Focus on mastering this task and you should see a measurable increase in traffic to your website.
So, to recap:
- Start with a great topic.
- Include one, or two, power words.
- Use specifics, if it makes sense for your article.
- If you get stuck, find some inspiration.
- Remember to always vary things up.
Do you have any do’s or don’ts to add to the list? Drop us a comment below.
Now that you’re on your way to writing great titles, check out some tips for improving your articles: