For an article to get read, and hopefully linked to, a quality attention grabbing headline is key. When searching for information the headline is often the only piece of information that a person sees. When reviewing the results page on a search engine, the reader will scan headlines for those words that appeal to their need and click the titles that seem to have the best or most appropriate information. This is why your headline is the key to success. Consider these points when crafting your headlines.
- The K.I.S.S. principle holds true…Keep It Simple Stupid. Keeping your headline short, sweet and to the point is essential. Don’t overwhelm the reader with unnecessary words. A shorter title will also help the search engine determine the topic of your article. While puns and humor can be attention grabbers remember that a search engine doesn’t understand them. A simple straight forward title will almost always result in a higher ranking.
- Start with a bang. Your most important words should be your lead. The payoff here is that search engines and readers can easily tell what your article is about. If possible your keywords should come first, but remember that keyword usage needs to make sense. Don’t throw in keywords just for the sake of using them.
- Don’t forget the topic. This may sound silly, but be sure that your headline adequately conveys the topic of the article. For example, this article could have been entitled “Why Headlines Matter”. It would have given readers some idea as to what it is about. However, by adding “tips” and “clickable” to the headline, we helped to define the true scope of the article. Make it easy for the search engines and your readers to know what you are writing about.
- Make it compelling. Don’t let the search engines be your only focus. You are writing for real people after all. Give the reader a reason to want to click on your headline and read your article.
Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles. Track your results and see if a pattern emerges for your most successful headlines. Use your best headlines as a template to create future headlines. Build on your success!