We all know headlines, the right headlines, can prod us, coerce us, encourage us into reading more. But the headline, did you know, is the golden buzzer of writing?
Here I’ll freely pass on five tips on the craft of title writing for blog posts and to feed and sate the SEO monster, Google search.
- KEYWORDS. Your blog post needs to be clear about what its Keywords are for Yoast (the SEO Plugin for WordPress), search engine optimisation and your audience. My keyword here is HEADLINES. I’ve not used this keyword before so the URL won’t be penalised for writing duplicate content.
- HEADLINE FORMAT. Yoast gets ever so picky about how you arrange words within a headline – it likes the keyword starting the title of the piece – mine does here. I could easily have chosen “How to craft headlines carefully” but I know Yoast would have raised its cyber eyebrows and suggested some word realignment.
- SEARCH ENGINE PREVIEW. When someone makes a long tail search – by that I mean extending a Google search from say “Blog Headlines” to “Headlines that encourage Click Throughs” your blog post will show the first and final part of your title. If I’d chosen “Some advice on crafting headlines for blog posts” a search for this would have yielded “Some advice on … for blog posts” which means your post is not even showing up for the intended keyword. Sorry if this sounds uber geeky – but that’s why your keyword in your blog post should be near the beginning of the title.
- MIX WORDS. Your headline needs a mix of common words, uncommon words, power words and emotional words. Get the balance right.
- THE RIGHT LENGTH. Your headline needs to be the right length, in terms of number of words. 7, 8 or 9 are regarded as the absolute optimum. Count them. If too wordy, cut down. If too sparse, expand.
So why do headlines matter?
They generate the all important CTR, Click Through Rate, which is one of Google’s trusted algorithms for moving websites up or down its Page Rankings.