It has been suggested that 8 out of 10 people only read the headline of an article – and that the rest is just fodder. Headlines are perhaps the most important element to a successful article. They are after all the very first thing a website visitor will read, and are most of the time the description applied to links when shared through sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Together, organic web traffic and social media web traffic will make up around 80% of a websites total visitors, with the remaining 20% made up from direct traffic and other sources.
There are many guides online surrounding blog post headlines and how to come up with good ones. In order to stray away from the norm, we thought we’d write today about striking a balance between catchy headlines which are also optimised for the search engines. This way, you can maximise traffic potential through organic and social means or mix and match your article efforts to see which type works best for you. So without further ado, let’s begin:
The basics of a catchy headline
All marketers dream of hitting the big time with an article and achieving viral success. Whilst this can happen, it is rare for it to do so.
Of course the first step to achieving viral success or at least appealing to readers enough for them to share your article comes with a catchy headline, the very first thing 8 out of 10 web visitors will read. Here are 2 brilliant examples of catchy headlines (technology related, as that’s my read today) which have seen successful through social media:
“Dear Apple, I’m Leaving You” – link.
“Who am I? Data and DNA answer one of life’s big questions” – link.
As you can see, the two articles above are catchy. They have been read millions of times.
Catchy headline templates
There are a few basic templates you can use to create catchy headlines. Here are some of my favourites:
Start your article with “Who else wants” – this applies an existing desire to your visitor, thus urging them to read more or convert.
Start your article with “Here is a Quick Way to” – website visitors love quick and easy ways to solve their problems. So, help them achieve just that.
End your article with “for Anybody” – this opens up your articles topic to the masses and will appeal to those beyond your niche.
Catchy headlines are amazingly powerful. Some bloggers and webmasters swear by using a catchy headline for every blog post. There is no downside to doing this, however with an engaging headline should always come great content.
Out of ideas on unique headlines? Check out our post on how to write unique content when ideas fall flat.
The basics of a well optimised headline
The majority of blogs follow the same design principle, whereby an article headline is set as either a H1 or H2 tag. This also applies to article directories.
Heading tags are an essential element to a well optimised web page. Almost all top 10 results in Google for competitive keyword terms are for a web page which is optimised with H1, H2 and H3 tags – of course, having a fast and responsive website also helps a great deal.
With your blog posts headline bearing so much weight in the eyes of the search engines, targeting your keywords in your title is essential.
Before deciding what to write about carrying out keyword research is always recommended in order for you to measure the potential organic success of an article. If your idea for an article isn’t what people are searching for, perhaps you should put that topic or precise combination of keywords on hold.
Thankfully there are many topics that people search for, and increasingly, people are also searching for long tail keyword terms.
Long tail keyword terms are brilliant for generating organic traffic as they have a higher potential to rank for smaller websites than more competitive terms. Long tail keyword terms are also inherently catchy, examples of which include:
How to Make a Chocolate Cake with Walnuts
How to Make Money Fast Online
Compare Cheap Broadband Deals in the UK
Where as ‘chocolate cake’, ‘make money’ and ‘compare broadband’ are head terms, the addition of compare and how to within those headline titles makes them long tail.
Whatever you are writing about it is always best practice to include your keyword terms at the beginning of your headline. Within the title of this blog post we are targeting the keyword ‘writing headlines’, but also catchy and optimised. So, our headline matches the formula mentioned above.
Get in touch with the team at Content Hero today to maximise your content marketing strategy with engaging, relevant and searchable content. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more and for a free quote.