Search engines like Google, use the headline of a page to determine if it's relevant to a search query. It's also the first thing that your reader will see. So, your title isn't just an important element of the article -- it's also a critical element in search engine optimization.
This is especially true for your article's primary headline (H1), which is also frequently the page title.
A great headline can make all the difference between your website getting noticed or being ignored. Here are 7 key tips to optimize your SEO headlines and how professional inbound marketing strategies can help rank your content and increase your overall traffic.
1. Make Your Headlines Compelling
Headline writing is like advertising. The best headlines are "clickable," drawing people in and encouraging them to learn more. It's also crucial that you get to the point relatively quickly. Tell users exactly why they should be interested in your content, what's in it for them, and why you're qualified to write about it. Users want to be able to quickly decide whether or not they want to read something.
2. Be Specific
Writing great headlines is an art, not a science. There's no set formula to follow. That said, your headlines should be succinct and specific. What action should visitors take? Is your goal for them to sign up for your email newsletter or download your whitepaper?
Whatever it is, be clear in your headline so you can attract the right audience. Ideal SEO headlines are short, specific and have a strong call to action.
3. Use the Right Keywords & Verbiage
The phrasing of your headlines is critical for human readers. Bland, generic verbiage is less clickable than powerful action words or descriptive adjectives. For example, the phrase "how to" works better than "the secret of," and "5 ways" works better than just using "ways." If a reader is looking for direct advice or actionable tips on how to do something, these headlines will be more relevant.
Your headline should also include important keywords that your reader is searching for. For example, if you're writing a blog article about how to quickly beat the common cold, your headline should include specific keywords and phrases that people interested in the topic would use to search for information, like "how to get over a cold fast" or "quick ways to cure a cold." Remember, the main objective of your headline is to make the reader interested enough to click on your article.
4. Ask Important Questions
Using your SEO headline to ask a question is a great way to generate user interest in your content. You can either ask a question directly or answer a question you anticipate your users asking.
Be careful not to ask questions that are too broad, too vague, or too obvious. For example, "what is SEO?" is much too broad of a question and the question "how do I start my own business?" is arguably too vague. Your headline should also be a question that you can actually answer in the content of your article. Users will be frustrated if they read an entire blog and never actually get the answer to the question asked in the article's headline.
One strategy for writing stellar question headlines is to identify a problem and its solution. For example, "how do people get more website traffic on their blog?" is a question that suggests there's a challenge getting enough web traffic and that the article will give users ideas or a solution that will help the user get more visitors to their website.
5. Stay Under 72 Characters
Make sure your SEO headline doesn't get truncated by search engines because it's too long to display in the page results. As a general rule of thumb, try to keep your SEO headlines under 72 characters. Some search engine optimization experts recommend keeping titles at about 60 characters to avoid truncation.
Bonus Tip: How to Write a Great Call to Action
Your content should include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end that clearly instructs users on what action they should take next. Whether that means clicking a link, filling out a form, downloading an eBook, or something else, your CTA should be direct and describe in detail what users should do next and why.
Don't include a CTA that just says "click here," "click the link," or "learn more." These CTAs don't tell the user what they'll get when they click, which reduces their desire to take action. Instead, give your users a preview of what they will find when they click on the CTA, such as a link to an eBook, download page, or a coupon code.
Rank Higher With Experienced SEO Help
Laveh is a digital, content, and inbound marketing agency with the skills and expertise to help small businesses and solo entrepreneurships rank online for valuable keywords in their niche. Our data-driven, proven SEO tactics can help you elevate your content quality and rank for better online success. Contact us today by calling 617.657.9966.
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