Studies have shown that about 60% of people will share an article with a great headline without even reading the article. This means that people online are sharing content online without even reading past the headline. Moral of the story? You might want to focus more of your time on crafting perfect headlines rather than writing perfect content.
It’s common to write the body, or content, first then write a fitting title or headline. But I challenge you to this: next time you’re writing content for your business, consider drafting the perfect headline first then writing the body. If headlines really are the most important part of blogging, that’s where you should spend the most time!
Read on below for our recommendations and download our Headline Optimization guide HERE so you can refer to it each time you’re writing a new headline!
Narrow down your focus – keep your content, and therefore headline, specific and tightly focused
Pick your keywords – Google Keyword Planner, KeywordTool.io, and Answer the Public are great tools to explore keywords and queries around particular subjects (pro tip: if you have the Keywords Everywhere Chrome extension, you can see search volume and cost per click)
Match your headline to search queries – if you’re trying to answer a specific question, or address a particular problem, make your headline match what people are searching
If you’re a local business, include your city name (and maybe state) where relevant
Use some commonly searched words like how, what, why, and about
DON’T keyword-stuff – you’re aiming for a blend of relevancy (keyword in title) and clickability (unique and interesting). You don’t want to look like clickbait!
Keep your headline under 55 characters – this will keep your entire headline visible in the Google search window
Make your headline 6 words long – according to Kissmetrics, readers mostly focus on the first and last three words of a headline. Therefore, the ideal length is 6 words.
If you can’t get your headline down to 6 words, stick your keywords at the beginning and end
Try out the Jeff Goins headline formula:
Here are a couple tried and true headline formula examples:
Generate some creative ideas and spins on your headline draft by using Portent’s Headline Generator. The results might be too silly for your informational articles, but it will definitely give you some new ideas!
Make it emotional – use positive or negative superlatives. Avoid being neutral because emotional headlines get more attention on social media
Use interesting adjectives:
Appeal to readers’ rationale:
This tool will score your headline based on word balance, length, keywords, sentiment, and more. Based on your score, you can make the suggested edits if you wish to do so and re-test.
And don’t forget to download our Headline Optimization guide HERE so you can refer to it each time you’re writing a new headline!
So you’ve got the perfect headline, now what? Look out for my post next week on writing the perfect content to follow.