How to Write SEO Friendly Headlines

You may ask Are SEO friendly headlines important? Well, yes they are. Just writing great content for your website doesn’t mean that it will attract visitors. You may write the most relevant content that is out there for a certain niche but if your headline doesn’t portray this then you may as well not bother.

Internet users are constantly searching out information for what they need. A good headline should catch their attention and get them to click through into your content. If you can do this then you’ll draw in traffic to your website as well as enhancing your search engine optimisation efforts.

Headline writing should be a key component of your internet marketing strategy. If you can get this right, everything else will follow. So … what do good quality headlines look like?

Include keywords in your headlines

Including keywords in your headlines is important to the search engines, as well as potential site visitors. Google, Bing et al put a great deal of emphasis on a headline so including your keywords in it is a no-brainer.

Make sure that the keywords are relevant to the topic of the website too or won’t attract any customers or search engine spiders.

Use intellectual, emotional and spiritual words

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read your headline but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. This is the secret to the power of your title, and why it so highly determines the effectiveness of the entire piece. Therefore you have one chance to grab the reader’s attention as well as their mouse click.

Using a combination of power words, common words, uncommon words and emotional words to tempt your audience in. A great tool to use to analyze your headlines and determine their Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) is the Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer. This tool examines your headline for intellectual, spiritual and emotional factors and provides feedback for you.

Avoid bounces

Whatever you do, don’t try and tempt users in to your site with an SEO friendly headline that doesn’t deliver. Ensure your headlines do what they say they’ll do. If you’re promising to provide an answer to an information search then make sure that you provide that answer. There is no point drawing a customer in for them to find out that you’ve wasted their time. The site visitor will just leave and you will see this as a bounce on your site analytics.

Understand your target audience

If you know your target audience, then you’ll know what they’re looking for. This must be the main focus of your site. If you can give your target customer what they want then you’ll get what you need from them too.

Your SEO friendly headlines should reflect the needs of your target audience. If you know what they’re looking for then write your headlines to attract them to your content. Once they’re in your site then they’ll stick around if you get the content right.

There are formulas to write a catchy SEO friendly headline as shown in the info-graphic below from Int Network Plus

SEO Friendly Headlines

Include numbers in your catchy SEO friendly headlines

One of the techniques alluded to above is to include numbers in your headline. The site visitor then knows what they’re getting. If you promise 100 of something then its likely to be low quality content– less is more here as the site visitor will believe it to be succinct and fitting to their needs.

You can use a formula when including numbers in your headline, as follows:

Number + Adjective + Noun + Keyword + Promise

For example, 9 interesting ways to write catchy SEO friendly headlines in two minutes. Funnily enough, odd numbers do better than even numbers in headlines as they stand out more.

Use strong adjectives

Positive, strong adjectives such as amazing, delicious, easy, essential or outrageous are great for grabbing reader’s attention. Words such as valuable, proven and steal-worthy denote something worth having whereas adjectives like free are attractive to everyone.

These types of word captivate the reader. Newsworthy phrases that suggest the headline is urgent also attract clicks as it means they will get the news before anyone else.

Keep to around 8 words

A short and snappy headline can be read quickly. The quicker it can be read, the faster the user comes to a decision whether to click or not. According to the content marketing institute, headlines with 8 words perform best. These titles receive a 21% higher click through rate than average. Bear in mind that long headlines don't relate to long tail SEO.

The list above contains a few pointers to writing SEO friendly headlines that grab your reader’s attention. Some sites have also indicated success with adding hyphens in the headline as they indicate a subheading. Others have seen an increase in click-through’s by using questions as the headlines.

Make headline writing a key component of your content marketing strategy. Follow these simple rules and you’ll appeal to audiences as well as search engines. And remember, if you need the services of an SEO consultant then I am happy to help out.

SEO Consultant

This article was written by Gaz Hall, a UK based SEO Consultant on 13th May 2019.

Gaz has 20 years experience working on SEO projects large and small, locally and globally across a range of sectors.

If you need any SEO advice or would like him to look at your next project then get in touch to arrange a free consultation.