Your headline needs to grab the attention of the reader so that they click on your link to find out more. You have roughly four to eight words to play with to make your content more attractive than everything else on the page and this is no easy task. Even experienced online writers, journalists and advertisers find the creation of headlines difficult.
A good headline will boost your chances of getting to the top of a search engine page and will make a huge difference to your conversion rate and ROI at the end of every month, too.
Unlike like Aladdin who was only given three golden wishes from the genie of the lamp, this short post is offering six magical tips for the creation of the best search engine-friendly headlines possible… for free!
1. Use Popular Keywords
Do a Google Search for keywords relating to your products, services or article subject matter before you write your headline and make sure that the popular keyword search terms are incorporated into that headline.
2. Balance the Popular Keywords with the Less Competitive Keywords
It isn’t always a good idea to use the most popular keyword in your headline because competition on that keyword is going to be high. The best keywords for headlines are sometimes those keywords that are being used by fewer competitive companies, but still being used by Internet users to find the information that they seek.
For example, with a little research you might find that Popular Restaurants New York is less competitive than Best Restaurants New York and still drives lots of traffic.
3. Summarize your Content
The Internet user must know exactly what they will find in your blog post, article, or on your landing page should they choose to click on your headline. Therefore, your headline must be a succinct summary of content that the headline links to.
If the Internet user lands on a page that has nothing to do with the headline they read, they are going to be disappointed and they will learn to avoid your site in the future.
If your article is about online marketing strategies, make sure that “online marketing strategies” is in the headline. You can leave the creativity for offline advertising and offline journalism. “Click Here for a Big Surprise” is something that might work offline, but online it is never going to draw attention because the Internet user has no idea about what they are going to find at the end of the link.
Ambiguity is certainly no friend of the Internet headline.
4. Use a Number
“100 Ideas for Father’s Day” is a much more effective headline than “Ideas for Father’s Day.” Internet users love numbers and therefore they should always feature in your headline, whether you are working on a headline for an advertisement to sell a product or a headline for a post to feature on your blog.
Percentages work well, too. If you want to promote a discount, use a number: “10% Discount” is much more effective than “Discount” alone. Saying “75% of our customers choose blueberry jam” is much more effective than “Lots of our customers choose blueberry jam.”
5. Leave Out Unnecessary Words
Connecting words such as, in, of, on, at, into, over, etc. are a waste of space in a headline. They steal the focus away from the real content of the headline and they dull down the impact of that headline on the reader.
For example, “Invest in Online Advertising to Make Your Business Grow Quicker” is the perfect example of a very weak headline. “Online Advertising Makes Business Grow” is much more powerful because the insignificant words have been skillfully removed.
6. Create Urgency
Creating urgency in your online headline is perhaps one of the best ways to get people to click on that headline and visit your website. If the Internet user knows that there is a time limit associated with the article, product or service, he or she will be more likely to click on it in the moment.
Headlines such as “The First 100 Clients Go Free,” “50% Flight Deal Ends Friday,” or “Only 25 Paintings Left” all create a sense of urgency. They clearly explain to the Internet user that there is a time or product limit and they need to act quickly if they are interested in what is being offered.
If you can put these six simple strategies in place when working on headlines for advertisements and articles in the future, you will see a marked improvement within your online marketing campaigns without fail.
David Chapman is Director of Marketing at Webrageous, a Pay Per Click Management Company in Reno, Nevada, and an expert in online marketing optimization.