You need to write better headlines. (See how that would have really sucked as a headline?)
Saw a great post over at Condomunity yesterday about writing better headlines on your blog. My headlines will continue to be sub-par, but the ideas are worth highlighting here for all to use.
The post highlights an article written about worldwide condom prices, which isn’t all that earth shattering, and it was titled Cheap Condoms, Expensive Condoms. Then when the story gets picked up by EnviromentalGraffiti and newly titled: World’s Most Expensive Places to Have Sex. As you can probably imagine, headline #2 drew in about half a million visitors while #1… not so much.
Let’s look at some ways you are going to start doing things…
Google Analytic’s Conversion University reports: Recent research suggests that users decide to stay or leave your site in 8 seconds or less — in that short amount of time, headlines are the one piece of copy that users will actually read.
CornwallSEO argues: If you cannot be motivated to write the article based on the headline, how is the reader going to be motivated to read it based on the headline.
Here’s some more…
On writing news and SEO headlines. “Avoid puns.”
Don’t be too short. “Rarely (almost never) use short, verb-less labels as main heads for news stories. They fail to tell the news.”
Be controversial. “There’s no better guarantee of catching a reader’s attention than to stir up a little controversy. Be bold, dare to incite a little indignation, or get the pulse racing just a bit. Don’t be moronic about it though. You don’t need to incite a riot.”
Tell stories people can relate to. “Create a headline, title or slogan that tells a story people can immediately recognize and relate to, and they may just start telling your story for you.”
Use hot keywords like Apple and Al Jazeera (instead of Hardware and Qatar TV Channel). “People love to read stories about topics they’re interested in. Some trends endure longer than others, whilst some are short lived – but if you’re writing about a hot topic, be sure to drop in those keywords to whet your reader’s appetite.”
Your title is what brings visitors from search engines. “The title tag is what’s displayed as the link in search results – research in the US showed that it accounted for 30% of a user’s decision of which result to click on.”
Use plain English. “Search engines don’t understand metaphors, puns, or other forms of wordplay, and people don’t use them when searching for information – use plain English.”
Explain your headline with your subheadings. “Add a h2 headline which is a sentence explaining your h1 headline. Example: h1 – ‘SEO Services Glasgow’, h2 – ‘We’re the first professional search engine optimisation company in Glasgow offering SEO services since 1995′.”
About hyphens, acronyms and apostrophes. “Most search engines treat hyphens and apostrophes as a space. E-mail is seen as being slightly different than email. If a word is split by a hyphen or apostrophe then you should check to see which version is used more frequently and optimize for whatever versions are commonly searched upon.”