As a thought leader, you know that your headline can make or break or your content. The wrong headline will be ignored by human readers and buried in the rankings by search bots. Follow these headline best practices so your relevant content gets the visibility it deserves.
Always remember that a thought leader must strike a balance between attracting readers and optimizing a headline for search engines. A headline that is good at attracting readers will garner a lot of hits during its initial promotion, but a savvy thought leader chooses a headline that also scores well with the search engines so it will be served up to new readers for years to come.
Please the Search Engines
First and foremost, search bots must know what your page offers to searchers. These digital interpreters do not understand verbal tricks or metaphors. They also tend to comprehend words and phrases separately. A post titled “Sheep: This Is Not a Post About Farm Animals” cues the bots for the opposite of its intent.
If a page does not contain relevant content associated with the keywords in its headline, this confuses the search bots. They are not going to show a page to searchers when they are not sure themselves which search queries match up with the content.
The best headlines will include relevant content keywords upfront. Also known as front-loading, this technique is responsible for all the headlines we see online that contain a colon, as in the example above. The keywords chosen in these headlines should not mislead searchers as this can send negative signals to the search engines.
Once you have determined your article’s keywords, you then have to decide how to inspire readers to click your headline. Scan the headlines at the supermarket checkout to see how simple techniques create interest and tease an audience to respond. Keep a swipe file of headlines you can adapt to your needs and topics. Some of our favorite headline techniques include:
Finding the right words is a challenge for any writer, but for the thought leader hoping to establish a long-term presence in the search engines, finding the right keywords for a target audience is imperative. We recommend InboundWriter to maximize your word choice and help you find the words that lure readers aligned with your marketing goals.