There is plenty of articles in literature (blog, ebooks, advanced guides, etc.) suggesting headlines templates and ways to make the keyword research to optimize them.
In this article we’ll give you a strategy framework that addresses the main tactics you can find online.
There are two main theories:
1. Make SEO friendly headlines
2. Make reader friendly headlines
SEO friendly headlines aim to make articles have a good Google ranking while reader friendly headlines are compelling to the readers and should improve the Read through rate:
However SEO friendly headlines are often in trade off with reader friendly headlines because in order to make an headline friendly to Search Engines it is necessary to look at low competition keywords and usually finding lowest competition keywords brings you towards less meaningful headlines (to learn how to estimate keyword competition: http://youtu.be/JHihqTvUXSo).
SEO friendly headlines or Readers friendly headlines?
Write headlines for both people and search engines. The one thing that all three of my blogs have in common is that they all get a lot of search engine traffic. “Why?” you may ask. It’s because we write blog headlines that appeal to both people and search engines.
I think it's OK to write a mix of different types of articles with different types of headlines. Some with a lot of SEO focus and, as you mentioned for a well known blog, especially those with well established social media connections, a reader friendly title.
Create something that is just too good to pass up in your industry. Answer a very odd question and really think about the selfishness of each of your readers. In other words, know what he/she wants and then create a headline that almost gives it to them.
When it comes to thinking about SEO, using keywords in your blog title is advised But it’s important not to overdo it. A clickable post title should makes sense and be easy to read so don’t try to stuff awkward keywords into your title.
We believe that there is not a unique solution that addresses all headlines crafting needs. In fact the choice of the kind of headline you want strongly depends on the objectives behind and the awareness of your blog.
Let’s consider the following two cases:
· Unknown blog
This is tipically the case of a new blog or a blog that for any reason is not very famous yet. In this case we have blogs with very few visitors hence very few readers. In this framework you are posting contents that do not get read because nobody is visiting the blog. To fix the issue the strategy would be driving a higher number of impressions to the posts and since the blog is unknown the best way is to work on SEO in order to make your posts rank in the Google SERP for high potential/ low competition keywords. This would allow you to acquire new users and, if the content is relevant to them, to make new readers.
However, if for any reason, growing visits is not an objective and you just want to increase the reading rate of the few existing readers of the blog the best choice is to make them happy with compelling headlines that might invite them to go through your contents.
· Well known blog
This is the case of very famous and well known blogs; the blogger is usually considered an influencer in his specific market niche. These are blogs that generate huge amount of traffic and that have many fidelized readers. In this case contents are constantly read by many readers but visitors generate many more impressions than reading so the objective would be: converting as many visitors as possible into fidelized readers. How to make more and more visitors go carefully through the articles? Writing magnetic headlines is the answer. In this case user friendly headlines prevail over SEO friendly headlines.
This strategic matrix follows the blog all along its lifecycle; this is why we call it dynamic. When you launch your blog, at a very early stage, it is usually unknown so “growing impressions” would be the strategic priority. However this automatically brings you to increase the blog traffic as well as the blog awareness. At this point the blog is known but not really famous so you still want to grow impressions but at the same time you need to improve your Read through rate. The last step is when the blog becomes well known (strong awareness) so the main priority is the Read through rate. The figure below shows how the strategy evolves during the blog lifecycle.
Once chosen the strategy it is time to craft the headline.
In leterature the tactics to come out with SEO friendly headlines vs Readers friendly headlines are well known:
In order to make it realistic, we will use this article as case study. So we will find the best SEO friendly headline for this article.
We choose a starting set of keywords to run on the Google Keyword Planner:
- How to write blog title
- Blog headlines
- Strongest blog headlines creation method
- How to write
- How to choose headlines
Then we run the Keyword Planner and generate keyword suggestions. We can see that only three of our set of keywords generate some traffic, the others don’t. This is why we are interested in looking at the keywords suggestions: to get more keywords.
“how to write magnetic headlines” has a low traffic but very low competition as well. This is also a relevant headline for our blog post. Hence we decide to go for this one.
Choosing between SEO friendly headlines and Readers friendly headlines is a trade off. To make the right choice you just need to follow the strategic framework given in this post. This is true all along the blog lifecycle so you should adapt your strategy continuously.
So what is your strategy based on the age of your blog?