Have you ever written a blog article title and felt something was missing? Like it needed to be jazzed up a bit yet it also needed to follow SEO best practices? That happens to me all the time. I often use a working title and by the time the article is finished, my creative juices are dried up and the headline doesn't get the love it deserves.
If I feel this way about my headlines, I’m positive our readers aren’t giving them any notice. If I want to write the perfect blog title - one that makes it easy for my audience and Google to understand how my content answers their search query - I need to step up my game.
We all face a deluge of information daily. What is it that makes us stop scrolling and click on an article, giving away our precious time and attention? A study by Conductor found that are are 5 main types of article headlines:
(Source: 5 Data Insights into the Headlines Readers Click)
Number posts attracted readers most, followed by Reader-Addressing posts. It’s also interesting to note that 51% of respondents preferred titles with 0 to 1 superlatives (such as “best,” “ever,” and “perfect”). The study's results made it clear that readers want us to get right to the point, and they want to know what to expect after they click. Readers tend to click on titles that leave little ambiguity about the content they are about to read.
I recently wrote an article titled Where to Find Free Online Digital Marketing Training. When I wrote the title, I strictly used keywords in a phrase that I thought our target audience would be searching for. There was no other analysis that went into creating that title.
As I try to improve my own content marketing skills, however, I want to get better at creating catchy titles that increase conversions. There are several headline analysis tools on the web and I have used them sporadically for my own articles and our clients’ content. But I had never really taken the time to compare tools and their results.
After reading this quote from the father of advertising, David Ogilvy, I knew I needed to do better.
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
If better headlines mean more readers, more subscribers, and more customers, I need to improve my headlines constantly. Armed with new information about the best headlines to attract readers, I chronicled my headline analysis to help our readers and our SMA content team.
I started with CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer because their tool gives a breakdown of the word balance, type of headline, a preview of what it would look like on the SERP, what it would look like in an email subject line preview, and how readers will scan it for keywords.
Here are the results of my original headline, “Where to Find Free Online Digital Marketing Training.” Coschedule classified it as “Generic.” Yikes!
Changing the title to Free Online Digital Marketing Training That Every Marketer Needs improved my score, but it was still generic and lacked emotion.
Now it became a game and I was determined to win! I changed it again to Free Digital Marketing Training That Will Supercharge Your Skills. Although still generic, it has more emotion so it’s an improvement.
Time to move on to another tool. Advanced Marketing Institute has an Emotional Headline Analyzer, so I decided to give it a try. According to this analysis, the emotional value of the headline was higher than that of most professional copywriters. I’ll take it.
I continued my search for headline generator tools and stumbled upon Impact Plus's Blog Title Generator. It doesn't analyze a given headline. Instead, it gives you ideas to create compelling titles after you insert the keyword.
Playing off of the “How to Recover From…” idea, I went back to the Coschedule tool and changed the headline to How to Overcome a Lack of Digital Marketing Skills. Bingo! My score increased to 76 and the headline was now a How To instead of a Generic title.
The next tool I tried was Sharethrough. The tool provides a headline quality score based on Behavior Model Theory and Sharethrough’s neuroscience and advertising research. Here’s how my new headline fared.
Using the suggestions offered, I further refined my title and changed it to Supercharge Your Digital Marketing Career: How to Learn These 5 Crucial Skills for Free and my score finally reached “Above Average” status.
I took the new and improved title back to Coschedule to see how it would rank in their tool. My score decreased in the Coschedule tool! It’s interesting how the two tools use different criteria to rank headlines.
I was narrowing in on the best headline but I wanted to check one of my favorite tools for fun. I enjoy using Portent’s Content Idea Generator for blog title inspiration. This tool will give you some ideas that will help you overcome writer’s block and inject some personality into your title.
Having done all these evaluations, I’m satisfied with the new blog post headline How to Overcome a Lack of Digital Marketing Skills. For social promotion, it’s more compelling than the original, Where to Find Free Online Digital Marketing Training. Since it’s more compelling and emotional yet still contains the keywords Digital Marketing Skills and promises to answer users’ questions about where to get those skills, it may result in more engagement on our social channels.
This was a good exercise using several headline analysis tools to fine-tune a topic and headline. I’ll use this process when creating content for our clients and future SMA blog articles. It takes a bit of time, but going back to what David Ogilvy said; it’s well worth the investment if it results in greater exposure for our content.
What can we learn from these tools? Blog post titles with active, emotional, and powerful words are more compelling. However, we must balance that with on-page SEO best practices and include the target keyword in the title.
To help Google and your audience understand what your article is about, follow these blog title tips:
Following these tips can help you write the perfect SEO-optimized blog titles that attract more clicks from readers and rank higher in search engine results. Keep experimenting with different formats and phrases until you find one that works best for your website's audience and goals!
Need help publishing blog content consistently? Our SEO and Content teams are experts in helping businesses improve their online visibility through SEO-friendly content. We ensure every article has the perfect title and is optimized for search engines to increase the chances of your audience finding your content in Google search.
Want to learn more about how our team can help you publish content with effective blog titles to improve your search rankings? Contact us today!
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in May 2017 and has been updated with fresh content.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Headquartered in Melbourne, FL