Following a few good headline strategies can completely change the appeal of your content. Your headline is the most important component of your article. The success of your article hinges upon having an interesting headline that makes people want to know more.
Making a headline that captures the attention of readers involves creativity but there’s definitely a science behind it that can be used to make winners each and every time. Start with a working title and make a list of at least 10-20 headlines in order to choose the best one from the bunch. Incorporate as many of the strategies below to boost your click-through rate and drive more traffic to your website.
#1-Place point-value at the front
Describe the value your article is offering the reader at the beginning of the headline. In a study conducted by Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS studies 10 headlines to prove that adding the value points at the beginning of the headlines doubled the conversions of those that carried the value points towards the end.
Conductor performed a study that proved the use of numbers in your title will increase CTR by 36% as opposed to without. In an article published on Buffer, Courtney Siter explains “Numbers work well in headlines because humans like predictability and dislike uncertainty.”
She backs this psychological tendency up with a study from Columbia University on “The psychology of waiting in line” that shows how people deal with expectations. When people know what to expect they are able to manage time differently-such as being in a waiting room waiting for their doctor. If they are told exactly how long the doctor will be they handle their expectations differently.
#3-Use the word “who”
The use of the word “who” increases CTR by 22% according to a study done by Hubspot and Outbrain. Rather than focus on the ”why” people prefer to focus on the “who.”
#4-Use your keyword in your title
Although there was a small relationship proven, it still stands to reason that using a keyword in your title benefits your ranking. Ahrefs concluded that there was a 0.049% correlation between using your title and 26% of websites that included the keyword in the title were also in the first position in a Google search result.
Position your keywords in front of your title to make sure they are the first thing the reader reads. The first three words are the most important in your headline and if your title is cut off in the search results you want to make the highest impact when appealing to the readers’ interest.
#5- Use power words
Use power words in your title. According to Optinmonster, the use of power words can increase your conversions by 12.7 % Keep in mind that negative superlatives get 50% more clicks than positive superlatives.
#6-Accurately describe what your readers are getting
Be descriptive with what the reader is getting or in other words provide more clarity to improve CTR. Dan and Chip Heath are two brothers who wrote a book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die detailing 6 principles of which the third principle named was the idea that when something is concrete, it brings to mind a strong visual.
#7-Use top performing numbers in your listicles
Odd-numbered listicle headlines outperform even ones by 20% (Source: CMI) and yet the number 10 has the most engagement in Facebook headlines. Buzzsumo conducted a study and found that the number 10 in a headline was the most popular number in article engagement.
Brackets add clarity and give the reader a summary of what the article is about. People are drawn to brackets because they represent “reading between the lines” and are perceived to be more straightforward with communicating the contents of an article. Hubspot’s study of over 3 million websites concluded that using brackets in your title improve click-through rate by 38%.
#9-Optimize the length of your headline
#10-Appeal to an emotion
People are moved by emotions and will respond with more energy when you can trigger an emotional response. The shock and awe effect creates curiosity, amazement, surprise and intrigue. Being original will earn you the extra clicks and increase your click-through rate. When you can surprise a reader your words make a greater impact on their intrigue.
Related reading: What Are The Benefits Of SEO For A Small Business?
In June 2019, Digital Ducats conducted a survey consisting of 384 blog posts on 29 top SEO blogs. The following statistics represent blog posts on the first page of the website:
- 20.37% of the total blog posts used numbers within their title
- 19.31% of blogs had numbers posted within their first 5 blog posts
- 13.93% of blog posts used brackets in their headline
Data was pulled from the following sites:
- Search Engine Watch
- Matthew Woodward
- Search Engine Land
- Search Engine Journal
- Cognitive SEO
- Lion Zeal
- SEO by the Sea
- SEER Interactive
- Search Engine Roundtable
- Kaiser the Sage
- I’m From The Future
- Marie Haynes
- Diggity Marketing
- Evolving SEO
- Web Marketing School
- Dejan SEO
- Greenlane Marketing
- Robbie Richards
The Renovation Method is a three-step process for writing high-quality content by building on content that already exists. This methodology is used by every content writer guest posting as a link building strategy used to rank your website.
It structures your writing to be creative and conversational while including all of the attributes and technical elements that will get your article published and syndicated. The skills you take away from this method of blogging are invaluable for developing a profitable blog with loyal readers.
Have you ever read an article that flowed so smoothly it was like you could hear the person talking to you? Writing at this level of fluidity is an art that can be practiced and mastered. The skill allows you to create killer posts that entertain and engage while educating and enlightening your readers.
The Renovation Method encourages the creative side of writing and infuses the technical elements after your thoughts have been manifested to your screen. This article is significant for those who recognize how important guest blogging is as a link building strategy.
The main concept of the Renovation Method is that you avoid outsourcing a freelancer for writing by creating quality content that meets and exceeds what currently exists. The method involves curating the latest developments and trends on the topic you’re writing about. Essentially, you are building on available knowledge and centralizing content to write your own unique articles that compete with the best performing content in your related topic.
Rule #1: Read, research and curate ideas the day before writing
The day before you write about a topic is when your research begins. It’s good practice to read articles related to your topic in order to brush up on details and freshen opinions and statistics you find interesting. When you write about content that is fresh on your mind your writing will flow more naturally in a conversational tone.
The takeaway to reading and researching the day before as part of your writing routine is that the topic is fresh in your mind to converse about while stating your opinion or developing your ideas. Write as if you were talking to your audience in person in order to let the words flow from your mind to the screen in conversation that has been inspired by fresh ideas from well-rounded research and personal opinion.
The bonus to this is you can create SEO content to rank. Google loves content that’s fresh, recent and relevant. You can create all this while expressing what’s on your mind in your own words.
If you were to write your own article immediately after reading an article by another author, the tendency would be to quote or repeat what you just read.
By reading the day before you are “information-loading”, letting it marinate and then serving up a masterpiece the next day.
Rule #2: Never look back
Write as if you were talking to someone discussing a topic in person. Don’t stop typing, don’t go back to correct phrases or re-read paragraphs until you are finished writing your article.
The theory is that once you start re-reading your writing you get lost in semantics and lose focus on the direction of the article and the point you are developing. Even correcting spelling mistakes is a form of looking back that diverts focus from what you’re writing.
Write what needs to be said to explain your thoughts in their entirety. Keep in mind how you would speak to someone in person to make the article conversational, relaxed and take on personal characteristics and mannerisms. You will be surprised how many words you are able to write when you don’t focus so much on creating perfect content and just focus on delivering your message.
Rule #3: Renovate your content
Read through and “renovate” your content with a specific focus that adds quality to your article. For example, your first renovation should be proofread to correct any typos, grammar, spelling mistakes, and finish any undeveloped points you’ve made in your article. The first phase of renovations is to improve the flow of your article and make sure it reads well.
After the first renovation, create your titles and subheadings. Make a list of 10 options for titles. Your title is the single most important part of your article since it is what will attract the click from potential readers and plays a very crucial role in the click-through rate your article receives.
Renovate your article again to add statistics, quotes, links and cite resources. As you add your links and resources you will find yourself adding more detail to your article to further develop ideas with more thorough explanations.
Repeat and renovate as many times as you feel necessary. Every time you read your article you improve its quality by building on what already exists. Your finished product is an article that includes current and relevant topics influenced by credible sources with your own renovations that make the article a fresh, new and improved piece of content.
12 Helpful hints to enhance your writing
- Use an original and attention-grabbing headline.
- Use your keyword near the beginning of your title.
- Use numbers, stats and percentages within your title.
- Describe how you’re solving a problem.
- Choose a quiet, clean, and consistent place to write
- Dedicate a time to read about your industry that is non-negotiable.
- Choose to read articles from the most credible sources in your niche.
- Identify hot topics by talking to clients.
- Scan through forums and social media groups to find relevant issues.
- Get your creative juices flowing with “The burner paragraph.”
- Choose keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your article and make a list with multiple variations.
- Perform searches using the seed keywords you’ve selected for your article.
Use an original and attention-grabbing headline.
Create a title that will attract people to click on your article over any other. Writing great headlines is crucial to the success of your article. Choose descriptive words that pop out to readers and have the sizzle effect (when just saying it slices through the air and perks up the ears.)
Use your keywords near the beginning of your title.
Keep your keywords near the front end of your title to attract more clicks. When the search term is spotted in the title it will generate more attention and interest in your article. If your title is cut off for any reason you will also have the most important and descriptive words included at the beginning.
Use numbers, stats and percentages within your title.
According to a study by Conductor, headlines using statistics and numbers in your title will draw the click 36% more than having a title without. Titles with odd numbers experience a 20% higher click-through rate.
Describe how you’re solving a problem.
Readers love solutions to problems. By describing how you are solving a problem within your title you appealing to their interest by detailing what they will be able to do when they finish reading your article.
Choose a quiet, clean, and consistent place to write.
The more ritualistic you are with the conditions of where you work, the more comfortable you will feel which will allow you to relax and focus more on what you’re writing.
Dedicate a time to read about your industry that is non-negotiable.
In order to maintain an arsenal of noteworthy points, it’s necessary to make reading a regular habit in your routine. Stay updated on the latest trends and advancements in your industry to share a broader range of insight within your writing. The more you read, the more you improve your vocabulary, communication skills and style of writing.
Choose to read articles from the most credible sources in your niche.
You may not be getting accurate information from sources that haven’t established their expertise or authority in your niche. The more you read the more you will recognize prolific voices in your industry that offer the best information. Staying sharp and up to date with your info is crucial if you want to produce great articles that people will learn from and enjoy reading.
Identify topics that resonate with your clients.
Talk to clients about their experiences with your product and what has helped them the most. Find out what they have disliked the most about their experiences related to your business to uncover firsthand what types of content really matters.
Scan through forums and social media groups to find the most relevant issues.
The most relevant issues are found in extensive comment threads and topics posed as questions. Here you will find the type of content that will have the most impact on people’s lives. Use your findings to make your articles more meaningful.
Get your creative juices flowing with “The burner paragraph.”
If you get stuck for whatever reason and are having trouble starting an article-just type. Do not overthink what you are writing. Let whatever is on your mind out through the keyboard and onto your screen. You may end up with what is called “the burner paragraph” which is a block of writing that isn’t written well or may not even be on topic.
The purpose of “the burner paragraph” gets the juices flowing, ignites creativity and sparks ideas in regards to the direction of the article. When you have exhausted your burner paragraph, start a new line and the second paragraph becomes the first one of your article. You can now start writing again with more focus on the direction you’re taking and the points you’re making.
Choose keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your article and make a list with multiple variations.
Create a list of keywords to enhance the optimization of your page by using them throughout the body of your content as well as in subheadings. The use of LSI keywords throughout an article is an effective and safe form of optimizing an article.
Perform searches using the seed keywords you’ve selected for your article.
Search intent has become the most important factor in building content that gets ranked on Google. Add to your list of keywords by writing down any questions in Googles “people also ask” box and any phrases in “searches related to” at the bottom of the search engine result page. By incorporating as many of these search phrases as questions, answers and topics in your article you enhance your page’s ability to satisfy search intent.
User experience is considered an incredibly important aspect of providing a quality website. There are specific areas you need to cover in order for your site to make nice with the user which will send positive ranking signals to search engines. Here are a few examples of how to improve your UX.
#1-Satisfy user intent
Give your visitors exactly what they’re looking for when they choose your website from a search result. To create the perfect match between your business and visitor, be sure to identify the user intent behind the keywords you choose.
Effective keyword research aligns the content needed to meet the possible intent a user may have when typing in your keyword. If you haven’t covered all potential topics that a user will expect to find you leave them no option but to continue their search.
Improve the user experience of your website by updating content to accurately cover all topics that will provide the most comprehensive coverage of your keyword topic. Make your website the last site needed to adequately satisfy the search intent of a user.
#2-Increase your pages load time
The time it takes to load your pages directly affects user experience. People appreciate sites that load quickly and they tend to back out of sites that take a long time to load. Studies show that users start backing out of pages more frequently after three seconds. Every second thereafter results in more lost visitors.
In order to keep more of your visitors on your site, make sure your site is operating within acceptable page speed requirements. This aspect of user experience is a direct ranking factor that not only sends positive ranking signals to search engines but improves your bounce rate through a more enjoyable user experience.
#3-Make your site fit in all screen sizes
A fully responsive website will adjust the layout and the resize images to fit different sized screens. A responsive layout makes your site mobile friendly and easy to use on smaller screen sizes.
If your site is still operating only on a desktop version you may be losing traffic by providing poor user experience. A desktop version will shrink everything in the same layout which makes the text hard to read, buttons hard to push and images are not as effective because they aren’t fit to match the screen size.
More than half of the total searches made online are now made from mobile devices. If your site isn’t made for mobile then it isn’t made for more than half of your potential visitors. The time is ticking for sites only operating on desktop versions. Keep your visitors happy with a mobile-friendly website.
#4-Brush up on your formatting
Even though your site may be responsive, there are improvements to your design that will improve the user experience.
For example, buttons that are too close to each other can make a difference in the user experience if people are constantly pressing the wrong buttons.
Thin margins along the outside of your widgets may cause text to run too close to the screen. This can raise a slight annoyance for a user reading your content.
You can test the mobile-friendliness of your website on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This test rates the kind of experience your users have based on your design. It will report the items that will make your site easier to use and as a result, improve UX.
#5-Mix up your content
Variety is the spice of life. Vary the content you’re publishing on your blog. Too much of the same thing can get a little monotonous and boring. Commit to creating infographics and videos to change things up and add a little more flair to your content production.
Your visitors will appreciate it and it might be a nice change-up for you too as opposed to producing articles. Keep in mind that videos will improve the dwell time of visitors as it tends to be the preferred method of learning about something. Not only can you increase the performance of your site, but you can also host a more enjoyable learning experience while doing so.
#6-Stimulate your audience
Publish content that people want to read about. Aim to produce content that fully explains specific topics, which is rarely done effectively in less than 1000 words.
Longer content tends to perform better. Provide instructional guides, case studies, and strategy guides to provoke thought and generate interest. Publishing long-form content increases the performance metrics of your website such as dwell time, bounce rate and click-through rate. This leads to better rankings and of course with more visibility, you receive more traffic.
Apart from the technical improvements, a higher level of engagement leads to more conversions. Relationships start with the content you’re providing and if the level of engagement is low-your visitors will break it off quickly. If your content is stimulating and helping the reader in some way, they begin to trust your company which improves the likelihood of converting them into a client.
#7-Set new standards in quality
Quality is always a defining characteristic in the products, services and content your business provides. There’s just no way around it-people appreciate a product, service or information that adds value to their lives.
In order to set high standards in quality, make it a point to survey what content is currently performing. Stay on top of your industry by reading regularly in order to write about the latest updates and changes in your competitive niche.
Curate content from a variety of credible sources. When your finger is on the pulse of what impacts people’s lives you can provide comprehensive solutions through the content your website produces. The Renovation Method explains this concept in more depth.
#8-Make your site easy to navigate
Establish a clear path for your visitors when they land on your site. Set goals and objectives for your visitors to accomplish so you can create content to lead them to complete conversions.
Implement a strong interlinking strategy within your website. Link to related posts to provide easy transitions to related topics and keep your readers on your site for longer periods of time.
- Use call-to-actions within your posts to urge visitors towards the objective you have created on your site.
- Use breadcrumbs so they are able to backtrack to where they’ve been.
- Provide a search bar to find any specific topic within your site.
Failure to make things easy to find ultimately results in your visitor backing out of the site. A strong navigational structure improves the user experience and the overall click-through rate.
#9-Write an accurate and enticing headlines
The headline is the most important selling features of your article. It is what users see first in search results and what they are drawn to before clicking on your page.
Don’t disappoint your readers by misleading them with a headline in which the content doesn’t support your claim. People gravitate towards clarity in a headline.
Numbers in a headline improve your click-through rate by 36%. The theory behind this is that a matter of managing expectations. When people know what they are getting they are more likely to click on your article. If you claim to have 10 Fantastic Copywriting Tips and the article delivers 8 lame tips your credibility is instantly reduced and you may never get that visitor back on your site.
User experience will continue to be a priority for businesses in creating successful and competitively ranked websites. The process for providing a positive user experience is a continual effort but with lasting positive effects.