When you’re paying for search traffic, every word counts. The difference between attracting a click and being ignored in favor of your competitors can be huge, with even a small decrease in clickthrough rate (CTR) severely hurting your campaign.
Headlines are also remarkably important for SEO success. Competitive keywords tend to attract challenging competition, making the small increase in CTR that can be provided by a great headline a massive benefit for your website.
In this article, we’ll share five simple tips for writing effective headlines that boost your website’s clickthrough rate in search results, improve its relevancy for target SEO keywords, and increase your revenue from paid and organic search.
List your product (or service) in your headline
Every page on your website should list your product or service in its headline. If you sell vacuum cleaners, make sure that every single page of your website includes this search keyword – or, alternatively, a product keyword – in its headline.
People will often search using keywords that are indirectly related to your product, but not direct enough to bring up your homepage. Having your product or service in every headline gives you a chance to attract visitors from every related keyword.
Having your primary product or service listed in your headline also provides a key advantage over your competitors. If a customer searches for a keyword that brings up several businesses offering your service, a headline that directly mentions what you can offer will catch their eye and attract them to your listing before the others.
Craft headlines that answer the searcher’s question
Every search keyword, whether it’s a product name or a sentence, is a question. Try to answer searchers’ questions using your pages’ headlines and meta descriptions.
Think about search keywords laterally and work out how a seemingly normal term could actually be a question in disguise.
“iPhone 5S” is a very common search keyword that could have a variety of different meanings:
- “Where can I buy an iPhone 5S?”
- “How much does an iPhone 5S cost?”
- “Is the iPhone 5S the best smartphone?”
Think about search keywords as questions that need to be answered instead of just requests for information. This way, you’ll instinctively answer searchers’ questions in your headlines, attracting them to your website.
Local keyword? Emphasize your convenient location
When customers search for local information, they will almost always prioritize the most conveniently located result. Capitalize on this by creating subpages that target specific geographic areas that your business serves.
This allows you to create multiple search listings for different areas of your county or city, instead of just relying on a more general (and less effective) headline. When a searcher sees a search result that’s local not just to their city, but to their district, they’ll be far more motivated to click through and visit your website.
Stick to one keyword per headline – never any more
Headlines that include multiple keywords tend to fail at targeting both. A headline needs to be focused and highly targeted in order to be effective, and putting more than one keyword in each headline simply dulls its relevancy for both.
A great way to target multiple keywords, each with a unique headline, is to create subpages of your website that are built around just one keyword each. Tools like Moz’s On-Page Grader make it easy to judge the relevancy of a page’s headline.
Learn from the headlines of your competitors
Beginner SEOs optimize for rankings, but expert SEOs optimize for traffic. If you’re competing with a business that you know is profiting heavily from paid or organic search, look at the headlines they use and work out why they perform so well.
A great way to learn from your competitors is to look at the headlines that show up in PPC campaigns for your target SEO keywords. Since PPC advertisers need to keep their clickthrough rate high, you can be sure that their titles will be optimized.
Spend an hour every week checking your target keywords and see which results are the first to catch your eye. You can learn a lot by viewing your target search results from the same angle as one of your prospective customers.