12 Headline Writing Tips To Drive Traffic & Clicks

Wondering how to inspire skimmers to click on your article? A strong title is an important strategy for attracting visitors to your website.

You want people to read the content since you put so much effort into it.

But here’s the sad truth: before sharing a story, 6 out of 10 people only glance at the headlines. Only 49% claimed to have read the articles.

What is a content creator do?

There’s a clear link between an article’s headline’s worth and interest and whether or not people are intrigued enough to click on it.

While writing a powerful headline isn’t a precise science, there has been plenty of data compiled and examined over the years to give some clues as to what makes a great title.

Here are a few headlines writing tips to help you win over those readers and get more clicks.

12 Tips To Write Click-Worthy Headlines

Your title is crucial in establishing a positive first impression on a potential reader.

We all know how important first impressions are.

Being average isn’t better than being bad. Your headline is either exceptional, or it’s forgettable. There isn’t much grey area.

The tips and methods listed below will help you in transforming a poor or average headline into one that attracts clicks and readers.

1. Look At Google Search Results

After you’ve done your homework on the keyword(s) you want to target, look at the search engine results page (SERP) to see which articles you’re up against.

What can you do to make your content stand out?

What is the user intent?

Are the top results listicles? Do you have any how-to articles? Is any commercial content?

If you’re going to rank on Page 1, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of what kind of content is already there if you’re going to be a serious competitor.

2. Make An Emotional Connection

Emotional headlines dependably perform better than neutral ones.

Using powerful phrases to elicit emotions in your viewers improves their first impression of your content while building curiosity, dread, or anticipation to read more.

The most effective emotional headlines aim for:

  • Happiness.
  •  Love.
  • Fear.
  • Anger.
  • Disgust.
  • Affirmation.
  • Hope.

When employing emotional headlines, though, use caution. You don’t want to fall into the clickbait trap of not delivering what you promised readers.

3. Use Names

The names must be well-known to your target audience for this headline gimmick to work.

Brand names have the same power as people.

When targeting SEO themes, for example, using the words “Google” or “John Mueller” in your title will draw clicks.

Within the industry, these are well-known brands and people.

The names you include in your headline should be relevant to your brand’s target audience.

4. Use Numbers

Numbers are natural eye-catchers.

Numbers catch our attention and lead us to a halt in a sea of words. We recall numbers because they aid in the organization of information in our brain.

To beat your SERP competitors, use the power of listicles and numbers.

5. Make The Benefits To Your Reader Clear

The question a reader asks themselves before deciding whether or not to click on an item is, “What do I gain out of this?”

The value a reader may expect from clicking through and reading your headline should be indicated in the headline.

High-performing content achieves one or more of the following goals:

  • Entertain.
  • Engage.
  • Empower.
  • Enrich.
  • Educate.
  • Inform.
  • Inspire.
  • Answer a question.
  • Provide a solution.

When a reader chooses to read your post and devote their time and attention to it, they’ve already established expectations based on the value your title promised.

Make it clear how your reader will benefit but don’t overpromise.

6. Optimize For Humans And Search

Your first objective is to optimize your site so that your human audience can find it and want to click on it.

The optimization of your site for search engines, particularly Google, is your second priority.

The good news is, humans and search engines can generally agree on what they like to read, including content that is:

  • Accurate.
  • Comprehensive.
  • Credible.
  • Engaging.
  • High-Quality.
  • Informative.
  • Specific.
  • Unique.
  • Useful.
  • Valuable.

To optimize your title for Google and help people find your content while looking for the topic, incorporate your major keyword in the title.

Check out free title generator tools to help you construct a better headline if you’re stuck for ideas.

Keep in mind that these tools don’t know your audience as well as you do, and just because a headline was created automatically doesn’t guarantee it’s the most SEO-friendly.

These free tools are best used for ideation and analysis, not as a replacement for a headline written by a person.

If you’re using WordPress, SEO-based plugins like AIO SEO and Yoast may provide you with a built-in analysis of your headline SEO rating (as well as the post as a whole).

7. Write Multiple Headlines

It’s likely that the first headline you think of isn’t going to be a winner.

And that’s just OK! In fact, it’s quite normal.

Some people advise writing 10 or more headlines per content piece and then selecting the best option.

Create a range of headlines that target certain formulas. Don’t merely change the order of the words.

Try to appeal to a variety of emotions, points of view, and styles, such as:

  • Humorous.
  • Upbeat.
  • Unexpected.
  • Witty wordplay.
  • Numerical.
  • Question.
  • Thought-provoking.
  • First-person (I).
  • Second-person (you/yours).
  • Third-person (he/she/they/them).

When making your selection, use headline analysis tools to keep track of SEO scores for each option.

8. Test Your Headlines

The data in your click doesn’t lie, but your brain does!

Don’t be too mad at your brain – we’re all biassed. Our minds convince us that we are intelligent and creative and that all of our headlines are great.

But plenty of imaginative headlines never gets a single click.

Despite what your brain thinks, the people bypassing your article aren’t to blame. It’s right there in the title.

Eliminate the bias by relying on quantitative data instead of your opinions and feelings.

9. Experiment With Headlines, Too

Writing click-worthy headlines is an art, and it takes some experience to become comfortable with the task.

If you’ve followed all of the rules and are still having trouble, don’t be scared to ignore them and follow your gut.

What kinds of headlines interest you? Go from there.

10. Follow Formulas

Even if there is an art to creating headlines, it’s crucial to remember that headline writing is a science, not a whimsical creative writing assignment.

No, seriously.

Formulas for writing headlines exist because they work. They’ve been tested several times to determine click-through rates.

This prompts the question, “How can I make my headlines stand out from the crowd if everyone is using the same formulas?”

The best advice is to create your own formulas by tweaking others and then testing your click-through rate (CTR) to find the ones that work best for you and your brand.

11. Should You Be Careful with Question Headlines?

Yes.

Question headlines can be an effective tool to spark reader curiosity, but

  • Don’t ask a question that has an obvious answer. Nobody is going to read your content.
  • Make sure you actually answer the question in the article. Don’t cop out and waste the reader’s time!
  • Your answer should be better than other existing content that poses the same question.
  • Be cautious about withholding information. Your content will come across as clickbait if you do.
  • If the answer to your question is yes or no, don’t ask the question in the headline.

In most circumstances, a headline that isn’t phrased as a question will be more compelling.

12. Be Positive

There is already enough negativity in the world without adding to it.

Whether you’re offering important information, solving an issue, answering a question, or entertaining your readers, your primary purpose should be to help them.

Some brands, on the other hand, want to be associated with negativity. Sparking controversy and getting people riled up does create a strong emotional response, albeit not a positive one.

It all depends on the image you want to project and the message you want to send to your target audience.

Write Compelling Headlines That Win Readers

If you want to break the 6 out of 10 reading figure, you’ll need to up the stakes in your headlines.

That will require a lot of trial and error.

Even if you follow every piece of advice in this article, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be effective every time.

Pay attention to your audience within your specific niche. What are they doing when they click? Which headlines are piquing their interest? What are the ones that aren’t?

Just like every other type of content marketing strategy, follow-up data and analysis are critical to understanding how to best target your specific audience.

Also Read: 11 Stunning SEO Data Visualizations To Inspire Your Reporting
Also Read: How Python And Machine Learning Impact On Technical SEO
Also Read: 5 Key On-Page Optimizations For Local Organic SEO
Also Read: Why You Shouldn’t Believe On Google Discover Traffic

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