First impressions matter. They really do. When you write a headline (your post title) and you share that headline through your social networks, you’re making an impression. You’re giving potential readers some insight into your blog post. It’s here where you have the opportunity to drive new readership and earn new subscribers. But it all starts with a compelling headline.
And so the other day as I’m going through my feedreader I come across this:
So, as a first-time reader, a browser, how does that headline make you feel? Are you going to stick around and read the rest? Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. Pretend you’re looking for a house. You come across this website. You see this post and another one just like it, then another one and another one. Are you going to stick around long enough to contact the agent? Does it compel you to fill out a contact form or register for the site’s IDX?
Me? I’m annoyed. Period.
Do Keywords Really Matter?
There are two camps on this one. You have the purists who say “it’s all about the conversation and writing for your readers.” Then you have the SEO fanatics who tout heavy keyword research. My guess is that guy spoke to a narcissist in the latter camp. Yes, keywords matter. When you speak the language of your readers, you attract more:
- …readers via search.
- …retweets (because your audience finds it relevant).
- …social shares & likes (again, because your audience finds it relevant).
All in all, you get more relevant search traffic.
But I’d argue that the above is taking to an extreme that’s more damaging than it is helpful.
Headline Writing Cheat-Sheet:
This isn’t a definitive cheat-sheet, but here’s how I would do it…
- Start with the title first.
- Do some basic keyword research. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. What phrases are they typing in search to find what they’re looking for?
- Write, then rewrite. Read: Email Subject Line Templates That Work Like Crazy
Yes, keywords matter. But don’t over do it.
What’s your take? What’s your best advice for writing headlines that drive traffic and turn browsers into subscribers?
Recommended Reading: How To Write Magnetic Headlines
Jay Thompson says
Honestly? If I see a title like that I think the “writer” is a keyword stuffing spamming idiot. If he/she thinks it's effective, then they are greatly discounting how smart potential real estate buyers/sellers are. I suspect anyone unfortunate enough to stumble across this site is going to swiftly leave, with pretty much the same “idiot” impression I have.
The folks at Google are *really* smart. They build algorithms that don't need that kind of ridiculous keyword spam in order to figure out what an article is about. Write good quality content consistently and you'll come out miles ahead of people that think (incorrectly) that they can game the search engines.
Ricardo Bueno says
Jay: I love ya man. Pretty much captured how I felt about this. First impressions matter. When I land on that site I'm annoyed. I don't care how awesome your “search” is, I'm outta there.
North Tacoma says
The folks at Google are indeed smart. This makes it all the more puzzling when they consistently roll out garbage products while ignoring potential improvements to what made them their initial fortune.