Is Anybody Listening?
A good headline is often the only thing that determines if your blog post or web content gets read. This is the harsh reality of the Internet age. There is too much content available, which means that great content often gets lost in the information avalanche that grows exponentially everyday. Yet, most of us still crave great content, we go to the web everyday searching for information that will answer our questions, boost our careers, enlighten, entertain and improve our lives.
The challenge for all of us is in getting our content getting to the front of the line in an Internet search to be opened, read and shared. This is done with great headlines.
Headlines impact SEO.
As a means of coping, headline scanning has become a way of life for nearly everyone on the web. Whether it be Yahoo headlines or the use of Google Reader to control our feeds – we check our inbox everyday and scan the headlines, reading only the articles that pique our interest, promise to answer a need we have (or didn’t know we had) and intrigue us in some way. This means that only the best headlines get widely read – regardless of the quality of the content – and the rest are deleted.
People Have Questions
Headlines matter because they determine if your content gets found, gets read, gets shared and lives beyond its original release. Remember, people are searching for an expert opinion or explanation for their questions. Headlines must be an answer to a question or a solution to a problem.
You Are The Expert!
Everything you post should support this fact. Your headlines get you in the door and your content closes the deal. Get your content found, read, shared, and help it live forever by utilizing these five tips for creating headlines that boost SEO:
1. Write Your Headline With Google in Mind – Everything you post will live forever on the Web. One day, somebody, somewhere, will go to Google and begin typing words that pertain to a specific question of problem they have. Google then does all it can to find the best possible results for this search request. You want to be in those top results – to do so you must know your readers and understand what they are looking for and use keywords that they would use in their search. Your headline should reflect what your end user needs, wants or seeks.
2. Know Your Audience – Your headline should connect with the intended reader – and it should always deliver what is promised. You want to establish a relationship with your reader – a following – this can only be done with great content. Answer your audience’s questions in your content and tell them that you have the answer in your headline.
3. Promise to Solve A Problem – Almost everyone comes to the Net with a want, need or desire. Your headline must offer the promise of an answer or solution (and the content must provide it) – it has to clearly inform them of what they will find, why it matters and how it will help.
4. Expose a Secret – We all want to know what we don’t already know. We want to be on the “inside” – to learn the secrets that will unchain our potential and provide the insights that will ensure our success.
5. Be Direct – Say what you mean and mean what you say. Your headline should reveal exactly what the reader will find in the article – no more, no less.
Ultimately, headlines are benefit statements – “if you read this article, you will get this result.” The more enticing, specific, and relevant the headline the clicks and shares it will receive. As a guideline, try to write at least three potential headlines for all content. After doing so, use these five tips to refine those headlines until the best one emerges. The extra time put into creating a great headline will payoff long-term because it speaks to the needs of your target audience, whose questions tend to remain the same over time. Stick to these basic guidelines and you will create headlines that produce results.