So you have a blog but your visitors aren’t clicking deeper into your website. Or, perhaps your blog posts are ranking in Google, but your click-through-rate (CTR) is low and you’re dropping in the rankings. Well, let’s help you change that because improving your blog post titles is one of easiest things that you can do in order to have an immediate, positive impact on your website traffic (and engagement).
Web surfers are becoming more demanding these days. Coupled with their widespread case of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), they simply need to be sucked into your content. In order to achieve this, you must craft compelling blog post titles. But, learning how to write great headlines requires a bit of learning, experimentation and testing. I’m going to show you some ways to do this and improve your headlines.
Using Google Webmaster Tools to Identify Click-Through Rates
A great starting point is analyzing your current pages’ CTR in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). Once your website is verified in GWT, navigate to Search Traffic > Search Queries in the left sidebar, and then click on the Top Pages tab. This is where Google shows you important high-level stats for the pages on your website receiving the most clicks and impressions. You want to pay special attention to the CTR column, as this will tell you how much of your impressions each page is turning into actual clicks. The higher the number, the better. If your numbers aren’t great, well…you have some work to do.
Let’s look at some great blog headlines to start. I’ve had good success with headlines on a travel agency client. Here’s a screenshot of the Top Pages report of GWT.
A few pages stand out, but there’s two that I want to specifically review:
- /when-to-visit-costa-rica/ – 6% CTR out of a whopping 44k impressions
- /driving-in-costa-rica-is-it-safe/ – 10% CTR out of 896 impressions
The first page’s meta title is “When is the Best Time to Visit Costa Rica? Don’t Be Fooled”. This is a common question that people have when considering a vacation to Costa Rica, so the first part of the title is both keyword-focused and serving the purpose of connecting with the user’s query. But, what makes this title compelling is the “Don’t Be Fooled” hook at the end. That implies that this webpage contains information that others do not, and the viewer is taking a risk by not clicking to view the content. You could call it “fear factor” if you wish, but it works.
The second page’s meta title is “Driving in Costa Rica: Is it Safe? The Truth”. This is another common question that people have when arranging their travel plans in and around Costa Rica. Once again, the first part of the title is query-focused and the second part, “Is it Safe? The Truth,” implies that this webpage has the most truthful advice. It is really good advice, so we feel comfortable using this title.
Great. I know what works. My next step is to identify meta titles that aren’t getting quite as high of a CTR and thus, need a little love. Let’s dive into some methods of improving the remaining headlines.
Using Headline Analyzer Tools
One of my favorite tools for improving your headlines is the Blog Post Headline Analyzer from CoSchedule. Here is an analysis of my original headline for this post: How to Write Catchy Blog Titles Like a Badass. It scored pretty well but was missing some things.
Apparently I need to increase my usage of uncommon words. According to CoSchedule:
Uncommon words are unique enough to grab your readers’ attention. These words provide substance in your headline.
They give some examples of uncommon words, as shown here and in the screenshot below.
So, I took some time to edit my headline and came up with what you see now on this post: Be More Magnetic! How to Write Powerful Blog Titles. Here’s how it scored with the Headline analyzer tool:
My score improved by adding an uncommon word: “More.” I also like the word “Powerful” more than “Catchy,” even though “catchy” is used in higher search volume phrases since it’s more impactful. With Google Hummingbird working it’s magic these days and using variations of words in the body content of this post, I don’t have to fret about keyword-usage as much. I now have an improved title.
More Tips on How to Write Catchy, Magnetic Headlines
While the Headline Analyzer tool from CoSchedule is great, there are other ways of looking at headlines. Here are some additional tips with more examples of both good and bad blog post titles, with commentary as to why.
Blog Post Title Strategies That Don’t Work:
Let’s first start with some fun blog titles that truly would suck for this particular post I’m writing:
- Lacking Excitement – Example: “Writing Good Titles” – This sure is boring. People don’t want good, they want the best! If your titles are more compelling, they will be more magnetic to web surfers’ clicks.
- Lacking Keywords – Example: “Coming Up with Article Headers” – This doesn’t target popular keyword phrases. If you’ve done keyword research, you’ll see that keywords like “coming up with” and “headers” are not “keywords” for this particular topic.
- Excessively Long – Example: “My Favorite Blog Title Ideas That I’ve Learned Over The Years & Will Improve Your Click-Through Rate” – Holy cow this is long. You can actually find blog post titles this long, and they’re quite ugly when they word-wrap. Even worse, there’s no focus.
- Missing Linkbait – Example: “Catchy Blog Titles” – There’s nothing attractive about this. It doesn’t bait other bloggers into wanting to link to your post. Instead, focus on “how to” and “Top 10” list types of blog posts.
Blog Post Title Strategies That Do Work:
Now, here’s some advice on how to improve upon the god-awful examples given above:
- Creating Excitement – Example: “Best Damn Title Names of Blog Posts I’ve Found” – This is bold and exciting. Your content better delivers. If it does…you’ll surely satisfy the reader.
- Using Keywords – Example: “How to Craft Compelling Blog Post Titles” – Now this targets a popularly searched keyword: “craft compelling blog post titles.” Chances are, you found this particular blog post by searching for this keyword, or a similar phrase.
- Short & Catchy – Example: “Write Killer Blog Headlines” – For someone who is researching how to write catchy headlines, this gets straight to the point for them without excessive clutter.
- Using Linkbait – Example: “Top 10 Blog Title Ideas” – Someone who is looking for ideas for a blog title will find a “top 10 list” as both resourceful and easy to read (assuming your advice is up to snuff). And, if they have a blog, there’s a chance they might link to it if they really like it, since…internet readers love lists!
Whether you’re looking to write creative blog titles to drive traffic to your personal blog or work blog, these tips will go an incredibly long way toward improving your click-through results!
For more information on implementing keywords, visit our Keyword Research page.