The average adult has an attention span of 8.25 seconds. That means you have less than 33 words to get a reader’s attention before they move on. This probably seems like an impossible task, which is exactly why compelling content titles are so vital.
A title is your one opportunity to grab your customer’s attention. It doesn’t matter how fascinating your article is or how helpful its information if you can’t ever get anyone to read it in the first place. Write a boring or unhelpful title, and even the best blog will be skipped.
A compelling title should catch your reader’s eye, get a click-through to the article, cause your reader to engage or take action, and improve your Google rankings. So, how do you fit all of this into one title?
Titles and SEO
Titles play a huge role in your SEO. A well-written title should help you rank for a keyword and draw a user to click on your page. Google uses the click-through rate on your pages/blogs to determine how relevant you are to your keyword. So, if your title doesn’t peak your readers’ attention, and pull them to your content, your rankings will drop. The reverse is true as well. If you’ve cracked the code and successfully draw visits to your content, your ranking will increase as will the keyword’s prominence for your business.
But how do you make sure you’re ranking for and using the right focus keyword? First, you need a keyword strategy. This strategy should include a list of words that define your business. To figure out what keywords belong on your website and in your titles, ask yourself these two questions:
1. What are people searching for when they are looking for my website?
2. What question does my product or service answer? What problem does it solve?
For example, if you’re in the business of endpoint protection software all of your keywords should relate to security in someway including terms such as malware, cybersecurity and enterprise network security. It’s important to focus on keywords that are specific to your industry, as “cybersecurity” is very broad and dominated by enterprises that have been around forever. If you haven’t already, we recommend using Google AdWords Keyword Planner, this will help you analyze your keywords for ranking.
Keywords change as the industry grows and your potential buyers evolve. If your current keywords aren’t generating the leads you’re interested in, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Go back to the basic questions, “What does my business offer?” or “What pain point do I solve?” and research the answers to see where you rank. As your business grows and changes, your keywords will need to be tweaked as well. Although it may seem simple, it’s one of the better ways to improve your SEO strategy.
How To Write a Compelling Title
Now that you know your keywords, how do you actually write your next title? We’ve put together seven essential ingredients to be considered.
1. Your Target Audience
Who are you trying to reach? Your title should change according to what stage in the sales funnel your buyer (or intended reader) is in. It’s also important to keep in mind the type of content you’re writing - whether it be a blog post, an email or a landing page - since this will affect the overall goal of the content you’re sharing. For example, a blog post intended for the awareness stage of the buying cycle will have a catchy title as opposed to a decision stage blog, that will be more technical. Your whitepaper on the other hand, will be more professional and in depth than a blog post and the content will vary depending on the buyer’s stage. Take a look at Buzzfeed and Forbes, their article titles match their audiences. Buzzfeed’s title is catchy and even silly, while the Forbes’ article is informative.
2. Consider Length
According to a study done by Moz, the optimal length for a search engine title is 50-60 characters, while another study shows that the optimal length for an email subject line is 65 characters. A title that is cropped too early isn’t nearly as compelling as a title that you can read completely. For example, the QuickSprout title below is cut off, making it less likely to be read than a similar title that finishes its thought.
If you’re writing an email, it’s important to keep in mind which device the email is read on. 50 characters if read on a desktop, but only 20 characters if it’s more likely to be read on the mobile phone - and we all know that 50% of emails are read on the mobile.
3. Use a Working Title
Your title needs to be specific. Remember, there’s a lot of content out there. Readers aren’t interested in ambiguous things, are you? For example, the title “9 Tips for Securing Your Cloud” is fairly generic. It doesn’t really tell your reader what they’ll get out of their time. A working title is very specific and guides the reader through the content of the blog post. For example, “Who’s Most Likely to Compromise Your Enterprise Network Security? Your Employees” is far more detailed and the reader can immediately connect to it. .
4. Use the Keyword Appropriately
We already talked about choosing keywords earlier, but how do you work your keyword into your title? First, you need to be as natural as possible. Tagging on a random keyword won’t get your blog read. Instead, you want the keyword worked into your title, and for that you consider both short-tail and long-tail keywords.
· Short-tail: compelling titles
· Long-tail: ingredients for writing compelling titles
Long-tail keywords are less competitive and can be more easily used in a working title.
5. Add Shock Value and Power Words
People read blogs that make them stop and think. Use words that are a bit surprising such as hate, scam, burst, lose, goodbye, etc. Check out an article from PIX11 for a great example. It’s all about shock and awe.
6. Be Relevant
If you’re writing a blog, article, or sending an email, it should be relevant and time sensitive. Content that converts is content that has to do with the current news. It’s called newsjacking and it is really effective. For example, if you work in the tech industry and a major announcement just came out about security, make sure your title jumps on that bandwagon, “How to Make Sure Your Website Security Meets Google’s New Guidelines.” Or, “Is Kim Kardashian safe from cyber criminals?”
7. Tighten Your Title
It’s perfectly acceptable to start out with an outrageous title and then make tweaks as your go along. In fact, it’s completely normal to re-write your title 20-30 times before you figure out the best title for your content. Sometimes the title will change as you edit your content and sometimes you’ll just figure out a better way to say what you’re thinking. For example, for this blog, we went through quite a few options.
· How to Write an Interesting Title
· Why Titles Are So Important for Your Content
· How I Write Compelling Content Titles
· 9 Ways to Write Compelling Titles
· 9 Essential Ingredients for Writing Compelling Titles
Follow these seven tips, and your brand will be sure to create some great titles that’ll grab your reader’s attention.
* Amit Lavi is the Co-Founder & CEO of MarketingEnvy