If you’ve ever been fishing, you know just how important the bait is.
You can’t catch fish without bait, and the bait determines the kind of fish you catch.
The same is also true for the content you create for your website or blog. You need bait to get noticed and get bites in the form of visitors, shares, and backlinks!
The headline, or H1 heading, is the juicy little worm on your article’s hook, which is at the end of your content marketing strategy’s line and reel. You’re the one doing the fishing, and your readers and prospective customers are, guess who…the fish!
Each and every one of your website’s pages or blog articles is a different line in the water. Depending on what type of fish you’re trying to catch, where your fish are, and what they eat, you will utilize different types of lures and/or bait from your tackle box, different depths, along with different locations to fish.
OK, enough with the fishing analogy, let’s take a moment to learn a little more about headlines.
What exactly is a headline?
Web page headlines are just like the headlines of print newspapers and magazine articles, except they’re on web pages. They’re typically the leading line in the article (two words: head, line). Technically speaking, the headline text is wrapped by HTML tags to create a heading element. These tags range from H1 to H6 and determine the style of the text.
Today we’ll be focusing on the most important heading tag, the H1 heading, or the main headline on a blog article. Here’s an example of an h1 heading/headline from this post by Miranda Paquet on the Constant Contact blog:
Why H1 headings are important for SEO
The H1 heading is the most important heading for search engine optimization because it’s the highest level heading that shows what your specific page is about. Search engines generally give this heading more weight over other headings, so it usually improves your search engine ranking when you properly optimize them with the right keywords and use them in conjunction with the other on-page SEO techniques.
It’s very important that your h1 headings are intriguing, valuable, helpful, or a combination of any of those. Doing this will make your content stand out in the organic search results and drive more qualified traffic to your website. It will also help you from a co-marketing standpoint because you’ll share guest article ideas with your partners leading with these headlines.
Try implementing these tips in some of your upcoming blog article headlines to hook your readers and reel them in!
Making your headlines intriguing
You only have a split second to grab potential readers’ attention with your headlines, so you should make them as interesting and intriguing as possible. Otherwise, you lose them and they’ll never make it through your article to your call-to-action.
Here are four examples how to make your headlines intriguing:
Tip 1: Tell a secret
Everyone likes to know that they’re getting some insider information from an expert, so next time, try letting them in on the scoop. For example, if you’re a golf professional you could write an article with the headline: “The secret to a perfect golf swing.”
Tip 2: Hop on the bandwagon
Your readers like to feel included in something, so bring them on board with a headline that shows they’re a part of a greater group. For example, if you’re a boutique selling messenger bags, your article’s headline could read: “Who else wants to know what bags are in vogue this summer?”
Tip 3: Don’t miss out
If you make your headlines urgent and timely, you can usually spark your readers’ curiosity. For example, if you’re a residential swimming pool installer, you could write your headline to read: “Only 5 more days to take advantage of our half-off summer installation special.”
Tip 4: Build a list
Humans naturally love and respond to order. Lists are a great way to leverage that love. You can use top 10 lists, best of/worst of lists, or any other list you can think of! For example, if you’re a professional photographer you could write your headline to read: “The top 10 most picturesque wedding destinations.”
Making your headlines valuable
There’s no substitute to paying it forward with valuable blog articles, and the headline is the best place to showcase the value. The more valuable information you provide free-of-charge through your blog posts, the more engagement you’ll see with your readership. Readers will share your posts via social media, resulting in more exposure and traffic.
Here are three examples of how to make your headlines valuable:
Tip 5: Show results
Make your headline all about the results your readers get by reading and acting upon your post. For example, if you’re a skincare expert, your headline could read: “Noticeable wrinkle reduction after only 5 uses of Product X – See the results.”
Tip 6: Save time
With everyone being so busy nowadays, saving a couple minutes here and there is really valuable to most people. Show the value of shaving some time off of a typically arduous task. For example, if you sell luxury sheets and bed linens, your headline could read: “Save 5 minutes making your bed every day with these tips.”
Tip 7: Save money
Value is sometimes conveyed through dollars and cents saved or earned by doing something. Use that to your advantage. For example, if you sell HVAC systems, your headline could be: “5 ways to reduce your household energy bill this summer.”
Making your headlines helpful
When people use search engines, most of the time they’re looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Sometimes the problems are complex, sometimes they’re rather simple. Sometimes the problems are directly related to the products/services you sell. If you can publish helpful articles with headlines and copy that are solution-oriented, you’re likely to get more traffic as a result.
Here are three examples of how to make your headlines helpful:
Tip 8: Teach a man to fish
When looking for problem solving information, what’s more helpful than a “how-to” article? These headlines are perfect for attracting an audience of do-it-yourselfers. For example, if you own a car-care product line, your headline could read: “How to properly wax your vehicle to get a perfect glossy finish.”
Tip 9: Be a good tipper
Headlines that contain helpful tips are an effective way to grab attention. Tips also save time so you could also file this one under the “valuable headline” category. For example, if you sell lamps, your headline could read: “5 helpful tips for choosing the right lamp for your living room.”
Tip 10: Fix a nagging issue
No one likes a thorn in their side. If there’s a persistent problem that you often hear about that you can quickly address, then do so with a helpful headline and article. For example, if you’re a marriage counselor, your article could be titled: “Stop fighting about money – Start living a happy life.”
You’ll need to continually test these different types of headlines to determine which are most effective at generating traffic, leads, customers, shares, comments, and other types of engagement. No two audiences are exactly the same; they might share a lot in common but they’ll all respond differently. Use a tool like BoostSuite to start testing your pages’ headline effectiveness immediately. You can also share your awesome articles with other marketers in exchange for relevant backlinks!
By adding intrigue, value, and helpfulness to your web page headlines, you’re more likely to attract more qualified visitors from the organic search results. Next time you write a blog article, try using one of these headline tips, make it relevant to your business, and let us know the results!
Do you know of any other tips to writing awesome headlines to get your content noticed? Please share them with us in the comments!
About the Author:
Ryan Kettler is Director of Communications for BoostSuite, the collaborative marketing tool for small businesses.
Ryan is an Internet marketing zealot, sports fanatic, devoted runner, avid golfer, beer connoisseur, and live music enthusiast. When he’s not helping BoostSuite customers he can be found running 5ks, sampling IPAs, and cheering on his North Carolina State Wolfpack.