What Can You Do To Make A Headline More Compelling (for better CTR and engagement) + Examples
April 18, 2023
There’s a lot of information available online, so you need to do everything you can to grab your audience’s attention. A good headline helps you do just that – stand out and compel users to click. There are other benefits too, along with a few brownie points from the SEO standpoint.
Benefits Of Writing Compelling Headlines
Here are some of the benefits of writing compelling headlines –
- Catching The Reader’s Interest – A well-crafted headline captures people’s attention and piques their interest by evoking a sense of curiosity, urgency, or emotion.
- SEO Friendly – An optimized headline is SEO friendly, as you keep in mind the character limit, user interest and need, and add the targeted keyword without tinkering with the intent.
- Gives A Competitive Edge – Intriguing headlines helps your content stand out and set yourself apart from the competition.
- Increase in CTR (Click Through Rate) – As a compelling title makes your post stand out, the likelihood of people clicking on it increases multifold.
- Builds Authority – A compelling headline, especially if it has a unique POV (through examples, experts insights’, or addressing a knowledge gap), helps establish authority on the topic/issue/subject.
Guidelines To Creating Compelling Headings
Here’s what you can do to make a headline more compelling –
Know Your Audience
Understand Your Target Audience
The age-old adage “know the customer” has never been held truer than it does today. Fortunately, there are many tools and techniques, along with data sources, that you can use to learn about your audience.
Ultimately, the insights you gain from this should be translated into a better understanding of what captures your audience’s attention to create a compelling headline.
Here are a few resources that can help you get better audience insights –
- Google Trends
The idea is to find something that your target audience –
- Finds interesting
- Finds challenging
- Needs help answering
- Can benefit from
- Considers trustworthy (not clickbait-y)
Understand Where Your Audience Is In The Sales Funnel
Top-of-the-funnel stage is the awareness/informational stage, where customers are looking for answers to their questions/pain points/concerns. To make your headline compelling, the headline should indicate that it’ll resolve the users’ concerns.
For instance, this blog’s title is “what can you do to make a compelling headline”, and the target audience is looking to find answers to their problems with creating a compelling headline.
If the target audience is in the awareness stage, the headline should reflect that the audience will get an answer to their problem in the post.
- MOFU (Middle of the funnel)
Middle-of-the-funnel users have answers to their questions/problems, and they’re looking to solve it. Here’s an example of such a headline –
Semrush vs Ahrefs vs Ubersuggest – Which SEO Tool Is Better And Why?
Here the readers aren’t looking for informational content on the mentioned SEO tools. They know about the tools, and are in the consideration phase to understand which tool is better and suitable for them.
- BOFU (Bottom of the funnel)
Bottom-of-the-funnel is the decision stage. The users already know how to solve their problem/pain point, but they want to deliberate and make an informed decision. And the headline needs to complement that.
Let’s look at a few examples to understand it better –
|Headline Idea – BOFU
|Brand vs Brand
|Apple vs Samsung
|Apple Alternatives/iPhone Alternatives
|Apple Review/Apple iPhone Review
|Apple iPhone Prices
Use Emotional Triggers And Powerful Words & Numbers
- Add Emotional Triggers To Your Headline
Emotional triggers in a headline should provoke an emotional response – Fear, Curiosity, Empathy, Urgency, Excitement, Shock. And they can be powerful motivators for readers to click.
Let’s understand these emotional triggers through examples –
|10 Warning Signs You Might Have a Serious Health Condition
|The Secret to Getting More Done in Less Time
|Why We Must Talk About Mental Health in the Workplace
|Limited Time Offer: Get 50% Off Your Next Purchase!
|Discover the Hottest Trends for Spring Fashion
|You Won’t Believe What Happened When I Tried This Crazy Diet!
Powerful words in a headline can spark the reader’s interest. Words like “proven,” “ultimate,” “surprising,” “insider,” and “effective” have a lot of weight.
Let’s understand this through the following examples –
|5 Proven Strategies To Boost Productivity
|Proven (Sense of credibility and trust)
|Ultimate Guide To SEO
|Ultimate (Promise of comprehensiveness)
|10 Essential Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs to Succeed
|Essential (Conveying the importance)
|The Shocking Truth About Eating Late at Night
|Shocking (Sense of intrigue)
|Revolutionary New Technology Changes the Way We Live
|Revolutionary (Showcasing something groundbreaking & game-changing)
|Free Guide to Building a Successful SEO Content Strategy
|Free (Indicating valuable information is available for free)
Adopting this approach not just helps you with grabbing people’s attention but also SEO, as SEO-friendly headlines have numbers, power verbs, and emotional triggers.
Keep It Short And Simple
- The Ideal Length For A Headline
Longer headlines can be difficult to read, and these headlines aren’t even SEO-friendly. On SERPs, the additional text may be cut off. Here’s an example of it –
The ideal length for a headline is typically between 8 and 12 words, or around 70 characters.
- Avoid Jargon And Complicated Phrases
Jargon and complicated phrases may confuse users, especially when there’s a lot of information available online.
For instance, instead of choosing “An Exploration of the Intersection of Machine Learning and Blockchain Technology”, you can use “How Machine Learning and Blockchain Technology Can Work Together”.
Such a simplification of the headline ensures that people are able to understand what it is at a quick glance.
Make It Unique
If you want to reflect thought leadership or an authoritative POV in your headline, be unique. There are a number of ways you can do this, and a few are listed below –
|95% of People Fail at SEO, Are You One of Them?
|Use a surprising fact or statistic
|Is Your Business Doomed to Fail? 5 Signs You Need to Watch Out For
|Ask a provocative question
|Why Your Cat is Smarter Than Your Boss (And What You Can Learn from It)
|Unleash Your Inner Maverick: How to Break Free from the Herd Mentality
|Use a creative metaphor
These are just examples. If you want your headline to be truly unique, you’ll need to research, and quite appropriately, think uniquely.
Let’s say you want to create a blog post, and your competitors have already published a lot of good content with compelling headlines. To find your unique headline in such a context, you’ll need to do a SERP analysis and identify what’s missing or what unique point of view you can provide.
Testing and Tweaking
A headline for one audience may work differently for others. To solve this issue, A/B testing comes in handy. A/B testing is a useful tool to learn which types of headlines work and have a higher CTR.
Make it SEO-Friendly
Ask yourself this question – will my content appear on search results if the users search for it? Ensure you optimize the headline as per the targeted keyword and make your headline SEO-friendly. Ideally, the main keyword should be there in the headline, but it doesn’t have to be an exact-match.
Common Mistakes To Avoid While Creating A Headline
- Don’t make it clickbaity – In the short term, misleading or click-bait headlines may attract clicks but might harm your reputation in the long run. So make sure you don’t use any clickbait tactics.
- Don’t be unspecific – Your headline should tell readers exactly what they can expect from your content. Avoid being overly broad or generic, as this will cause your reader to lose interest.
- Don’t make it too lengthy – A long headline will not only be difficult to read but may also be cut off in search engine results pages (SERPs). Knowing what is not a primary component of a SERP snippet, for example, the full headline, is important. Search engines normally only display the first 70 characters of a headline to give users an idea of what the page contains.
- Don’t make it too hard to read – Maintain the readability and simplicity of your headline at all times. It is vital to avoid using overly complex terminology, including jargon, technical phrases, and difficult vocabulary.
Now that you have learned the guidelines and best practices for creating compelling and SEO-friendly headlines, it’s time to put them into action. Get started today and see how a great headline can impact your content marketing efforts!
And if you need help, connect with our content marketing experts today.
How much Headlines can impact the CTR (Click-through-rate)?
Organic CTR has been decreasing. Now, only less than half of the searches result in clicks (Source: SparkToro). There are two reasons for that. Users are getting answers to their queries through SERP features – Direct Answer Box, Featured Snippet, Knowledge Graph. The second reason is that search results do not have compelling headlines. You have to try everything at your disposal to ensure users click on the headline.
Why Does Google Change Title Tags on SERPs?
Simply put, Google changes title tags on SERPs to better match a user’s query. Typically, Google picks this text up H1 tag, and it is shorter than the actual title, making the title easier to read and relevant.