You’ve done your keyword research, so you know what your readers are interested in. You’ve spent hours upon hours executing a content marketing strategy that provides value.
And yet, despite all your hard work, you aren’t getting any traffic. Zip, zilch, nada — and it’s so frustrating. You’re sure you’ve done everything right. The only explanation is that Google hates you.
Well, that’s not entirely true. In fact, you might be making a pretty common mistake: treating your headline like an afterthought.
Your headline is the first thing people see when they find your article in the search results. And if it isn’t interesting or relevant, they’re not going to click through to read your content.
Here are 11 tips for writing headlines that increase your CTR and help you get more traffic from Google. So, let’s get started.
Before crafting your headline, it’s essential to understand what searchers are looking for when they use a particular keyword or phrase. This will give you a better idea of how to word your headline to appeal to their needs.
For example, if someone searches for “buy shoes online,” they are likely looking to make a purchase. On the other hand, if someone searches for “how to clean white shoes,” they probably want tips on cleaning their shoes.
In the first instance, you might want to use a headline like “Discover the 7 Best Places to Buy Shoes Online.” In the second instance, a headline like “How to Clean White Shoes in Just Three Easy Steps” would be more appropriate.
Including your primary keyword in your headline is a great way to let searchers know that your content is relevant to their needs. Not only that, but using keywords can also help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), ultimately leading to more traffic.
Just be sure not to stuff your headlines full of keywords—this will turn off potential readers and get you penalized by search engines.
Also, include your keyword as early in the headline as possible because Google gives more weight to words that appear at the beginning of a headline.
For example, if your keyword is “affiliate marketing,” a headline like “Affiliate Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for 2022” is more effective than “The Ultimate Guide to Affiliate Marketing in 2022.”
Your headline should be clear and to the point. Ambiguous headlines that leave readers guessing what your content is about are more likely to be passed over in favor of something more specific.
For example, a headline like “How to Make Your Home More Energy Efficient” is clear and tells the reader exactly what they can expect to find in the article. On the other hand, a headline like “Ways to Save Money Around the House” is less specific and could be about anything from energy efficiency to couponing.
When it comes to writing headlines that capture attention, one of the best techniques is to start with a question. Questions are inherently intriguing and motivating, making people more likely to click through to your article. Plus, when people see a headline that poses a question, they are more likely to think, “I need to know the answer to this!” and click.
Here’s an example of a headline that starts with a question: “Are These 6 Content Mistakes Losing You Traffic?” It’s an enticing headline because many people will wonder if they are making mistakes in their headlines and want to find out what they are.
If you’ve got numbers and statistics to back up your claims, don’t be afraid to use them in your headlines. Numbers are a great way to add weight to your argument and make your headline more persuasive.
For example, instead of a headline like “Ways to Save Money Around the House,” you could say, “Save $100 a Month with These Energy-Saving Tips.”
Not only is this headline more specific, but it also includes a number that makes the article sound more credible. After all, who wouldn’t want to save $100 a month?
Your headline should also tease the reader with a benefit or result that they can expect to get from reading your article. Again, this is a great way to increase CTR because it tells people exactly what they can expect to gain by clicking through.
After all, we’re all inherently selfish, so we want to know that we aren’t wasting our time reading something that isn’t going to benefit us in some way.
For example, a headline like “10 Writing Tips to Boost Reader Engagement in Your Blog Posts” tells the reader that they can expect to learn about 10 different ways to increase engagement. This is more specific and motivating than a headline like “10 Tips for Writing Better Blog Posts.”
Plus, it’s always helpful to include a number in your headlines because it makes the article sound more actionable.
Another effective way to write headlines is to appeal to the reader’s emotions. We are all emotional beings, and we are more likely to be motivated by our emotions than by logic.
For example, “17 Autocorrect Fails That Will Make You Cry with Laughter” is a headline that is likely to elicit an emotional response. The reason is that, according to scientists, when we laugh so hard that we start to cry, the body is stepping in to help us regulate this emotional spike.
The headline is also specific and tells the reader precisely what they can expect to find in the article.
If you want to make your headlines more eye-catching, you can try using symbols or punctuation. For example, a headline like “11 Brilliant Headline Tips to Skyrocket Your CTR (With Examples)” is more attention-grabbing than “11 Brilliant Headline Tips to Skyrocket Your CTR.”
The addition of the parentheses makes the headline more interesting and adds to its overall impact. An exclamation mark or other punctuation can have a similar effect.
Just be sure not to overdo it. Otherwise, your headlines will start to look spammy.
Another way you can increase your CTR is by using “power words” in your headlines. Power words evoke emotion and are designed to get the reader’s attention.
For example, some power words you could use in your headlines are “amazing,” “incredible,” "killer," “unbelievable,” “miracle,” and “breakthrough.”
Using these words in your headlines can make your articles sound more exciting and increase the likelihood that people will click through.
For example, a headline like "9 Killer Keyword Strategies to Drive More Traffic to Your Blog" is more likely to get clicked than a headline that leaves the word "killer" out.
When writing headlines, it’s also important to use actionable language. This means using words and phrases that encourage the reader to take action.
For example, instead of a headline like “How UX Personas Help You to Better Understand Your Website's Users,” you could say, “Get to Know Your Website's Users with UX Personas.”
The second headline encourages the reader to take action and do something with the information they are about to read.
You can also increase your CTR by “copying” the competition. In other words, search for your primary keyword on Google and analyze the headlines of the top-ranking posts.
Do they have any elements in common? Is there a specific pattern they all adhere to?
Remember, Google gives the highest rank to the most relevant posts. One factor the algorithm considers when determining relevancy is CTR, so the headlines of the top-ranking posts are likely the ones getting the most clicks.
By following the same pattern, you can increase your own CTR and improve your chances of ranking higher in Google.
For example, if we search for “make money online,” the following are the top six posts:
As you can see, all the headlines are list-type posts. Clearly, this is the type of content people want since Google ranks these posts at the top. Furthermore, the top articles all offer a large number of options.
Quite a few of them also imply that their solutions are easy, quick, or effective. Also, two of them include the year. So, we’d want to follow a similar pattern.
We wouldn’t write a headline like “How to Make Money Online” because Google is already showing us that won’t be effective. So instead, we might try something like “55 Simple Ways to Make Money Online Fast in 2022.”
Then, back up your headline with SEO-friendly content this is higher quality, more data-packed and more comprehensive than the competition.
When you have a high CTR, it means that your posts are being seen by more people. This, in turn, can result in more traffic, leads, and customers.
In addition, a high CTR can also help your SEO efforts. Since Google considers CTR when ranking posts, a high CTR can improve your chances of ranking higher in the search engine results pages.
So, if you’re looking to increase your traffic, then you need to start paying attention to your headlines. By following the tips in this post, you can transform your headlines so readers won’t be able to help but click on them.