Just think–you have written THE most epic blog post ever. It will help people solve their problems and will ensure that their lives are better simply because they've read your post.
There's just one problem. No one is clicking on it, so all that awesome content you created is helping no one. 🙁
So, how do you get folks to click over to your post?
One way is to write incredible blog post titles.
Think about it. When you search for something on Google and the results pop up, what do you do?
You scan down through the tiles. And you click on the ones that catch your eye and that you think will help solve your problem.
This is called your Click Through Rate or CTR for short. It is the number of times a person clicked over to your site divided by the number of times your site showed up in search results.
Does a Good Title Help Your Post Rank Higher in Google?
I'm going to say something that is probably controversial. Your post's rank (or average position) in Google doesn't matter.
The ONLY thing that matters is whether or not you're getting traffic over to your website.
Being in the number 1 position on Google doesn't give you ad income or affiliate commission. The only thing that can do that is a visit to your site.
Now, we know that results in the first three positions are going to get the vast majority of the clicks. So being in the number 1 position is important because it's more likely that you'll get traffic.
Are you totally confused?
The point I'm trying to make is that what's important is traffic, and there are many factors that influence whether or not you get traffic.
Personally, I doubt that a good title will help you rank higher, but I do think it'll help you get more of the clicks.
So how do you write a blog post title that will get clicks?
Use your keyword phrase as your working title, then write your post. After you finish your content, go back and work on your final headline.
Note: You may need to change your permalink for your blog post, so be sure you check it before you hit publish!
7 Tips for Writing Blog Post Titles That Get Clicks
- Use numbers in your title
- Don't make your title too long or too short
- Use emotional words
- Use power words
- Ask questions
- Use brackets or parentheses
- Use dates in your title if they make sense
Use numbers in your title
We are drawn to numbers, so they can make your title stand out in search results. If it makes sense, include them in your title tag.
In addition to the number of items in a list post, you can include dollars, percentages, number of days, months, hours or even minutes.
In this example, there are numbers in all of the results. While we might be tempted to head to the highest number, that “$100 every day” stopped me from going any further.
Don't make your title too long or too short
You don't want your title to be too long or too short. When your title is too short, you miss out on an opportunity to give your reader all the information.
Here are a couple of examples from my friend Linda at Life on Summerhill.
Cheap Small Bedroom Ideas that Look Expensive
How to Paint Cabinets without Sanding
If the post titles were “Cheap Small Bedroom Ideas” or “How to Paint Cabinets,” they wouldn't convey the actual topic, and people would be less inclined to click on them.
If the post titles are too long, Google will truncate them and add an ellipsis at the end–basically cutting off the title.
But you can also use this to your advantage by leaving a reader in suspense so that they want to click through to find out the rest of the story.
How many characters can we use in our titles? This question is hard to answer for two reasons.
First, Google being Google, things can change, so the correct answer today might not be the correct answer tomorrow.
Second, instead of the maximum length being the number of characters, it is the number of pixels. At the time that I'm writing this, the length is 600 pixels.
This means that the letter W will take up more room that the letter I. If your title has lots of wide letters, the number of characters will be less than if your title had lots of narrow letters.
An SEO plugin like Yoast can help you determine if your title is too long.
Use emotional words
Back in the 60s, researchers who were studying language found that “emotional language creates a very predictable response.” Understanding this can be really helpful in your marketing efforts.
You may think that you aren't in “marketing,” but all of our efforts are marketing our blogs to get pageviews. This includes both search engine optimization and social sharing.
The Advanced Marketing Institute created Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) which “is a proprietary methodology for assigning a numerical value to the emotional impact of a piece of text.”
Their headline analyzer is a free tool that will score your headline based on the percentage of EMV words that the title contains. In addition, you'll find out which emotion your headline most impacts: intellectual, empathetic, or spiritual.
Use power words
But emotional words aren't the only types of words that will impact whether or not a reader clicks through to your blog.
Power words should also be included. They “inspire an emotion or call to action without a lot of context.“
Smartblogger lists 7 types of power words.
Can you make your title a question? If you can, you should.
A study of 5 million search results conducted by Brian Dean from Backlinko found that “…titles with questions had a 14.1% higher click through rate compared to titles without a question.”
Use brackets or parentheses
Brackets or parentheses in titles are unexpected. As we scan search results, our eyes are processing letters and words.
When we see something that we don't expect, it causes our eyes to stop so that our brains can process what we see.
Use dates in your title if they make sense
I really encourage you to use caution when adding the current year to your post title.
Sometimes it makes sense to include a year. For example, if you're talking about fashion trends, you should probably include the year.
But if you're posting a recipe, you probably don't need to put the year in.
How to Check Your Title
So, how will I know whether or not my title is likely to get clicks?
One free tool that I love is the Coschedule Headline Analyzer. You'll have to sign up for their list to use it, but it's definitely worth it.
It will give you a score on a 100 point scale. The scores are color-coded. If you can get your score to about 70, you'll have green!
It is super hard to get to green, so I'm usually happy with something in the 60-65 range.
Implement these tips on the next few blog posts you write. Then watch what's working.
Do you get more clicks on posts that have numbers in the titles or on posts that have a question in the title?
When you figure this out, use more of those types of headlines.