How to optimize your headlines for Google (and real people)
How can you make your blog post or article reach the top of Google’s search results? Your story might have great content, but the real key is to have a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. And crafting the right headline is critical.
Google’s algorithms don’t appreciate wit, irony, humor, or style – in fact, they look for literal terms. But it doesn’t mean your headlines have to be stale. Consider these practices:
- Don’t write the same headline for both the article and the page. The difference is that an article title is what you show your readers, and a page title is what you show search engines. (Bad example: “The Woman Who Knew Too Much”)
- Craft headlines that are both self-explanatory and catchy. (Example: “15 Case Studies to Get Your Client on Board With Social Media”)
- Consider giving your article a title and sub-title to grab attention and give a great first impression of the content. (Example: “Deliverance. U.S. Postal Service: Will It Survive?”)
- Even better, add a meta description as well. This where Google will pull your two-line “snippet” displayed for each webpage. (Example: “Ray Kelly has built the best police force in the country. Now it is turning on him.”)
SEO is best considered as a form of art and best done with a strategy. Your headline might be the most important tool in the quest to reach the top of Google’s search rankings – and having the right balance of literal keywords and your own creativity is key.