In a single blog, there are about a dozen different areas to optimize for search engine results. You can make sure you have a strong meta description, keyword-rich tags, image alt text, etc.. You can also ensure that your paragraphs contain real content, rather than fluffy keyword writing. But one of the best ways to make sure you end up at the top of Google’s search results is to make sure that your headline fits the way people search.
Write Headlines The Way People Search
I’ll begin with a little bit of introspection. When I search, I don’t write four parameter keywords that encapsulate the topic I really want to know about. If I did, then I would probably find exactly what I needed, but it would take too much thought-power. Instead, I write how I think. Things like: “best fried chicken recipe ever,” “compare the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S,” or “top HTML email service.” I rely on Google to search by translating this query into keywords that sites might use to organize their content.
Clearly, not everybody searches like I do. But there are a group of us who are more alike than we’re different. That’s a persona grouping—a category of consumer that has identifiable qualities in common. For inbound marketers, search behaviors are part of what we want to identify in our persona groups. You need to ask the questions: How digitally literate is my target audience? Is the persona group conscious of how keywords work in search? Is my audience articulate in their search or do they type what’s in their mind? Many people don’t think to give Google something precise to work with, but their choice of words isn’t careless either.
If you’re a business trying to promote your content online, think hard about how your personas search. What can you do to fit your writing to those search habits?
Personally, I have found that phrasing matters a great deal. Some of our most successful blog posts seem to be successful because they match exactly the sentence style people use to search. I’ve even noticed that there are certain set phrases that seem to be ubiquitous among searchers of all sorts of personas. For instance, it seems like a no-brainer that many people search: “How to…” That’s why, when I have appropriate content, I try to use set phrases to benefit the rank of my blog post.
Popular Phrases For Blog Headlines
The following is a list of four of the top phrases for blog headlines that bloggers should use. Try them, and see if they fit your target personas. If they don’t, check to see if there’s a variation that may be more popular.
4 Great Phrases to Use
1. ______ vs. ________
Versus is one of your best friends. Google has an abundance of searches each day that are shaped exactly like this. Mac vs. PC, Youtube vs. Vimeo, Sofa vs. Couch. This is exactly how people search, and marketers would be smart to write articles filling in the information exactly as consumers search for it. I particularly like using this pattern because it attaches to keywords that can often be researched individually and effectively.
Note: The jury is still out on which is more effective, vs. or versus, but it’s certainly something to consider when you write your title. The truth is Google interprets both.
2. _______ to _______ Comparison
All sorts of buyers are looking for comparisons, and often they reveal that during their search. When you’re reviewing products or services, try using this kind of headline to draw in new searchers.
3. Top 10 _______
Everybody loves a top 10 list. By writing one, you get to show off your expertise and knowledge on a certain topic. Be sure to write your top 10 on unique areas of interest. If you write about the hottest topic in your industry, more than likely, you’ll be competing for page 2 or 3 rather than page 1 of Google’s search results.
It’s been years since AskJeeve’s ruled the world of search, but searchers still tend to write questions in the search bar. It’s an archaic, often uninformed way of searching, but it can be a great way of writing a headline. Enigmatic, exciting questions tend to make some of the most visited headlines around.