I used to be a lazy writer. In fact, when I was asked to write a crash course on web content development a few years back, I happily shared with newbie writers a list of title templates for easy tweaking.

• Top (#) Ways to (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)
• (#) Dos and Don’ts to (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)
• (#) Reasons Why (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)
• A Beginner’s Guide to (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)
• (#) Things You Didn’t Know about (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)

Baffling Title

Those kinds of titles used to work but not anymore.

According to our resident SEO Yoda, titles for articles and blog posts nowadays can only improve your company’s profit margins if they’re the opposite of generic. He also encouraged us to come up with titles that hint of having the most interesting or juiciest news to share. I kind of get the feeling he almost wants us to write like Perez Hilton. Then again, since Hollywood’s most famous blogger earns at least $200K a month (Yahoo Finance) – point well taken.

Why You Can’t Afford to Suck at Writing Titles

Unless you have blindly devoted followers who’d keep visiting your site even without anything to look forward to, no one can afford to keep justifying poorly worded titles with great content.

• Search engines often only display titles and the briefest of summaries for page results.
• Mobile browsers may limit page results to titles and one-line descriptions.
• Key information should be included up front as today’s “Internet consumers expect instant gratification and quick fixes.” (Say It Quick, Say It Well article from The Guardian)
• 10% of online readers don’t scroll. (You Won’t Finish This Article – why people online don’t read to the end from Slate)
• Most readers only read up to 60% of articles. (Slate)
• There’s little to no correlation between articles read in depth and articles whose links are most tweeted or shared. (Slate)

Note: I’ve included the titles of my source articles as they’re actual proof of how carefully crafted titles can easily grab readers’ attention.

Bad, Brittle, and Baffling Titles – The Silent Website Killer

Bearing in mind the facts and figures above, you should have an idea by now how those generic titles can work like poison, slowly but steadily eroding your website’s ranking.

Even if you are #1 in your niche, uninspired titles can have people clicking websites ranking #2 or even #5 if their titles sound a lot more interesting and fun than yours. Conversely, unique and powerfully worded titles give low-ranking websites a chance to topple down industry giants. It’s like David versus Goliath – with titles giving extra ammunition to your slingshot!

YOU RISK TURNING AWAY POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS WITH UNINSPIRED AND UNORIGINAL TITLES.

It’s not a good risk at all considering how you have all the means to prevent it in the first place!

Bad titles are typically the product of lazy thinking and clinging to old-school strategies for creating titles.

• Extremely long (Google typically limits titles to 70 characters, but this can be less depending on the type of title tag you’re using)
• Zero personality (Ex: How to Write a Title for Your Article)
• Irrelevant (Ex: How to Do SEO, and yet you’re writing only about web design)

On the other hand, there’s what I like to call brittle titles. This type’s mostly for show and lacking in substance. These titles – and even the content that comes with them – are often the result of a writer’s superiority complex.

• I just need a good title and I can get away with rewriting the same content for the 153rd time.
• There are still a lot of people who don’t know what I know so it’s okay to keep on writing about the same old bland-tasting banana.

Brittle titles may seem interesting at the start but they tend to disappoint readers afterwards because the content is as stale as its title is fresh.

Finally, you have baffling titles. These are the titles that absolutely confuse and ultimately turn your readers away because —

• You’re not speaking the same language as your target market.
• You’re not talking about anything that’s interesting to your readers.
• You’re not able to explain through your title why a new or unfamiliar topic is relevant.

How to Turn Titles into Moneymaking Traffic Generators

• Create keyword-rich custom title tags and include your funny or “catchy” title in your meta description.

Michael Gaasterland talks about how you don’t have to sacrifice your catchy title for search engine optimization in a 2009 blog post. And yes, that’s years back but what he says still holds true.

• Add a twist to generic titles.

Wrong: The Top 3 Ways to Prevent Losing Your Information Online

Right: The Top 3 Ways to Prepare for the Coming Cyber Crash (Forbes)

Keep using numbers because they make the value of your article quantifiable. The higher the number is, the more “value” your article has to offer and the better it will fare.

Wrong: Social Media Facts and Figures

Right: 17 Incredible Social Media Marketing Statistics (Media Bistro)

• Establish authority or expertise by association.

Using a well-known personality, brand, or theory by way of description immediately gives readers an idea of the unique aspects of your article or blog post as well as its overall quality.

Wrong: Top 10 Ways to Polish Your Article

Right: Top 10 Ways to Step Up Your Writing Game from Former Essence Editor (News One)

Bottom line: if you don’t want your website to suffer an early demise, be a little more resourceful and imaginative when writing your titles. They do and always will matter.

I used to be a lazy writer. In fact, when I was asked to write a crash course on web content development a few years back, I happily shared with newbie writers a list of title templates for easy tweaking.

·         Top (#) Ways to (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)

·         (#) Dos and Don’ts to (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)

·         (#) Reasons Why (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)

·         A Beginner’s Guide to (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)

·         (#) Things You Didn’t Know about (Insert Long-Tailed Keyword)

Those kinds of titles used to work but not anymore.

According to our resident SEO Yoda, titles for articles and blog posts nowadays can only improve your company’s profit margins if they’re the opposite of generic. He also encouraged us to come up with titles that hint of having the most interesting or juiciest news to share. I kind of get the feeling he almost wants us to write like Perez Hilton. Then again, since Hollywood’s most famous blogger earns at least $200K a month (Yahoo Finance) – point well taken.

Why You Can’t Afford to Suck at Writing Titles

Unless you have blindly devoted followers who’d keep visiting your site even without anything to look forward to, no one can afford to keep justifying poorly worded titles with great content.

·         Search engines often only display titles and the briefest of summaries for page results.

·         Mobile browsers may limit page results to titles and one-line descriptions.

·         Key information should be included up front as today’s “Internet consumers expect instant gratification and quick fixes.” (Say It Quick, Say It Well article from The Guardian)

·         10% of online readers don’t scroll. (You Won’t Finish This Article – why people online don’t read to the end from Slate)

·         Most readers only read up to 60% of articles. (Slate)

·         There’s little to no correlation between articles read in depth and articles whose links are most tweeted or shared. (Slate)

Note: I’ve included the titles of my source articles as they’re actual proof of how carefully crafted titles can easily grab readers’ attention.

Bad, Brittle, and Baffling Titles – The Silent Website Killer

Bearing in mind the facts and figures above, you should have an idea by now how those generic titles can work like poison, slowly but steadily eroding your website’s ranking.

Even if you are #1 in your niche, uninspired titles can have people clicking websites ranking #2 or even #5 if their titles sound a lot more interesting and fun than yours. Conversely, unique and powerfully worded titles give low-ranking websites a chance to topple down industry giants. It’s like David versus Goliath – with titles giving extra ammunition to your slingshot!

YOU RISK TURNING AWAY POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS WITH UNINSPIRED AND UNORIGINAL TITLES.

It’s not a good risk at all considering how you have all the means to prevent it in the first place!

Bad titles are typically the product of lazy thinking and clinging to old-school strategies for creating titles.

·         Extremely long (Google typically limits titles to 70 characters, but this can be less depending on the type of title tag you’re using)

·         Zero personality (Ex: How to Write a Title for Your Article)

·         Irrelevant (Ex: How to Do SEO, and yet you’re writing only about web design)

On the other hand, there’s what I like to call brittle titles. This type’s mostly for show and lacking in substance. These titles – and even the content that comes with them – are often the result of a writer’s superiority complex.

·         I just need a good title and I can get away with rewriting the same content for the 153rd time.

·         There are still a lot of people who don’t know what I know so it’s okay to keep on writing about the same old bland-tasting banana.

Brittle titles may seem interesting at the start but they tend to disappoint readers afterwards because the content is as stale as its title is fresh.

Finally, you have baffling titles. These are the titles that absolutely confuse and ultimately turn your readers away because —

·         You’re not speaking the same language as your target market.

·         You’re not talking about anything that’s interesting to your readers.

·         You’re not able to explain through your title why a new or unfamiliar topic is relevant.

How to Turn Titles into Moneymaking Traffic Generators

·         Create keyword-rich custom title tags and include your funny or “catchy” title in your meta description.

Michael Gaasterland talks about how you don’t have to sacrifice your catchy title for search engine optimization in a 2009 blog post. And yes, that’s years back but what he says still holds true.

·         Add a twist to generic titles.

Wrong: The Top 3 Ways to Prevent Losing Your Information Online

Right: The Top 3 Ways to Prepare for the Coming Cyber Crash (Forbes)

·         Keep using numbers because they make the value of your article quantifiable. The higher the number is, the more “value” your article has to offer and the better it will fare.

Wrong: Social Media Facts and Figures

Right: 17 Incredible Social Media Marketing Statistics (Media Bistro)

·         Establish authority or expertise by association.

Using a well-known personality, brand, or theory by way of description immediately gives readers an idea of the unique aspects of your article or blog post as well as its overall quality.

Wrong: Top 10 Ways to Polish Your Article  

Right: Top 10 Ways to Step Up Your Writing Game from Former Essence Editor (News One)

Bottom line: if you don’t want your website to suffer an early demise, be a little more resourceful and imaginative when writing your titles. They do and always will matter.

1443 View