The Changing Art of Writing a Headline
With the advent of google and the fact that 84% of Internet users start out by typing a search-query string into google’s Search box; over the last 10-15 years, it became paramount to write search-engine friendly Headlines.
The Turning Tides
However, over the last few years, thanks largely to Social Networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, it has become paramount to get back to writing punchy, intriguing and human-friendly Headlines.
If you have a new authority blog -chances are- most of your traffic comes from Social Networking sites.
In other words, instead of a 10 year old kid holding up a newspaper and yelling out the latest Headline, Twitter and Facebook take the role of that kid and “yell” your latest blog posts via status updates.
…And Now You’re At the Crossroads
- Do you continue to write search-engine friendly Headlines?
- Do you try to service two masters and write for both search engines AND humans?
- Do you try to write ONLY human-friendly Headlines?
Either path has its drawbacks and benefits and you only have to settle on one of these strategies on per-post basis. So using a search-friendly Headline in one post and human-friendly Headline in the next is perfectly acceptable strategy.
Know Your Channels
There are few drawbacks in writing a search-engine friendly Headlines. I will list a few but feel free to add your own in the comments section below.
- Competition is fierce and cutting through the noise is an increasingly difficult proposition.
- Google can change their algorithm and all your SEO efforts have been for not.
- It takes 6-12 months for your SEO efforts to take effect. So its kinda slow going.
Trying to split the difference and writing a headline that is both human-friendly AND search-friendly is a difficult proposition made somewhat easy with our ability to write a Title of the post using WordPress SEO plugins while the actual Headline can be made to make more sense to a human reader.
While this distinction is somewhat technical, it’s definitely worth noting. Google algorithm cares greatly about the Title of the post. Adding “Why You Should Have it” would dilute the power of the page’s search rankiness. If that doesnt make sense, listen to the podcast about SEO I did with a search expert Dan Cristo.
Writing human-friendly headlines is coming back in style
While I’m a huge fan of SEO which speaks to my geeky side, I have to admit that bulk of my traffic comes from Social Networks. And I like that. I like that I don’t have to depend on google to bring traffic to my blog.
Mind you, I’m talking about authority blogs here. If you have a mini-niche blog designed to sell a product, go head-first into search-engine friendly Headline writing, but otherwise…
Otherwise, you’d be well advised to stick with punchy, intriguing and human-friendly Headlines.