The clue is in the title.
Nine of the tips are there, listed above, although maybe not in the right order. Those are nine of the top ten words you should use to create the best blog post title. The only one that’s missing is the word ‘Tricks’.
Yes, I’m being flippant. But according to digital marketing guru Neil Patel in his Advanced Customer Acquisition intro webinar, the ten best keywords to include in your blog post title to boost the click-through rate are:
- How To
- a number, like 7
- Blog Post (only if a blog)
Neil has made a big business out of helping companies and brands with SEO and online marketing tactics. His knowledge is incredible and his ability to research stats using huge amounts of data takes my breath away.
He’s also very amiable – his writing style is conversational, engaging and never patronising. And he sure knows how to craft a long-form, quality-content blog post or two: http://neilpatel.com/blog/
It’s all driven by data
Neil Patel’s team scanned click-through rates on thousands of links to blog posts and came up with the above list. He found solid data to show that these words worked best to encourage curiosity in average browsers and convert them into readers. You’ll notice he uses them in his own blog post titles himself, and there’s no way he’d do that unless there was an advantage.
And if you’re going to use these curiosity-grabbing words in the title, you should also use them everywhere else too. Add them to the page title tag, the meta description, the URL and even maybe the alt text on any images, if it’s not out of place.
Of course, to really get noticed (by a search engine as well as your potential audience) you have to use the keywords and phrases that your audience are searching with, and also write quality content.
By ‘quality content’, I mean pieces, articles or posts that they’ll find useful, interesting and probably entertaining too. Give advice that you hope they might not have heard before, disclose an insider tip to give them an advantage or mention a ‘hack’ to make their life easier.
And be yourself – it could be that your voice, humour or nuances are also things that make you stand out from the competition.
What else can you do with headlines?
As well as using the simple words above to hook in your potential readers, there are few other headline tactics that I learned from Neil Patel that you could try for the best blog post results:
‘This is what…’
…I thought creativity was all about? …you need in your life right now? …we were taught about the Russians in WW2? …happened to my mum last Tuesday? Those three short words can be the foundation for another attention-grabbing article title.
Headlines of 16-18 words
This is the optimum length for a headline that will get you more click-throughs. You might think it’s a bit wordy (and I’ll admit I don’t use this tactic very often), but feeding your potential reader with a few extra words of information about what they can expect in your title could be a good tactic to hook them in.
Average top-shared articles are 343 words!
This flies in the face of the accepted research that long content and articles of an average of around 2,100 words will rank higher with Google results, but it is the case that shorter articles do get shared more. Probably because of the instant nature of the quick read, and the readers will act on impulse. So you have a trade-off between quality content holding someone’s attention for longer and giving them value on one side, and the quick fix, instant hit article. I guess they are both good in different ways.
Again, use ‘How to…’
As mentioned before, this opening to a blog post title is the number one for generating click-throughs.
Ask questions: ‘Do you…’, ‘Can you…’, ‘Is the…’
Another solid tactic for starting an attention-grabbing headline. Ask questions that the readers will want answered. And then make sure you answer them, otherwise they’ll feel conned.
Be controversial, or at least not ordinary
There is no better way to get people’s attention than to do or say something that they might not like or breaches a taboo in some way. Although, pick your issues and taboos carefully. There are way too many trolls out there. If you’d rather not risk being a social outcast, arrested or attacked, then just try not to do what everyone else is doing. Don’t follow the sheep. Stand up for something you believe in, break a rule or try do something different. The usual stuff is boring.
Use ‘video’ in the title where possible
This is really just a blatant cheat. Research shows that links that include videos are more likely to get clicked on than those without. So… stick the word in your title if you can make it relevant. Better still, include a video in your blog post. That way, you won’t disappoint anyone!
When I started writing this blog post, it really was just going to be the title with the list of words and then a smart-ass couple of lines about there it all was, just what you needed to know. Maybe I was also curious to see if it really would equate to being the best blog post for CTR ever. Sadly, it doesn’t.
But it’s been worth expanding on a little, and I leave you with the admission that I do owe a debt to Neil Patel for the subject of this post. But then I probably won’t be the first or last to do that.