Blog post titles are hard. You need to communicate a lot of information and capture the attention—and the clicks—of your audience, and you only have so many characters to do it.
That’s why I’m sharing nine tips for stronger blog post titles here:
First, let’s cover why it’s important to spend the extra time getting these tricky titles right in the first place.
Your blog post titles deserve extra attention because they’re often the first thing your potential reader sees. This is especially true on the Google SERP, where your title has a huge impact on your click-through rate and, because of this, your organic traffic.
Now, it might seem like a lot of effort to devote to what’s often the first or last 60 characters of your content. But with the potential to boost CTR and organic traffic, your blog posts titles are worth the extra time.
In fact, according to an Orbit Media study, bloggers who spend time drafting and workshopping their titles see better results.
We’ve shared tips for writing better headlines for your blog posts before, and those tried-and-true tactics are still great to use. But there’s recent industry data and a slew of new content marketing trends to consider. With that in mind, here are nine ways to write blog post titles to entice your audience and boost your traffic.
Here we go.
Take “ultimate guide,” for instance. Interest in these has pretty much declined over the past few years, and it’s more than halved in the last decade. Why? Because we see ultimate guide so often in the SERP that the modifier becomes boring—and, if we’re being honest, lazy.
Great content? Sure. Terrible blog post titles? Absolutely.
Standard constructions like “The Ultimate Guide to X” or “X Secrets Revealed” are not just boring for your potential readers, but also harmful for your brand authority. In fact, HubSpot found that using words like “magic” and “amazing” can actually decrease your CTR. These cliches get spammy, which does a disservice to your blog content.
Numbers are appealing—this is a standard tip, and there’s data that supports that including numbers in your title increases your traffic.
But adding any old number isn’t going to boost your organic traffic.
Once you’ve got your blog post idea, you should check the SERP for your keyword to see what’s ranking before settling on a title. This is good to make sure you’re matching search intent, and it’s also good for avoiding an embarrassing duplicate title, like the “ultimate guide” example above.
It’s especially useful for making numbers in your title appealing.
Honestly not sure if this is better or worse than the duplicate “ultimate guide.”
If you were trying to rank for “spring planters,” like these blog posts in the example above, you would know to go for 15 or 16 options—at least. Now, consider these results for the search query “best email subject lines:”
The post from Engagebay actually stands out because it has significantly fewer email subject lines. If I’m looking for lots of quick examples for inspiration, I might click on Sleeknote’s post. But if I’m short on time or looking for a quick idea to run with? 25 is way more accessible than 80 or 115.
Check the SERP so you can use numbers strategically in your blog post titles.
This is a simple reminder, but it’s important: Your primary keyword needs to be in your blog post title.
Most of your blog posts should start with keyword research. An effective content strategy for most blogs involves growing traffic organically, which requires keyword-targeted blog posts. Sometimes great blog post ideas come out of discussions with your team or customer pain points. But even those ideas are better when you can align them with a keyword.
And when you do, make sure to include that keyword in your title.
Remember how we talked about avoiding cliche words and phrases to keep your titles engaging? That doesn’t mean you need to start from zero every time you’re brainstorming headlines.
Starting from zero every time is so hard. That’s why copywriting formulas are so useful.
When you’re using a formula, you’re starting with some structure that you can add to, adjust, and make your own. (Read: You’re not plugging your keyword into a run-of-the-mill title and calling it a day.)
Using “how to” to frame your blog post works. Most of the time, we’re sharing education resources or explaining our own processes for our audience, like how to create DIY marketing videos or how to improve your Amazon SEO. (An alternate title for this post, for instance, could have easily been “How to Breathe New Life Into Your Blog Post Titles.)
In fact, these blog posts are a great way to grow organic traffic. Semrush found that 72% of marketers report “how to” blog posts are their best traffic drivers. So next time you’re writing a post on strategy, use this framework and see if that works for your audience.
I’ve been seeing this used effectively more and more lately: brackets in blog post titles. And it works. Here’s an example.
This could be because original research, like the data study from Semrush above, has become more common in content marketing over the last few years. Orbit Media found that almost half of content marketers published original data last year, up from 35% the year before.
The good news? These brackets work. HubSpot found that using brackets to provide extra information or clarification can increase click-through rates by 38%.
Here are some great things to include in brackets in your relevant blog post titles:
According to recent HubSpot research, the number one reason that people read blog posts is to learn something new.
That means that authority is especially important. When there are tons of different blog posts on any given topic to choose from, it’s important to produce accurate, authoritative resources in order to compete and provide value to your audience. The best way to do this? Have an expert share advice.
Using first person in your blog post title makes it clear that it was written by someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Consider this example blog post on Google Ads mistakes:
This blog post is a great resource, and it’s also super clickable. That’s a lot of money, and a lot of mistakes. I want to know what Asi did—and what I can learn from it.
While using first person in your blog post title lets the audience know exactly who is sharing the advice (and why it’s worthwhile), including your audience in your title makes no mistake about who the blog post is for.
The best way to think about this is with beginner’s guides. When you see a post like The Beginner’s Guide to YouTube Marketing for Small Businesses, you know that it’s going to tell you what you need to do to get started and it’s not going to assume much specific knowledge. If I’m a beginner, that’s the post I’m clicking.
You can use the same technique to describe your ideal audience in your blog posts—even if it’s not beginners.
For example, when I was brainstorming a title for a recent blog post about CRM automations, I knew that, while the blog post would discuss CRM automations in general, the ideal audience would be startup owners or marketers. I ended up including this in the title to make it more appealing to that target audience: 7 Essential CRM Automations Every Startup Needs.
Bonus: This technique is awesome for targeting long-tail keywords, too.
Are you busy? I’m busy. Sometimes I’m looking for an involved how-to post when I have the time to sit and learn how to get better at something; other times, I need a quick overview to get an answer fast so I can move on to the rest of my to-do list.
If your blog post solves this second need, a quick solution, make sure you’re advertising this in your title. You can include words like “quick” or “fast,” or you can get specific with a number of steps or minutes.
The best advice I’ve received about writing blog titles (thanks again, Elisa) is to make sure that it communicates the value. The reader should never have to second guess why they’re clicking on the article, and the blog post should deliver on its promise.
This last part is key.
It might be tempting to overhaul your blog post titles based on these tips, but a new title doesn’t lead to meaningful traffic if it doesn’t actually provide the original data or expert advice or audience-specific information. Even worse, it can hurt your brand to oversell in a title.
Instead, make sure your blog post titles clearly convey the value that they do provide—and then go from there to make them as appealing as possible.
Your blog post title frames your content for your audience, lets them know what they can expect to read, and convinces them to click. That’s why it’s so important. So use these tips to spend more time brainstorming and drafting until you land on a blog post title that will appeal to your reader—and boost your traffic. Here’s a recap:
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