SEO blog writing: How to improve your headlines when writing for SEO

Content Marketing

Creating headlines when writing for SEO can be a huge headache.

You need to include a keyword that people are using to look for a topic (so your headline stands a chance of getting found in search).

But you also need to create a headline that’s compelling enough to get people to click on it.

This is one reason SEO and content marketing sometimes finds itself at loggerheads.

SEO demands the use of keywords, content marketing moans that it’s restrictive.

But, really, it just takes a bit of creativity to write SEO headlines that serve the function of being ranked by search engines, and being interesting to your audience.

No matter what you’re writing, a strong headline often makes the difference between someone reading your copy, or not.

It’s the same with news writing, coming up with a headline is more than half the battle.

Here’s what advertising legend David Ogilvy had to say about headlines: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”


What makes a compelling headline for SEO blogging?

From an SEO perspective, the headline should be used to target a long tail keyword or phrase.

Most people when they’re searching online are either looking to buy something, or looking for information.

Here’s a bit more advice from David Ogilvy when it comes to writing an effective headline for your blog:

  • Be value centric
  • Be specific
  • Summarise the content
  • Be compelling
  • Use sub-headings

Remember, users are searching for things that are of interest to them or that will help them solve a problem.

They’re not searching for information about you.


Use questions to interest readers

There are some key questions you look at to try and get your started with a good headline:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

Just using these basic starting questions can help you come up with something.

They should also be used to guide the actual content of your blog as well.

Here’s a few headline examples you can use from the above questions if you’re looking to write something around SEO and content marketing:

  • How to write better SEO blogs
  • Why you need to focus on SEO for blog writing
  • Where should I include keywords when writing for SEO

You can see how just by focusing on answering questions you can come up with a tonne of blog ideas that will also be focused around SEO.


Using numbers

According to Conversion XL, headlines that include numbers are the most successful types of headlines for attracting clicks and conversions.

These are articles like:

  • Top 10 ways to
  • 15 things you didn’t about
  • 19 types of content that convert best

It’s not just marketers that have clocked the interest in these types of headlines.

Many news outlets and websites have started compiling these “listicle” style articles to draw their audience.

There’s a few reasons they work in marketing.

They’re specific, they’re enticing and they help provide answers to questions and problems.


Use Google related searches for headline ideas

If you’re still struggling for headline ideas, a quick, easy, and free way to get more ideas is to use Google’s related search results at the bottom of a search page.

If you just type your keyword into the search bar, and then go to the bottom of the page, Google will show you a bunch of related searches that people are making around your keyword.

Here’s one example.

If you’re looking for headline ideas for “writing SEO”, just type this into the search bar.

Then go to the bottom of the first page, and you’ll see a couple of related terms, such as:

As you can see, not all are going to be relevant for you but there are a couple here that you can use straight away:

  • SEO writing tips
  • SEO writing for beginners
  • Writing for SEO 2020

The reason you should pay attention to these results, is because these are real searches that people are actually looking for answers to.

If you can create high value content around these searches then you’ll have a higher chance of producing headlines that work.

Key takeaways for headlines when writing for SEO

  • Write for people first
  • Look for long tail keywords
  • Focus on answering questions
  • Be specific with the problem you’re trying to solve for the reader
  • Give the reader a compelling reason to read the blog (but don’t use click bait)
  • Use Google related searches to find new headline ideas
  • Use numbers when you can

Want to start improving your organic search results for your business with SEO copywriting?

Get in touch with us today and one of our content marketing consultants will be able to take you through our processes, figure out what you need and help you on your way to a more successful website.

Get in touch.

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