Seo - search engine optimization

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Creating The Best Headlines For Search Engines

Creating The Best Headlines For Search Engines

Headlines can make or break any marketing copy. Headlines and sub-headlines that fail to interest or excite the reader will surely lead to unread copies. This could be quite unfortunate not only for the website's owners but to users as well who might miss out on relevant information contained in an article. A good headline is able to convey to the reader the greatest benefit that can be derived from accessing the information being offered.

Title Tags and Search Engines

One of the most important factors in achieving high search engine ranking is the use of an effective title tag. This is basically an HTML code snippet that creates the words that appear on the top bar of the web browser. Generally, the Meta description and Meta keyword tags follow a title tag although the order in which they appear is not critical.

Search engines use the title tags to gather information about a website. The words that appear in the clickable link on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) are the words used in the title tag. In search engine algorithm, the top three includes title tag together with the visible text copy and the links pointing to the page.

Title tags can only be effective if it contains specific keyword phrases relevant to the site's industry. The keywords would need to reflect the specific boundaries (if any) which a site has. A good example would be to use California Divorce Lawyers instead of simply using Divorce Lawyers which would include divorce lawyers' sites from all over the world. A title that is neither very general nor too specific is the best option as it eliminates too many competitions while not being too restrictive of the scope of possible readers. Thus, depending on the site's purpose, the title can be modified to appear as Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers which further narrows down the option for searchers.

The creation of the title tag can come after the copy has been written and optimized. The most relevant keyword phrases which form the basis of the copy are the most probable sources of a compelling tag. One clue that can help determine whether a good copy has been written is the ease of arriving at a title. It is impossible to come up with the right title if the content is unable to deliver at least one main and clear idea.

When writing a copy for a website, the best approach is to use the main phrases that will suitably reflect the business. The text is then composed around these phrases while being the source of a keyword-rich title. However, it is not advisable to pull a particular sentence from the text verbatim and use it as a title. A unique sentence or phrase that hits the mark is more advantageous.

A keyword phrase used in the title tag but doesn't actually appear on the visible copy can work both ways. A high ranking may be achieved since a title tag is given a lot of weight by search engines. However, having phrases that are considered to even be slightly competitive in the title but are not found in the copy will reduce its over-all effectiveness. The consideration of gaining many keyword-rich words to the site remains and this should also work hand in hand with the title. If there are keywords that are considered important enough for the site's use to be found by search engines, then those same words should be effectively incorporated into the text. It isn't as simple as using it at the top or bottom of the page but having these important words blend in the over-all result of the page.

Producing Effective Headlines

The best headlines do not just happen. They are intentionally created as such to provide the best results possible for both the site owner and the reader. Headlines offer the first opportunity to grab the reader's attention from the targeted market.

The length of a good headline has been the subject of discussion. There are those who believe it should be limited to a certain number of words but no one can argue about the success of headlines that can be categorized as long by ordinary standards. This just goes to show that the length is not as important as the convincing power of certain words put together. However, a long headline stands to benefit from a writing technique that makes it possible to physically break-up and cleverly display high-spots of interest. Every headline should be presented in such a way that the advantage promised to the reader is so evident that it is almost as if the copy was made solely for him/her.
The choice of words obviously determines the effect of any headline. The two most eye-catching words in a headline are "free" and "new". "Free" because readers can be very open to consider anything that would not require them to pay and "new" because readers tend to associate new to something better. Words that also seem to deliver are "how to", "introducing", "improvement", "revolutionary", "magic", "simple", "compare", "last chance" and other words of similar nature. Most of these words seem trite and worn-out but they work towards providing a more specific and desirable offer to the prospect. The selling promise should be subtly incorporated into the headline. This could be done by using longer but information-laden statements. Focus the headline on the benefit which the readers can expect to receive.

Negative headlines doesn't work except when the negativity is used to underscore the undesirable result that is expected to be eliminated or avoided with knowing the information contained in the text. Sometimes, it takes a negative statement to drive home a specific message. A headline should be able to strike as directly as possible any situation faced by the reader. If this is achieved through a negative approach such as with the headline "Top Ten Investment Mistakes", then a negative headline is considered a good one.

There are several ways to come up with a winner headline. A headline could stress the need for quick action or select its readers at once with its choice of words. It could highlight a large audience looking for improvement, anticipate incredibility or provide a stopper ad that challenges the searcher to read. Do not forget to always state the benefit to ensure that articles will not be passed over.

Companies should include their unique selling proposition in their headlines. Emphasis on the wide range of choices as to size, color, features or prices could be made. Mention incentives or benefits such as lower price compared to competitors or free items and services.

Headlines that offer news are often successful. Anything newsworthy belongs at the top. Personalized headlines far outperform headlines that are general in nature. Humor and double meanings may not produce the desired effect and are widely considered as non-productive.

Determining the best headlines may require some testing. This is to test which headline pulls best. Many have harvested the benefit of the incredible results of simply altering a headline. The vast difference between two proposed headlines might never be known without this test. Success can be achieved once website owners recognize the tremendous power of words through verbalization. Verbalization is a technique used in writing a headline to increase its impact by the way it is stated. As an added reminder, try writing from the "point of you" from time to time to get the readers' interest on a personal level.


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