Did you know that 80% of people read headlines, but only 20% go on to read the article? So, what’s the solution for bridging this gap? Crafting an optimised headline, that’s what.
In the internet age, headline length has become almost as important as the words for earning those all-important click-throughs. With this thought in mind, here are some tips for optimising the headlines that matter – from blog posts to Twitter.
To optimise headlines for blogs and on-site content, you have to think about Google search first and foremost. Because Google truncates headlines that are over 65 characters long, you should aim to keep your blog titles short and sweet. Therefore, by keeping the glass ceiling of 65 characters in mind, you will ensure that searchers enjoy the full impact of your carefully crafted headline.
Short headlines work equally well on Twitter. Okay, you might have 140 characters to play with on the micro blogging site. However, if you’re aiming to create headlines that encourage retweets, shorter is most definitely sweeter.
For example, the headline for this article is 70 characters long. When we tweet the article to our followers and include a shortlink that is roughly 14 characters long, the character count for the tweet will total 84.
Now, imagine someone retweeting this article. Twitter would add ‘RT @strategydigi’, which adds another 16 characters to create a tweet total of 100. This is ideal because it leaves plenty of room for the retweeter to add a comment, which is the perfect scenario you should be looking for.
According to Jeff Bullas, who has scientific proof, the ideal length of a Facebook post is 40 characters. He discovered this by analysing the engagement level for a huge number of Facebook posts by their ‘like’ and comment ratio.
And guess what? Posts in the 40 character range received 86% higher engagement than any other group. In addition, posts with 80 characters or fewer received 66% higher engagement. For this reason, you should look to optimise all your Facebook headlines so they are between 40-80 characters.
Demian Farnworth of Copyblogger fame stretched Google Plus to its limits in a bid to learn how to write great posts for the platform.
In relation to headlines specifically, Demian discovered that they should never exceed 60 characters. The reason? By keeping the title of the post to within 60 characters, it meant that Google Plus displayed the headline on one line, which increased engagement exponentially.
By analysing the business-orientated social network’s 3,000 most successful posts, Paul Shapiro discovered that titles should be between 40-49 characters. This means that the best LinkedIn post titles are short, simple and stick to a clear explanation of what readers can expect from the article itself.
So, Who’s Counting?
In your mind’s eye, it might be difficult to visualise exactly how many characters are included in your headlines. But don’t worry, for there are many character counting tools available online that you can use to do the job for you.
Above: character counting tools can be useful when optimising headlines.
How To Make Headlines Engaging
We’ll let you into a little secret: there is no magic formula for how to write the perfect headline. But there are a few little tips that you can use to help you get started.
Use numbers – Nowadays, people’s attention span online is extremely low. Therefore numbered lists, which provide easy recognisable steps, are an efficient method for grabbing people’s attention.
Use adjectives – Headlines that stubbornly adhere to descriptions won’t be enough to earn your desired click-through. However, a sprinkling of one or two emotive words can do wonders.
Use key words – For SEO purposes, this one is essential. For many industry commentators, using keywords or long tail search terms in the headline and then front-loading them into your intro is a great tactic for Google-related success.
For more ideas about how to create engaging headlines, you can refer to this Moz post that approaches the subject in more detail.
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