Why Writing Headlines For Search Engines Like Google Will Get You More Readers

googleI’ll admit, for quite a long time I neglected a HUGE source of traffic to many of my sites – namely, search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing. And yet Google want to send you and I visitors to our sites and blogs – that’s their business!

So if you have a blog, Google would love to send you traffic… IF they can detect that your post is relevant to its users.

Headlines play an important role in Google deciding whether a page is relevant or not. And when it comes to writing headlines, many bloggers (and copywriters in particular) are great at coming up with witty, attention-grabbing ones that HUMANS  think are clever… but are lousy at attracting search engine traffic.

To my mind, that’s a big mistake. After all, search engines like Google can generate you a ton of traffic – and you don’t have to pay for it.

One of the keys to attracting this traffic is to optimize your headlines and posts for a particular keyphrase or set of keywords. (A keyphrase is just something that people would type into a search engine, such as “how to train your dog”.)

How important are keyphrase optimized headlines to Google? You can find out by running a couple of searches yourself, but let’s have a look at the Top 20 results for the phrase how to train your dog, in Google:

1. How To Train A Dog, dog training tips and techniques for home …
2. How To Train A Puppy | Puppy Training | Potty & House Training …
3. How to Train Your Dog Yourself | eHow.com
4. How to Train Your Dog | eHow.com
5. (Video results for how to train your dog)
6. Puppy and Dog Obedience Training
7. Training Your Dog
8. (News results for how to train your dog)
9. (Book results for how to train your dog)
10. Karen Pryor Clickertraining| dog training and cat training info …
11. How To Train Your Dog To Heel Off The Leash – Dog & Puppy Advice …
12. Teach Your Dog to Sit: Basic Dog Obedience Commands | Suite101.com
13. Amazon.com: Train Your Dog – The Positive Gentle Method: Nicole …
14. [PDF] Crate Training Your Dog
15. HowStuffWorks “How to Train a Dog: Tips and Guidelines”
16. Secrets to Dog Training | Dog Obedience Training to Solve Dog
17. Easy Dog Training, Dog & Puppy Obedience Training, Dog Grooming
18. Dog Training and Obedience Lessons
19. THERAPY DOGS – TRAINING YOUR DOG TO REACH OTHERS – Welcome to …
20. How to Train Your Dog & Puppy Obedience Training by the Experts

You’ll notice that none of the results in the Top 20 could be said to be particularly clever headlines, but ALL OF THEM contain some or all of the keywords in the phrase “how to train your dog”, or related words such as “training”, “teach” and “puppy”.

(Incidentally, in your searches you might find a clever and witty headline in the Top 10, but I’m willing to bet it’s on an already popular blog that is already well ranked on Google, OR the keyphrase is not very popular.)

In other words, the headline of your blog post is important to Google, because it determines how relevant the post might be to Google searchers. (It’s certainly not the only factor, but it IS a factor).

So here’s two steps you can take to increase your chances of generating Google traffic to your next blog post:

(1) If people wanted to find the information you wrote about in your post, ask yourself what keywords they might use in Google.

For example, this article is about writing headlines to generate more search engine traffic, so I think the main keywords would be: writing headlines search engines Google.

Don’t pick too many, otherwise you’ll find step 2 very difficult, which is…

(2) Create a good headline based around those keywords.

Remember, Google and humans have different ideas about what makes a “good” headline. For Google, it’s about RELEVANCE. If someone types in “how to write headlines for Google”, I would love for this post to show up… and it’s more likely to do that IF my headline reflects these keywords somehow.

So how do I get from “writing headlines search engines Google” to something that seems like a pretty decent headline for both humans and Google? For this post, I wrote down a brief statement of what the article is about, using those keywords:

Writing headlines that pull search engine traffic from Google, that humans also enjoy.

Then I thought about incorporating the benefits of doing this, which is “you get more traffic… and hopefuly blog readers”. So let’s see if I can convert that into a headline:

Why Writing Headlines For Search Engines Like Google Will Get You More Readers

Now, I’ll be the first to admit it’s not the cleverest headline in the world… BUT it’s nicely optimized to pick up traffic from Google for anyone searching for the subject of writing headlines for search engines. (Oh, and if you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the CONTENT of this post is doing that as well.)

Headlines are by no means the only thing Google uses, but it’s a factor, because a headline that closely matches the keyword search is likely to be relevant. So before you use that clever and witty headline, ask yourself:

If people are searching for that topic on Google, will my headline help them to find it?

By the way, I’m not telling you to stop using clever and witty headlines. I’m simply saying that, Google is a robot, a machine that attempts to deduce value and relevance automatically. So if you want Google traffic, clever and witty is not machine readable… but keyword optimized headlines are.

Blog Inspiration Dried Up? How To Get An Instant Fix For Your Blog Inspiration

Inspiration… as bloggers and writers, we need lots of it! But when the well of inspiration runs dry, it helps to have a tap that you can turn to supply you with endless, fresh ideas. Here’s three of my top sources of inspiration…

(1) Online forums.

There are literally millions of forums on the Internet, so it would be virtually impossible to participate meaningfully on them all. Personally, I recommend picking a couple that are closely related to what your blog is about, and make them your virtual home.

For instance, one of my all-time favourite marketing and business forums is the Warrior Forum. I’ve been a member since the late 90’s (although it’s changed shape a few times, so my profile says July 2003). There’s a section devoted to copywriting, and just by hanging around in there, I can get ideas and inspiration for blog posts.

Sometimes a controversial discussion kicks off, and that’s where the truly great ideas and opinions get thrown around. When this happens, take notes, and put on your writing hat!

(2) Reading books.

Seriously, you can get great ideas for blog posts just by reading books. After all, the more you know about a subject, the easier it becomes to write about it.

One thing I’d recommend is not just read the books that everyone else in your industry recommends, but also read the ones fewer people know about. I’m always amazed at some of the mind-blowing ideas and inspiration I get from books that I know many of my fellow marketers and copywriters haven’t read!

By the way, this doesn’t even have to cost you any money if you have a decent library local to where you live!

(3) Reading other blogs.

I make it a daily habit of reading posts related to copywriting both on newer blogs, and on the “big name” blogs.

While it’s great and informative to read the “big name” blogs, quite often I find the less well-known or newer blogs to be better sources of inspiration. That’s because they offer fresh perspectives on familiar subjects, and tend to be less afraid to express more “radical” opinions, because their blogs aren’t yet in the spotlight.

You can find fresh blog posts by using Google Blog Search, or IceRocket – and using the keyword you’re interested in, ie. “copywriting”.

These are three of my top sources of blog inspiration… what are yours? I’d love to know, and so would everyone else, so please share in the comments section below.

How To Get More Blog Subscribers Using The Arabian Nights Technique

In this post you’re going to discover a supremely effective blogging technique that was originally used by the wife of an ancient Persian king to save her own life.

Scheherezade was the unfortunate new wife of a Persian king who had the bad habit of marrying a new wife each day, and executing them in the morning.

Scheherezade decided that being executed was not her idea of romance, and so she devised a clever scheme.

On the night of her marriage, she told the king an exciting tale, but crucially, she missed out one important element – the end. So the king was forced to keep her alive that night, to hear the story’s conclusion.

Next night, she finished the first tale, but began another… once again, forcing the king to keep her alive yet another night. Each night she did this, for 1,001 nights – or so the tale goes.

Eventually, the king pardoned Scheherezade, and spared her life. (You know it’s true love when you don’t get executed!)

Now, just imagine if you were to do what Scheherezade did, in all your blog posts. Do you think your visitors might feel compelled to subscribe?

I call this the Arabian Nights technique (after the famous Arabic collection of stories which we in the Western world call “Arabian Nights”).

It’s simple enough – within your current blog post, introduce the theme, and create anticipation for the next post (and why they should stick around to read it).

If you read my previous two posts here and here, you’ll notice I did exactly that.

If Scheherezade could make a powerful Persian king spare her life, just by creating anticipation for the next story, then you’ll probably find it much easier to get your visitors to hang around (no pun intended) for your next blog post!…

… in which, by the way, I will share with you yet more sneaky ways of holding the attention of your readers like a head in a vice… so you’ll want to stick around (perhaps via my RSS feed) and not miss it.

Twitter users, please click here to retweet about this blog post. Your followers will be extremely grateful to you for sharing with them this powerful technique. You can get more short tips by following @copytips )