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.

Persuasive Writing Techniques They Didn’t Tell You At School

persuasive-writing-techniquesIn this series I’ll share with you persuasive writing techniques they didn’t tell you at school. Or college. Or much of anywhere else, apart from this copySnips.com blog of course.

Being persuasive is almost like having superpowers, because most people just aren’t that persuasive. But for you, it will mean you can get what you want much more often. (Sadly, you still won’t be able to fly.) And I’ll be adding regularly to the Persuasive Writing series right here on this blog.

Before I tell you these secrets, understand that persuasion techniques have been around for a very long time. Over 2,300 years ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle taught persuasive techniques, so that people could win elections – some things never change.

Anyway, he came up with the three main persuasive writing techniques, which are:

ETHOS. Who is doing the persuading.

Just imagine yourself living back in the days of Aristotle, when one city might go to war with another. It was important to stir the people up to want to go and fight in the first place. Otherwise they’d just be sitting around, enjoying themselves and being all peaceful.

To do this, Aristotle knew it needed not only a persuasive speaker, but also someone to whom the people would listen. If Warren the Warrior had just come back from the battlefield and scored a victory, he might do a better job of convincing the people to fight than Cuthbert the Coward. Warren the Warrior had credibility and a good reputation and knew what he was talking about when it came to war.

The same is still true today. We’ll be more persuaded if our dentist tells us to use Brand X toothpaste, than if our Aunt Ethel does. It depends on who is doing the persuading.

LOGOS. Logic and reasoning.

This means saying things that make sense and that sound logical to the reader, that are backed up by facts and figures, and making one statement follow another in a logical way.

Imagine mighty Warren the Warrior, rallying the people of Athens and shouting, over the wild and crazy cheers of his audience, “We won the first battle against our enemy, so we can do it AGAIN!”

The first part of his statement is a FACT, and so the listeners are more likely to accept the second part as true, just because it’s linked by the word “so”. It’s also harder to argue against this kind of logic when we’re in the grip of…

PATHOS. Emotions.

This is about using emotional appeals. If you’re reading this, you’re probably human – so you have emotions, like me, and the rest of the human race.

Have you, like me, ever found yourself crying at a movie? What’s funny is, you KNEW the story was made up… but it still made you cry, didn’t it?

That’s because we got caught up with the characters, and we shared their emotions. A good movie can do that to us, and the same is true of persuasive writing. People are more likely to take action when you can stir their emotions.

It’s hard to imagine Warren the Warrior moving the city to go to war with a boring speech. No, he would probably remind them of the need to FIGHT BACK, the need for JUSTICE, and the need to DEFEND THEIR FAMILIES… and there would probably be lots of shouting and chanting… all things that would appeal to the emotions of his audience.

An Example Using These 3 Persuasive Writing Techniques

Combining these three techniques – ethos (who I am), logos (logic and reasoning), and pathos (emotion) – let me give you an example of their use, which will hopefully make a strong case for signing up to my blog:

Being really persuasive takes skills and knowledge, the kind of skills and knowledge I’ve been sharing with you right here, and will continue sharing with you. There’s much more to know, so you’ll want to sign up to read this blog (which won’t cost you anything) on a regular basis, and get really good at persuasion.

Just imagine what you’ll be able to do with the persuasion skills you’re about to discover! And it’s not just about getting your own way, it’s about helping others as well… people who are less persuasive than you. Doors of opportunity will open to you as you become good at this by signing up to read this blog regularly. I hope you’re as excited as me to read more about persuasion!

I’ll share more persuasive writing techniques with you another time, so sign up to this blog. It won’t cost you anything, except a better life. And if you don’t, I’ll send Warren the Warrior to come and take your city.