If you want to get to the top of the Google rankings, then you need to strategically map out the titles of your blog posts. The vast majority of Google users scan only the title of the results when making their decision of which one to click on. Google keeps track of which results get clicked on the most, and this is one of the key components of Google’s ranking algorithm. If your title does not compel people to click, then you are destined to get little to no traffic from Google.
In previous posts, I have conveyed to you the importance of using a number at the beginning of your titles. Now I am going to dive deeper into what words that drive the most clicks and shares.
So… Let’s get started.
#1 Place a Superlative in Your Post Title
A superlative is a strong adjective, and it has a big impact on drawing eyeballs to your post titles. Here are a few examples of common superlatives used in post titles.
A perfectly placed superlative will make your post appear to be the best choice in a slew of selections.
Here is an example of a title without a superlative…
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Here is the same example with a superlative…
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People are naturally drawn to the best, easiest, and quickest way to do something.
One other point to keep in mind, is that you should only use one superlative in your title. Conductor’s headline study identified that more than 51% of the people surveyed preferred only one superlative in a title.
An example of a title with more than one superlative would be…
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Best, ever, and perfect are all superlatives.
#2 Use a Little Fear in Your Title’s Superlative to Drive Interest
Tax attorneys have been using fear in their radio ads for years to drive people to pick up the phone and call them. Then same psychological concept applies to post titles. Here are two variations of titles for the same post to illustrate the impact of a negative superlative on clicks.
Here is the positive superlative variation…
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Here is the negative superlative variation…
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I have always found it fascinated that these types of titles drive a ridiculous amount of clicks. I have seen this work on social media, email subject lines, and even podcast titles.
There is a famous study that was conducted by Outbrain on positive versus negative superlatives in titles. The titles with negative superlatives, using the words “never” or “worst,” were clicked on 30% more than the other titles.
#3 Copy BuzzFeed’s Proven Post Title Formulas
BuzzFeed has been coming up with the most shareable headlines for years. Their entire business model is based on getting people to share their posts over and over again. Because of this, they have invested millions of dollars in trying to identify the precise phrases that get shared and clicked on the most.
You could spend hundreds of hours trying to recreate the wheel, or you could just copy some of the proven formulas that BuzzFeed uses year round.
Here are some of the most shared and clicked three word phrases in BuzzFeed article titles.
Before You Die
In Your Life
Reasons You Should
__ Things That
__ Most Important
Probably Didn’t Know
__ Signs You
Didn’t Know About
__ Reasons Why
Here are some examples of post titles incorporating these three word phrases.
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People are subconsciouly drawn to these types of titles, and the formula works for virtually any type of blog post title.
#4 Address the Reader in Your Blog Post Titles
People want to feel as if you are talking to them directly. By using the words “you” and “your” in your title, you are addressing them individually.
Here are a few examples of titles that address the reader…
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Buffer analyzed millions of headlines to find out which types of titles were shared the most. The top two most shared headlines types were the list title and the reader addressed title.
The takeaway here is that you should always write copy and content as if you are having a 1-on-1 conversation with another person.
#5 Use Power Words to Convey Emotion in Your Titles
So you may be asking yourself right now, “what exactly is a power word?” The most used power word of all-time in advertising is “free.” This word continues to be used over and over again because it consistently spurs emotion in anyone that sees it.
CoSchedule actually did a study to quantify the effects of the emotional headline value on the number of social media shares. The post titles with high emotional value were shared dramatically more than the post titles with low emotional value.
I personally use the 180 power words that the famous copywriter Karl Stepp uses for emotional ad copy. Some of my favorite power words to use in blog titles are…
Here is the entire list.
If you consistently use the right words in your post titles, then you will start to see a dramatic improvement in your Google rankings and social shares.
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