Having a catchy blog title plays the largest role in how much traffic your blog post will get. It determines where the post will rank in Google, how many social shares the post will get, and if your email list will even take a chance on your latest featured post.
The mistake that most bloggers make is spending all of their time on the content of the post and just a couple of minutes on the headline copy. The headline is the most important piece of the post. If you fail to create a compelling headline, then your great piece of content will rarely get seen or shared.
Neil Patel identified the key statistic why bloggers need to focus more time and energy on headlines.
Over the past three years, I have crafted over 5000 post titles. Collectively, those article titles have driven over 58 million visitors to read those posts.
Are you ready to find out the statistically backed strategies I use to create top-notch blog titles every single time?
Let’s dive right into it.
#1 Use a Number At The Beginning of Your Blog Title To Move Up The Google Rankings
Numbered titles that lead to list formatted blog posts move up the rankings faster than any other type of blog post. The reason behind this, is that people prefer to scan through the key points of articles. If they see the number 11 at the beginning of the title, then it is clear to them that they will be able to quickly scan through the eleven key points that are listed within the post.
This psychological preference drives more clicks and keeps them reading numbered posts longer than the other competing Google results. Google’s algorithm recognizes this and rewards the numbered posts with higher rankings.
I recommend creating numbered blog titles for at least 50 percent of your posts. A few examples of numbered blog titles are…
- “9 Best Strategies for Catchy Blog Titles”
- “21 Great Ideas for Blog Titles”
Conductor did a study on what people preferred in a headline, and the study revealed that the numbered headline was the clear winner.
#2 The Odd Numbered Blog Post Title Outperforms The Even Numbered Title
Although no one has yet to explain the psychology behind it, the odd numbered headline gets more clicks than the even numbered headline.
The Content Marketing Institute published the results of a study that analyzed over 150,000 of the most successful headlines on their platform. They found that the odd numbered headlines were clicked on 20% more than the even numbered headlines.
#3 Write Blog Titles That Give Clarity To What Is In The Post
One of the main reasons why numbered posts perform so well is because it leave almost no ambiguity. In all of your blog post titles, no matter what the style, aim to give the reader clarity. This means your title should tell them what they are going to get in the blog post.
The Conductor study on headlines found that click through rates significantly increased with headline clarity.
#4 Sentence Case is the Best Style to Use for Headline Capitalization
The three most common types of headline capitalization styles are:
- Sentence Case – “13 Ways to Make Your Blog Awesome”
- Lower Case – “13 ways to make your blog awesome”
- Capitals – “13 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR BLOG AWESOME”
The Conductor headline study identified that sentence case is preferred 300% more than the other capitalization styles.
#5 Use 57 Characters or Less in Blog Titles To Keep Google From Cutting Them Off
If your blog title is too long, then Google is going to cut off the tail end of it. The two techniques used to optimize title length for Google are:
- Bare Minimum Characters – This strategy focuses on keeping all titles under 45 characters to ensure that the complete title gets read. Keep in mind that different letters take up more and less space. For example, the letter w takes up 4 times the amount of space as the letter i. If you limit the title to 45 characters, then it will only get cut off about 2% of the time.
- Stacking The Target Keyword Phrase At The Beginning – If you use this strategy, then you will not be bound to a character limit. Just be sure the keyword phrase that you are wanting to be seen and rank for is in the first half of the blog title.
Moz studied over 28,000 titles that were on the first page of Google results for popular keyword phrases. They found that the range of post titles to be cut off was 42 to 68 characters, with the average being 57.7 characters.
#6 The Ideal Number of Words For A Blog Title is Six
Now you do not need to go crazy on this one and only write headlines with six words. The big takeaway from this is to make your first six words count. Because people scan headlines, those six words need to quickly state what the article is about. These examples of longer headlines demonstrate how get the primary message across in the first six words:
- “21 Tips for Making Blog Titles That Rock”
- “7 Stats on Blog Titles That Will Shock You”
CoSchedule analyzed a group of different studies on headline length, and they confirmed that six words is the magic number.
#7 Using One Superlative in Your Blog Title Will Get You The Best Results
A superlative is a strong adjective that is placed at the beginning of the title for extra emphasis. They can give you a boost in clicks, but you want to limit yourself to one really good one in your blog title.
- Title without superlative – “17 Ways to Get More Blog Traffic”
- Title with superlative – “17 Best Ways to Get More Blog Traffic”
The Conductor study found that 51% of the people they surveyed preferred 0-1 superlatives in the headline.
#8 Scare Them Into Clicking With a Negative Superlative
Life insurance commercials having been scaring us into buying policies for decades. The same psychological concept works with blog titles. For example, “11 Best Ways To Build Your Business” does not get as many clicks as “11 Worst Things That Will Destroy Your Business.”
Outbrain did a study on 65,000 titles within their network to compare titles with negative, positive, and no superlative. The titles with the negative superlatives clearly outperformed the rest by 30%.
#9 Incorporate The Most Shared 3 Word BuzzFeed Phrases Into Your Blog Titles
Buzzfeed is widely known as the king of headlines. They have spent millions on coming up with and analyzing headlines that outperform the rest. Instead of racking your mind to come up with your own clickable phrases, it is much easier to steal a page from Buzzfeed’s playbook.
Max Woolf was able to identify Buzzfeed’s most shared three word phrases. Not all of these will carry over to your blog topics, but there are at least ten all encompassing phrases everyone can use.
#10 Use “You” or “Your” to Address the Reader in the Blog Title
People like to feel as if you are talking directly to them. Here are a couple of examples of reader addressed titles:
- “19 Great Blog Strategies That Will Grow Your Traffic”
- “9 Blog Marketing Tips Just For You“
Buffer analyzed the most shared headlines on their platform, and they found that reader addressed titles ranked second behind the list post title.
#11 Do Not Come Across Too Pushy in Your Blog Titles
When creating compelling blog titles there is a fine line between being persuasive and being pushy. Here are a few examples of pushy headlines to avoid:
- “31 Blog Titles You Have To Start Using Today”
- “17 Must Have Headlines You Need to Use on Your Blog”
Outbrain’s headline study found that pushy headlines actually decreased engagement by 20%.
#12 Use a [Bracketed] Word in Blog Titles For Specific Types of Content
There are many people that love certain kinds of content. The bracketed word is the universal way for identifying specific types of content. Some of the bracketed content types with the highest click through rates are:
- Templates – “8 Keys to Writing the Perfect Blog Title [Template]”
- Infographics – “13 Eye Opening Stats on Headlines [Infographic]”
- Interviews – “How Richard Branson is Changing the World [Interview]”
V3b revealed that bracketed clarifications in headlines increased the click through rate by 38%.
#13 Women Like Numbered Headlines More Than Men
If you have a gender specific blog focused on females, then you may want to use numbered blog titles in every 2 out of 3 posts.
The Conductor headline survey pointed out that women prefer numbered headlines almost 20% more than their male counterpart.
#14 Use Power Words to Create Emotional Blog Titles
CoSchedule conducted a study that measured the effect of the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) of headlines on the total number of shares a post has. The results showed that the average EMV for posts with over 1000 shares was twice as high as posts with less than 100 shares.
So… How do you capitalize on this knowledge?
You can start by incorporating some of the 180 power words that the famous copywriter Karl Stepp uses for emotional selling.
#15 If You Are Going To Ask a Question in Your Blog Title, Use “How”
The only primary question word that performs well in headlines is “How.” A good example of this would be, “How to Write Killer Blog Headlines.”
BuzzStream identified the worst performing BuzzFeed headlines of all-time. They were able to narrow it down to 10 different styles of posts. Three of those ten were questions.
- Would you…
- What should…
- Are you…
#16 Use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to Fine Tune Your Blog Title
This tool will make sure your blog title is in perfect order before you publish your next post. Here are a few key areas it analyzes:
- The right mix of common, uncommon, emotional and power words.
- The ideal character and word count.
- A preview of how the blog title will look in Google and in email.
- Identification of the primary words people will read when skimming your headline.
#17 Use Portent’s and Tweak Your Biz’s Title Generators To Spark Headline Ideation
If you ever get stuck on creating a title for a specific subject matter, then take a few minutes to get some inspiration via an online title generator. Two of the best are by Portent and Tweak Your Biz. Pop in your core word and you will get an endless number of potential headlines.
Congratulations… You are now equipped with all seventeen strategies that I use to come up with exceptionally catchy blog titles.
Although millions of people visit Brandon's blog each month, his path to success was not easy. Go here to read his incredible story, "From Disabled and $500k in Debt to a Pro Blogger with 5 Million Monthly Visitors." If you want to send Brandon a quick message, then visit his contact page here.