SEO Guide - How to Write Effective Title Tags and Headlines

Knowing how to write effective SEO title tags and headlines can be confusing these days. See you're not alone! Many struggle over making it SEO optimized while at the same time enticing enough to draw in the clicks, which is the main job of a headline, right?

Related: 7 On-Page SEO Tips that Will Help your Rankings

While at first blush the symbiotic relationship between title tags and headlines can seem at odds, but you need to be able to find a happy medium. Recognize first that one without the other leads to failure is a good first step.

Let's look at both needs and see where they intersect.

Writing Effective Title Tags and Headlines

What goes into a good SEO title tag?

The properly SEO'd title tag will be around 64 characters, and also have the page's primary keyword near the beginning if possible. That's not much space to work with, so we've got a challenge right from the start.

What's also important to Google these days is the intent of the search query. What's the searcher actually searching for? Google is getting better and better at reading this, and you need to write with this in mind.

If there is room, you can include additional keywords or LSI phrase, or modify the phrase in hope of ranking for corollary terms, for instance “best blue widget for sale today”. There are around 5 possible keyword phrases in there, in addition to the main term. You get the idea. But your intent should be to make it make sense.

Related: How to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO

What constitutes a good page headline?

Conversely, your page headline needs to entice the reader to read on, to want more information. A lot of great headlines will invoke curiosity, promise solutions, and inject emotions.

Satisfying the needs of the reader is your primary aim here, and if you can do that in a short, pithy way so much the better.

“How to write a novel in 30 days and stay married.” This is a title you might click through to read. It makes a promise, delivers urgency and hints at humor.

Check out this infographic by Neil Patel from Quick Sprout about how to create better headlines.

The Formula For a Perfect Headline
Courtesy of: Quick Sprout

Making the Two become One

Many times it's a choice you have to make: is this piece designed to rank well for the ages, or is it something that you may be using socially, or driving paid traffic to. It's not that you can't have both, but sometimes the intersect between SEO and enticing titles is quite small. Knowing your purpose for the piece can help you decide which route to take.