How to Use Different Headline Structures to Boost Your Google SEO Rankings  by@syedbalkhi

How to Use Different Headline Structures to Boost Your Google SEO Rankings

You've heard that keywords are important to your SEO rankings. This is true to a large degree but probably not in the way you expect. Keywords matter and they should be used to help you create content that matches your reader's intent. However, you should not be using them as a way to fill your blog posts and articles with fluff. In fact, keywords aren't the be-all and end-all of SEO. The truth is that Google's algorithm uses a lot of different factors (as many as 200 factors) to determine where you rank for different search terms.
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Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site.

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You've heard that keywords are important to your SEO rankings. This is true to a large degree but probably not in the way you expect.

Keywords matter and they should be used to help you create content that matches your reader's intent.

However, you should not be using them as a way to fill your blog posts and articles with fluff.

In fact, keywords aren't the be-all and end-all of SEO.

The truth is that Google's algorithm uses a lot of different factors (as many as 200 factors) to determine where you rank for different search terms.

Here are some of the factors that come into play:

  • Your website's Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
  • Your site speed and performance.
  • Mobile responsiveness.
  • Technical SEO factors like indexing, interlinking, and more.
  • Content relevance and the frequency with which you publish posts.
  • Domain age.
  • And your blog post and article headlines.

In this post, we're going to look at this last factor in greater depth. You can strategically improve your search engine rankings by creating the right headlines.

To begin with, here are 11 headline formulas you can use to attract more traffic and stand out from your competition. As we go through them, we'll also uncover why they work and how they help you get traffic, clicks, and more engagement.

11 Headline Formulas to Improve Your SEO

Use the following list as a helpful resource that you can cross-reference whenever you need to.

These formulas are proven to attract people's attention and when you accompany a great headline with content that delivers, you'll see positive results in the long run.

1. X Ways to XYZ

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The X Ways to do XYZ Format Frequently Shows up for top Results

This is a classic headline structure. It's simple and people understand it with just a glance.

Since such headlines indicate that the post is a list, making it attractive to people looking for multiple quick solutions to a problem.

It makes sense that this structure would increase your click-through rates. By extension, this will boost your likelihood of getting higher rankings. In fact, 36% of people prefer list-based headlines. So, take advantage of this type of headline.

Here's an example - an article about how to create an effective Facebook marketing strategy might have the following headline:

7 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Marketing Success

2. How to XXX: A Step-by-Step Guide

Similar to the above structure, this formula focuses on educating your readers with a detailed how-to guide. Since Google loves comprehensive content, this approach can help you rank for more keywords and attract long-tail traffic.

Here's a sample of what such a headline might look like:

How to Create an Effective Facebook Marketing Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide.

3. Confessions of a (insert job title here): Secrets You Need to Know

A good headline incites emotion. In this format, the word 'secrets' and 'confession' elicit curiosity and the eagerness to learn something new.

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This structure is all about a person sharing hard-earned secrets or insights with your audience. It can be useful for boosting thought leadership within your industry.

An example:

Confessions of an SEO Specialist: The Secrets You Need to Know

4. Numbers-Based Headlines

Using numbers in your headlines can be a great way to improve click-through rates.

The use of numbers in headlines indicates a clear and finite list of solutions or steps. It creates certainty and also shows your reader that you've done your research. People are naturally drawn to numbers. It can help them quickly find the content they want, which you know Google also loves.

Come up with your own list of blog topics with numbers at the start. Here's one example you can use:

10 Ways to Improve Your SEO Strategy

5. How to Avoid/Defeat XYZ

It's part of human nature to focus on the negative aspects of our jobs and lives. When you use words like 'avoid' or 'beat' or 'overcome' in your post title, you automatically appeal to people's need for safety and protection.

This type of headline is common and it's effective because it helps you establish authority within your industry by teaching readers how to overcome a potential pitfall or problem.

Example:

How to Avoid Negative Online Reviews

6. X vs. Y Headlines

These types of headlines are pretty straightforward. You compare two different products, tools, ideas, and approaches.

Such headlines where you draw comparisons are invaluable when you want to convert casual readers into buyers.

And when people look for such content and read posts with such titles, it's a clear indication that your audience is ready to buy or take some other action.

So, make sure that you include comparison posts and headlines to capture leads and drives sales from people further down the sales funnel. Such content also helps you establish yourself as an authority by comparing two topics or ideas against each other.

SEO vs. PPC: Which is Better for Lead Generation?

7. Get Rid of XXX Once and for All

The power of this type of headline lies in the explicit promise that it makes - helping readers overcome some kind of problem.

This formula focuses on a specific pain point that your audience probably experiences, but may not know what to do about. It's also more likely to rank higher because it uses natural language that your everyday reader might also.

Example:

Get Rid of Disempowering Beliefs Once and for All!

8. Bonus tip: A specific tip to help your reader

It's very likely that your web pages and blog posts will have subheadlines in their content. In fact, they're necessary if you want to provide an easy reading experience.

This particular headline formula is useful if you want people to stay engaged throughout your blog post. Add it as a subheading to show that you're giving users greater value with this specific tip.

Here's an example:

Bonus Tip: How to Save Money with the Right Marketing Tools

9. How I ____ My Way to XYZ

Use this headline format when you want to share your success stories. Or when you interview successful people in your field about what they did to achieve their goals.

This is an effective strategy because it gives your readers someone to relate to, which can boost social proof.

How I Built a 6-Figure Blog Without Google or Facebook Ads

10. How I Achieved XYZ in ____ Days

Similar to the above formula, you're sharing content where you or someone did something spectacular in a certain period of time.

The reason why this headline formula is compelling and different is that it introduces a time factor. When you include time in your headlines, creates a feeling of urgency and induces people to click on your post.

How I Increased Conversions by 200% in 6 Months Using SEO

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Another example of adding time to headlines for greater impact.

11. The XYZ System for Your Industry

When you use the words 'system' or 'strategy', you indicate a long-form post with detailed information.

Use this type of headline when you want your audience to work towards something in the long run. Or when you want to share a program that has a lot of work involved.

Readers who engage with this type of headline are more likely to be committed to taking action. They will be more likely to convert to buyers and you'll have a great opportunity to win them over.

The Rewiring System: How to Rewire Your Brain for Success

There you go. These are some ways you can create awesome headlines that will boost your traffic. You need to keep working and reworking them to get the best results. But with a few tweaks, you should see a spike in your content performance.

How to Leverage Headlines in Your Writing

Once you've decided on your headline formula, it's important to make sure the content matches up with what readers are expecting.

If you can't deliver on what you promise, then that could cause some pretty negative consequences like alienating your readers or hurting your SEO performance.

So make sure to spend as much time as possible on the headline before moving on to anything else. That way, you can be sure that Google and your audience will love it too!

As we mentioned before, Google wants comprehensive content that addresses a topic from multiple angles and perspectives. It's not enough to find keywords and cram them into a headline.

You want to make sure that readers come away from your content with a new perspective or understanding.

When you use one or more of the headline formulas above, you'll be able to do just that.

Pro Tip: Use a Headline Analyzer Tool

Hopefully, the headline ideas I've shared here are useful to you. And you can use this post as a guideline for drafting your article and blog post titles.

However, you can still benefit from using a tool to support creating your headlines. I'm talking about working with a headline analyzer.

A headline analyzer tool, as the name suggests, analyzes your post title and tells you how good or bad it is for the internet.

You get a score out of 100. And the higher your score the better it is.

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Use a headline analyzer tool. The higher your score, the better your headline is.

Some ways to improve your headline score is to:

  • Shorten your post title. Studies show that blog titles with 6-13 words attract the most traffic.
  • Add a power word that are proven to increase engagement
  • Add unique words
  • Add a number or a statistic

Using a headline tool quantifies your post title and makes it easier to improve it.

Conclusion

Your headline plays a critical role in your site's ranking and other performance metrics.

However, do remember that your headline can't do all the work. You have to ensure that the body of your content has compelling information. It should provide value to readers and deliver on the promises your headline makes.

Use this post as a guide to help you improve your content's performance. As you get used to leveraging different types of headlines, you'll find that your audience engagement and traffic will be off the charts!

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