4 Tips to Write the Best Titles

Michael Bergbauer - October 10, 2011

Titles are among the most important elements of the content you produce for SEO. Not only do titles define the content, they also play an important role in getting your content ranked in search engines and whether a user will click through. More often than not, users will read just the title of your content — so a good title is often your only chance to convince them to click through. With that in mind, your titles need to be as effective as possible. Here are some tips to remember when you write your headlines.

Be Simple and Accurate: This is necessary from a usability standpoint. Your title needs to simply and accurately convey what your content is about — it needs to stand alone. If users can not immediately understand what your content is about from only reading the title, they are likely to pass it by.

Keep Keywords Near the Beginning: This is an important element for search engines, which assign more importance to the words near the beginning of a title. This is also important for users because they typically only read the first few words of a title before looking at another search result. If you can capture their attention by having their keyword near the beginning of a title, you increase your chances of getting a click through.

Use Modifiers and Numbers: You will want to use modifiers and numbers in your title for slightly different reasons. Users often modify their search queries with words like “buy,” “best,” or “reviews.” Including these terms in your titles will increase their chances of ranking higher in SERPs.

Conversely, users tend not to include numbers in their searches. However, having a number in your title conveys meaning and attracts attention to your title, which can increase click through rates. It also increases the accuracy of the title. “5 Tips to Improve your SEO” gives a more concrete image of your content than “Tips to Improve your SEO” — which could be very long and broad.

Shorter is Better: Having a short title helps you to be simple and accurate, but there is a more technical reason to have one. When displaying a title on a SERP, Google and Bing only show the first 69 characters (Yahoo! shows the first 72) before truncating the title with an ellipsis. In addition, if you want people to spread your content via Twitter, you should take into account the 140 character limit for Twitter posts. Remember these character limits and try to write your titles accordingly.


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