How to Write a Killer Blog Title That Gets Rankings and Readers

Jun 8, 2024 | Blogging, Copywriting

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How to Write a Killer Blog Title That Gets Rankings and Readers

Ever found yourself scrolling through an endless sea of titles, desperately searching for something worth clicking? Yeah, we’ve all been there. 

In the digital jungle, your blog title is like a neon sign that says, “Hey, over here! You don’t want to miss this!” It’s your first (and sometimes only) shot at grabbing a reader’s attention.

But crafting the perfect blog title isn’t just about being catchy or clever—it’s about getting noticed by both humans and search engines. A great title can catapult your post to the top of search results and skyrocket your click-through rates. 

In this article, we’re going to break down the art and science of writing killer blog titles that get rankings and readers. 

Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just getting started, these tips and tricks will help you create titles that sound good and perform.

Let’s dive into the wonderful world of blog titles!

Understanding the Basics of a Great Blog Title

What makes a blog title stand out from the crowd? There’s no one magic formula for creating great titles (boy, do I wish there was). 

When crafting a blog title, I usually draft one when I start drafting the blog knowing that it will probably change later. It’s just a starter title. 

When the blog is done, I’ll go back and refine the blog title.

What makes a blog title stand out to potential readers? Three main things:

  1. Is it clear what the reader will get, and is it relevant to their search? Remember, your potential readers just typed a question into a search engine and are hoping to get that question answered. Your title needs to get them to shout, “There’s the answer!”
  2. Does the title make your potential reader feel something? This is how clickbait titles work. They make you feel a strong emotion. What emotions can you play on? Just about any of them: anger, sadness, outrage, curiosity, and happiness just to name a few.
  3. Does the title have the keyword they typed in looking for an answer? For example, the keyword I’m targeting in this article is “blog title.” When someone searches for “how to write a blog title,” this article should (eventually) come to the top of the list.

This brings us to SEO in blog titles. Having your main keyword in your blog title is crucial! Even better, begin the title with the keyword. Search engines aren’t going to hunt for the keyword. They want it served up on a silver platter. So, give it to them right up front to increase the chances of your blog being served to your potential readers.

Now that you’ve got the basics of blog titles and know how critical keywords are, let’s talk more about research and planning.

Research and Planning

Before you write the first word of your blog or start thinking about a title, you need to know what keywords you’re targeting. To do that, you start with keyword research.

I wrote a little about keyword research in my blog on using ChatGPT for keyword research. Here’s a quick review.

Keywords are the words your potential readers type into a search engine to get an answer to their question. 

You want to use a paid research tool to find keywords your blog can rank for. There are a plethora of them out there. I’m currently using Keysearch for keyword research.

When researching keywords, the two main columns you should pay attention to are volume and keyword difficulty (KD or Difficulty). 

Volume tells you how many times per month that keyword is searched for. Choose a keyword with as high a volume as possible.

Keyword difficulty tells you how difficult it is to rank for that keyword. In Keysearch, the scores are numeric and colored. In Keysearch, the colors go from light blue (very easy) to red (very difficult). The keyword difficulty you think you can rank for depends on your site’s authority (which can also be found in your keyword research tool).

You want to pick a keyword with enough volume to make it worth the work and a difficulty you can achieve.

For example, the keyword “blog title” has a volume of 480 and a difficulty level of 48. Honestly, right now that may be a little high for me to reach for. But, with a strong blog, I think it’s doable. 

Also, sometimes you can target a keyword that’s a little high, knowing that over time, as more of your site ranks for keywords, it will also move up.

Another way to look for keywords and titles is to type what you’re considering targeting into your favorite search engine and see what comes up. If you’ve got a paid keyword research tool you should be able to put the URL of a site/blog and see what keywords it’s ranking for (sneeky, right).

You always want to keep in mind that you need to use the language that your audience uses. For example, if you write a blog about potty training, do your readers use “potty problems” or “toileting issues”? You want to target the keywords for the words they use when typing into a search engine.

Once you’ve got your keyword targeted, it’s time to start writing the blog and title.

Crafting the Perfect Title

When you’re ready to write the title, there are some basic formulas and structures that have been proven to work. If you’re getting stuck, you can use these to brainstorm ideas:

  • Listicles (e.g., “10 Tips for…”)
  • How-to guides (e.g., “How to…”)
  • Question-based titles (e.g., “What is…”)
  • Negative titles (e.g., “Avoid These…”)

If you’re using a listicle, stick to odd numbers — 3, 5, 7, 9 — when possible. The exception, because there’s always an exception, is 10. People love top 10 lists.

There are other categories of words people like to see in headlines:

  • Power words: grab a reader’s attention and trigger an action. The recommendation is to include one power word.
  • Emotional words: trigger an emotional reaction, may trigger the reader’s imagination, and may make them feel a certain way. 
  • Uncommon words: less frequently used words that add interest. 

Wow! That looks like a lot! How do you even make that happen? 

I use CoSchedule’s Headline Studio. There are free and paid versions, so you can choose which to use based on your needs. It makes crafting a killer blog title a breeze by giving you an overall score, an SEO score, and ways to improve your score. I highly recommend at least using Headline Analyzer to get started. 

If you’re drawing a complete blank on what title to use, ChatGPT can help. Just ask it, “give me 10 blog titles that include the (keyword)”. I can’t remember ever taking a title suggestion from ChatGPT without altering it. But it gives me a place to start. I’ll often take a couple and mash them together. Then, turn to Headline Studio for finalizing it.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are three main common mistakes you want to avoid with your headline.

  1. Overstuffing keywords: you don’t want to put your keyword in every chance you get. The keywords should flow naturally in the headline and copy. Putting the keyword in a headline once is usually enough.
  2. Misleading titles: Be sure your title accurately describes the blog. You don’t want to bait-and-switch your readers. This just makes people mad and will increase your bounce rate (the bounce rate is how fast people leave your site; you want this as low as possible).
  3. Not being mobile friendly: Google, in particular, is lowering the ranking of sites and blogs that aren’t mobile friendly. For blog titles, this means making them short enough that they don’t take up a lot of space on the screen. CoSchedule recommends headlines be about 12 words and 68 characters. 

In Conclusion

Your blog title is one of the most important pieces to get right. It has to naturally include the keyword while being interesting enough to get people clicking and reading. I always feel that I spend a lot of time creating titles.

That said, using the tools and tips above has made me a lot better at creating titles, creating them faster while having some fun. It can be easy to just slap a title on a blog, cross your fingers, and hope it gets found. As one of my friends says, “hope is not a strategy.” 

The next time you finish drafting a blog, take a few minutes (setting a timer helps) and thoughtfully dig into your blog title. I know you can create some badass blog titles that get ranked and get your blogs read.

If you’ve been meaning to start your blog or find being consistent a challenge, I’ve got a new Quick Start Blog Challenge happening June 24 through 28, 2024. During the challenge, you’ll discover a repeatable process that will help you get your blogs done – faster and easier than ever before. You can get the details and register here.

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