If you’ve read about writing effective titles, you know they need to almost instantly grab the reader. Along with that, it must have enough motivating-power to get the reader to click on the link, leading him to your website.
After that, it’s up to the subheading or first paragraph to gain the reader’s attention and entice him to read on.
But, will a title you wrote last year have the same power today?
It’s common knowledge that marketing strategies are ever-changing. While there are a few fundamental principles that are steadfast, the majority of online strategies are not.
Take duplicate content. A while ago, it was perfectly okay to use the content of others on your site, as long as you provided attribution and linked to the original source.
Today, this isn’t an acceptable practice. Google wants original content on your site. You can use someone else’s content (permission-based, of course), but you must include your own valuable take on it or add some other relevant content of your own. Otherwise, your rankings could suffer.
The same holds true of keywords. Yesterday they were golden, today they take a backseat to the content itself. In fact, Google may penalize your site if it thinks you’re keyword stuffing your content.
This brings me to titles. While there are fundamental principles that should be adhered to, like they should be complete sentences and be relevant to the content, titles are not evergreen.
Titles have trends, just like most marketing strategies.
In an article at The Social Ms, it noted that a while ago titles ending with “and you’ll never guess what happens next,” were popular. (1) They did their job.
Now though, not so much. So, those titles need to be revised to fit the latest trends and motivating factors.
Along with this, a title is not necessarily ‘one size fits all.’
In posting to my social networks, especially Twitter, I change my headlines all the time. While doing this, it’s important to make sure the title reflects the content in the post.
I’ve noticed that simply revising the title can generate more engagement. In the 10 title examples below, the second of each generated more engagement:
Is the Twitter Background Real Estate Important?
Customized Twitter Backgrounds – Should You, Shouldn’t You?
Your Landing Page – One Major Mistake to Avoid
Don’t Make This Huge Landing Page Mistake
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Self-Talking Yourself Into Being a Better Writer, Better Marketer
Tips on Becoming a Better Writer, a Better Marketer
Ideas may be the initiating force behind success, but they’re powerless without action.
Goal Setting – It’s Not About Ideas, It’s About Making Ideas Happen
Create and Publish an Optimized Blog Post in WordPress
Optimize Your WordPress Blog Posts
Why You Absolutely Need a Website as Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy
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Website Optimization – What Colors Will Evoke the Visitor Action You Want?
Choose Colors That Will Evoke the Right Visitor Action
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Email Marketing -2 Power Tips for Better Conversion
As for the title of this post, here are four variations:
- Headlines in an Ever Changing Marketing Landscape
- Changing a Title can Boost Clicks
- For Optimum Results Headlines Must be Adaptable
- A Rose is a Rose by any other Name, But a Title . . .
And, there are lots of other revisions that can be made to each of the titles above.
It’s a good idea to create at least 10 variations of your title – choose the one that works best for the blog post then switch them up for posting to your social networks. This offers two major benefits:
1. It keeps the content looking fresh.
2. Different people respond to different things, including different titles for the same content. If one title doesn’t grab Joe, one of the other ones will.
TIP: I mentioned it twice already, but it’s worth stating again: Make sure your title reflects the content. If it doesn’t, Google won’t like it, your readers won’t like it, and it’ll decrease your page length views while increasing your bounce rate.
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