5 ways to write better headlines

Are your headlines so clever readers don’t get them? Do you try to squeeze in extra keywords? Do you forgo lists? If so, this article is for you.

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They’re boring, formulaic and so jammed with exact-match keywords that even black hat search engine optimization (SEO) people roll their eyes and mumble, “Seriously?”

Sure, you’ve read all the blog posts that tell you keywords need to fall within the first four words, or to use exciting words or the precise keyword combination that matches your Google Analytics.

But the headlines are Just. So. Boring.

Most SEO tactics are as overdone as a cheap steak. Not only are people tired of them, but Google has dropped the ban hammer on many SEO pros for befouling the Google punch bowl with backlink spam and low-value content.

It starts with bad headlines

Sometimes it’s better to get back to basics and write headlines the way journalists are taught.

I don’t mean BuzzFeed-style headlines: “The 5 absolute worst headlines of 2013” or “You won’t believe what these journalists are wearing.”

I mean informative, interesting headlines that make people want to read your articles.

Here are a few ways to keep your headlines fresh and compelling. None of them involve SEO and Google bots.

1. Write headlines that deliver their promises.

Don’t lie. Don’t promise something and then fail to follow through.

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