Headline words and click-through rates are like 2 peas in a pod.
One strongly, strongly impacts the other.
Now, the FUDders at Google will have you believe that if you just “write great content” then people will come.
But this isn’t Field of Dreams…
This is marketing.
In other words, it’s more about how you say it than it is about what you say.
“10 Words that, If You Put them Into Your Headlines, Will Increase Readership, Click-Through Rates, and Engagement Rates”
10 Headline Words to Instantly Jack Up Your Click-Through Rates
Clearly, the way you say something matters.
So let’s get into some headline writing tactics that you can use to lift click-throughs, right this very minute…
1. Numerals (Not Words)
Don’t write “Ten” or “Three,” write “10” or “3.”
Numerals contrast with text walls.
And contrast sticks out.
And what sticks out gets seen and remembered.
If it’s 2020, and you’re writing about a time-sensitive topic, add the date.
Say it’s 2020 now … which do you think will get more clicks?
“The 10 Best Free Website Builders” or “The 10 Best Free Website Builders in 2020”?
3. Superlatives (“Best,” “Most,” “Top”)
You, the online information hunter, want the crème de la crème … not a random selection of information.
You don’t want “A Few Good Indian Restaurants in Seattle,” you want “The Top 10 Indian Restaurants in Seattle.”
4. [TOPIC] 101
Catchy words catch the eye and the click-through.
Which do you think will perform better?
“A Comprehensive Guide to SEO Copywriting Best Practices” or “SEO Copywriting 101: How to Rank Higher on Google, Today”?
5. “[INFOGRAPHIC]”, “[VIDEO]”, Etc.
There’s a reason infographics have seen a 65% increase among B2B marketers in the last four years…
And there’s a reason infographics can increase web traffic by 12%.
People like “infotainment.”
Add words like these and people will know what to expect, and click-throughs will go up as a result.
6. “(New Research)” & “(New Data)”
Research and data implies new, fresh ideas.
It implies you have information that others don’t, precisely the kind of information that the online researcher is looking for.
7. Easy, Simple
Everyone likes magic bullets.
Emphasize how easy something is and watch click-throughs lift.
“5 Thai Cooking Tips” vs. “5 Easy Thai Cooking Tips” vs. “5 Difficult Thai Cooking Tips”
8. Extreme Adjectives & Hyperbole
While you’re making things easier for your reader, why not make things “Super Easy,” “Super Simple,” or “Stupid Simple”?
Instead of “Smart,” try “Brilliant” or “Genius.”
Instead of “Brilliant,” try “Crazy Brilliant.”
Of course, everything in moderation…
“Crazy Brilliant, Super Simple, Extra Easy Tips” probably won’t work so well. Especially if you don’t deliver on the headline’s promise.
9. Emotional Trigger Words
Humans are emotional creatures and we make decisions based on emotions.
Hit the right emotional trigger and your headline words will earn more clicks and better engagement.
The goal is to spark curiosity.
5 Ways … 5 Unbelievable Ways
10 Things … 10 Shocking Things
3 Exercises … 3 Strange Exercises
And the list can go on.
10. Guides, Cheatsheets, Templates
Technically, these are content types, so include them behind your link.
Links with these words will get more clicks because people are searching for information that’s comprehensive … compact … and actionable (respectively).
Bonus Tip #1: Acronyms
Again, remember that contrast stands out – acronyms and numbers, for instance.
Which do you think gets more clicks?
“Ten Bestselling Point-of-Sale Products…” vs. “10 Bestselling POS Products”
“Search Engine Optimization…” vs. “SEO”
Clearly the latter.
Bonus Tip #2: Choose the Right Numbers [Research Shows Why]
Not all numbers are created equal and studies have proved it.
“10” is king and “5” is queen.
“3,” “4,” and “7” are court nobles, but “2” is banished from the kingdom.
Bonus Tip #3: Once You Learn the Rules, Test Their Limits
The above research on numbers in headlines also said, “Avoid using the teens.”
However, I’ve seen one of my own articles with “15” in the title rank first in Google for a given search term.
So don’t spend hours lamenting over your headline words…
After all, if it takes you hours to write a headline, you might as well write another article in that time.
Bonus Tip #4: Always Deliver (or Over-deliver … but Don’t Under-Deliver) on Your Headline’s Promise
Clickable headlines are good, but click-bait isn’t.
Google tracks dwell time, so using click-bait headlines will backfire.
If you promise “5 Shocking Ways to Trim Bellyfat in 3 Weeks or Less,” you’d better not spit out cliches. Readers will bounce if your content includes tips like, “Exercise more,” or “Eat less sugar.”
Final Thoughts: CTRs Are Just the Beginning
Naturally, click-throughs won’t matter much if your content is boring and uninformative.
Follow web writing best practices to ensure your writing flows well … copywriting best practices to ensure you are being persuasive … and content marketing best practices to engage, inform, and nurture.