How to optimize your headlines for search engines as well as your readers

Headlines are one of the most important part of your webpages, blog posts and articles. They are the essence of exactly what you’re trying to communicate to your readers. In conventional media you can have a free run with your headlines as long as they make sense and make the right impact. On the Internet, along with striking the right tone with your readers you also have to convince the search engine algorithms that you are on right track.

When it comes to your search engine rankings your headlines can be a big deal. Your headline must have your primary keyword and it should also sound quite compelling. It should convey exactly what you are offering, most convincingly. The problem is, sometimes it is not possible to create a highly innovative and creative headline without making a compromise at the search engine optimization front.

As a content writer I wouldn’t say that it would be difficult for me to create a compelling headline without making it search engine unfriendly but there can be many instances, especially when how you present your headlines can have a big impact on how many people come to your blog or website and read your message.

Your headline can be different from your page title

Herein lies your solution. This is especially possible when you’re using WordPress to run your website or blog. The title of your blog doesn’t necessarily have to be the title of your webpage. Ain’t clear what I’m talking about?

Normally when you look at the source code of a web page or blog post look at two places

  1. Text appearing between and
  2. Text appearing between

    and (or whatever tag you are using to display your main headline)

In most of the cases both the places have the same text.

Using the latest features in WordPress and other content management solutions, you can have separate text for the title tag and the headline portion.

Click to enlarge

For instance, in WordPress if you install an SEO plug-in (in most of the cases it is All in One Seo Pack) you can have a different headline and a different title for the same blog post or web page.

Let’s see an example:

  • For readers: Let sleeping policemen lie
  • For search engines: Sleeping policeman, when awakened, hits an old woman in Bangalore

So for readers it would be amusing to draw a parallel between the sleeping policemen and the old adage “let sleeping dogs lie” but for the search engines you are including in the title all the keywords required – “sleeping policeman”, “when awakened”, “hits an old woman” and “in Bangalore”.