As I have written before, copy writing for the Internet is different from ‘normal’ writing and this extends even to the title of a Post. This is because for a Post to be effective you need to have the ‘right’ title for optimisation purposes, as well as the ‘right’ title for the reader. So, you need to make sure that your title works in two ways: for the search engines and humans – which can sometimes feel a little like doing the ‘splits’!
Firstly, just as with conventional writing – a title must be compelling to a human reader. This is vital. Unless a title instantly ‘grabs’ a reader then, irrespective of the excellent content, it will not be read. In fact, you probably have less than a couple of seconds to attract a reader’s attention, which means that your title has to be short, interesting and to the point, whilst arousing interest in the reader.
Examples of great article titles are often found in the tabloid press and these are frequently master pieces that are succinct and so eye catching that the title is sometimes far more interesting than the content of the article! Look at the tabloids and learn from the writers how to craft a title for maximum visual effect.
Secondly, for Internet copy writing you need to do more than just have an eye catching title. You have to have within your title a phrase or search term that you know gets searches on the Internet or, regardless of how fine your title, you will receive little or no meaningful search traffic.
But how do you know what phrases/search terms get search traffic?
Well, one thing is for sure and that is you must not guess! If you do then all the hard work involved in writing and publishing your article may be completely wasted.
In fact, there are ways of objectively checking if a phrase gets search traffic, with the excellent Market Samurai package, for example, an invaluable resource for any writer. Using Market Samurai you can check to see what phrases relevant to your article get traffic (and how much) and then ensure that you use the best possible phrase in your title. You may have to craft this to make it eye catching but this is usually possible with a little thought!
In fact, a professional copy writer will normally not start an article until he has first checked the search terms pertinent to the subject matter he intends writing about. Depending upon the search terms he may even change the slant of his material to make sure that the search terms can be intertwined within the title and the article itself.
So, as I pint out in my book The Laptop Entrepreneur, if I am writing an article for my Blog at Culture Spain then I will normally start off with an idea and then, before I write anything, research the search terms that will best obtain traffic for the potential article. Only once I have done that and satisfied myself that I have a good search term within the title that definitely gets daily traffic will I start writing…
Certainly, never be under any illusions about the importance of your title. It is important to the Search engines and vital to the human reader – get it wrong, draft it poorly or be lazy and the rest of your article may be a heart breaking waste of time.
Nick Snelling is co-author of The Laptop Entrepreneur (print book only £14.99): the book that shows you how to make a living on the Internet. Nick is the author of five books, a copy writer and runs Culture Spain an authority site about ‘all things Spanish’.