When it comes to making sure our websites rank, we’re always looking for new ways to make sure search engines consider our content relevant and valuable. The more authority the search engines spiders give our site, the more traffic we can hope to see.

As important as every aspect of a site is, many people overlook the importance of the headline and title when it comes to optimization.  In reality, the headline is a critical component of not only getting people to read what you have to say, but also crucial in pleasing Google’s algorithms. A great headline will do both.

What Google Doesn’t Like

Many have attempted to analyze what works and what doesn’t. They’ve concluded that the Google algorithms don’t appreciate wit, irony, humor, or style. As reporter Steve Lohr put it, they’re “numbingly literal-minded.” Yes, it is one of the definitive 21st century truisms that in addition to writing for eternity, or for one’s mother, today’s writer must also write for Google.

With this said your headline should not be boring or stale. Even if it is ranking well with the crawlers, if humans don’t find it intriguing your content will not be read.

Tips

From what we’ve seen so far with the newest algorithm, authors should avoid writing the same headline for both the article and the page.  The difference here is that an article title is what you show your readers, and a page title is what you show search engines.  Developing a successful headline might look something like this.

Article Title: “Deliverance”
Page Title:
U.S. Postal Service: Will It Survive?

While creating two titles instead of one might be a little more work, the increase in readership results will be worth it. If you want to optimize it even more consider adding a two-line meta description.

Wrap-Up

All-in-all, pleasing Google and pleasing humans continues to get harder and harder every day. Google’s crawlers and algorithms become more specific and people are becoming more distracted with information-overload.

Though humor and wit are dull to the search engine spiders at Google, with this foundation, you’ll be able to pull off one of the web’s hardest acts: you’ll be able to make Google laugh.

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director