People typically read headlines. It is how they scan and decide if the material warrants their time and attention. So much time and effort are focused on SEO these days that people end up concentrating on keywords and forget about an attractive title. If the title doesn't grab attention, then it doesn't matter what the content is because nobody will be reading it.
On average, less than 20 percent of the people who see a title will actually click on it and read what the content actually says. Your goal is to raise that percentage. Think of it like this: you are in a busy shopping mall just strolling about and enjoying your day. All the different stores are hoping to capture your attention and your business. That is similar to the internet, only on a smaller scale. People see so many titles and headlines these days, it can be hard to stand out and capture attention. Here are some of the fundamentals of a crazy clickable title that beckons to organic traffic.
When people click on a title, most of the time it is out of sheer morbid curiosity. Sometimes they are looking for something and even then, curiosity can get the best of them. It's in their nature because that's how humans are wired. Now that you know this, leverage it. When people look at your title, they should know, to an extent, what the content is about. However, not completely. You must leave that element of curiosity where they almost have to click on the title to find out about the article.
There are a few ways this can be done. One way is to combine two things that usually would not go together, like Sprite and email marketing. Another way is to do this is with an incomplete thought or a crazy question. Leave the reader to click on the title to get their answer. Another great way to inspire a click is to present a conflict in a title, but it must be a conflict that creates curiosity. If it does, the title will get the click.
Titles that play on emotions often get the click. However, it must be a strong emotion. The title, "A Pretty Flower" is not strong enough to inspire action. Descriptive words that use adverbs are usually strong enough to do this if they are grouped correctly. Words that end in -ly are quite popular, but they are not always strong enough to do the trick on their own. Negative wording can also be effective if it is used properly. For instance, "if this is part of your marketing strategy STOP and read these tips. It could save your business." It uses emotion, negative wording and curiosity. It would probably get plenty of traffic except that it is a little long. You do want to keep titles short and sweet.
It is important that you deliver what your title promises. Don't advertise the best ice cream cone in town if you are serving sugar-free frozen yogurt. It sets a false expectation and sets people up for disappointment. Titles and headlines are big on promises, so just make sure you deliver. If someone has very high expectations, then it is easier for them to be disappointed.
The length is not quite as important as the other things, but it still deserves mention. If a title is too long, people will not click on it. It is as simple as that. You won't hear it said elsewhere, but if the title is not well written then people will assume the content isn't either. The recommended length for a title is seven words or less. Of course, that is not written in stone. There are some fantastic titles out there that are more than seven words. Just keep it in mind.
Writing clickable titles is a science and it takes a little practice. Keep these tips in mind next time you create a title and see how much traffic it gets. Curiosity, emotion, expectation and length are the four basic fundamentals of a great title that gets lots of organic traffic.