When we talk to businesses about writing headlines, whether it’s for a section of their website, a blog post or a press release, we often find that people want to use far too many words.
Yes, it’s important that anyone visiting your website or reading your copy is correctly informed, but the shorter, snappier headlines often get people’s attention much more, making visitors more likely to read on. And, these shorter headlines also have big benefits when it comes to search engine optimisation and how Google and Google News treats your content.
Length of headlines and title tags
A recent post over on Econsultancy discussed the optimum length for headlines and suggested that as they often become the title tags for a page, they shouldn’t be more than 65 characters long. There’s no strict rule about this, but depending on who you speak to, the general consensus is always somewhere between 65 and 70 characters.
This is because if a headline is too long, Google will automatically shorten it. So, it needs to be short enough in the first place, so anyone searching for your site gets to the right place with the right information and keywords.
This is the same case for Google News, it wants to see shorter headlines otherwise they’ll be made shorter and then may not make any sense or may not be deemed relevant.
It’s also worth thinking about how headlines work elsewhere and adapting them to fit certain situations. The Econsultancy post we referred to earlier explores the importance of keeping headlines short so they’ll work better when they’re shared on Twitter. The important thing to remember is that this doesn’t mean filling up the 140 character limit. If the title takes up a small amount of space, people have more room to retweet, add comments or add a hat tip to where they first found came across the link too, which makes sharing easier and therefore more likely.
All of this information aside, you need to make sure that you’re writing for people as well as Google. A headline packed with keywords may be better for SEO, but if no one wants to read it then it’s still no good in the long run and won’t help you increase enquiries or sales on a human level. So, make sure all headlines include keywords, as well as something compelling that will make people want to read on and share the content with their networks.
Here at Codastar we’ve had lots of experience when it comes to SEO and copywriting for the web. Get in touch today if you want us to help you better understand how to make your content spot on for both Google and your all important visitors and potential clients.
[Image via Wikipedia via Google]