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Thursday, Jun. 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

SEO Workshop Part 3: Keywords In Headlines

By Mariel Bacci
June 14th, 2012

whorl news headline to present an article on creating quality headlines-'ufo lands in suffolk'This is the third part of our series presenting a methodology of how to present content on your site in a way that makes it easier for search engine crawlers to find and index the pages of your site.  You can catch up by first reading about keeping people at the forefront of your mind when working on SEO and then how to figure out which keywords will be most suitable to your landing page.

In this post you’ll discover the importance of using keywords in your headlines to help direct your site guests to the content they are looking for. It will also explain how to use headlines to help crawlers find your page and then to index it so that it shows up when people search using keywords that are related to your page content.

Headlines Help Your Visitors

Always start each page with a headline. This headline must contain the primary keyword that you have chosen for this page. Your “top-of-the-page” headline is the first thing that humans will read on your Web page. So make your headline persuasive! Draw them into the rest of your page… and to your links!

The first headline, at the very top of your page, is just as important for the Search Engines as to humans, so make your headline a size H1 or H2 heading tag and put it before all other text on the page. That tells the engine exactly what it is, and that it’s important.

If your headline is longer than one line, “break it” into two (or more) lines are about equal in length. Headlines can be used for more than just “top-of-the-page” announcements. Use headlines to break a long page up, especially if you are introducing a new, important thought. Again, craft the headline to pull the reader through the page.

Search Engine Crawlers Love Headlines

We’ve discussed the importance of using headlines to captivate your human visitor. What about the Search Engines?

Many engines give more weight to the keywords in your headlines, especially your “top-of-the-page” headline, than to your regular body copy. Search Engines interpret your headlines as being the most important copy on the page- only the Title tag is more important.

Some Search Engines will not use your Description in their listings on their search results Web pages. Instead, they use the first several hundred characters on your Web page to construct the description in your listing. This means that crawlers will use your Headline plus the first sentence or two from your opening paragraph to create your description. While this might be annoying, it is a blessing in disguise because it is practical for optimizing your site for scent.

You’ve got to pay just as much attention to make your Description on your web page compelling to your audience as to making it attractive to search engines.   Don’t worry, it is extremely easy. Take the Description that you already created and split it in two.   Use the first half -the most important part- for the Headline. It must contain your primary keyword and must be under 40 characters.  Use the rest of your Description as the first line of your Body Copy in the opening paragraph. Voila! You may have to re-work the words a bit so that it all “hangs together” and serves as both… a headline and copy on your Web page, and the Search Engine’s description in its listing.

Now you know the treatment you can give to your headlines to be sure they are SEO worthy!  How do you decide on what headlines to use?  What strategies have you used to get your site indexed for conversions?  Join the conversation, call or send us an e-mail.

Add Your Comments

Comments (50)

  1. Hey thanks for the post, Ive read somewhere that the closer your keyword to the begginning of your title the better you’ll rank for that keyword.

  2. Usability is becoming an increasingly important factor for search engine optimization, and headlines are definitely taken into account for it.

  3. Placing keywords in headlines perform well but not always. Because search engines also consider keywords in the content as well as the snippet. So, using keywords properly across your entire article do wonders. Ex: Title, Description, Content, Headlines as well as in comments.

  4. Not too many keywords should be in the title. Websites that put many keywords in their titles will create a keyword spam phenomenon.

  5. [...] commerceA Humorous Guide to Selling OnlineGuide to Pinterest & Pinterest Marketing StrategiesSEO Workshop: Keywords In HeadlinesUppleva TV: Neue disruptive Strategie bei Ikea?Mehr Konversion durch FAQs auf der [...]

  6. I would like to add here that adding keywords in the title doesn’t work always as search engine counts it as spamy. It’s better to produce natural articles than the ones that are loaded with keywords. However, opinions vary. Thanks for this article.

  7. 9to5 blogger is correct I would not suggest putting all your keywords in your headline.

  8. Not too many keywords should be in the title. Websites that put many keywords in their titles will create a keyword spam phenomenon

  9. But it looks like weird when you put keyword in headlines, not in the article’s title.

  10. My job is web-marketing and this post is absolutely useful for me.Many thanks for sharing this.

  11. Keywords are the ‘key points’ to your website ranking and popularity. By analyzing the best suited keyword for a particular niche industry helps in creating a brand and also the search engines will show your business in the search results for that phrase or keyword.

  12. Keywords in headlines as well as description and meta keywords of the content helps search engine for your specific keyword on landing page.

  13. Hi, Mariel Bacci nice review! I also agree with 9to5′s comment. If you don’t use keywords properly your page can become spammy and blacklisted by search engines.

  14. I do like keyword/keyword phrases in the title. However, with Googles Penquin update keyword “stuffing” will work against you.

  15. Google helps browsers scan pages faster and easier by rendering all the words on the page that match the words being searched on in bold. So, if your ad does not include keywords in the headline you risk not being picked up in the scan of the page. Simply put… you will be ignored.

    Including keywords in your adwords copy has a dual effect:

    keywords in adwords copy get more clicks and increases your click through rate
    keywords in adwords copy gets you a better quality score and actually decreases the amount you must bid for top placements

  16. Thanks a lot for this post. Arranging keywords is an art. Where to use and how to use either in title or in description.

  17. Is it really important to put them in the headlines?

  18. I agree it’s important to remember keywords in content but to make natural.

  19. Thanks for this and other wonderful posts on SEO, will certainly help me further in Search engine optimizations.

  20. Excellent tips on keywords usage and SEO, certainly helped me.

  21. Keyword Optimization: the selection of keywords to match business, your business will help increase traffic to your website thereby increasing rankings in search engines quickly.

  22. Google is an interesting beast when it comes to keywords. It isn’t very good at seeing the associations between related words (for example, we run a word game solver site – where there is no *one* term that describes what we offer). So rotating keywords onto your page can often help you pick up some secondary searches.

    Second interesting Google note. They seem to be able to remember / notice when you do well with a particular term (eg. low bounce rate) and will give you a little lattitude to swap out text as long as you keep producing. One strategy we’ve seen good results with is to rotate your secondary keywords – make one a focus until it’s ranked, then go to the next one. Haven’t had the guts to try this with a major search but…worth considering given the above…

  23. Thanks for the nice post, a technical comment – it is important for the search engine that the headline would be H1 HTML tag, some systems take gives you automatic H2 in the top of the page. It is important to see that every page on the site got its H1 title.

  24. It’s actually I did not use the title up to 40 characters, but with 70 characters, now we have to work hard to make our site index.
    Congratulations for the post!

  25. Great article! We tend to use the super long tail in our titles to reach broad keyword segments and searches. E.g. words that aren’t as competitive yet are still timely and being search. Folding the solution into the question (as many users use Yahoo Questions and tend to search in the form of questions). The trick however that is difficult for many small business bloggers to get is doing this without being spammy. It’s certainly an art worth learning though.

    Christina — The Savy Agency

  26. It’s always a careful balance between writing for search engines and writing for readers. Great job on the post Mariel!

  27. keywords in headlines are very important,have seen some bloggers getting huge visitors by placing keywords in their headline although they were misleading

  28. Usability is becoming an increasingly important factor for search engine optimization, and headlines are definitely taken into account for it.

  29. Keywords in headlines don’t always work for me when it comes to seo, who’s got an idea to why?

  30. I try for a mixture, but its really hard get them in the heading.

  31. I totally agree with you about the importance of keywords in headlines. You can drive a lot of traffic from search engines just by doing keyword rich titles in your posts. I would also like to add that if you can make healdines “viral”, then you are golden.

  32. keywords in adwords copy gets you a better quality score and actually decreases the amount you must bid for top

  33. Thanks! I guess I have to be creative to include keywords and at the same it should look natural and good to searchers.

  34. Interesting Article. This article give insights to importance of KEYWORDS in SEO. We need to go for a mix of Title + Content

  35. I try for a mixture, but its really hard get them in the heading.

  36. Its wise to put keywords in titles to attract visitors in SEO point of view.. It helps in highlighting the websites. Thanks for another awesome stuff.

  37. I’ve been using your recommendations for some time now, and I really see a big difference in ROI. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Hi Mariel,
    This is truly good advice. I’ll test this of course but in commenting on your post, one or two things puzzle me which I can’t seem to find the answer to:
    1. I have several sites based on WP. I use either all in one seo plugin or the plugin by Yoast. Both are great and both provide the option to include a meta description that the SE’s seem to completely ignore. Any idea why?

    2. For many of my post and pages, the meta description is pickup towards the centre of the page. When that occurs your title and first paragraph split trick will fail.



  39. Hi,
    I tried to add a comment yesterday but got a submission error. Sorry if duplicate.
    This is excellent advice. I will definitely try this but generally I face two issues. 1) the meta descriptions I provide are generally never picked by the SE’s and 2) An SE like Google often pick text for description from the middle of the page. That makes it very hard to assume/guess how to break the title and the first few post/page/text lines.

  40. Adding keywords in headlines in addition to a nice call to action makes the picture work. Great advice to people willing to learn.

  41. I’ve been using my prime keyword in my domain, that should be beneficial, no?

  42. @Pleisterwerken

    Generally yes as long as your site is not perceived as one just made for affiliate product pushing

  43. Hi I have read most of these workshop posts and now re-reading them! I have reworked my site to include as many of my keywords into the H2 tags as possible throughout every page thanks

  44. Keywords play the important role in headlines. This is the essential place to put the primary keywords. Meta keywords do not work anymore so proper optimization with headlines and description will get the best ranking in Google

  45. @Lucas
    Ok, thats not the case.Thanks for the advice.

  46. In the end all these important things add up to the desired result. Just try to be original and use a healthy mix of all components and you’ll get somewhere.

  47. Usability is becoming an increasingly important factor for search engine optimization, and headlines are definitely taken into account for it.

  48. We always use keywords in our headlines because we’re writing SEO press releases with the goal of syndication. We want to get our clients multiple organic shares of a release that features one of their top keywords (but certainly not all of them!) But yes, it’s just as important to write for humans.

  49. Interesting article. Do you think it matters alot if you put the headline between a h1 tag or a h2 tag?

  50. Keywords in headlines is very important to get good serp,,since now metakeywords are not considered by search engines

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Mariel is a GA certified analyst at FutureNow, Inc.

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