Blog headings. We use them often. We also take them for granted.
But that’s about to change.
Blog headings are a great way to engage your readers. And when you write irresistible blog headings and subheadings, you’re readers will appreciate it.
Not only that, but blog headings and subheadings can boost search rank, lower cognitive load, and map out your content.
Michael Bates, Senior Organic Search Executive at We Are Boutique hits the nail on the head when it comes to writing blog headlines. He shows the difference a boring headline vs. headlines that get clicks.
You need to think about your audience’s needs, as well as the subject of your article when writing headings. If you’ve written 10 Technology Firms to Watch this Year, you are unlikely to get many clicks from SERPs, or much interest in your outreach email.
Reframe your content with a heading that fits a user’s anticipated needs and builds trust before they even click:
- Prove yourself
- Be an authority
- Remain relevant
With this, our heading becomes 10 Fastest Growing Tech Firms in 2017. Saying the firms are already growing shows your claims are supported by evidence, and that we are providing newsworthy content. ‘Fastest’ implies comparison, and therefore well-researched content. Finally, nobody wants to read or link to an article about ‘this year’ when another about ‘2017’ is available and certainly relevant. As a result, the user trusts our content, and a click or link is far more likely to result.
With these tips in mind, let’s get into our first reasons why headlines matter – SEO.
Blog Headings and Subheadings Improve SEO Rank = More Traffic
From an SEO perspective, headings can help boost your content’s rank for a target keyword.
Using header tags ( <h1></h1>, <h2></h2>, etc) are on-page SEO factors that search engines consider in their ranking algorithms.
So take advantage of this by sprinkling your target keyword throughout your blog headings.
But there’s no need to go overboard here. If your keyword fits into a heading naturally, use it. If not, scrap it. Your writing content for humans, not robots.
The Vidyard blog does a great job of this. Here’s how:
Vidyard Blog – “30 Examples of Personalized Videos That’ll Really Get Your Attention”
This blog focuses on “Personalized Videos“. And readers hunting for new content on this topic will most likely search for “personalized videos” and/or variations of that keyword.
e.g. “personalized video software”, “video personalization ad campaigns”.
By mentioning the focus keyword in your headings, you’re helping search engines understand what your content is about.
Another example is from the Impraise Blog.
Check out how they introduce the keyword “360-degree feed” throughout their blog headings:
Impraise Blog – “What Is 360-Degree Feedback And How To Do It Best?”
The Impraise blog makes great use of the keyword variation “360-degree feedback” here. This helps search engines to determine that their content focuses on this keyword.
Blog Headings Boost Blog Engagement = Happy Visitors
When visitors come to our blog, our goal is to keep them there.
The last thing we want, after all of our hard work, is to generate traffic only to have them bounce. Not cool.
And this is where blog engagement comes into the picture.
Blog engagement means keeping users on your content for longer and having them visit other pages afterward.
And here’s how blog headings help with that.
Lowering Cognitive Load
Who doesn’t like things made easy for them?
When we think of blog writing, we want to keep our content simple for users to digest.
One way to do this is to lower cognitive load – or reduce the mental effort needed to process your content.
You can do this by making use of blog subheadings. Subheadings offer mental breaks to readers by breaking up paragraph text.
Here’s how I use subheadings on the Pagezii blog to do this.
I try to use subheadings whenever possible in my blogs.
There’s no limit to how many blog subheadings you should use, either. A good rule of thumb is to use a subheading whenever you’re introducing a new idea.
Mapping Out Content
Let’s stick with the idea of using headings to introduce new ideas. Not only does blog headings and subheadings break up page content, but it tells readers what they can expect to read if they continue.
And this idea is important to keep in mind when we visit a blog. Sometimes we’re only landing on a blog post for a specific idea. So make your content easy to skim, in case readers only want a certain item.
This example on the Pagezii blog should give you a good idea.
Here, users coming to my blog writing best practices post can find exactly what they’re looking for.
Which they wouldn’t have been able to do without the use of blog subheadings.
Blog Headings Recap + Bonus Tips
So we’ve covered why headings and subheadings are essential to your blog. But there are also a few other tips to mention while we’re on the topic.
Here’s a quick recap of the tips mentioned in the post, plus a few other tips to keep in mind.
- Mention your target keyword in your blog heading and subheadings. But be careful not to force it. Because this can actually hurt your SEO ranks.
- Use blog subheadings to break up content. Walls of text require readers to think more about the points you’re trying to make. So make your ideas clear-cut with subheadings.
- Headings also help map out your content. A visitor may only want one sliver of information from blog. So point them to where it is.
- Bonus Tip #1: Write long, engaging headings. A blog is informal. So have some fun.
- Bonus Tip #2: Apply the engaging headings idea to your blog’s Page Title. In most cases, your main blog heading and Page Title are the same. But what makes the Page Title unique is that it’s shown in organic search engine results. So help your content stand out with emotion driving words.
- Bonus Tip #3: Use limited size variations in blog headings. Because the more heading sizes you use, the less consistent your blog looks. Here’s an example: Aim for a large main heading, medium size subheadings, and paragraph text. That’s three different font sizes. which is plenty.
Would you add any blog headings tips to this list? Let us know in the comments section.