Just as you thought it was difficult enough to write just one satisfactory headline for your post, now I’m telling you to think of two! (Don’t worry if you’re a WordPress.com blogger, this requisite is for those on WordPress.org blogs.)
But even so, I can’t stress enough the importance of the headline. It has many roles, all which are vital for both humans and internet robots alike. It needs to capture the attention of both, and satisfy the needs of each.
For humans it needs to connect with the reason why they want to read this information. You need to present the subject matter in such a way it relates to their search criteria, provides a solution to their problem, stimulates a desire, maybe tickles their sense of humour, and sticks out like a sore thumb so they can’t fail to notice it.
This is the same for the search engine spiders, but in a different way. You’re not dealing with psychology here, but with logarithms that are programmed to search for particular words. The answer is to give those words to them – find out what people are searching for, and if they are suitable, high quality and much sought after, stick them in your headlines (and the rest of the post too).
The clever bit comes with how you combine these fabulous words the spiders desire within a headline that grabs the attention of your readers. And nobody says this is easy – headline writers in newspapers are paid well for their ability to compose such things.
So why two headlines? Well, if you have installed the plugin ‘All-in-one-SEO-pack’ in your WordPress.org post, you will see at the bottom of your Post Editor page some more fields to fill in, and one of them is marked ‘Title’.
What I suggest is that you create your human-biased headline for the title of the post, and your spider-influenced headline for the ‘Title’ field at the bottom of the Post Editor page.
The human-headline will appear in RSS feeds in Twitter and Google Readers, whereas the spider-headline appears in the title at the top of your browser window and also in search engine indexes and RSS feeds into social media such as LinkedIn Groups (usually accompanied with what goes into the ‘Description’ field that follows after).
And as each have a good chance of being seen by humans and spiders alike, they need to be understandable by both, which makes their composition all that much harder!