SEO Headlines: They Must Appeal to Real People, Too!


I spoke with a client yesterday regarding the page content for their new website around visitor engagement and SEO rankings, particularly their use of quirky and vague headlines. In trying to stand out from the other businesses providing similar services, they ran the risk of not matching what their intended audience was searching for. Yes, we need to be creative and unique, but at the end of the day, call a spade a spade.

The importance of your webpage headline cannot be overstated—it’s the gateway to your website and is really important for boosting your search engine rankings and drawing in visitors. 

A great headline does more than make your page stand out; it can significantly drive traffic. But achieving this requires a delicate balance. Your headline must be optimised for search engines while also being enticing enough to prompt real people to click.

Bear this in mind. You have just under 9 seconds to capture a person’s attention when they are searching online. Most of us scan the search results; we don’t read every result thoroughly. 

If your headline doesn’t immediately catch their eye, your potential site visitors will scroll past without a second glance. So, even if your webpage content is outstanding, it will only reach its audience if it meets Google’s SEO guidelines. And, if your headline isn’t interesting enough, even those who find your page listed in the search results will likely scroll past and not engage.

The art of writing a great SEO headline lies in its clarity and ability to engage. It will clearly indicate what the page is about and persuade the reader to click for more details. 

However, simply achieving a top spot in search results doesn’t guarantee that people will click through to your website. It can be annoying to find your site getting many page impressions but only some actual click-throughs. This is usually a sign that while you have great page visibility, your headline or content might not be appealing enough.

Addressing Low CTR Against High Page Impressions

It’s a common challenge, and it’s really frustrating, as it indicates that while many people see your headline, few are compelled to click on it. 

There are several reasons why this can happen:

Irrelevant Keywords: If your headline includes keywords that aren’t closely aligned with your audience’s content or search intent, visitors may disregard your link as irrelevant.

Lack of Clarity: A vague or ambiguous headline may fail to communicate the value of the content, leading potential readers to skip over it.

Overuse of Clickbait: While sensational headlines may initially attract attention, they can damage credibility and trust over time, especially if the content doesn’t deliver on the promises made in the headline.

To improve your click-through rates, focus on writing relevant and clear headlines. Use precise keywords that match your audience’s search intent, and ensure the headline accurately reflects the content of your page. 

Testing different headlines through A/B testing can provide valuable insights into what engages best with your audience. This data-driven approach helps refine your headline strategy, ensuring you are always moving closer to what works best.

In a nutshell, your headlines should not only stand out but also resonate with the content they lead into. It’s essential to be straightforward and avoid the trap of overusing buzzwords that might confuse potential visitors. 

For instance, if someone is searching for an “Italian Restaurant,” your headline should promise exactly that, not just a “great dining experience” or “delicious meals.” This specificity ensures that your content meets the expectations of your target audience, thereby increasing the likelihood of engagement.

While a witty headline might seem appealing, it can often lead to confusion or misinterpretation. 

A headline such as “Ristorante Italiano”, when targeted at an English-speaking market, can add a touch of authenticity, but you run the risk of potentially limiting your audience reach and effectiveness in search engine results.

Always prioritise clear, understandable language over clever wordplay to ensure your message isn’t lost.

Understanding audience intent is fundamental to developing effective headlines. By knowing what your intended audience is looking for, you can tailor your headlines to meet their needs and answer their queries directly. This will boost your SEO efforts and improve the user experience by increasing relevancy and click-through rates.

The impact of a well-written headline extends beyond mere attraction. A higher click-through rate can lead to better search rankings, as search engines like Google analyse user engagement metrics as indicators of content quality and relevance. This creates a positive loop that enhances your overall website performance.

Here are some practical tips for writing effective headlines:

  1. Use numbers and data where appropriate to provide clarity and set expectations (e.g., “5 Best Italian Dishes to Try Tonight”).
  2. Include relevant keywords that align with what your audience is searching for, but ensure they fit naturally into the headline.
  3. Keep it concise and to the point, avoiding unnecessary fluff that might dilute the impact.
  4. Appeal to emotions or curiosity without overdoing it, to encourage clicks.

At Scorched Media, we understand the complexities of balancing SEO with user engagement. 

If you’re looking to boost your online presence and see real results, it’s time to get in touch with us.