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March 4, 2016

The Definitive Guide to Writing Viral Blog Post Titles

Photo Credit: Adikos via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The recent Hummingbird update from Google has made the SEO community focus strongly on blogging. Long tail keywords and content freshness have become the absolute essentials for successful blogging. If you are still confused about if you should have a blog on your site, know this: this is the right time to have one.  Take a look at the tutorials offered by TheBloggingBuddha on how to start a blog. After you have one set up, the first commandment is: Begin Thy Post with a Viral Title.  After all, in the Internet biz, love is all about first sight. Following the below guidelines will help you to write viral blog titles that will grab eyeballs and prevent prospective users from choosing a different blog.

Use Minimal Keywords

SERP is important and we all know it: that doesn’t mean you should put keywords in your blog title as well. When it comes to the title, it is all about enticing the reader into actually visiting your page. As long as there are sufficient keywords in the content, you have very little to worry about. When it comes to titles, the best thing you can do is minimize the use of keywords and just keep it from looking like an advert rather than a blog: think simple, tangible and readable. The important thing is that your title takes an up-front attitude to the content, in which case you don’t need to bother about keyword inclusions.

Optimal Length and Numbers

According to Copy Blogger’s 80/20 rule, 80 percent of viewers read only the headline, so if you want to get attention it’s all about the right length. When it comes to catchy blog post titles, you should never be too afraid to embellish it. Adding a little sense of urgency works quite well: especially if you’re able to incorporate numbers to make it more attractive. For instance, “tips on hair loss” is far less interesting than “The 8 most incredible tips to prevent hair loss” simply because:

  • It’s got all the right adjectives,
  • It has objectives (numbers), and;
  • It is the optimal length.

A title of length four to five words is just too short, while more than 16 is too much.

Engage Expectations

If you want to draw users, you have to meet their expectations while also rousing their curiosity.

  • If you’re advertising a veggie sub, don’t claim it is the best sub because that can lead to a disconnection between expectations and reality.
  • When you engage users, make them sufficiently curious about what you’re offering while staying clear of false product advertisings.
  • Your readers should feel excited about reading the article just from looking at the title: use catchy phrases and mysterious adjectives to aid you in the process.
  • Employ the “who, what, when, where and why” formula to make it more engaging.

Appeal to Emotions

Do you see shoppers gravitating toward products on the discount aisle, even if other products are cheaper without discounts? The appeal-to-emotions feature of a catchy blog post is quite similar. The insertion of alluring adjectives is all about putting your finger on the pulse of Internet marketing. Some common keywords that work ridiculously well are ‘tempting,’ ‘awesome,’ ‘mind-blowing,’ ‘viral,’ ‘fantastic,’ ‘unbelievable,’ ‘super’…the list goes on.

Be direct and informative

When it comes to blog posts and titles, one of the best tricks is to address readers in the second person. It not only grabs your readers’ attention instantly, it can also result in some more informative content. For instance, something along the lines of “How to take control of your life!” can be more direct and influential than “Ways people benefit”. Words like “how-to” and “guide to” are good for blog titles precisely because they sound educational and promise informative and meaningful content. Another good starting point is through asking questions.

A good title can make or break your entire Internet presence, no matter how good the rest of your content is. As long as you follow these guidelines and brainstorm before each article, you should do just fine.


Joydeep Bhattacharya is an internet marketer and owner of the SEO blog, SEO Sandwitch. He has been associated with SEO, SMO, PPC, ORM and other activities related to online marketing for the past 5 years.