From: Google Conversion University Tips for Writing Effective Web Headlines
ARTICLE: Seven Tips for Writing Effective Web Headlines
You’ve refined your keywords, optimized your bids, and written AdWords text ads that pull in tons of targeted clicks, but after looking at your Google Analytics reports, you realize that your landing page has a bounce rate of 91%.
Which means that 91% of the users coming to your site are quickly glancing around and leaving, deciding immediately that this site isn’t for them. One of the easiest, low-tech ways to make users stick around and look at your products or services is to catch their attention with an engaging headline.Recent research suggests that users decide to stay or leave your site in 8 seconds or less — in that short amount of time, headlines are the one piece of copy that users will actually read.
Here are five tips for writing headlines that will draw in user attention.
1) Include your paid keyword in the headline.
And as close to the beginning of the headline as you can. When users land on your site after clicking on a text ad or organic listing, they’re a bit nervous.They have a good idea of what they’re looking for, and hope that your site will deliver it, but they’re a bit skeptical. And they have a good reason to be — there are a lot of junky sites out there that don’t deliver.
Putting the keyword in the headline provides split-second assurance to visitors that they are in the right place. It will make them relax a bit and be more receptive to your message.
2.) Don’t Sound like an ad
Most of us are presented with thousands of advertising messages per day. Our brains have developed sophisticated filters to keep most of those messages out.
Sometimes, the best way to get past that filter is to not sound like an ad. Instead of sounding like an overbearing salesperson, try to sound like a friend delivering valuable information.
For example, instead of:
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3. Highlight benefits rather than features.
Instead of rattling off the cold facts about your product or service, think about what problem your product or service will solve for your user.
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4. Make headlines look easy to read.
When our eyes are moving fast looking for something particular, we tend to ignore copy that looks like it will take too much effort to read. So, make your headline as simple and direct as possible. Try using shorter words.
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6. Don’t forget subheads.
Subheads are another easy way to quickly offer more information about your product. Similar to headlines, they’re usually a piece of text users will be likely to scan.
Let’s say you’re an e-tailer and your landing page is a specific product page, with the product name serving as the page’s headline. A subhead that offers visitors a quick preview of product benefits saves them the trouble of digging benefits out of user reviews and product descriptions that are often visually buried on the page.
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7. One more thing.
Try using Google Website Optimizer to test different versions of your headlines. Website Optimizer automates the testing process and shows you which landing pages, headlines, and layout combinations result in the most conversions.