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How Can Headings Influence Your SEO?

How Can Headings Influence Your SEO?

Have your headlines been doing some heavy lifting? If you’ve been using one headline to serve multiple audiences, you’re missing out on some key optimization opportunities. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand gives you a process for writing headlines for SEO, for social media, and for your website visitors — each custom-tailored to its audience and optimized to meet different goals.

Huge thanks to Moz for this excellent article. Have you tried using Moz to track your SEO efforts? You should…


In the SEO world of headline writing, what we aimto do is rank well, earn high click-through rate, because we want a lot of those visitors to the search results to choose OUR results, not somebody else’s. To earn links, we’ve got to have engagement.

Social media

On the social media side, it’s pretty different actually. We aim to earn amplification, which can often mean the headline tells as much of the story as possible. Even if you don’t read the piece, you amplify it, you re-tweet it, and you re-share it. We need for clicks, comments and engagement on the post.

Website visitors

For website visitors, both of these are channels that drive traffic. But for the site itself, we aim to drive right visitors, the ones who are going to be loyal, who are going to come back, hopefully who are going to convert. We should deliver on our promise in order to not create a bad brand reputation and detract from people wanting to click on our links and posts in the future.


  • Keywords for SEO can be really boring on social media sites. When you try and keyword stuff especially or be keyword-heavy, your social performance tends to go terribly.
  • Creating mystery on social, so essentially not saying what the piece is truly about, but just creating an inkling of what it might be about harms the clarity that you need for search in order to rank well and in order to drive those clicks from a search engine. It also hurts your ability generally to do keyword targeting.
  • The need for engagement and brand reputation that you’ve got for your website visitors is really going to hurt you if you’re trying to develop those clickbait-style pieces that do so well on social.
  • In search, ranking for low-relevance keywords is going to drive very unhappy visitors, people who don’t care that just because you happen to rank for this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, because you didn’t serve the visitor intent with the actual content.

So, how do you fix that?

  • Determine who your primary audience is, your primary goals, and some prioritization of those channels.
  • If it does well on social, that’s fine, but this is going to be our primary traffic driver.” Or you might say, “This is really for internal website visitors who are browsing around our site. If it happens to drive some traffic from search or social, well that’s fine, but that’s not our intent.”

Also, try to optimize for the most demanding channel.


Have you found unique ways to structure your headlines to get more views, leads and conversions? Share your tips below!

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