Movie Titles Can Teach You to Write Better Title Tags and Headlines

We have several titles:

  • Twelve Monkeys;
  • Unstoppable;
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; and
  • Florida Trustee’s Duty to Remainderman Beneficiary.

I will leave the debate as to which one is more interesting to you. However, note that the titles are in order of descriptiveness from least descriptive to most descriptive. Many movies – in fact, many great movies have vague titles. It works for the entertainment industry, but for attorneys and businesses writing headlines and title tags online, this non-descriptive style is the kiss of death. Specific, descriptive titles help with search engines, usability and getting the attention of respective audiences.

Bottom line, if you want to learn to write better title tags and headlines, the key is simple – don’t follow Hollywood’s example. Do the exact opposite.

Movie Titles are Non-Descript

Movie titles can often get away with being vague because their purpose is to catch a person’s attention and to entertain. At most, they provide enough information to set up a conflict but never give the story away. Can you imagine The Empire Strikes Back renamed, Skywalker Learns Vader is His Father But Risks Death Rather than Join the Dark Side? I don’t think so.

Article and tag titles are the exact opposite. When someone is searching the Internet, they want a spoiler. That is, they want to find information upfront, as fast as possible — no suspense, no romance, no drama, no last-minute twist. If they are looking for a Washington, D.C. attorney who specializes in patent re-examination, reissue and interference proceedings, then those are the keywords they are searching for — not titles like “Advice You Can Trust,” ” Protecting Your Future,” or other such generic cliches that sound like their author forgot he wasn’t working for a Hollywood studio.

How Do Specific, Direct Headlines Get Me Noticed?

The web is increasing in size every minute. I’m pretty sure that in your industry there is a glut of information – information overload.

First, search engines must index all of that information. In order to determine relevancy, search engines rely on indicators, such as headlines, title tags and copy text (in addition to other on-page and off page indicators). A relevant headline is more likely to pop up in a related search. So it is better to have relevant keyword phrases in your headline, title tag and copy text.

Second, there are typically a lot of choices when a user conducts a search for your topic of expertise. For instance, on a typical Google query, there are paid links, Google Local, and organic links. There are typically 20+ links on the search page to choose from, not including the standard navigation menu and search box. That is a lot for a user to view. You need to increase your chances of being clicked on, and you do this by writing descriptive headlines that match the viewer’s interest.

How Can I Increase My Chances of Gaining Traffic?

Google AdWords has proven that headlines directly matched to the search phrase are clicked on more. In fact, they bold keywords that are a match. Your articles will stand out if the headlines are specific and on-point to the reader. The user will instantly know whether they want to read your article and what your article is about. If it is on-point, you stand a better chance of being clicked on.

What Should I Do?

Your article should contain keyword phrases that would be useful to a user looking up terms in your industry. If you are writing on the “false claims act” include it in your headline. If your article is about “how to file a mass tort claim,” then include that. The more descriptive your title, the better it will be for search and the user.


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