By Sean Platt of Ghostwriter Dad
No one has championed the use of killer headlines more than Brian Clark. His advice on what makes for a compelling headline is gospel to many in this latest wave to crash across the copywriting shore. It’s impossible to argue – magnetic headlines invariably lead to more clicks, more conversions, and more clients clamoring for your content.
But what about when your words have turned to whisper, and your old posts have been left to whither upon the WordPress vine?
When you first craft a piece of killer content, you want as many eyes on it as possible. Initially, it is a bloggers primary goal to gather as many links and as much traffic as they possibly can. This is the purpose of a killer headline. Bloggers are thirsty for quality content to link to. Finding fabulous material makes them more valuable to their audience, and with the current retweet renaissance, a quality headline can gather clicks like candy on Halloween.
But once the hurry and flurry of fresh content is finished, and the half-life of your copy is a long way from from reaching the tip of the long tail, the smart blogger can reevaluate their headline to determine if they are truly doing what’s best for their content.
Readers may love magnetic headlines, but Google doesn’t give a grin or a giggle. Tweaking your old headlines to target search engine traffic might be the smartest thing you can do.
So how do you do it?
First, revise your title to increase your click through rates from readers who will find you through a search engine query. If your content is day old bread, it’s time to feed the ducks. You are no longer trying to pique the curiosity of a reader, now you are attempting to answer a question or solve a problem from the searcher. Change your title to both capture the maximum SEO benefit (by first conducting the correct keyword research) and then filling in the meta description to match the tone of your title tag.
This works especially well if you’re using Thesis. If you’re not yet using Thesis, consider it. It can be designed to dance to any tune and it’s built in SEO is an outstanding encore.
Next, you will want to change the permalink to match. Google loves a good title tag permalink sandwich.
Finally, you’ll want to use the redirect plugin for WordPress to ensure any traffic or links heading toward the old permalink are now redirected to the new. If you did your duty with a killer headline the first time around, you have hopefully gathered a few links pointing to the old page – you certainly don’t want to lose them.
Headlines are essential to success, but it is custom titles that can make the long tail most lucrative.