2. On Page SEO for Beginners
Article #2.21

Catchy headlines and compelling body copy- the evergreen way to get noticed!

10 ways guaranteed to make you rank higher! 5 Do’s that will definitely give you positive results in your social marketing strategy!
Well? You can be honest and accept that these kind of headlines have a soft corner in your mind. 
But WAIT! Don’t jump to the conclusion yet! Now, if you really (and by this i mean really to the power of 10!) think about it, don’t you think that these kind of headlines would be making a false promise to you? I mean if this was the case, wouldn’t every website do those “Do’s” and “so-called ways” and get ranked?
I made my point clear. Too confused in deciding a clever combination of promises and actual point? Read on..We are always there for your help!


Don’t judge a book by its cover-they said! Unfortunately the users DO judge you

Well, they have a very justifiable reason for that. Research by Nielsen/Mckinsey shows a rise from 36 million blogs in 2006 to over 181 million blogs by the beginning of 2012. So you see, these poor people are exposed to a plethora of content on a daily basis, where you can’t expect them to read everything. It is then, that headings become a deciding factor for them to judge if the content is worth reading or not.  
There is way too much competition. To emerge a winner in an extremely competitive environment we need effective headlines, that will lead to conversions.

How headlines can play an effective role

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.
If this won’t convince you of the power of headings, what will?
Your headline is your first and perhaps the only chance to make an impression prospective reader. A powerful heading has the potential of converting a browser (I mean people who browse) to a reader and then probably to a buyer/subscriber.
A headline can do much more than just grabbing attention or to put it specifically, A great headline can be used to convey a message to the intended audience and lure them into reading the text inside it.
To take out the essence simply, a great heading provides a trade off to the users to invest their valuable time into reading the blog/content etc.

Catchy headlines? Let’s begin the course (totally free!)

Let’s proceed step-by-step

Make an analysis, an introspection in fact! (ask yourself the following questions)

  • When a reader reads your headline will he feel he will earn something out of it? In what way will your headline reward the reader when he reads the body copy or will the body copy fulfill the promise in the headline?
  • What could you add to make your headline more promising and believable to your readers?
  • Does your headline demand a call to action?
  • Does your headline propose something beneficial to the reader? 
  • Does your headline have that element of curiosity that will make the reader go on to the body copy?
  • Does your headline match the content of your body copy?

Got the answers? Wait, don’t start working on the headlines already.

Memorize these four U’s before beginning:

  • Unique - Stand out of the crowd! You need to create unique headlines. Give your consumers the reason to click on your link. To entice the readers to buy/subscribe/read on, you need to give them something which is different from the alternatives they might be exposed to.
  • Ultra specific - Refrain from creating way too creative and interesting headlines at the cost of its quality and authenticity. Instead make headlines that are informative. Such headlines will give the reader the required information that would make him want to pursue that link. It is from your headline that the readers or customers will determine whether you have the information they are searching for, on your site.
  • Urgency - Try to create a sense of urgency in a headline, which might solicit the users to click on them. An example of such a headline would be- “Are you losing sales by giving customers too many choices?” This kind of headline creates urgency. A reader might feel his business is losing sales and he needs to read the article to find out what can be done.
  • Useful - In the process of creating clever headlines people lose sight of giving readers or customers a reason to continue reading. Your headlines should tell readers, how would they benefit if they continued reading.

It is not always possible to have all the above factors in one heading. But, I hope you get the idea of what I am saying. Keep these factors in mind and you are good to go.

All set? Go ahead! but, after having a look at few tips from our end

Well my favourite tip for headlines is the Formula:
Numbers + adjectives + keywords + promise (Obviously one that you can deliver)
I have this fascination towards odd numbers (I don’t know, maybe it’s just a physiological)  in headings. Trust me, follow this formula and you will create great headings.
5 surprising hack you didn’t know which could get you higher rankings!
Isn’t this appealing? 
Anyways, if it’s not possible to create a heading as per the formula, I have other suggestions too:

  • Decide what is the core message of your body copy, the headline should connect with it.
  • Think from a searcher’s point of view, what is he more likely to search for, does your headline have those keywords?.
  • Create informative catchy headlines that will generate a reader’s interest like- “5 secrets to joyful living.” Including the word secret in the heading would make a reader want to know that secret, thus enable him to read further. It will create interest in the reader.
  • Keep it short. Nobody likes to read a two line headline. Keep the length within 60-80 characters maximum.
  • Simplicity is the key to a successful headline. Use simple words, don’t make it seem complicated, the readers won’t understand..
  • Highlight any new products or services of your company in your headlines. Consumers are always on the look out for something new.
  • Use attention grabbing words like- how to, it’s here, just arrived, suddenly, announcing, introducing, now, etc. These words might seem like cliches but, they always work their magic.
  • Use interesting but not clever headlines. Nobody has time to decipher your message.
  • Avoid blind headlines. These are the headline that will make sense to the reader only once he reads the complete article.
  • Don’t use negative words in the headlines.

Headlines done? But what about the content inside it?

Attractive headlines and a great body copy!There is nothing better than this to the eyes of users

What is a body copy?

It is basically the written part accompanying a heading can be an advertisement, article, webpage!
Your body copy should be gripping, persuasive and convincing and should talk about your company’s products and services. You can tweak your body copy to either add that emotional or logical touch or show the benefits, this will help create the needed desire in the consumers to make a purchase.

How should a body copy support the headlines?

The headline is a predecessor to the body copy. It hints what the body copy contains. Hence, whatever the headline is hinting at it should be supported by the body copy. The body copy is used to reinforce the message of the headline. Let your body copy support the thought or answer the question in the headline.

Do's and Don'ts of a Body Copy

Even if you don’t desire to be a content writer it is good to know what makes a powerful body copy. It is essential to understand what a good copy looks like.
Here are some DOs for writing a compelling copy-

  • Write a mix of short and long sentences.
  • Use simple words and avoid industry specific jargon that a layman might not understand.
  • Write your content in a conversational style. It should seem as if you are having a conversation with your customer (not literally but, even so).
  • Your writing style will always depend on what kind of product or service you are trying to sell. If your product is a car your writing style will be very different than if you are selling burgers. Hence, it is better to create your own writing style than copying anybody else’s.
  • Keep your attitude positive and use active verbs. This results in a call to action.
  • Be specific about the message you want to deliver. Do not confuse the reader.
  • Keep the same rhythm throughout your copy. You can also use alliterations and rhyme to make your content interesting.

Don’ts for writing a compelling copy- Do not commit these mistakes.

  • Do not fill your copy with cliched ‘selling words’. Instead work towards writing a unique copy.
  • Your copy should not be in bad taste. By this I mean it should not use- inappropriate words and racist or sexist language.
  • Focus on writing a crisp compact copy because anything else does not work.
  • Do not talk about generic benefits. Nobody is interested if you are offering the same things as your competitors. Talk about your USP- Unique Selling Point. What makes you different from the crowd.
  • Do not talk about features without mentioning the benefits.
  • Poor Grammar! Instead of succeeding, you will spiral down as fast as a roller coaster.
  • Some words weaken your content like overuse of the word ‘that’ or using passive language or ‘be’ verbs or using phrases or clauses too much.
  • Writing everything in caps is a big NO

Keyword Placement In Headlines and Body copy

Place your keywords upfront. The most important keywords should be used in the first part of the headline. The first part is what will catch the reader’s attention. The keywords placed in the h1 tags are given the most importance by Search Engines, the ones in the h2 tags are given a little less importance and so on.
In the case of online content the reader will not wait to read the entire article to get the required information. Hence, come to the point in the very beginning. Make use of your most important keywords in the first part of the article. The Search Engines will give importance to keywords on the way they are placed in the article. The ones in the beginning get more importance than the ones in the latter part of the article. 
The reader will read the first few lines only and if he does not find the keywords he is looking for he will move on. The first few lines help a reader decide whether he wants to continue reading the article or not. Place keywords intelligently.


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