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Friday, May 19, 2006
DOs and Don'ts of write good headlines
Monty burns fires Homer Jay SimpsonYou can write the headlines for search engines or you can write it for people (if you are not sure what's the difference between two then read my last post Headlines - do they matter in SEO world?). Today I am going to list out some points that everyone should keep in mind before writing a headline. Without wasting anymore of your time here they are:

  1. Use short words and meaningful words, but avoid abbreviations unless its very common like NASA or US. Try to use short synonyms for long words.
  2. Use "Active Voice". Active voice is when something does some something (actively). Passive voice is when something is done to something. for example DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN is active while TRUMAN IS DEFEATED BY DEWEY. This is the most important point one should keep in mind when writing headlines because it not only takes less words then Passive Voice and hence less decoding but it also feels simpler and keeps the "verb and object" order.
  3. Use Present Tense to convey a feeling of immediacy.
  4. Use figures only when its necessary. Avoid them if you can. This may sound little difficult to believe if you read too much into SEO. But like I said in my last post, you have to decide whether you are writing for search engines or your visitors.
  5. Headlines should be written from a neutral point of view. As the name suggests, the neutral point of view is a point of view, not the absence or elimination of viewpoints. It requires views to be represented without bias.
  6. Be Accurate and specific but try not to make it dull.
  1. Avoid repeating keywords. It not only makes the headline long but also looks confusing in eye of visitors (both human and search engines). Use synonyms and try to rephrase the sentence.
  2. Avoid contrived headlines.
  3. Avoid exclamation marks. Use strong, accurate verbs to drive your point home.
  4. Avoid Articles and verbs like 'to be', 'is' and 'are'. This is done to save space and improve action.
Writing headlines can be lot of hard work but remember that most of the successful writers spends more then half of the time on writing headlines out of the total time they have for an article.
posted by RM at 7:16 PM | Permalink |
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