The Top 100 Best Headlines: Designed For SEO, Read By People

How To Captivate Both Your Audience and Search Engines

This post started as an update on LinkedIn where I put together a few ideas regarding how we can better engineer an article title for the purposes of appealing to both the human reader as well as to search engines. The title “Does your blog post have one of the top 100 best headlines?” is a provocative rhetorical question and that’s all. It’s not a coincidence that I chose this title, however, and we’ll look at this in a bit more detail shortly.

In this post, we’re going to explore how I went about engineering the title of this article, which is the same strategy I use for this and other articles that appear on this website and for posts I’ve published elsewhere. My goal is to not just write something that a human would appreciate but also to conduct some basic research in an effort to find a long-tail keyword that will also appeal to search engines, the Google Search Engine, in particular, being my primary concern and to include that keyword combination in the title.

Table of Contents

Step Zero: Review Several Articles On Blog Headlines

Below I’ve included several articles that can help develop a better understanding of strategies and tactics you can use to develop an awesome blog post title.

Quoting from the article entitled 13 Types of Blog Headlines That’ll Get You More Traffic [+ Examples]:

You might not realize it, but your headline could be the reason you’re losing traffic. In fact, on average, only 20% of those who read your headline will click through to read your article. That means good headlines lose 80% of your audience.

Great headlines, though, can make a dramatic impact in the opposite direction. You can increase the traffic to your articles by as much as 500%, based solely on the headline.

Step One: Locate a Long-Tail Keyword for SEO Purposes

For step one we’ll use the SEMrush keyword magic tool to find a long-tail keyword (LTK) combination. Ideally, the long tail keyword should be both high volume and low competition [4] — if we end up ranking for this keyword combination we may end up getting a decent amount of traffic to the post. If you have a long-tail keyword already in mind, then make sure this is included in the headline. This may require some creativity especially if the long tail keyword uses many characters.

Below we can see a long-tail keyword that has both decent volume as well as a keyword density score of 19% along with a green bubble, which indicates that it may be easy to rank for this.

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool metrics for the long-tail keyword combination "Top 100 Best Headlines" with pointers to the volume of 4400 per month (decent), trend (possibly temporary), and SEMrush keyword difficulty percent (KD%, which should be easy to rank for).
SEMrush Keyword Density metrics for the long-tail keyword combination "Top 100 Best Headlines".

Prior to finding this long tail keyword combination I investigated other obvious choices and in most cases the volume was substantially lower and the keyword difficulty score was actually much higher which means that ranking for those combinations may be much harder.

Step Two: Use The MonsterInsights Headline Analyzer To Develop An Award-Winning Headline using the Long-Tail Keyword Found In Step One

Step two requires that we use a tool such as the MonsterInsights Headline Analyzer (MIHA) to engineer a solid headline that incorporates the long-tail keyword combination found in step one.

We should endeavor to keep the length of the headline to no more than 60 characters however note that 55 appears to be the ideal length according to [3].

The MonsterInsights Headline Analyzer suggests that you should strive for a score of 70% and above — we can set this bar higher and aim for 75% as the minimum score. It may not be easy or even possible to achieve all of this given the parameters I’ve outlined and we may need to sacrifice something to make it work — in this case, I’m thinking the first to go will be the MonsterInsights Headline Analyzer score goal of 75% or better. In this example, we have text which is 46 characters long and the Monster Insights Headline Analyzer score is 84%, which is very good. Be advised, however, that nothing in this headline qualifies as a long-tail keyword, which requires at least three keywords.

Step Three: Monitor the Page in Google Search Console


Going forward I will monitor the impressions and clicks for this page and review the performance. What I’ve found after engineering content that’s performed well along with content which hasn’t performed well, is that I can publish quickly, wait, and later review the data in the Google Search Console as well as Google Analytics and then refresh and rework the content. This strategy can turn a poorly performing post into a writing which performs better and then, with some effort, actually performs well.

So, have you done this before?

What were your results?

Would you add anything to this suggestion?

Or do you disagree with anything that I wrote?

Let me know in the comments!


Title Tags Insights from Ahrefs

A few interesting insights about titles / title tags are quoted from the Ahrefs tweet below (original source on Twitter):

4) According to our title tags study, 7.4% of top-ranking pages don’t have a title tag

5) Google rewrites title tags 33.4% of the time.

6) Google is now 33% more likely to rewrite title tags.

7) When Google ignores the title tag, it uses the H1 tag 50.76% of the time instead.

8) Google is 57% more likely to rewrite title tags that are too long.

See the tweet below for the full thread which includes other interesting insights.

What is a Common Benefit to Long-Tail Keywords?

I attempt to answer this question in more detail the article entitled “SEO Crash Course: Advanced Search Engine Optimization with Long-Tail Keywords“:

Targeting long-tail keywords is an important search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and involves finding keyword combinations consisting of three or more words that are focused, less competitive, and which should drive high-conversion traffic to your website. By high-conversion traffic, we mean visitors who end up converting into customers, especially when the search query includes an intent to buy. According to [9], long tail keyword queries account for ~ 70% of the search traffic.

In this example, we’re relying on SEMrush to help us find this keyword combination — we’re going to perform some research and our findings will be based on evidence that suggests that we may be able to rank for the given keyword combination along with the monthly search volume for that query.

More on Crafting Compelling Title Tags from Ahrefs



I am a Web Design, Technical SEO, and WordPress Specialist based in Northern Virginia. I am interested in software development, content engineering, and business. I'm originally from Chicago, IL, and currently reside in Reston, VA.