Snappy news headlines: make sure people find you

Diana Stow's picture
Diana Stow

Snappy news headlines work really well in print. For example: "It's The Sun Wot Won It" famously appeared on the front page of The Sun after the 1992 general election. That was a great and memorable headline - but it wouldn’t have worked very well in terms of search engine optimisation (SEO). When writing for the web your news headlines need to help people find your story.

A good SEO-friendly headline needs some facts and a location. Think about some of the five Ws from our previous post on writing news copy - covering off Who, What, Where etc - are going to be a much better bet for an online news headline. So something like, "The Sun Claims UK Conservative General Election Win" - would have been pretty dull but would have been a bigger hit for SEO had online news been a thing in 1992.

A few simple pointers for online news story titles: keep news headlines short and direct - eight words is a good maximum length. All the words should be key words if possible. Avoid puns and jokes - these can be a matter of personal taste and may fall flat. Finally, make sure you let people know where the event happened - relevance is all and people want to be able to find out about things happening near them. There is no point reading a news story about a great new service if it is 100 miles from where you live.

Do you have any tips you'd like to share about writing content titles? Let me know below if you have any pointers.

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