Are You Creating Your Headline for Your Customer or for Google?

Unlike the days of the Roman Empire where wars were decided with the victor standing as living proof, creating impactful headlines has 2 winners, or more than likely, just a draw.

Being in this business you come to know and understand that there’s a war between writing headlines that are designed to stir interest and engagement, and those with mundane keyword strategy. I say mundane because keywords are boring. Boring as hell!

Two Rights Make a Right

But we live in the house that Google built, and the focus of their business is to provide the most relevant search results for the online community.

Backlinks and quality seem to still be the backbone of their search engine strategy.

Ok, but the great marketers of our time say colorful and vivid headlines is the key component in getting your brand, product or service noticed.

Both arguments have a rational basis. In fact, both are right!

But looking past the obvious answer of both are right, let’s understand the dilemma.

Unsolved Mysteries… of Keyword Strategy 

Lets say you are the keyword strategy guy and you build your headlines on a purely keyword focused strategy. As those, and I mean all us that do keyword research, understand that there are very few sacred cows left, and those that are left are so small, you might as well do volunteer work for a living.

Lets face it: keywords and keyword phrases tend to be rather dull. Keywords or long tail phrases that are super specific or barely on the radar, support a small business segment that can not support a business long term. Being in the middle of those 2 is congestion. Los Angeles congestion!

Snatching Your Attention

Now, for those purist writers and advertisers that build headlines and content that have a psychological and emotional tone and message. We all react differently to headlines we see. But there are hot words and phrases that elevate our attention levels.

Once they have the attention of their audience, a sequence of psychological triggers keeps them engaged.

Read this book and it will all start to make sense.

 Suggested Reading: “The 7 Triggers to Yes” by Russell H. Granger

When was the last time you watched a late night paid advertising commercial? By my last count… I should be 30 pounds lighter with a booming real estate business using no money down. Both have escaped me thus far.

Emotional selling is still the greatest selling method and has been since “Death of a Salesman”

The question becomes, does emotion register with search engines? Not from a technical standpoint, but yes from a sentiment point of view.  Remember headlines are the 1st line of contact with readers and highly shareable content is usually the result of a highly effective headline.

Sharing determines the overall forecast (sentiment), whether negative or positive, of what gets read and what doesn’t.

Be The Jack of Two Trades

Keywords will be important as long as humans are asking the big robot in the sky to find them information they request. Engaging headlines will continue to peak interest of readers. So yes, they are both right, and your ability to integrate both into your headline strategy will determine how successful your headlines are with humans and robots.

Once you develop a great strategy for your headline, please make sure your content lives up to your headline. I personally hate it when something grabs my attention and then disappoints me as I become engaged.


“MJ takes a new and exciting approach on how to teach entrepreneurs.”

Daymond John
Co-host of ABC's, 'Shark Tank'

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4 thoughts on “Are You Creating Your Headline for Your Customer or for Google?

  1. Hey Gary – great post! Tough to balance the: Add value – Create interest – Traffic development triumvirate (A-C-T)! When you do it seems you get them all! Easier said than done for sure! Like what you and MJ have going here. Have connected with MJ on Twitter. Just thought I would add to the conversation a “scientific tool” I found and shared on my blog –

    Best Wishes for your continued success,

    1. Hey Glenn

      Thanks for the comment! Its always a struggle to balance and consider everything all at once. We just gotta keep putting our purpose under the microscope for everything we do!

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