3 Blog Headline Hacks That’ll Get You More Traffic [Backed By Science]

Iliyan Germanov
7 min readSep 19, 2019

Fewer people read your blog posts content in 2019 than you think. More people read the headline, than you think too.

“Don’t judge a book by its the cover.” — famous saying

You’ve heard the saying “Don’t judge a book by its the cover” but does it apply to today’s digital consumer? Sadly but it does. Considering all the information available online people do judge blog posts, articles, and content in general by its cover.

And when judging by the cover people usually read one thing specifically — the Headline.

In this article, you’ll learn 3 hacks on how to write more compelling headlines and blog titles that’ll get you more traffic, higher clickthrough rate and rank you higher in Google.

The 3 headline writing hacks are:

1. Use [Clarification Brackets]

2. Incorporate Specific Numbers

3. Limit your headline to the optimal length

The goal of this blog post is to show you these hacks so you can improve your existing and produce new headlines that’ll rank higher on Google, receive more clicks and ultimately get you 33%+ more traffic by using scientific principles and data insights that don’t BS people.

So let’s dive straight into principle number one!

1. Use [Clarification Brackets]

Clarification brackets at the end of the headline give you both the opportunity to rank for more topics on Google and make your headline sexier by giving the reader an extra incentive to click on your blog post.

According to HubSpot, post titles with clarification brackets benefit from a 33% increase in post views compared to the ones without brackets.

headline-brackets-vs-no-brackets-statistic
Blog post titles with brackets have 33% more views vs. the ones with no brackets

So what are clarification brackets and how to use them?

The best way to understand what are [Clarification Brackets] is to see them in practice:

The purpose of the clarification brackets is to hook the reader’s attention by providing an incentive or additional information.

To use clarification brackets in your headlines check-out these 5 ideas that you can integrate today to drive more traffic and clicks:

  • [Everything You Need To Know]
  • [2019]
  • [It’s Not What You Think]
  • [With Examples]
  • [+Pros/Cons]

2. Incorporate Specific Numbers

Which headline would people rather click?

a) How To Write Blog Headlines That’ll Get You More Traffic [Backed By Science]

b) 3 Blog Headline Hacks That’ll Get You More Traffic [Backed By Science]

If you’ve chosen b), you are right. Most readers prefer headlines containing specific numbers and the reasons for that in this example might be:

  • Curiosity to see what are the 3 hacks
  • Knowing what to expect in the article
  • Sounding like less effort to read compared to a)

The data also confirms that. People prefer “Number” (36%) headlines over “How To” (17%), “Normal” (15%), and “Question” (11%) headlines.

Refer to the statistic below.

Headline Preferences Statistics — https://moz.com/blog/5-data-insights-into-the-headlines-readers-click

As you can see from the graphic, “Number” headlines tend to perform the best so you might want to test them out in your headlines. Here are 3 real-world examples to get you going:

To get a better understanding and become more creative using specific numbers in your headlines also have a look at these three “Number” headline examples:

  • Blog Writing: 5 Steps To 5-Star Articles in 2019 [+ SEO & Conversion]
  • 3 Tactics I Used to Grow My LinkedIn to 3,442 Connections In Three Months
  • 7 Product Startups Who Exploded Using Only Content Marketing

Tip: When implementing specific numbers in your headlines:

1) Lay down the points you make or want to make in your content.

2) Search for a logical way to group these points in a numbered list.

3) Name the list using this formula “N things(e.g. tips, ways, tactics) to do _____”.

4) If you have relevant interesting data in your blog post, include it in the headline, too. (optional)

More Examples: “5 Saving Habits To Save 5-Figures Per Year”, “3 Lies Marketers Tell You That Cost You 96% of Your Traffic”

3. Limit the headline to the optimal length

If there weren’t length limits, writing headlines would be easy as a child game. You’d just take all headline formulas, hacks, data insights, pile them up and boom you got a kick-ass headline.

However, in reality, things aren’t that easy. It’s highly recommended to use formulas and best practices but you’ll have to prioritize and consider which ones to use and which ones to cut off.

For example, the original headline of this blog post was “3 Blog Headline Hacks That’ll Get You 33%+ More Traffic [Backed By Science & Real-World Data]. It combines the best practices described here but it’s way too long and won’t perform. Here’s why.

Search engines like Google display on average from 55 to 83 characters depending on the screen size. In 2019 the suggestion is to keep your headlines under 70 chars so they are fully visible on most devices.

google-seo-example
Google Search results for “seo page title length”

As you can see the first result for the “seo page title length” search query is cut. The best practice is to keep your headline’s length within the limit. However, in cases where that’s not possible put the most important keywords first so your headline won’t lose its meaning if being cut.

While trying to fit into Google’s chars length limit also consider the words count of your headline because it’s a determining factor whether you’ll get the most clicks and social shares. HubSpot’s data advices to use 8–14 words for the best clickthrough rates and organic growth from social shares.

Headline Optimal Length Recommendation

  • Under 70 chars
  • Having 8–14 words
  • With sweet-spot: 12 words (to maximize clickthrough rate + social shares)

Tip: To rate how engaging your headline is put it through this free headline analyzer tool.

Final Thoughts

It’s common sense that not everyone is your reading content. However, content creators overestimate how many people are reading their full blog posts. Also, they underestimate how many people read the headline, too.

In this blog post, we’ve learned 3 blog headline writing hacks that you can use to take advantage of the fact that more than people than you expect are reading your headlines.

Hack 1: Use [Clarification Brackets]

Adding clarification brackets at the end of your headline can boost your post views by 33% according to HubSpot’s research.

Example of Clarification Brackets: How To Write a Product Blog Post [Content, Structure & Everything You Need To Know]

Hack 2: Incorporate Specific Numbers

The data says that the majority of people prefer “Number” headlines. For comparison, 36% of people clicked on a “Number” headline against only 15% on a “Normal” one.

Example of a “Number” headline: 3 Tactics I Used to Grow My LinkedIn to 3,442 Connections In Three Months

Hack 3: Limit the headline to the optimal length

Imagine you’ve written the most compelling headline in the world. What’s the point if it gets cut and lose its meaning on Social Media and Google? Exactly! That’s why we should fit in certain limits.

The suggestion in 2019 is to:

  • Keep the headline under 70 chars
  • And use 8–14 words in it

Implementation Challenge

Step 1. Find your most valuable content that isn’t performing to your expectations.

Step 2. Inspect its headline.

Step 3. Update the headline of the content using the hacks described in this article.

Step 3.1 (Optional). If you want my feedback on the updated headline, don’t hesitate to send it to me using the chat at your bottom right.

Step 4. Test it and analyze the results.

If you want to discuss and optimize the results, feel free to share them with me, too! Then we can analyze and improve them together. No taxes, no strings attached :)

Just contact me via the chat or on my personal email: iliyan.germanov971@gmail.com

Need more organic traffic to your site?

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P.S. First. congratulations for investing the time to learn and grow! And as you reached so far, I want to thank you for reading my article! I invest a lot of efforts and sleepless night creating the best quality free educational content for you and I appreciate you🙏

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Smile, feel good and have a beautiful day!

-Iliyan

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Iliyan Germanov

Software Engineer: Android | Functional Programming - Kotlin & Haskell. Excited by innovation and science.