There is often a tug of war going on in the struggle between optimizing your SEO title tags and the need to craft a killer headline that gets massive numbers of clicks. This is a legitimate concern, and often the answer lies in what your main purpose is for the page in the first place.
While at first blush the symbiotic relationship between title tags and headlines can seem at odds, but you have to be able to find a happy medium. Understand first that one without the other leads to failure is a good first step.
Let’s look at both needs and see where they intersect.
What goes into a good SEO title tag?
With a title tag limited to around 64 characters, you are space-challenged from the get-go. This is the amount of characters that will appear in the search results, so you have to make it count.
Remember, you want your primary page keyword in there, as close to the beginning as possible, and these days need to focus your wording towards satisfying search intent.
It’s fine if you can squeeze in another keyword without it becoming unreadable, but your words need to reflect what the searcher has in mind.
So what goes into a good page headline?
Conversely, your page headline has to entice the reader to read on, to want more information. A lot of great headlines will invoke curiosity, promise solutions, and inject emotions.
Satisfying the needs of the reader is your primary aim here, and if you can do that in a short, pithy way so much the better.
“How to write a novel in 30 days and stay married.” This is a title you might click through to read. It makes a promise, delivers urgency and hints at humor.
Finding the sweet spot
Often you’ll be confronted with a choice, and you’ll have to decide which is more important, the SEO or maximum clicks. The intersection where both come together is often quite small, and often the goal of the page comes into play, such as how you’re going to be using it. Is it a landing page destined to get mostly paid traffic, or a foundation website page that needs to rank well? Therein often lies the choice.