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7 Blog Title Formulas That Get Clicks (With Examples)



You’ve spent hours writing a new post, optimizing it for search engines, and crafting the perfect article to grow your traffic. But it means nothing if no one reads it.

Your blog post’s title is the first barrier to entry to getting more visitors to your content. Without a great blog title, no one will click on your post, and the quality of your content won’t even matter.

Unfortunately, coming up with a great blog title can be harder than it sounds. You have to get into the minds of your target audience and be good at copywriting.

Luckily, I’ve written a blog title or two (thousand) in my day. 

In today’s guide, you will learn:

The anatomy of a great blog title

Every blog title, regardless of your industry or what you’re writing about, has to satisfy three main requirements:

  1. It contains the keyword you’re targeting for SEO
  2. It gives the reader a reason to click (value)
  3. It offers a unique take on the topic

In other words: Keyword + Value + Unique Angle = Great Blog Title.

Using keywords properly

Using your target keyword in your title is helpful for SEO and is pretty straightforward. 

You just have to know what keyword you’re trying to rank for and include that keyword in your title somewhere.

For example, we’re trying to rank this article you’re reading for “blog titles.” The title of this page is “7 Blog Title Formulas That Get Clicks (With Examples)”. 

If you’re not sure exactly how or where to add your keyword, you can get ideas by searching your keyword in Google and looking at the other titles currently ranking. Look at how your competitors are doing it and use their titles for inspiration.

If you’re targeting a keyword that wouldn’t make grammatical sense to put in the title as-is, you can change it to a close variation.

Offering value

Think: What do your readers want? How does your article help them get it? This is value.

For example, the value in our title is the promise that your blog titles will get clicks if you follow our guide.

We know that someone searching for “blog titles” is probably a blog owner who wants their content to get more traffic, and we appeal to that.

If you’re not sure what your reader wants, that’s a sign you need to dig deeper before you finalize your title. Again, search on Google to check competitors’ titles and don’t be afraid to look on forums like Reddit to learn more about your target reader.

Having a unique angle

Does your title stand out from the crowd on the SERPs? Or is it just a rehashing of the same title everyone else uses? Why should someone click on your article over another one?

While it’s not always possible to stand out with your title, a little extra effort here can go a long way. 

For example, let’s say you’re trying to rank for “winterize RV.” If we look at the SERPs, here’s what we see:

Top search results for 'winterize rv' via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer.

They’re all somewhat similar. One unique angle mentions how to do it “with an air compressor,” but the title is cut-off. The other unique angle is the checklist.

You could make your title something like “How to Winterize Your RV Without Messy Antifreeze” or “How to Winterize Your RV in 9 Steps (Checklist Inside)”. 

Subtly different but unique enough to stand out.

7 blog post title formulas proven to get clicks

Now that you understand some of the concepts behind what makes a blog title clickable, let me share a few templates you can use to easily and quickly write great blog titles.

1. The list post title

For whatever reason, people love lists of things. The 7 best vacuum cleaners. The 11 coolest used cars. 14 weird cat photos.

These list posts, or “listicles,” can help you get more clicks. A study by Moz found that using numbers in your headline can drive up to 15% more clicks.


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2. The “how to” title

The classic how-to guide has been around forever. It just does what it promises; teaches you how to do something you want to know how to do.

It helps to include proof of some kind, similar to the data-backed title formula you’re going to learn about in a moment.


3. The what, why, or how title

You’ve seen this title formula if you’ve ever Googled what something is, why something is, or how something is. It’s a direct repeat of the question at hand.

This title is best when you know precisely what question your reader is asking. Just make your title the question itself, then (if you have enough room) give it some flair to entice the reader, as I did in the examples below.


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4. The “versus” title

When someone is trying to decide between two or three options, a comparison article putting them head-to-head is exactly what they need.


5. The ultimate guide title

When you’re looking to deep-dive into studying a new hobby or interest, you want to know everything you need to succeed, right?

Enter: The ultimate guide.

When you build something amazing that teaches the reader everything about a subject, this title formula is a sure-fire way to get more clicks.


6. The devil’s advocate title

Going against a commonly-held belief can sometimes pique a curious reader’s interest and get them to click on your title. The more you can turn a popular view on its head, the more effective this title template.


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7. The direct answer title

Like the what, why, how-to title, a direct answer title gives searchers back what they searched for. But instead of repeating the question, you’re providing the answer right in your title.

This template is great for any questions with an immediate and straightforward answer, but there’s more to learn than what meets the eye.


How to choose which formula to use

Now that you know the templates, how do you pick one?

The answer is to research the SERPs to get inspiration. This research will also help you decide which title formula to use to satisfy searchers.

For example, the results for “office organization” show mostly list posts:

Most of the top search results for 'office organization' are listicles.

This tells me I probably need to write a list post if I want to stand the best chance of ranking on the first page in Google’s search results.

But if we look at another example, like “how to decide where to live,” we see mixed results:

The format of the top search results for 'how to decide where to live' are mixed.

Three templates are being used here: 

  1. How-to
  2. List post
  3. Ultimate guide

In this situation, I would go with the most popular formula: the “how-to” title. But you can experiment with other titles and still potentially rank on page one.

Speaking of ranking, let’s talk about how to optimize your blog titles for search engines.

How to SEO your blog titles

Satisfying Google and its users isn’t as simple as slapping your keyword in your title and calling it a day. There are a few things you need to know to have the best chance at ranking high so you can get more clicks.

1. Match search intent

Search intent is the reason behind the search. In other words, what are they searching for?

If you chose your blog title formula based on the SERPs as suggested, your content format should already closely match search intent. But it’s also worth aligning the angle of your title with what searchers are looking for where possible.

For example, if we look at the top-ranking results for “SEO tips,” most of the titles focus on the angle of increasing traffic:

Most of the top-ranking posts for 'SEO tips' talk about traffic in their titles.

Using a similar angle for our title would probably make sense, as this is clearly the outcome searchers want to achieve. 

Here are a few other common blog title angles to look out for:

  • Freshness. If top-ranking pages have the current year in the title, searchers are probably looking for up-to-date information. 
  • Speed. If top-ranking pages reference the speed and ease of doing something, searchers are probably looking for a fast solution. 
  • Simplicity. If top-ranking pages are beginner’s guides, searchers probably value something straightforward and easy to understand. 

Learn more: What is Search Intent? A Complete Guide for Beginners

2. Optimize for long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are less popular ways of searching for the same or similar things. 

For example, there are 6.8K monthly searches for “healthy dog treats.” But people search for the same thing in a bunch of less popular ways:

Long-tail keywords for 'healthy dog treats' via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer.

By considering other ways people search for your topic, you can often craft a blog title that appeals to more searchers.

Here’s how to find long-tail keywords for your topic:

  1. Go to Keywords Explorer
  2. Enter your main target keyword
  3. Scroll to the SERP overview
  4. Find the top-ranking page most similar to yours
  5. Click to view the keywords it ranks for
  6. Filter for top 10 rankings

For example, say our target keyword was “is SEO worth it?” 

Here’s the SERP overview: 

Top-ranking pages for 'is SEO worth it' via Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer.

As each of these posts has the same blog title formula, let’s see what keywords the top-ranking page also ranks for. We can do this by clicking on the number in the keywords column. 

If we then filter the report for top 10 rankings, we see the long-tails people are searching for:

Long-tail keywords for 'is SEO worth it' via Ahrefs' Site Explorer.

Two of these stand out for me: 

  1. is SEO worth it for small business”
  2. value of SEO”

The first tells me that many searchers are likely small business owners. The second tells me that searchers care not only about the cost of SEO but also its value. 

Now we know this, we can cater to a broader audience with a blog title like: 

Is SEO Worth It? The Real Value of SEO for Small Businesses

3. Boost clicks with power words

Power words cause an emotional response (like curiosity or desire) and make people want to click your title. 

Examples of power words include things like:

  • Secret
  • Bizarre
  • Obsessed
  • Unexplained
  • Never

Some examples of titles with power words might be things like:

  • 10 CPA Secrets to Save Thousands on Business Taxes
  • 7 Bizarre Places on Earth that Really Exist
  • This New iPhone Trick Will Have You Obsessed
  • How One Man Used an Unexplained Trick to Gain Muscle Fast
  • Never Struggle With Weight Loss Again: 3 Key Principles to Follow

Including power words like this is good practice so long as it doesn’t turn your post into clickbait. Your post must deliver your promise. Otherwise, you’ll annoy your readers.

Check out this post by OptinMonster for a list of over 700 power words to try in your titles.

4. Make your title 50-60 characters

The ideal length of a blog title is 50-60 characters. 

This is long enough to use all the space available in Google’s search results but short enough that your results aren’t cut off like the example below.

Example of a truncated blog title in the search results.

For this reason, we recommend using a free title checker like this one before publishing. If it turns red, your title will likely get cut off in the search results.

Checking the length of a blog title using a free title tag checker.

If you want to check the title lengths for posts you’ve already published in bulk, you can use Ahrefs’ free Website Checker. Just enter your website, sign up for a free account, verify ownership, then go to Site Audit.

From there, navigate to the Content report and look for the “Title too long” issue: 

Pages with the 'title too long' warning via Ahrefs' Site Audit.

Click on that item, and you’ll see all the pages where the title is too long. You can then fix them to prevent truncation in the search results.

Final thoughts

If you want your blog to be successful, you need to learn how to write great headlines. 

You can quickly grab a template from our list of formulas and write awesome blog titles, even if you’re not great at copywriting.

Ready to learn more ways to grow your blog? Check out these other helpful articles:

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Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results




Google Quietly Ends Covid-Era Rich Results

Google removed the Covid-era structured data associated with the Home Activities rich results that allowed online events to be surfaced in search since August 2020, publishing a mention of the removal in the search documentation changelog.

Home Activities Rich Results

The structured data for the Home Activities rich results allowed providers of online livestreams, pre-recorded events and online events to be findable in Google Search.

The original documentation has been completely removed from the Google Search Central webpages and now redirects to a changelog notation that explains that the Home Activity rich results is no longer available for display.

The original purpose was to allow people to discover things to do from home while in quarantine, particularly online classes and events. Google’s rich results surfaced details of how to watch, description of the activities and registration information.

Providers of online events were required to use Event or Video structured data. Publishers and businesses who have this kind of structured data should be aware that this kind of rich result is no longer surfaced but it’s not necessary to remove the structured data if it’s a burden, it’s not going to hurt anything to publish structured data that isn’t used for rich results.

The changelog for Google’s official documentation explains:

“Removing home activity documentation
What: Removed documentation on home activity structured data.

Why: The home activity feature no longer appears in Google Search results.”

Read more about Google’s Home Activities rich results:

Google Announces Home Activities Rich Results

Read the Wayback Machine’s archive of Google’s original announcement from 2020:

Home activities

Featured Image by Shutterstock/Olga Strel

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Google’s Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary




Google's Gary Illyes: Lastmod Signal Is Binary

In a recent LinkedIn discussion, Gary Illyes, Analyst at Google, revealed that the search engine takes a binary approach when assessing a website’s lastmod signal from sitemaps.

The revelation came as Illyes encouraged website owners to upgrade to WordPress 6.5, which now natively supports the lastmod element in sitemaps.

When Mark Williams-Cook asked if Google has a “reputation system” to gauge how much to trust a site’s reported lastmod dates, Illyes stated, “It’s binary: we either trust it or we don’t.”

No Shades Of Gray For Lastmod

The lastmod tag indicates the date of the most recent significant update to a webpage, helping search engines prioritize crawling and indexing.

Illyes’ response suggests Google doesn’t factor in a website’s history or gradually build trust in the lastmod values being reported.

Google either accepts the lastmod dates provided in a site’s sitemap as accurate, or it disregards them.

This binary approach reinforces the need to implement the lastmod tag correctly and only specify dates when making meaningful changes.

Illyes commends the WordPress developer community for their work on version 6.5, which automatically populates the lastmod field without extra configuration.

Accurate Lastmod Essential For Crawl Prioritization

While convenient for WordPress users, the native lastmod support is only beneficial if Google trusts you’re using it correctly.

Inaccurate lastmod tags could lead to Google ignoring the signal when scheduling crawls.

With Illyes confirming Google’s stance, it shows there’s no room for error when using this tag.

Why SEJ Cares

Understanding how Google acts on lastmod can help ensure Google displays new publish dates in search results when you update your content.

It’s an all-or-nothing situation – if the dates are deemed untrustworthy, the signal could be disregarded sitewide.

With the information revealed by Illyes, you can ensure your implementation follows best practices to the letter.

Featured Image: Danishch/Shutterstock

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How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve



How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs Evolve

There’s one thing standing between you and several days of SEO, socializing, and Singaporean sunshine: your boss (and their Q4 budget 😅).

But don’t worry—we’ve got your back. Here are 5 arguments (and an example message) you can use to persuade your boss to send you to Ahrefs Evolve.

About Ahrefs Evolve

  • 2 days in sunny Singapore (Oct 24–25)
  • 500 digital marketing enthusiasts
  • 18 top speakers from around the world

Learn more and buy tickets.

SEO is changing at a breakneck pace. Between AI Overviews, Google’s rolling update schedule, their huge API leak, and all the documents released during their antitrust trial, it’s hard to keep up. What works in SEO today?

You could watch a YouTube video or two, maybe even attend an hour-long webinar. Or, much more effective: you could spend two full days learning from a panel of 18 international SEO experts, discussing your takeaways live with other attendees.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve speakers from around the world.

Our world-class speakers are tackling the hardest problems and best opportunities in SEO today. The talk agenda covers topics like:

  • Responding to AI Overviews: Amanda King will teach you how to respond to AI Overviews, Google Gemini, and other AI search functions.
  • Surviving (and thriving) Google’s algo updates: Lily Ray will talk through Google’s recent updates, and share data-driven recommendations for what’s working in search today.
  • Planning for the future of SEO: Bernard Huang will talk through the failures of AI content and the path to better results.

(And attendees will get video recordings of each session, so you can share the knowledge with your teammates too.)

View the full talk agenda here.

There’s no substitute for meeting with influencers, peers, and partners in real life. 

Conferences create serendipity: chance encounters and conversations that can have a huge positive impact on you and your business. By way of example, these are some of the real benefits that have come my way from attending conferences:

  • Conversations that lead to new customers for our business,
  • Invitations to speak at events,
  • New business partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, and
  • Meeting people that we went on to hire.

There’s a “halo” effect that lingers long after the event is over: the people you meet will remember you for longer, think more highly of you, and be more likely to help you out, should you ask.

(And let’s not forget: there’s a lot of information, particularly in SEO, that only gets shared in person.)

The “international” part of Evolve matters too. Evolve is a different crowd to your local run-of-the-mill conference. It’s a chance to meet with people from markets you wouldn’t normally meet—from Australia to Indonesia and beyond.

How to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to AhrefsHow to Persuade Your Boss to Send You to Ahrefs
Evolve attendees by home country.

If you’re an Ahrefs customer (thank you!), you’ll learn tons of tips, tricks and workflow improvements from attending Evolve. You’ll have opportunities to:

  • Attend talks from the Ahrefs team, showcasing advanced features and strategies that you can use in your own business.
  • Pick our brains at the Ahrefs booth, where we’ll offer informal 1:1 coaching sessions and previews of up-coming releases (like our new content optimization tool 🤫).
  • Join dedicated Ahrefs training workshops, hosted by the Ahrefs team and Ahrefs power users (tickets for these workshops will sold separately).

As a manager myself, there are two questions I need answered when approving expenses:

  • Is this a reasonable cost?
  • Will we see a return on this investment?

To answer those questions: early bird tickets for Evolve start at $570. For context, “super early bird” tickets for MozCon (another popular SEO conference) this year were almost twice as much: $999.

There’s a lot included in the ticket price too:

  • World-class international speakers,
  • 5-star hotel venue,
  • 5-star hotel food (two tea breaks with snacks & lunch),
  • Networking afterparty, and
  • Full talk recordings to later share with your team.

SEO is a crucial growth channel for most businesses. If you can improve your company’s SEO performance after attending Evolve (and we think you will), you’ll very easily see a positive return on the investment.

Traveling to tropical Singapore (and eating tons of satay) is great for you, but it’s also great for your team. Attending Evolve is a chance to break with routine, reignite your passion for marketing, and come back to your job reinvigorated.

This would be true for any international conference, but it goes double for Singapore. It’s a truly unique place: an ultra-safe, high-tech city that brings together dozens of different cultures.

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Little India in Singapore

You’ll discover different beliefs, working practices, and ways of business—and if you’re anything like me, come back a richer, wiser person for the experience.

If you’re nervous about pitching your boss on attending Evolve, remember: the worst that can happen is a polite “not this time”, and you’ll find yourself in the same position you are now.

So here goes: take this message template, tweak it to your liking, and send it to your boss over email or Slack… and I’ll see you in Singapore 😉

Email template

Hi [your boss’ name],

Our SEO tool provider, Ahrefs, is holding an SEO and digital marketing conference in Singapore in October. I’d like to attend, and I think it’s in the company’s interest:

  • The talks will help us respond to all the changes happening in SEO today. I’m particularly interested in the talks about AI and recent Google updates. 
  • I can network with my peers. I can discover what’s working at other companies, and explore opportunities for partnerships and co-marketing.
  • I can learn how we can use Ahrefs better across the organization.
  • I’ll come back reinvigorated with new ideas and motivation, and I can share my top takeaways and talk recordings with my team after the event.

Early bird tickets are $570. Given how important SEO is to the growth of our business, I think we’ll easily see a return from the spend.

Can we set up time to chat in more detail? Thanks!

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