I’m sure you realize the power of using highly targeted webpage headlines and H1 tags to increase web page rankings in Google.
But did you know that with some slight headline tweaks and tests, you can not only rank a website higher in Google, but also engage and convert many more website visitors into sales or leads?
And I’m sure you want more sales and leads for your website, or your client’s websites – and not just good SEO rankings right? You can be smart and learn to quickly do this using conversion rate optimization techniques, A/B testing and best practices – one of the easiest and most powerful of these is improving your headlines.
The importance of headlines for conversion rate optimization and increasing sales or leads
SEO is essential to help drive more visitors to websites – and once they get there, conversion rate optimization is essential to convert more of them into sales or leads (known as your conversion rate).
And headlines are one of the biggest impact page elements for getting better results with conversion rate optimization, and more sales or leads.
Unfortunately though many webpage headlines act as visitor repellant, even though they rank highly.
For example, would any of these really compel you to continue reading the page after you arrived?
Probably not right?
Improving and testing headlines on your homepage and other key pages has many major benefits:
- Engages your website visitors much better and reduces their bounce rate (so more visitors stick around and hopefully convert – instead of leaving immediately).
- Helps you quickly explain the benefits and unique value proposition of your website and offerings more clearly, leading to more sales and leads.
- These headline improvements lead to higher conversion rates, which means a more profitable website, and more profitable to send SEO traffic (and paid traffic) to.
And the good news is that headlines are very easy to test changing on web pages – much easier and quicker than doing whole page redesigns or doing conversion rate optimization on more complex pages like product pages or checkout flows.
So now let’s discuss some conversion rate optimization best practices for improving headlines.
Best practices for using headlines to convert more visitors into sales or leads
First of all, don’t use SEO keyword stuffed, boring headlines like ‘Tampa Bay, Florida Law Firm’ or ‘Email Marketing Software’. These are written for search engines, not for visitors, and using them are a surefire way of boring your visitors and increasing your web page bounce rates and lowering conversion rates.
Instead, here are some headline best practices you should try using:
- Always mention your website offerings key benefits or unique value proposition in your headlines. This is one of the first things your key pages need to communicate, in particular, why you should use this website instead of a competitors. For example:
- Mention high usage numbers of your business to help build social proof, for example if you have high amount of clients, users, subscribers etc. Creating high levels of social proof is a simple way to increase conversion rates on your website - this is very powerful headline example:
- Test making the headline stand out more – increase the font size a bit, and add some spacing around it so that it gets noticed more. This increases the chances of your visitors seeing it and being engaged by it. Using well-styled and eye-catching font styles and colors can help this too. But don’t make it too overbearing though – testing is key for this, as we will discuss shortly.
- Try asking a question in your headline that relates to common visitor pain points. Asking questions like this will intrigue your visitors and capture their attention, and increase the chances of them reading the rest of your page and converting. Here is a good example of this:
- Use sub-headlines to support your main H1 headlines. Your headlines should be less than 10 words to make the short and snappy, but don’t worry, you can also use sub-headlines to support and clarify your main headline (as you can see with the example just shown). Making great use of sub-headlines is essential if you are really reluctant to change your H1 text.
- Try using short powerful elements of a testimonial as a headline. This not only is highly engaging but always helps to build social proof – that other people are loving your website, and increases the chances of them thinking positively of it too. To help inspire you, here is a good example of using a high-impact short testimonial as a headline:
- It’s key to put yourself in the shoes of your potential website visitors – and think whether your current or proposed headlines will engage them and make them want to read the rest of your website. So go ahead and do that right now to help your headline improving efforts.
And if you really are super-worried about changing your headlines too much and the impact on your search rankings, you can now use variations of your targeted keyword in H1 instead – recent Google semantic indexing makes this easier.
A/B test your proposed headline improvements – and Google won’t penalize you
Before trying improving your headlines, bear this in mind.
Don’t just guess at which headlines are going to convert best, and hope you know best. Remember it’s your visitors that will know best, so you need to test your headlines and see which converts them best.
Therefore, based on the best practices just mentioned, you need to come up with several headlines to test using an A/B testing tool. This will enable you to see which headlines versions increases clicks, and ultimately sales or leads on your website. Over 20% increase in clicks or conversions should be targeted for a good result – this will often turn into $100 or $1,000s of extra sales revenue for your website.
And there is still often debate to whether doing A/B testing impacts your search rankings negatively – many experts are now saying this has no impact on rankings, so you don’t have to worry about this. In fact Google are encouraging A/B testing to help improve user experience on websites!
So go ahead and use a low cost A/B testing tool like Visual Website Optimizer or Optimizely to create some headline tests. And if you are using Wordpress, you can even use this free headline test plugin.
And if you don’t have enough traffic to do A/B testing (which is at least 1,000 uniques per week for the page you want to test), you can try using Google Adwords to test your headline wording, and see which gets the most clicks there.
Go ahead and revisit your current usage of headlines on you or your client’s websites, particularly on key pages like your homepage and product/service pages. Make sure they aren’t written just for search engines, and then test improving them to be more visitor orientated and engaging. Your website visitors (and your boss) will quickly thank you for doing this improvement!
If you are looking for more conversion rate optimization ideas and help to further increase sales and leads on your website, you should consider my new conversion rate optimization course – featuring over 6 hours of video on topics like this and A/B testing, social proof, trust and security and using incentives.