How To Write Great SEO Headlines – Put Yourself In Their Shoes


Today I am going to show you a simple trick that can help you create perfect SEO based headlines for your articles, blogs and publications.

When I was younger, I used to go fishing a lot with my dad, and one of the skills that great fisherman seemed to possess was the ability to know where the fish were likely to be. This was something that always impressed me, it was almost like they were inside the minds of the fish… and whilst I never did manage to master the arts of angling, I did seem to transfer this technique to the Internet.

Here is what you do:

1) Decide the core message you are about to write

2) Put yourself into the shoes of a Google searcher who is looking for that message

Let’s presume we are writing about SEO headlines. As an author, I may be tempted to create a headline like “Killer SEO Headlines“.

But who is going to type that into Google?

So I could be more specific and write: “How You Can Write Great SEO Headlines

Sounds like a decent headline… right?… wrong!

You see, nobody is going to go to Google and write in second person. Remember, you need to get inside their mind, what would they write?

They would put the focus on themselves, e.g “How Can I Write Great SEO Headlines“.

Notice how I used “I” instead of “you”.

A safer bet is to simply be non-specific: “How To Write Great SEO Headlines”. In this example I used “to” instead of “I” or “You”.

So next time you are writing a headline with the aim of getting good Google rankings, go to first, and type whatever you think will get the best results, then, simply use that as your headline. Simple!


PS: This technique doesn’t always work… I recall 5 years ago I was in Manchester airport with some friends, and we were lost and looking for “Gate H”, one of my friends turned to me and said: “Dean, if you were Gate H, where would you be?” ;-)

  • Stephen

    Very interesting.

    I often make the mistake of not putting myself in the shoes of the searcher, and I will start using this technique to improve my rankings.



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  • Matthew

    Just out of interest, if you do a Google search for:

    ‘Dean, if you were Gate H, where would you be?’

    Then your site is now top, which might be useful, closely followed by a site with this headline:

    When the gate drops the bullshit stops!

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  • Dean Hunt

    I am now number 1 for

    “How to write great SEO headlines”

    Which is kinda cool, considering I have done zero link building to this post, and only published it a couple of hours ago.

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  • http://www, Thomas Gray

    lol Dean, you and your SEO :P

    I swear I almost got annoyed when I saw the headline of this post. I though “Oh noes! Dean has gone all money making tip giving eugh on us… – I only told him I hated stuff like this not 2 weeks ago! Grrr….”

    But then I read it and saw it was decent advice, that has proven (by your above comment) to be decent.

    /end short pointless story of my life.

    /Start actual comment.

    Ahh good tips Deano…

    Keep em` comin!

    /End actual comment

    /Start musing

    Don’t you just hate it when people natter on for absoloutely no ****ing reason?

    /End musing


    //End Comment

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  • Pugsley – More Conversions

    Great advice, seems to me that sometimes it is the simplest little piece of advice that can mean the difference whether you are successful or you fail.
    Just by changing a word in this case could make that difference. Thanks a bunch


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  • Sandrine

    Thanks once again for the great tips Dean! And congratulations for becoming #1 on Google so quickly. This really proves how your techniques can do wonders when applied correctly. I will certainly take your suggestion into consideration when writing my next article titles.

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  • Robert

    …or you can also do a keyword (keyphrase) research and find out exactly what people use to search in search engines.

    Great article. Thanks.

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  • Franchise Whale

    Hey Dean,

    Glad I am not alone. This one is sticky not worthy. I have a reminder to review the title before I publish.

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  • Suleman

    The cat in the picture is as good as the advice. =]

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  • Jan Alvin

    Nice tips there! I would be dropin here from now on.

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  • Joel McLaughlin

    Nicely written and great points. Something to definitely take in to consideration

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  • Dare

    Just to let you know this is no longer true…probably everyone knows this. Most searchers adapted and are writing in second person now when searching.

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  • Richard Cummings

    We think alike…I wrote about this recently too. Creating great headlines is a combination of making something “interesting” but containing the search keywords that people actually use!
    .-= Richard Cummings´s last blog ..SEO: Creative Keyword Strategies =-.

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  • Mark Johnson

    Thanks for the great post. I think good page titles are the most important aspect of SEO – a good title can improve your click through rate, get you more traffic and boost your rankings to boot. Great tips!
    .-= Mark Johnson´s last blog engine optimisation leicester =-.

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  • Arti

    seoI aggree with author many spam comments here…

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  • Boxing Equipment Suppliers

    Nice tips.

    Its all about reading the searchers mind.

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  • steve

    Good article. I found it interesting, though, that the headline you suggested in the article is not the one you chose to use. And, yet, yours is one of the top links in my Google search.

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  • fun things to do

    Thanks for the information, will definitely use it when writing articles.

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  • guest

    good article

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