Traffic JamHere at Level343, we often talk about SEO; it’s what we do, after all. However, we often skip over things in an attempt to give you information on gaining traffic in a concise, clear manner. Today, we’re going to talk about the largest reason why businesses hire SEO providers.

So – why do businesses hire SEO providers? That answer, at least, should be fairly easy. You hire us for your SEO efforts to get traffic – and hasn’t traffic become the magic keyword? SEOs talk about it in blogs and articles; webmasters groan or grin about their traffic numbers. In fact, traffic has become such a catch phrase in the Internet world that we should probably start putting more emphasis on the word when we use it.

Traffic, with a capital T (flashing lights, glittering signs, fanfare).

– And what’s the biggest question for webmasters when it comes to Traffic? How do I get more of it?

Now, we push content, and we aren’t the only one. Who hasn’t heard “Content is King”? However, the truth of the matter, when you break it all down, is that it isn’t the content that draws website traffic.

The #1 traffic builder is HEADLINES.

Think about it:

  • When you’re looking through your email, what is it that makes you open something? The subject line – or headline.
  • When you’re reading the news, what draws your attention to a particular piece? The headline.
  • When you’re looking for articles or through a blog’s archives, what makes you click through? Everybody now, let’s say it together – the headline!

A single web page should give you at least four headline opportunities to grab a visitor’s interest.

  1. The meta title draws them into your website – How many times have you searched for something and seen “Home” in the search results – or even just the company name? What a wasted opportunity! Just think – the title of your page is the first introduction a visitor will have for your website. Do you really want the first thing they see to be “Home”?
  2. The page title draws them into your content – This is your real headline and, again (and sadly), most people leave that “Home” tag on there. If you’ve set your navigation display up right – such as having the current page lit up on the menu – people already know what page they’re on. The page title is an excellent opportunity to draw them into the content.
  3. The content titles draw them into the important points – For instance, your opening paragraph might be a “welcome to our website” type thing. If it is, good for you – but if that’s ALL it is, your content needs tweaking. Even a welcome should tie into your services, and once it does, talk about your services. When you talk about your services, place your content title.
  4. The call to action draws them to act: order, submit their email address, sign up for a newsletter. Because your website is there for a purpose, you should take your call to action headline into as much consideration as you would your meta title.

Hint: No headline is any more important, or less important, than another.

To help you visualize, below is a simplified breakdown of any webpage, article, blog, or any other piece of writing:

Writing Effective Headlines

Now that we’ve placed so much importance on headlines, it would be wrong of us to leave you dangling on the “how”. Instead, we’re leaving you with a wonderful resource (amazingly enough, it’s not us!): Robert Bly’s The Copywriter’s Handbook (yes, this is an Amazon affiliate link, but we actually own – and have read, reread and reread again – the book :) ).

His website, Bly.com, is a fascinating adventure into writing copy that sells, and the book is a treasure trove for old veterans, new writers and webmasters that want to write their own content.

In the meantime, we’ll leave you with the 4U’s formula, developed by Bly’s colleague, Michael Masterson.

Strong headlines contain these four components:

  1. Urgent – a reason to act now instead of later
  2. Unique – either saying something new, or saying something old in a new, fresh way
  3. Ultra-specific – sharing exactly what they’ll find when they read
  4. Useful – offering a benefit

With any headline you try to write, grade yourself on a scale of 1 – 4 (with 4 being the highest rating), on all four U’s. If it doesn’t rate a 3 or 4 on at least three of the U’s, rewrite until it does.

We’re always interested on how our readers are doing, so let us know how this works for you!