How to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

How to Optimize Content for Both Search and Social (Plus, a Headline Hack that Strikes the Balance)

Reader Comments (16)

  1. Great article Andy! It made for a really fascinating read.

    I couldn’t agree more about the inclusion of numbers. Over the last year or so, I have introduced more and more numbers into my blog post headlines, and have seen some really positive increases in both read and comment figures. It seems ‘list’ focused content is something that really appears to readers, especially when clicking through from social channels.

    A quick question. How vital do you think the supporting social post, say tweet, is to the click through? Are people more likely to click through because of a catchy, clean looking tweet with a smart image the article link? Or will they look more at the headline of the article itself and be drawn in that way?

    • I think the image can have a big impact on CTR in social streams. It’s super important. Partly because the image itself is always clickable. An attention-grabbing image can “slow the scroll” of the person in social media. Without it, you’re at a huge disadvantage …does that answer your question?

      Thanks for the note, Callum!

  2. Hey Andy,

    It’s always been a challenge to optimize the blog posts for both social media and search engine.

    The guide consisting the basic steps of adding the keywords in the headline, meta description, the first paragraph is always there.

    But I like the point you have mentioned to use the unexpected words and numbers.

    People always like to explore the content which has the hidden tips in a larger amount.

    The promise you make in your headline should be delivered.


    • Hi, Ravi.

      I know SEOs who would argue that numbers and unexpected words impact search rankings, even if they have nothing to do with the keyphrase.

      If the post has a high clickthrough rate from a search results page (possible because of the number/unexpected word) then it’s sending a strong “user interaction signal” to Google. This is evidence to the search engine that it’s a good piece, which could help the rankings the next time someone searches.

      There’s a debate about the effect of CTR on search rankings, but there is no debate about the effect of CTR on traffic! And the goal of SEO isn’t rankings, it’s traffic.

  3. Hi Andi,
    Thank you for the article. Much of this was review but I got some new tips as well. I especially enjoyed the tip about using the colon. Thank you for the headline template.

    • I’m glad you liked this one, Janice. Yes, the colon is a great way to work in a second headline, or a second element to the headline.

      Short headlines often work well, but I once saw research showing that double headlines get a higher clickthrough rate. It makes sense because there are two chances to catch the readers attention.

      Colons, paragraphs, dashes and elipses. All of those can work!

  4. Dear Andy,

    You gave me a lot to think about in your article. I read it shortly before I updated a blog post about my reading challenge, which didn’t get a lot of shares. I used the headline formula and the semantic SEO. I’ll make the changes in some of my older posts and I’ll use the information in new posts. Thank you!

  5. Trying to do the search part of search and social. When I type a keyword into my google search bar, once in a while it tells me how many results there are, but usually it doesn’t. It happens on my iPad, Mac and iPhone. I use safari on all. I’ve cleared history, caches and cookies.
    Can anyone help me?

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about the number of search results. Sometimes it’s a bazillion! Other times is half a bazillion. But this number doesn’t have a big impact on your chance of ranking or your ability to write something great.

      There is an art to evaluating the competition for a given phrase. The key is to understand your “Domain Authority” which is a metric created by Moz. It emulates part of Google’s own algorithm.

      Here’s the important piece: If you Domain Authority is in the same range as the other pages that rank high for that phrase, you should have a chance …even if there are a bazillion total pages that rank for the phrase!

  6. Terrific article and quite timely, as we discussed this very topic at our weekly meeting today.

    Thanks for helpful points to share with the team!

  7. Great post Andy. Sometimes one tend to forget that Search is another language than Social but they have to work hand in hand to be successful.
    This quote says it all, in my opinion:
    “Articles don’t get shared, only headlines do”

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