SEO-friendly headlines

Do you want to learn how to write incredibly SEO-friendly headlines that can position your content for more than one keyword?

Are you struggling to create a headline that would explain the content’s topic to search engines better?

Including the target keyword in the headline is the most sure-fire way to ensure a content ranks well for that phrase. And for the most part, it’s not a difficult task. You either begin your headline with the keyword or weave it in naturally in the copy.

But how do you do it if you’d like to target two, or more, related keywords? Or if you want to include an extra key phrase to make the page’s topic clearer?

Do you just suck it up and include the main phrase only? Keyword stuff the headline like crazy? Sacrifice its readability to pack in more relevant terms?

Nope. Nuh-uh. No.

You absolutely don’t.

In this post, I’ll show you how I do it.

But let’s clear something up first…

Should You Even Be Optimizing Pages for Multiple Keywords?

You’ve, most likely, heard enough opinions on the matter for a lifetime.

Some SEOs follow the “one keyword per page” rule. Others claim you could include more than a single primary keyword.

I believe the latter is true too.

So, my answer is yes. Absolutely, positively, yes.

And for two reasons actually.

One, because using multiple keywords would help increase the search visibility.

Think about it, in some cases, your audience could be searching for information using different, and only partially related, terms. Sometimes they could use a product category when searching for a specific item.

Example, a tablet, and an iPad. To many people, these terms are synonymous. When speaking of one, they actually mean the other. Optimizing the page for both would increase its chances to reach those people too.

Another example, one of my favorite ones actually that Rand Fishkin shares in the video here. Sleeping pills and sleeping aids. He explains:

“A sleeping pill is […] probably the most popular search query around sleep aids. But I could have a page that is a sleep aids and sleeping pills page that makes sense together, where someone with the intent for one would want to find things that are on the other as well.”

Two, because additional phrases could help you define the page’s topic better.

And in doing so, ensure it ranks for the most relevant search queries.

This page illustrates this scenario well.

I’m sure you’ve already noticed that I don’t share advice on writing SEO-friendly headlines only. In fact, I focus on a more specific aspect of SEO copywriting:

How to include multiple keywords in the headline, title tag, etc.

And so, including two keywords in the headline – “SEO-friendly headlines” and “multiple keywords” – helps me make it more relevant to queries about this particular issue. See:

At the same time, I’m still positioning it for anyone searching for the main phrase (SEO-friendly headlines.) And in the process, ensure a greater reach.

However, for the multiple keyword strategies to work, your target phrases must meet two criteria:

#1. They must relate to, and ideally, match the same topic.

All examples above illustrate it well. The terms “iPad” and “Tablet” define a product and its category, respectively. So, do “sleeping pills” and “sleeping aids.” And the term “multiple keywords” defines the problem relating to “SEO-friendly headlines” better.

In short, these phrases relate to or define each other.

However, terms like “computer care” and “home improvement” do not. Optimizing a page for both would, most likely, make no sense. And that’s even if it’s on a website of a company offering both services. In such case, the logical step is to create two separate pages to rank in the search results.

#2. They must share a similar intent

Again, using our example keywords above, we can assume that anyone looking either for a “tablet” or “iPad” would have the same intent. It could be to learn more about the device they want to buy. Or simply, find the item they want to purchase.

But I’m sure you’ll agree that “computer care” and “home improvement” share a separate intent.

I’m assuming that whatever keywords you want to include in the headline pass the above criteria. So, here’s how to write it to target those multiple keywords at the same time.

My Two Methods to Writing SEO-Friendly Headlines with Multiple Keywords

Below are two headline formulas I use when writing SEO copy for my clients.

A quick note before we proceed. At first, these formulas will seem ideal for every blog post or other quality content you write. I know. I’ve used them so many times. And I got burnt by them more than once too.

You see, they don’t work for everything you write. And each has its limitations.

One often creates too long headlines. The other, depending on the topic, might result in an unnaturally-sounding copy.

So, use them only if it makes sense. But if it does, then I can assure you, they’ll rock your search results.

So, without any further ado.

Formula #1. The Double Headline

(Disclaimer: I discovered this formula in this Buffer’s post first.)

As the name suggests, this formula uses two headlines, each targeting a different keyword.

To make them work together, you separate each headline with a colon. Like this:

  • Buying an iPad: How to Choose the Right Tablet
  • Do Sleeping Pills Work: Using Sleeping Aids to Get Plenty of Rest at Last

Real-life examples:

SEO-friendly headline formula example

headline formula example

But, as I pointed out above, this formula often delivers long titles. Often, far exceeding the optimal length for a title-tag. If you typically clone headlines into the title tag, it will result in cut out search listing titles.

cut out search listing example

Is this a problem? Can be. So, you need to weight your options before deciding on writing such a headline.

On the other side, it can help position your content for far more keywords in the search results. For example, here are the top phrases the Buffer’s post above ranks for:

search rankings example

Formula #2. The Main Keyword at the Start, the Supporting One at the End

I used this formula to write this post’s headline. It starts with my primary phrase – “SEO-friendly headlines.” And I close it with the other – “multiple keywords.

Writing multi-keyword headlines this way allows you to use fewer words. As a result, you can write shorter headlines while optimizing them for more phrases.

The downside? You may find it difficult to create a headline that reads well.

For example, “How to Choose an iPad that’s the Right Tablet” sounds awful. No one speaks like that, right?

Even if you try tweaking it, the results still leave a lot to be desired:

  • Choosing an iPad as a tablet for a student.
  • How to choose an iPad to be the student’s tablet.

Sure, you can get the meaning behind those headlines. But they read well? Or natural? Nope.

Readability is this formula’s biggest limitation. It doesn’t always create a readable headline with your desired keywords.

When it does, however, it can help you make your page’s topic clearer. And increase search visibility as well.

Real-life examples:

headline formula example 2

headline formula example 3

Amazing, right?