While going through some of my hubs, I realized that most of them have numbers in the title - for example:
- 7 Ways to Gain More Followers on Instagram
- 50 Brilliant Life Hacks that Everyone should know
- 19 Easy Ways to Save Money
and so forth.
I was just wondering if using titles such as these is a good idea for bringing in traffic? Some of them do quite well, but then others I notice are struggling with traffic, so I can't really work out a pattern.
What do you think? What's your experience with this sort of thing? Thanks!
Think about how you would search if you wanted to know how to gain more followers on Instagram. Would you search for a number of ways? Or would you just type "how to gain more instagram followers"?
That's how I would try to title articles.
I agree with Relache. It was a big trend for those types of titles, but it is waning now. You might want to re-title them. Such as: "How to Gain More Followers on Instagram", then in your first text paragraph you can say "I have seven ways to tell you how to do this." It might help. In search I would not look for "7 ways". However, some articles do quite well with titles like you have. Another thought is "Gain More Followers on Instagram - here are 7 ways to do it" as a title.
E.g. If you search "how to make money online" and Google gives you the following 2 results:
1- How to make money online tips
2- 10 Ways to Make Money Online (The Reliable Ways)
Which one are you more likely to click on?
I'm guessing the 2nd one right? That's how it works with most people who search for stuff on Google. They love list type articles. It lets them know exactly what they're going to get.
List type posts also look great on sites like Pinterest. It gets people curious enough to at least click and scan through the list.
That's exactly that I'm thinking!
List-like articles always seemed more attractive - to me at least. Like you said, I'm more likely to click something that has a guaranteed number of tips/topics than one that has a very basic title. To me, the numbers make the article stand out more.
Thanks for your input!
I started using numbers and saw a big different from certain hubs. I changed one of my articles' titles from a 'list of' to '10 this', and it went from about 10 views a day to 100. Readers like easy to read, compartmentalized articles, I think.
Generally speaking, how-to and numbered lists do well. Period. That means, they are clicked on more often, and they are read more often, whether online or in print.
Do a search for your title here: numbers in the title - is that good for traffic? and read the results. You're on the right track. Of course, the topic of the list has to be something people are searching for -- which is probably why you have a mixed bag, with some doing very well and others not as well. And your info must be thorough and unique.
Regarding what the others are saying about it being outdated or google targeting numbers:
If your entire title and your article are well-worded for keywords and on a topic that people search for, then the numbered list or the how-to will be more likely to be clicked on. The number will not hurt your position in the rankings -- the other things I mentioned will, such as wrong topic or wrong keywords.
Google doesn't care about numbers in a title, unless a ton of scammers were suddenly putting numbers in in a way that scammed the whole system. Google is after scammers who get their site listed high, get people to click and then provide little to no actual information on the topic, just to get ad revenue or send the people to a referral site. Putting numbers in your title is never going to cause a problem with google as long as the other things I mentioned are in place.
Ajtyne This post is excellent, and I see you are new and an SEO specialist. You bring valuable knowledge to the site. Welcome.
It was trendy for a while to put numbers in titles but once that becomes passé, you may find it doesn't help at all.
Personally I think getting into that level of detail with SEO is almost always counterproductive over the long term because Google may eventually start thinking people doing what you are doing are trying to game the system, but its an interesting question.
I think perhaps titles which correspond precisely to search terms are not ideal, because neither Google nor actual searchers want to see a whole page full of results with the same title, and both probably want some small degree of diversity amongst the top results - and people did used to try to game the system with websites whose url was a precise search term but which had very little quality content. Perhaps a number is the smallest unit of text you can add to a search term and still make it appealing to readers to click through. So for the search term 'Easy Ways to Make Money', just adding a single character for the number 9 may make sense if you want that degree of SEO, but as I said you have to be very careful about writing for the Google algorithm because the only thing you can be certain about is that the algorithm will change.
When people do a search on Google I doubt that they will search for something like x amount of ways to do something... they will just search for how to do something...
But having an actual number may in the title may attract readers because it catches the eye.
During the apprentice program, Simone recommended that we use numbers. She said readers would see that it is a list, and would be easy to read. I haven't used this tip as much as I should, as WryLit also said that I should change my hub to a list when I asked her for a recommendation on the title.
Admittedly I wasn't in the apprentice program, but I had thoughts along the same line. Some of my articles with numbers do very well, but some others not so much. However I think this is because of the topics themselves, and not just the titles.
Thanks for your response!
WryLilt and Writer Fox seem to do well with numbers, Cardisa. WryLilt wants me to use numbers in her suggested title. I know another hubber who uses numbers and has a million views. Maybe you might do it in moderation. Then you are not gaming the system. I haven't used any numbers.
Correction - I believe the above mentioned writers only use numbers in moderation, and I did not mean to use names.
Just to re-iterate, its all about the keyword that you are going for. Some are more competitive than others. Your ##'s won't matter in terms of google ranking, but like ajtyne said, it might help with your Click Through Rate (CTR). When people see the google Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) they then choose which one to click out of the 12 that show. #1 has a 44% chance of a click based on its position. Then #2 is 12% and so on down the line.
There are other things that will help you, like also having an author page. Connect your Google+ account to your hubpages and you picture will show up next to the article...meaning you will stick out more.
I've been wondering if I should link my Google+ account to my hubs. It's just that I rarely am on Google+. Do you use this? Have you found positive results?
Absolutely...as long as it is an article that I want my face next to The other key is whether or not you would fit the profile of the writer. I have written on subjects that were gender specific and if someone saw that a guy wrote it, and not a girl, it would have negative impact. Therefore, I am selective.
But imagine, you are looking at the search results and each one is just a line of text.....except for yours which has a nice professional looking picture of you....I am sure you can see that this would automatically increase your click-through-rate.
Also, you do not need to be a Google+ person. Just set it up (there are lots of articles on how to) and within a week or two, all of your articles will have your Google+ picture next to it. You notice that it has updated when you see a large uptick in click-through.
Use Numbers in Moderation five, ten and hundred are typed more often.
It may not be useful for "SEO" purposes (i.e. it probably won't help your ranking and people probably aren't going to search for an exact number), but if your article does come in the search results then having that number may help draw a reader in and click on your article rather than another person's. Especially if that person is just looking for some quick tips, then something like "5 Easy Ways" may appeal to them.
I don't see why Google would think that including numbers isn't "human." It is common for magazine and newspaper articles to have headlines like this, because it appeals to humans.
I think what ajtyne said is spot on.
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