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Web Headlines: Three Ways to Focus on the Front

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When you put the keywords in the first word or two of your Web headlines, you increase your chances of getting listed higher by search engines and helping readers figure out what your Web page is about. 3 ways to force topic words to the front are to make the topic phrase a kicker, use simple sentence structure and make the topic phrase a label head.

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Leading with the topic word in your Web headline is one way to get found and get clicked online. When you put the keywords in the first word or two of your Web head, you increase your chances of:

  • Getting listed higher by search engines.
  • Helping readers figure out what your Web page is about.

Here are three ways to force the topic words to the front:

1.  Make the topic phrase a kicker. For this approach, move the topic to the top as another layer of headline:

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2.  Use simple sentence structure. Use the subject-verb-object sentence structure to force the topic — the subject — to the top:

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3.  Make it a label head. I know. This one makes me feel squeamish, too. It probably works better on a basic Web content page than on a story or release:

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All of these approaches take work, and none is perfect. Play around with them until you find an approach that works for you.

What techniques do you use to force your topic words to the front of your Web heads?

Learn More

Would you like to learn more ways to improve your Web writing? If so, please join Ann Wylie in Orlando at the PRSA 2011 International Conference Pre-Conference workshop, Writing for Social Media: How to Write Blog Posts, Tweets and Status Updates That Reach Readers Online. In this program, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use the 70-20-10 rule for engaging your followers, plus other tips for making sure your status updates are welcomed guests, not intrusive pests.
  • Pass the “who cares?” test, and four other techniques for becoming a resource, and not a bore, on social media.
  • Get retweeted with five steps for expanding your influence and reach on Twitter.
  • Tweet like the FBI. Write dramatic, compelling status updates.

Ann Wylie is president of Wylie Communications, Inc., a writing, training and consulting firm. She works with communicators who want to reach more readers, and with organizations that want to get the word out. Wylie is the author of, a toolbox for writers, and Wylie’s Writing Tips, a free e-zine. She has earned more than 60 awards, including two IABC Gold Quills, for her work.

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Ann Wylie

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