The Best Blog Post Titles are Short

Martin Short

No, no. Not Martin Short. Short, as in not very long.

Bloggers have been told for a long time that the longer and more detailed the title, the more likely it will be that people will click on them. We have seen quirky titles popping up for a long time and they definitely have an extra clickability factor to them that shorter blog post titles do not. However, the singular benefit does not compensate for the negatives associated with longer titles.

First, the shorter the title, them more search engine optimization clout it has. Google and Bing look to title tags as one of the most important onsite factors when determining rankings. It’s a mathematical scale – the longer the title, the less “juice” each individual word and character has when it comes to SEO.

Second, shorter titles are more likely to be shared on social media. Call it psychology, call it “too long to retweet” fear, call it whatever you want, the stats show that blog posts with longer titles get shared less often than shorter ones.

Finally, and this is arguably the most important thing to remember, shorter titles that get to the point are better for getting the focused reader. It’s true, longer titles are more likely to get clicked, but your real blog visitors are more interested in getting to the point and staying focused on their goals rather than getting to see how clever the blogger was in their posts. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be creative with your titles or that longer titles are against some arbitrary rule. It’s just that all too often bloggers will extend their titles because some blogging expert told them to get wacky. If you don’t need to get wacky, don’t do it.

You’re reading this post right now so something about the title compelled you to read further. That’s a good sign. If you can recognize the importance of having titles that get to the point, then you can appreciate the abilities that shorter titles have for SEO, sharing, and focused interaction.

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  1. I agree short is good – but because short tends to be more memorable. What is good is to aim for a memorable title, which may be long.

    For instance, in the UK, The Sun newspaper had a famous one-word headline during the Falklands War when a ship was sunk: “GOTCHA”. One word, easily memorable.

    But one of the most memorable Sun headlines was comparatively long, not short. This was a report of a soccer game between two Scottish teams – Celtic and Inverness Caledonian Thistle (known as “Cally”). Celtic were considered to be the better team, were higher up the league and were expected to win. But they did not win, in fact they lost badly.

    The resulting headline in The Sun read: “Super Cally Were Fantastic Celtic Were Atrocious” (say that with the film Mary Poppins in mind…!)

    True it is only seven words, but compared with most other Sun headlines it was very long…!

    Short is very good – but memorable is important too.

  2. For SEO purposes a page title (or blog post title) should be 70 characters or less including spaces. Anything longer than that and it gets cut off in the search engines. A shorter title makes it easier to share in social media as well and allows you to add some of your own thoughts when sharing, re-tweeting, etc.

  3. I completely agree though sometimes your title is the only way your reader sees your article, so making sure it captures the right words to grab attention and get the click from Social Media is important, it can be hard to compete with “review of product A” which is short but has so much competition it is hard to stand out against the other X,XXX number of titles doing the same thing.

  4. I don’t think the length is actually important, but rather what wording to use that attract people to click, read, share, like, spread and tweet is important.