The Pressure to Be Clever Is, Sadly, Off

I love a clever headline. Sadly, I’m better at enjoying them than I am at creating them but every now and then, genius strikes me and you can bet I want to headline it! Largely, though, it has worked in my favour that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) frowns on the pithy headline. The trade off? B-O-R-I-N-G!! I post every day to our law firm’s internal blog and what’s even more challenging than creating a clever title for a post is creating a clever title that is also clearly descriptive of the content. Mostly, the headlines run to the latter.

I saw a post today at Boing Boing that reflects my conflicting feelings about the sound advice that supports informative and descriptive headlines over witty ones. All well and good, but gee, I sure get a kick out of the headlines that make me smile or even laugh out loud!

Read Newspapers Search for Web Headline Magic (linked to from Boing Boing) at Cnet.


  1. Yes, I learned this from Sabrina Pacifici. When I write an article she tells me “remember the SEO” when I pick a title. My solution? If you can’t work the good keywords into the clever title, still use the clever title but add the descriptive stuff after a colon in a subtitle. Or vice versa, with the clever part afterward. Sadly that still means the pith is mithing. I mean, missing.

  2. One rule of thumb I use:

    – If it’s your own original thought, or a more substantive post, make the title short, keyword rich & accurate. If the content was meant to drive links, the SE placement will take care of itself.

    – If you’re linking to someone else’s original work, have fun & be original with your title. These types of relay posts (noting an interesting newspaper article found, for example) are for the benefit of your regular readers. Not for ranking in my books.