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Article Titles–The first 3 words count!
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Have you ever thought about how important your article titles are?

In your title your 3 objectives are: 

1) To convey what your article is about.

2) To capture a reader's attention, which will in turn inspire them to read your article.

3) To include your keywords.

But how to do you accomplish all 3 of these goals?

One tactic that works:

Pay special attention to the first 3 words of your title.

Remember, people are "reading on the run"–hopping from web page to web page, scanning lists of article titles and scanning search engine results.

Although your article title may be catchy or clever or funny, remember it's not a given that people have time to read long titles to get the gist of what your article is about. 

On top of that, search engines are looking at your title to try to decipher what your article is about, so you want to be sure that your title is descriptive, to the point, and accurately conveys to the search engines (and your readers) what's in store for them when they start reading your article.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't write longer, clever, funny or catchy titles–I love doing that, and I think it's a bit of an art form to write a creative title. 

But what I encourage you to do is to experiment with paying special attention to the first 3 words in your title, and be sure that those first 3 words say something that will let the reader know what the article is about. 

Here's an example from my own article submissions:

Article Marketing: How Small Business Owners Drive Traffic To Their Websites

Now, I could have used this title:

How Small Business Owners Drive Traffic To Their Websites With Article Marketing

But instead I chose to put my most important words at the beginning of the article–these are words that a potential customer might actually be typing into Google when they're doing a search to reach a site like mine. 

Bonus Tips:

Be sure that your title describes what your article is about.

It's fine to put your keywords in your title provided that your article is about the topic of your keywords.

Sometimes it may be tempting to squeeze your keywords into your title even when the article is not specifically about the topic of your keywords–RESIST! 

To be honest, that looks spammy, and it's something I hope you avoid doing! 

This means that if your keywords are "New Jersey Gyms", then if you want to include those words in your title, you need to provide information specific to New Jersey Gyms in the body of your article. If your article is just about gyms in general, then you wouldn't put anything about New Jersey in your title. 

Remember your human readers–your title can contain your keywords and still be creative and enticing.

Sometimes I see folks using the same titles over and over like this:

Article 1: Sailing Boats–Morocco

Article 2: Morocco–Sailing Boats

Article 3: Sailing Boats in Morocco

Article 4: Morocco's Sailing Boats

A bit repetitive and not that descriptive or exciting, right? We can do better than that!

Let's say your keywords are "Morocco's Sailing Boats", you can include those words in the title (and put them as the first 3 words), but you would also provide some more specific information as to what the article is about specifically.

(And remember, you can only include the word "Morocco" in your title if your article specifically deals with Morocco). 

So, we've got some very simple guidelines here–

1) Wisely choose the first 3 words of your title.

2) Be sure that your title conveys what your article is about.

3) Do NOT only put your keywords in your title–give more specific information in addition to your keywords, information that would entice readers to want to read your article.

Photo Credit:

Wooden Boat – Sailing – Port Townsend By tiarescott

Related Resources:

How To Appropriately Use Your Keywords In Your Article Titles

NOTE: Please be aware this content may now be outdated. For the latest quality content on how to build massive publicity for your website, please go to The vWriter Blog - Helping Businesses Grow Traffic, Build Engagement, and "Be Everywhere"

12 Responses to “Article Titles–The first 3 words count!”

  1. Tinu says:

    Great points, especially about not looking spammy. No one wants to read an article about spam, and if no one reads it, the best benefit of Article marketing is out of your reach.

  2. Dave says:

    Once again you have provided great information Steve. The best thing I ever did was join this site and the blog is better than a lot a coaching programs I have seen.


  3. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Tinu–so true. Yes, there’s no bigger turnoff than getting the feeling like the author is writing for the search engine robots exclusively (and not for human readers)!

  4. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thank you very much– I’m glad that you’re getting value out of the blog and are getting excellent results from

    Many thanks :-)

  5. Interesting post! It’s got outstanding tips to follow.
    I’ve experienced the same point about natural writing style. It works better. When I write about certain topics and have the keywords in my mind, but use synonymous words as well as the keywords themselves, I get better organic results. Search engines, specially Google, seems to understand and appreciate this.

  6. Fred says:

    Great examples! Although it sounds obvious, I know that I’ve forgotten this basic principle.

  7. Olivia says:

    I like to pay special attention to composing my title because I find that if I do it correctly then the article just seems to write itself.

    A person has such a tiny window to get someone’s attention and compel them to read further.

    Thanks for this important information.

  8. Ed Forteau says:

    I do this with almost all of my article, and they generally rank well in the search engines, and they also have a high click through rate.

  9. John Jenkins says:

    Good article, Steve. Can I use this (either in whole or part) in an email to my subscribers? Or would you prefer that I just put a link to the article in an email?

    Some of my folks are still struggling with the “keyword” thing, even though they’ve received a lot of material on the subject, and your articles are a lot more clear than my meager offerings!


  10. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks so much for asking–I turn most all of my blog posts into free reprint articles, so I’m including a link below to a free reprint article that I’ve written that would be along the same lines as this blog post:

    The RIGHT Way To Use Keywords In Your Article Submissions

    You’re more than welcome to use that free reprint article, and in case it is useful to you, here is my entire library of free articles and you can use whichever of these you like in your ezine.

    Or as an alternative, you could put a link to this post in an email.

    I hope that helps! :)

  11. Excellent point after working so hard on an article to overlooking something such as the title, which definitely will trigger a response from the reader to open your article!

  12. This gives good tips on grafting eye capturing titles for any article. Any way it requires practice, the more one writes so often, the more one becomes competent in writing excellent article titles.
    You are always one step ahead Steve!

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