HubSpot’s Title Research [Cheat Sheet and Summary]

Table of Contents

Are blog titles important? Yes. Blog titles need to be captivating enough for a user to open and optimized for SEO so a user can find them when they Google a keyword. They should not include words associated with clickbait as more and more users are avoiding those blogs. Research proves that certain words in blogs positively or negatively impact click-through rate, engagement, and conversion rate.  

Renowned marketing expert, HubSpot, released research on the effectiveness of certain words in blog titles. They teamed up with Outbrain and analyzed how words in blog titles impact click through rate, engagement, and conversion rate. The in-depth research, filled with statistics and data, is 28 pages long. We realize you may have little time to go through it all, so we composed a quick blog title research overview of the words analyzed and their effect on users, plus a summary of our findings. 

image of the back of a man looking at a board full of notes representing Soulheart's blog on Title Research.

Title Effectiveness Cheat Sheet


  • Click Through Rate (CTR): This refers to the amount of opens a blog gets.
  • Engagement: This refers to how long a user stays on a blog and visits other pages on the blog’s website.
  • Conversion Rate (CVR): This refers to the number of actions taken because of a blog (contact, purchases, downloads, etc.).
Increases ⬆️Decreases ⬇️
Bracketed clarifications CTR, Engagement, CVR
PhotoCTR, Engagement
Reader references (you, you’re, your)CTCTR, Engagement, CVR
Urgent words (need, now)CVR (need)CTR, Engagement
Positive superlatives (best, always)CTR, Engagement
Negative superlatives (worst, never)Engagement
EasyCTR, Engagement
How toCTR, Engagement
CreditCTR, Engagement
CureCTR, Engagement
MagicCTR, Engagement
FreeCTR, Engagement
SimpleCTR, Engagement
TipCTR, Engagement
TrickCTR, Engagement, CVR
SecretCTR, Engagement

Takeaways from the Title Research

We noticed that there are words that have a positive or negative impact on all blogging metrics, and some words that have mixed impact. We also saw that there wasn’t as much research done on conversion rates as the other metrics.

Consistent Impact on Metrics

  • Bracketed Clarifications: this refers to a part of a blog title in brackets that lets readers know what they’ll find inside (example: this blog’s bracketed clarification is “cheat sheet and summary”). Research shows that bracketed clarifications increase click through rate, engagement, and conversion rate.
    • Takeaway: use bracketed clarifications in titles as much as you can.
  • Reader references: words like “you,” “you’re,” and “your” decrease click through rate, engagement, and conversation rate.
    • Takeaway: try not to ever use these in titles. 
  • Trick: this word decreases click through rate, engagement, and conversion rate.
    • Takeaway: try not to ever use this word in titles. 

Mixed Impact on Metrics

  • Amazing: this word decreases click through rate but increases engagement. That means using “amazing” in a blog may deter readers, but readers who do open the blog are more likely to be engaged.
    • Takeaway: use this word if you’re aiming for engagement, not a high click through rate. 
  • Need: this word decreases click through rate and engagement, but increases conversions. It could be that this word comes off as pushy to readers who don’t need your services, but enticing to those who do.
    • Takeaway: use this word if you’re focusing on converting readers, not click-through rates and engagement. This word is presumably efficient for sales copy and landing pages. 
Image of a yound woman intentently looking at her laptop representing the fact that Soulheart has already done the blog title research that you need to do before crafting your own titles.

Summary and Key Findings from the Title Research

HubSpot and Outbrain provided more than just a list of words and their impact on metrics. They dove deep into the psychology behind how these words affect users in today’s age, and other important factors to keep in mind about blog titles. Here’s our summary.

Effects of the Click Bait Era

“Clickbait” refers to an attention-grabbing, but misleading title. The purpose of clickbait is to get high click-through rates. However, once the user opens the blog and realizes the title has little to do with the content, he or she quickly exits.

Over the years, the internet has been saturated with clickbait titles. Naturally, users have familiarized themselves with typical clickbait titles to avoid wasting their time. More than likely, the words that have low click through rates, engagement, and/or conversion rates are now associated with clickbait tactics. 

It’s important to note that what’s considered a clickbait title will change over time. Marketers have to stay updated on what new words are being used by clickbaiters and stay away from them because more users will distrust them and not open their blogs. 

It’s also essential that your blogs do not use clickbait tactics. As one quote from the study puts it, “… it’s more important than ever to write a headline that delivers on its promise … When she clicks on a link, you’ve got to be sure she’s getting what she expected and not being duped in some sort of digital shell game. Once you lose that trust, it’s gone.”

Titles and SEO

Another reason not to use clickbait tactics in your blogs is that Google is getting smarter and stricter. If you’re pumping out clickbait material and promising content in your titles that your blogs aren’t providing, your search engine rankings will be negatively impacted. 
Speaking of SEO, while it can be tempting to have clever blog titles, titles need to be optimized for search engines first and foremost. This means focusing on keywords that your audience is searching for in your titles. Bloggers know that, unfortunately, focusing on keywords in titles means their creativity is restricted. But optimizing blog titles is how websites get found. You can and should still have captivating titles, but not at the expense of SEO.

Lastly, the blog title research shows that the length of your blog title is an important factor in SEO. It’s recommended that blogs are no more than 60 characters. HubSpot and Outbrains’ research shows that titles 21 – 40 characters long have high engagement rates, specifically pageviews per session. Conversion rates are also highest in blogs with shorter titles.

Dive Deeper into Metrics

As you figure out your goals for blogs, you’ll need a solid understanding of what the different metrics mean. Our glossary above our cheatsheet provides quick definitions, but let’s go into each metric more in-depth.

Click Through Rates

Click through rates refer to how many users click open your blog. This is the easiest metric to understand. Click through rates consider: 

  • Clicks / opens
  • Unique vistors (reach)


Engagement goes beyond click through rates; it’s about what a user does after they click on your blog. Do they actually read all of it? Do they visit other pages of your website? This metric is all about what the user consumes after clicking open the blog. It considers: 

  • Pageviews per session
  • Social shares, likes, and comments
  • Time on site
  • Bounce rates
  • Return visits


A conversion is getting your reader to take a specific action. This is done through a call-to-action (CTA) which is usually a button at the bottom of the blog. Some blogs incorporate the CTA as a banner above the blog, midway through the blog with a special design to make it stand out, or as a popup.. Examples of conversions on blogs include: 

  • Contacting
  • Purchases / donations
  • Downloads
  • Sign ups
  • Subscriptions

Work with Soulheart for Your Blog Strategy

Maybe you want to increase engagement through your blogs or want to focus on blogs that convert your website visitors to customers. Whatever your goal is, you need a strategy. When you work with a digital marketing agency like Soulheart, you aren’t just going to receive SEO blogs. You’ll work with experts who will create a strategy specific to your business or nonprofit’s goals.

Contact us today to talk more about content strategy and how your blogs can help you meet your company or organization’s goals!

HubSpot’s Title Research FAQs

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Claudia Macdonald

Claudia is a content writing specialist at Soulheart. After graduating from Arizona State University, she started her career in copywriting and content production. She’s written for and managed content departments of digital marketing and creative agencies, specifically in the nonprofit sector for many years. She enjoys using her copywriting skills to help meet marketing goals. Besides her passion for writing, Claudia loves Jesus, people, and stories.
Picture of Claudia Macdonald
Post by

Claudia Macdonald

Claudia is a content writing specialist at Soulheart. After graduating from Arizona State University, she started her career in copywriting and content production. She’s written for and managed content departments of digital marketing and creative agencies, specifically in the nonprofit sector for many years. She enjoys using her copywriting skills to help meet marketing goals. Besides her passion for writing, Claudia loves Jesus, people, and stories.

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