The internet’s most popularly used words that make headlines go viral

One effective method we can use to comprehend the characteristics of viral headlines on the internet is by observing the type of words that appear in the titles of contents at the top of search engines like Google which directs internet visitors to blogs, websites, or web pages that have very high volumes of traffic. The next thing to do is to try and figure out what has made such content to be so attractive to the internet audience. Although most readers’ attraction to titles and articles could depend a lot on their feelings, emotions, their level of interest and many other things which can’t be controlled, the following categories of specific words have been observed to be influential in making headlines go viral:

Words that “point” to a specific person, thought, or thing

Direct examples of such words include: “the”, “that”, “this”, and “a”. The attractive power of these words lies in how they “go straight to a particular target”. When you place those words (in combination with other words) in any headline, readers will be instantly directed towards forming a specific idea about how particular (the, a), how close (this), how far away (that), or how insignificant a person, thought or thing might be to them. In the course of searching the internet up to a point of getting attracted by a headline and reading through an article, a reader will clearly conceive what they are directed to think about in order to comprehend the content surrounding it.

Words that “refer” to something, a person, or a group of persons

Direct examples of such words include: “you”, “your” and “people”. I believe that the number one target of creating content is to give useful information to any reader (person, or persons). This indirectly explains why viral headlines have these particular words in them. The word “you” was once ranked as the fifth most used word on the internet, while “your” was once ranked as the seventeenth most used word. What does the popularity of these words mean? It means that their aim is tied to giving value to a reader, or many readers. A research that was carried out using different headline compositions observed that headlines consisting of these words (you, your, and people) were the most efficient.

Words that are used to ask for information about something

Direct examples of such words are: “why”, “where”, “what”, “which”, and “when”. One similar effect that these words create is that they arouse questions within readers’ minds, thus taking them directly towards specific things, and creating an expectation of clear meaning or explanation. It has been observed that by structuring headlines to appear as questions, click rates typically increase. An inquiry into “why”, “where”, etc, is attractive to readers because it creates the interest in them to acquire knowledge and cover up ground in areas where they are deficient: it makes readers to click on links having these words so that they will learn something new.


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