Headlines: 7 Phrases That Got Massive Views in 2020

Image for postPhoto by Andrew Neel from Pexels

Writing a good headline that grabs readers’ attention is challenging, nevertheless, this does not mean you should fall for the temptation of using clickbait, as this will do you more harm than good in the long run. Rather, you can get more views by incorporating into your headlines, phrases that people often used when searching for content online.

In this article, we will examine 7 title phrases that got massive views in 2020, based on data released by Google and YouTube.

The “beginner” title

The YouTube trends eport published in December 2020 revealed that videos with variations of “beginner” in the title earned more than 7 billion views globally, with a 50% increase in average daily views since March 15, 2020.

Headlines with the “beginner” phrase provide clarity as to who the target audience is, which is why it gets massive views.

If you are creating content that targets new users, you should consider incorporating the phrase beginner in your title as this will increase your article SEO ranking on Google and get more clicks.

The “how-to” title

Image for postSource: YouTube, Getting through 2020 | Ask How #WithMe

This title phrase is no brainer, as most content creator knows that “how-to” titles do get massive clicks because it seeks to proffer answers to readers’ questions or satisfy their curiosity. Here is an interesting insight from Google:

Image for postSource: GoogleImage for postSource: Google

You probably have noticed that content that teach new things and solves problems often use the title phrase “how to”.

A recent video released by YouTube: “Getting through 2020″ shows that more people come to YouTube to ask questions or learn new things and that such searches mostly start with the words “ how-to”. This is how YouTube puts it in their own words:

When 2020 left us all with questions, millions of you came to YouTube to ask, “how?” How to stay safe. How to work from home. How to learn new things, love new things, and grieve for the things we’d lost.

“Dad, how do I?” Is one of the YouTube channels that grew at a rapid rate in 2020, gaining over 2 million subscribers in a space of 8 months. The channel makes “how-to” videos that answer’s common questions kids often ask their dad.

Without a doubt titles with “how-to” phrases get massive clicks, after all, we are all looking for some answers.

Another success story of massive views from “how-to” phrases on headlines is that of Shelby Church’s article she wrote on Medium in April 2020. The article was titled “This Is How Much YouTube Paid Me for My 1,000,000 Viewed Video on YouTube”. Looking at her 2020 earning report, the article gained 1 million views and made a whopping $19,531.72 on Medium.

I am sure that most people who saw and clicked on the article were curious to find out how much money she made, how she did it, and how they can also replicate the same result. That’s the kind of curiosity “how-to” title phrases and other variations of “how-to” create on headlines.

The “vs” title

I did a search on YouTube for videos with “vs” phrases on their titles, and here is the screenshot:

Image for postSource: YouTube

This shows that videos with the “vs’ tiles phrases got lots of views in 2020. Imagine you typed in this question Google “ What is the best camera for vlogging”, and you got these answers

Image for postSource: Google

  1. Canon EOS M50
  2. Canon EOS M50 vs Sony A6400

Which of the above answers will you click first and why? If your answer is number 2, then am such you got the point.

The “why” title

Titles with “why” phrases got lots of views in 2020. According to Google, the word ‘why?’ dominated the 2020 Google Year in Search.

The “don’t” title

Image for postSource: Nick Wignall

This article, written by Nick Wignall in April 2020 got over 457 responses and 87,000 claps. You could see how Nick Wignall intelligently phrased the headline with “don’t”, to raise curiosity and get views.

Have you seen one of those ads that say “don’t click this”? Did you click it or not?. I am sure most people who see such ads mostly click them. This is called reverse psychology, a subtle way to get people to do things by telling them not to.

“Don’t” title phrases also creates some level of “fear” and “curiosity” that persuade readers to click, which is why it gets massive views when used smartly on headlines.

The “name” title

This is a piggyback strategy that leverages a famous person’s name to tell a story, this works even better when the person is famous.


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The “number” title

The number 7 and the last on the list is the “number” title phrase.

Moz.com researched to determine the most effective headline among five high-level headline types Normal, Question, How to, Number, and Reader-Addressing. This is what the found:

Image for postSource: Moz

36% of readers preferred the same headlines when it was phrased with a number. Using Numbers in title phrases tends to provide a promise of something specific and it is easy for people to read through.

Going back to the Psychologist page Nick Wignall on Medium, I found that most of his articles with number phrases have lots of engagement. in fact, I think 90% of his titles use numbers.

Image for postSource: Nick Wignall

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel like if a Psychologist is using lots of Numbers on his headlines and he is getting lots of views, it might be a good idea to try. Maybe he knows something about numbers and the human mind.

There you have it, seven phrases that got massive views in 2020.

Finally, I have a question for you, which of these phrases are you going to start using more frequently to get more views?

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