How do you decide the title of your blog post? Is it carefully thought out and meticulously worded? Or do you just cobble together the first phrase which comes into your head?
The title of your blog post is at least as important as the content. How else will people AND search engines know if your article is worth reading?
Article titles work in various ways –
- they bring traffic to your blog from search engines through effective use of keywords
- they encourage people to read your blog because they promise important information
- they encourage people to read because they sound interesting or intriguing
However, those quirky, imaginative titles which get lots of clicks from Twitter, Facebook and other social media may not impress Google.
While your carefully researched, long-tail keyword, super-optimised headline might not be the catchy phrase which tempts the casual browser.
Choosing your style
Which do you go for and can you combine the two?
Firstly, consider the purpose of your blog. If SEO isn’t really part of your blogging strategy, then you can stop worrying about keywords and go for those catchy phrases. Beware of making it too obscure – the casual browser wants some idea of what they will get if they click onto your article.
However, if you do want your articles to bring visitors via search, then you need to look at keywords. Remember when choosing key phrases to target in your blog titles you are looking for “long tail keywords” – phrases which will bring small numbers but highly targeted visitors to your site. Keep your main keywords for your home page and your product/service pages.
Look at the popular marketing and technology blogs and you’ll see that 90% of their blog headlines take what I call the “Ronseal Approach” – it does what it says on the tin. Things like “10 ways to get more Facebook likes for your consulting business” or “How to manage your time spent on twitter”. The reason – it works. These titles generally include keywords but in a way that also appeals to casual browsers.
It’s good to talk directly to your potential reader so use “you” and “your” frequently and think about the problem you are solving for them or the ideas and inspiration they will get.
2 of the most popular articles from this blog are “Should you put your twitter feed on your website?” and “Writing great ecommerce product titles and descriptions“. Both bring traffic from search engines and are popular when shared on social media. These are “Ronseal” examples – straightforward headlines with keywords which tell readers which of their problems I can solve.
What if you’re looking to inspire visitors and showcase your work?
Let’s say you’re a wedding photographer blogging about a recent wedding. 3 possible headlines are:
- “John and Mary’s Wedding – December 2012”
- “A Winter wedding at Pemberley Hall”
- “Log fires and lilies – winter wedding at Pemberley Hall”
The first is just dull – and (unless you are John and Mary) unlikely to attract the casual browser.
The second works for search – couples considering a wedding at the venue may be keen to view photos taken of previous weddings.
The third adds enticing detail to the keywords and is still short enough to remain within the 70 or so characters Google uses.
So next time you get ready to hit “publish”, take a good look at your title and ensure it does justice to your article.