There are blogs that cover every subject, every industry, every topic, every second of every day. Some posts are very informative, rich with cutting edge knowledge and wisdom. Other posts, well, are not. The blog post’s title is the number one way that readers try to sort between the good, the bad, and the ugly. Writing a good post title is just as important as writing a good post. Most people will never even see the post unless they are interested in the title.
The Double Edged Keyword Sword
Keywords are both the savior and the bane of blog post titles. Yes, you want to include keywords in your titles so people can find your posts. But if your titles are keyword-rich and human-interest-poor then you’re not accomplishing much. People will find and promptly ignore your cleverly optimized titles. Here is an example of a well optimized title, the kind that I ignore every day:
A Direct Marketers Guide To Marketing In Marketable Markets
Sure it’s almost cute, and Google did love it enough to put it on the first page of recent search results for “branding” (no joke), but it says nothing. It’s an exercise in SEO content writing. If you’re a marketer, and I am, then you clearly identify this as SEO propaganda and you wouldn’t expect the content of the post to be any better. You don’t need to be an SEO consultant to realize that this wasn’t written for people. Sometimes I will click on these kinds of results just for fun, and usually I’m right and they are search engine bait. But occasionally they are a well written high quality post.
Removing The Shroud of Ambiguity
Some people think your post title should be as broad as possible so it will appeal to a larger audience. The exact opposite is true. You want your post title to be so specific that no one would click on it by accident and bounce off the post without reading because it’s not what they were looking for.
People aren’t interested in skillful SEO content writing, they looking for what peaks their curiosity or answers a question. Assuming you’re writing great posts, you need a title that is distinctive and interesting. Something that captures the core essence of your post or strums up interest for it. Reaching back to our example, a better post title might be:
Introducing Your Brand To A New Audience: A 5 Step Checklist
This title makes a lot more sense, it paints a clear picture of what the article is about, and I don’t feel like it’s written by an SEO plugin. I would click on this link right away in hope that the post was as intelligently written as the title.
Creativity vs. SEO
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the need to optimize keywords into a title. At the end of the day, good SEO consultants will tell you that the best case scenario is to have a brilliant, gripping, and interesting title that contains one of your prominent keywords. But often times people are left to choose between interesting and optimized.
I side with selecting the interesting title for one main reason. No one searches Google for blog posts that sound optimized, they look for ones that sound interesting. And often they will scroll through pages of optimized ambiguity looking for something interesting.
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