How to write an effective blog post title

How to write an effective blog post titleWhat’s the difference between an effective blog post title that gets you found online and those that don’t?  Are the people you’re trying to reach simply not reading your brilliant writing?  Authoring a great article takes a lot of time and effort, but the titling portion doesn’t have to.  If you follow these easy steps, you’ll quickly learn how to write an effective blog post title.

First, though –

What is not an effective blog post title?

What is not an effective blog post title?Check out the latest contents of Reader’s Digest magazine.

This could have easily been any other magazine, but this particular cover illustrates a great point.  The third title down is called “5 Good Habits That Backfire.”  Using a title like this on a magazine cover makes a ton of sense.  Why?  If you see this magazine on a shelf, that title grabs your attention, right?   You might ask yourself, “What habits do I have that backfire?”  Witty titles, clever tiles, and puns work great for print-based materials.

But,

Magazine titles don’t work in blogs

The goal with our blog posts is to get found, not to grab attention of a person already looking at our site.  This, of course, assumes you’re not the Drudge Report, Lifehacker, etc. and already have tens of thousands of visitors coming to you already.

Is a user of Google ever going to search for, “5 Good Habits That Backfire?”  Let’s check.  Going to Google, and typing, “Good Habits” will yield the following auto-complete suggestions:

  • Good habits to form
  • Good habits quotes
  • Good habits app
  • Good habits to start

Nowhere do we see “5 Good Habits That Backfire.”  Why is that?

People want answers to their questions

They’re searching for solutions to their problems.  Very few – if any – people are searching for “5 Good Habits That Backfire.” As you can see from the auto-complete suggestions, people would rather find the positive aspects of forming habits.

So let’s use the title of this blog post you’re reading now as an example.  Its premise is to show you how to write an effective blog post title.  So, if you Google, “How to write an effective blog post title,” this article will come up.  Why?  Google is looking for an answer to your specific question.

So, once we think of a question someone might have for us, the second step is to –

Use Long-Tail titles as the answers

As opposed to titling this article, “Effective Blog,” “Blog Post,” or “Post Title” as an example, the more specific the title, the more we can capture the magic keywords.  Keywords are what Google algorithms use to gauge the accuracy of the answer to the question the person is searching.

The long-tail description comes into play when we hit the three or more word mark. This is important because two title keywords like, “Effective Blog” are much, much more competitive than longer keywords.  Case in point:

  • “Effective blog” = 106,000,000 results (a hundred and six million!)
  • “How to write an effective blog post title” = 28,800,000 results

So, with a few more words, we’ve eliminated 75% of the competition. Given, the blog/search engine space is incredibly saturated, so almost 30 million results is still a huge pool from which to draw.

For the third and last step,

Have the URL reflect those keywords

The URL for this particular page is –

http://www.spencerXsmith.com/how-write-effective-blog-post-title

When you use Google, it will remove any pronouns and articles.  The search will ignore the “to” and “an” and look for the words, “How Write Effective Blog Post Title.”This is important because the Google, “snippet” (the short summary you see in Google searches) will show the URL as well as the title. This will give your possible visitor an idea of what to expect if he or she clicks on the link to read your article.

With a few small tweaks to the articles you’re publishing, you’ll see an increased response in web traffic from the visitors you’d like. Are you currently using these ideas in your writing?  If so, what results have you experienced?

Spencer X Smith

Spencer helps you save time through teaching digital marketing and social media strategies in plain English, after proving they actually work for himself first. He also is an instructor at the University of Wisconsin and a columnist for InBusiness.

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