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Why Your Blog Post Titles Need To Be Perfect
Blog post titles are a critical part of any blog post. They have to catch the attention of both your readers and of search engines.
I read a lot of blog posts. They pop up via my automated Google Alerts system, I see them shared on social media, and I publish a lot of them for my own clients.
"The one common thing I see is that all of them have interesting blog post titles!"
Apart from the obvious statements like don't swear, don't insult or provoke people in your titles (and the subsequent content) it's always useful to get some pointers on how to construct your blog post titles, so here we go:
For the reader ...
Straight away, if your blog post titles have a clear benefit to the reader, there's a better chance that they're going to click the link and read it.
Lists are always good so something like "Top 10 reasons why ..." is catchy. Fear is another great way to get attention so a title beginning with "You'll never succeed unless ..." or "If you don't stop doing ... immediately then ..." may frighten people into giving your blog post a read.
Asking questions is a very good idea too. "Are you thinking about ..." or "Why aren't you ..." works well, as does "How ... can help you to ..." or any other variation. Always make sure you end these with a question mark and don't just tail off.
Including words like "amazing", "awesome" and "brilliant" are liked by readers and on the other side of the coin, "shocking", "horrifying" and "heartbreaking" can also get click throughs, although you'd better deliver in the content if people are expecting to read something life changing.
Don't make your blog post titles too long as they'll split onto two lines when you share them with social media and will get cropped when submitted to search engines. Less that 50 characters is usual to ensure it looks right on most search and social platforms.
For Google (and other search engines) ...
Getting a blog post to rank highly in Google can be a challenge if you're writing about everyday subjects, but the start of a good ranking is to use the right key phrase. If you want to rank for a current news item then see what phrases the main news sites are including in their titles and put it close to the beginning of your blog post title, without damaging the readability of the title itself.
It's much harder to rank for a current event because all of the big news websites are publishing on that subject too and they have masses more domain authority than you every will. But for local news, or industry news where it's specialist websites you're in competition with, you'll have a better chance of ranking.
If you're in it for long term readership of your blog post (called long-tail - where you get small amounts of visitors over a longer period), then you can be more precise with the key phrases in your blog post titles.
The example of "HMRC" as a key phrase will be difficult to rank for if you're writing about a current news event but "HMRC Tax Investigations" will bring you more visitors over a longer period of time.
Like I said earlier, get your key phrase as close to the start of your blog post title without damaging the readability of it, and if you just can't cram it in there and make it work, try putting it right at the beginning and remember that the colon (:) is your friend!
I hope you've found this little guide to blog post titles useful. It's based on my own experiences from the 3,617 blog posts I've edited and published for my clients to date.
I track all their blog posts search engine positions on a regular basis and can say with complete clarity that if you get your blog post title right, you're well on the way to good click through rates from social and a good ranking in search.
Love, light and logic ...
PS ... If you're stuck for titles for your blog posts (and subsequently what you want to write about), here's a nifty little generator you may want to try. Enjoy! :) x
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About Steffi Lewis ...