writing headlines

How to Make Your Blog Article Titles More Search Engine Friendly

blog article titlesA mistake that I see a lot in business blogging is that the blog titles are not specific enough. When blog titles are too vague, not only do they not full tell the reader what the blog post is about, but the vague blog title makes it harder for your post to rank on search engines. Blog titles are just as important to the SEO mix as the content itself, the meta descriptions, tags, hyperlinking, photos etc. The titles are the first thing readers see (and may be the only thing they read) before deciding whether to read the post, so it needs to count.

The way to make your blog titles more search engine friendly is to make them more specific. More specific means that it ranks for a long-tailed keyword related to your industry instead of a generic keyword that's not necessarily related. To start, let's illustrate a blog title that's vague and not very search engine friendly:

Keeping a Business Calendar

It may seem specific and straightforward, but it's really not. What about keeping a business calendar? Is the post about how to keep one? Why we should keep one? What kind of business calendar? Weekly, monthly, yearly, insurance, finance, appointment? The questions can go on for a while. Utilizing these questions, here's how this title can be made more specific and more search engine friendly (each change is underlined):

  • Keeping a Weekly Business Calendar
  • Keeping a Weekly Business Insurance Calendar
  • How to Keep a Weekly Business Insurance Calendar
  • How to Keep a Weekly Business Insurance Calendar in 5 Steps
  • How to Keep a Weekly Business Insurance Calendar in 5 Simple Steps
Look at how specific the title is now! We did that by adding adjectives and other words to describe we are talking about. Not only are we clear on what exactly this blog post is about, but a reader would also know right away whether or not this is a blog post to read. If the reader needs help keeping an insurance business calendar, this might be a good one!
Also look at how many keywords this post could rank for now! In the original title, there were only two keywords: "keeping a business calendar" and "business calendar". However, this new one could rank for:
  • insurance business calendar
  • weekly insurance business calendar
  • how to keep a keep a weekly insurance business calendar
  • keeping a weekly insurance business calendar
  • keeping an insurance business calendar
Those may be very specific keywords that don't get a lot of traffic. BUT, the traffic that the blog post does get from those keywords will be high quality because that traffic will be finding exactly what they are looking for. That's the kind of traffic you want, since you'll be able to convert them into leads much more easily. It's also more search engine friendly, since this post is now able to rank for more keywords, and more specific keywords that don't have a lot of competition.
To make your blog article titles more search engine friendly, you need to get specific. A specific blog article title may be harder to come up with than a vague, so what you can do is start with the vague title and add in adjectives and other words where possible to make it more specific, just like we did in the example.
If you want more tips to improve your blog article titles, then check out our ultimate checklist to great blog article headlines. To download it, click the button below:


How to Blog: 6 Tips to Writing Great Blog Article Headlines

blog article headlinesThe headline, or your blog title, is the most important part of a blog post. It's the first thing that people read, and if it's not written well, it will be the only thing of yours that people read. On average, eight of 10 people will read the headline, but only two out of 10 will read the rest of the article. The headline may seem like the easiest part of the article, but it's also one of the aspects of blogging that has the most craft to it. There are many general rules and guidelines that should be followed when putting together your headline or blog title. Here are a few of them:

  1. Keep It Short - Six to ten words, or no more than 60 characters, is about the right length for a headline. This is just enough space to make it clear what the article is about, but isn't so long that your headline will turn people away instead of draw them into your article.
  2. Keep It Clear - Sometimes, it may be tempting to get creative with your headline by using a play on words or an idiom. Don't. A headline needs to make it clear and obvious to the reader of what the article is about. Getting too creative can get in the way of that.
  3. Use Strong Words - Blogussion has a fantastic list of words that will make your headline pop. Use them where appropriate. Another way to use strong words is to put the most important words at the beginning of the headline. So, instead of "A New Crisis About Salmon", do "Salmon Spawn New Crisis." Spawn is a very strong word there, and the new headline is a tad bit shorter than the old headline. It's crisp and clear.
  4. Capitalize, or Don't Capitalize - Some publications want their writers to capitalize the every word in the headline. Others say that you only need to capitalize the first word in a headline. You may have noticed that I capitalize every word. Traditional media outlets will only capitalize the first word. Whatever you choose to do, be consistent. If you do just the first word one time, and then do all the words the next, it looks like you don't know what you're doing. For more of the grammatical rules on headlines, check out this guide from Kansas University.
  5. Consider Keywords - This one applies more to web journalism and online blogging, but search engines like it when there are keywords in urls. If possible, include a keyword in your headline or blog title (but don't force it for the sake of SEO). For example, “Making $$” isn’t the same as “Making Money” or “Money Making”, two frequently searched for keywords. When was the last time you typed in $$ in a search engine to search for information on money or finances? This goes along with rule number two.
  6. Don't Forget the Subheading - If you feel that you need a longer headline, or really want to put a keyword up there, consider utilizing a subheading. A subheading is a quick 20-word summary about what your article is about. This should either go right after the headline, or should be included as the meta description for your post (more on meta descriptions in a later post). In journalism, a subheading is also called a deck head, summary line, or summary blurb.
Overall, take a little time to think about the headline. I would recommend writing the headline last, as that way it's easier to summarize your blog post into a headline, instead of starting with the headline and then framing your post around it.
If you want a little more help in writing a headline, then check out the ultimate checklist to writing great blog article headlines below: