I was recently presenting inbound marketing to a mid-market manufacturer when out of the blue, the VP of Marketing asked, “Is it important to optimize your blog titles?” What do you think I did next? You guessed it. I immediately etched a comment on my note pad….next Market One blog, “Is it important to optimize your blog titles?” So like the title says, is it important to optimize your blog titles? Many industry experts have varying opinions, but as for Market One, we believe it is very important and we are about to tell you why.
First, let’s be mindful that your blog is one the most critical aspects of your internet marketing activities and your blog title is one element of search engine optimization that deserves your attention. It drives your authority and ultimately, your ranking. If you are using any credible marketing automation platform with an integrated blog module, you’ve probably already experienced the red flag alerts driven from poor optimization.
So, what if you don’t optimize your titles? Will anyone find you? Will it get you a steady stream of traffic or will your site become buried in the proverbial archives?
As mentioned before, even the experts have differences of opinion on the topic.
The debate ranges from “Don’t post unless you're going to optimize your blog title”, to “Just create great content and you will rank naturally”.
Here is what we believe about the subject.
As you probably are aware, the search giant Google is constantly making changes to its algorithms—that unpublished secret sauce that keeps us SEM’ers constantly trying to figure out the how’s and what’s of search and rank.
Google’s newest algorithm aims to match the intent of the searcher (their search query), with the content that is most relevant. That means if someone types in “red rubber balls”, the algorithm will try to determine what you are looking for and match you with the most relevant, content rich sites.
That means if you’re a red rubber ball producer and you want your website to appear on the first page, you need to think about what your prospects would likely query in search, not just the one or two keywords you want to be ranked No. 1 for in Google. In addition, your site should be optimized with rich information on the subject and be offering powerful content for a surfer to download.
It’s important to mention that search behavior is rapidly changing as well. People are more likely to use natural language and even type questions (user intent), directly into the engines, rather than one or two words.
So we focus not on a few “magic” words, but on focused keyword phrases (sometimes called long tail phrases). For example, when preparing this post, we found that the question “Is it important to optimize your blog posts?” had a relatively good search volume and the difficulty to achieve SERP (page and rank performance), was medium. Because of this, we optimized this post title to the exact match phrase making it more likely to rank among the engines. In the end, it is as simple as serving up the blog title phrases and coinciding content that searchers are researching.
Before putting the title in place, we’ll also run it through a quick Google search to make sure there are not other articles with that same title or a title that’s too similar. That can make the post less effective and shows we’re not creating something as unique as we thought.
Here are three quick tips for writing headlines that show up in search results.
One of toughest tasks of us SEM’ers is to convince our client’s that it’s about education, not selling. That strategy died long ago. It was part of the interruption era.
Also, blog post optimization does not just happen over night. You need to continually monitor its performance and make adjustments or you risk drifting away from one of your primary goals. And on the subject of educational vs. selling content, does it mean you should skip the occasional post that directly relates to your products or services? Of course not. You should attempt the occasional post that is targeted to persuade your readers, but stay focused on content that they will enjoy when reading.
And finally, posts and titles should be timely, fun and something people will want to share.Think of Them As Calls to Action
Yes, you want your audience to actually read your posts, but what do you really want them to do? Consider budgeting for your product or service? Convince their senior leadership team of the need for it? Compare their options? Whatever it is, make it obvious in the title with clear, active language.Don’t Be Too Clever
A common mistake many content developers make is giving in to the temptation of being overly clever with blog titles and content. Remember, blog content and titles are not print ad campaigns where catchiness (I always wanted to use that word), is king. Retention will happen if you offer clear and concise information that helps your audience achieve their objective, not yours.
So in summary, it is important to optimize your blog posts and the content within and be always mindful of writing for your audience and not your products and services.
We would love to hear your feedback and insights. Please share with us in the comments below.