Build Your Blog: Titles and Tags
And we're back! This time we're going to talk about how to title and tag your blog so it gets effective search engine traffic. In the last post we talked about building your blog: how to select a theme that will gain readers and a design that promotes your theme. Now, we discuss content.
As I mentioned last time, as far as content is concerned, you want to have a focus. No one wants to read about how your day was or how long the line at the post office was. You need to write what you know and be a resource for that subject. People should be able to say in one sentence what your blog is about. What are your thoughts on this Rob?
It ultimately boils down to style. Each person has an attribute to bring to their blog posts. It could be wit, humor, knowledge, reference or a variety of other things. Just find your personal style and stick with it. Couple that with focus and you could have a winning blog on your hands. But back to this post's focus: Will, what would you say is THE most important part of a blog in regards to generating search engine traffic?
Well Rob, if I could pick one major thing it would be the title of the blog post. Your title needs to be informative as well as contain popular keywords that pertain to your subject. Having a catchy title is great but without important keywords it’s never going to be found on Google. The best way to discover what the keywords are for your subject is to use a keyword search tool like this: http://tools.seobook.com/keyword-tools/seobook/
. All you have to do is enter a term relating to your subject and it will tell you know how many searches those keywords get searched for daily. This is a great way to discover hot and popular keywords to put in the title of your blog post.
Bookmarked! I'll definitely start using that link. Now, we're not advocating that you deceive your blog readers with misleading titles. That won't get you anywhere in the long run. But if you're writing a blog on the current economic situation don't title it "Pinching Pennies from Paycheck to Paycheck." Avoid the alliteration (ahem) and call it something like "What is wrong with the American Economy?" Think about what terms people would use if they were searching for information that your blog contains. Use Will's link and see what the most popular terms are for that subject (note: this IS the internet so the top terms will mostly likely be porn or sex related -- welcome to the world wide web). Always be mindful of how your blog post will result in a good, searchable title.
Good point Rob. Thanks for clarifying that for me. Let me also say that one of the reasons the title of the post is so important is because a lot of blog engines will take the title of the page and put it in the URL -- all important things if you want to be search engine friendly. Some blog engines like Wordpress will allow you to change the URL to whatever you want. This can be useful when you are trying to target certain keywords.
Sooner or later you'll get hit by the bolt of inspiration and think, "why not plug every searchable term I can think of into the title?" Well, you're not the first or the last person who has thought of this. There are two reasons not to do this. First, search engines cut off your title length between 60 to 70 characters. So if your blog title goes past that character limit, the search engines will only pick up what came before the cutoff. Second (and most important), the more terms you use in your title the more it weakens your keyword density. Keyword density is the number of times a term or phrase appears on the webpage or post. If you really want your blog to rank high for the phrase "greatest blog ever" then try and stick to that phrase for your title. If you call it "The Greatest and Best Blog in All of the Known Universe" you now introduce additional terms that will reduce the keyword density for your phrase.
Now for tags. Tags are basically the keywords of the post. When you use tags blog engines will put your tags into the metadata as keywords so Google can easily index them. That and it helps add keyword density and makes your post easily searchable on your own site.
Maybe your post didn't talk about some key terms that are very closely related and you'd like to show up in searches for those terms -- put them in the tags. Try and think of phrases that people will be searching for. If they're strong phrases tag them as one phrase (meaning don't separate them with commas). Personally I like to tag my title and variations of my title. For instance, if my title is "What is Wrong with the American Economy?" then I'll probably tag items like "American economy," "what is wrong," "wrong," and "economy." If someone searches for your exact phrase (for instance, "American economy") you'll rank higher than if you tag the words separately ("American" and "economy"). Conversely, if someone only searches for one word in your phrase the search may not show at all. It's always helpful to make tags that keep both those things in mind.
So I think you get the point, let’s finish up by talking a bit more about keyword density. If you want a page to rank well for a specific keyword make sure that the keyword is prominent on the page. You can figure out the keyword density by using tools like SEO Quake which is a Firefox plugin or by using a website like this one. http://www.seochat.com/seo-tools/keyword-density/
And the more you get to know about keywords density or post optimization the more useful links there are to help you out. For now, just focus on good, readable content topped with your unique style. As always, if you have questions for Will or I just ask us in the comments sections. We’ll be sure to answer promptly. See you next time!