When Peter Merholz of Peterme.com first coined the term “blog” in 1999, as CNET reports, he probably did not know he was creating a name for a new writing platform, one that would have fingers in marketing and information technology. Whether it’s a personal blog, a business blog or a web-based journal article, Internet writing requires engaging titles that are designed to be read by computers, as well as humans.
Creating successful blog post titles is not really that hard as long as you follow a few simple rules:
- The first 50 Characters are what people will see in search results and in social media. Make them enticing enough to click on.
- Make the content readable instead of just s string of keywords.
- Make sure the title accurately represents the body of the blog post.
Understand Your Google
Let’s start with the computer side of things. A good clickable title starts by giving the reader the opportunity to click on it. The higher up on an Internet search the title appears, the more likely it is to be clicked. Since Google is the industry leader for Internet search, it is a good idea to understand what Google wants and how it uses data. Google changes its algorithm somewhere around 600 times a year, Moz reports, so keeping up with all of the fine points can be a headache.
You do not need to be an expert on SEO, but you do need to understand the basics. Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s search spam division, says the algorithm is designed to be natural to human speech, as Search Engine Land reports. So, good titles need to have more than just keywords strung together. If your article is about great movies, a good searchable title might be, “Top 10 Great Movies for a Wonderful Date Night.” Google will index the key terms, such as “Great Movies” and “Wonderful Date Night,” and it will match the whole sentence against search parameters.
Think Across Networks
You have done your homework to set up your web content with a web host such as Linux VPS hosting, and have it indexed on Google, but that’s not the only place the title will be seen. Facebook and LinkedIn are strong marketing networks, and each of them will display your title uniquely to a different audience. Facebook will display the title to people who have some knowledge of your genre. Because Facebook’s marketing is friends-driven, titles need to be edgy, funny or answer a question. The title should also be linked to a picture, since Facebook pulls photos from the content source.
LinkedIn has a different target audience, and your title needs to translate through it, as well. LinkedIn is a professional network, so wording that lends ethos is important. A title such as, “Best Sex Ever: A Doctor’s Advice,” works for both Facebook and LinkedIn, according to Elsevier.com.
Write Well, Of Course
From the days of Shakespeare to today, this piece of advice has not changed. Great content makes the reader search out the author. Your title holds the first words of your content. It needs to reflect and transmit what is to come. In an article for the Journal of English for Specific Purpose, researchers discuss findings showing the mismatch between the writer’s knowledge of their genre, and their perceived belief of what the audience wants. The best titles honestly and concisely tell the reader what comes next. Great writing makes them want to click again in the future.