Shakespeare famously wrote in Romeo and Juliet, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d.”
However, when it comes to giving your blog, blog post or any other facet of your website a title, we can’t listen to the bard. When coming up with a title, a rose has to be called a rose, or it most definitely will not smell as sweet.
If you are a company with a website, you want to do anything you can to increase the traffic it gets, as well as its search engine popularity. And, if you are in the business of link building, you likely know that the words, the actual text that you have on your website are what enable the search engines like Google to find your website. There’s anchor text to think of, and keywords and all of those other search engine optimization tactics to consider.*
But did you know that the name of your articles, blog posts, graphics and images are also a huge factor in drawing traffic to your site? Jon Ball just spoke about this concept during a webinar he gave for Search Engine Watch. (Listen to his webinar on “Penguin Proof Link Building Strategies” here.)
As Ball has also pointed out, blogging is a vital strategy for any online company to build a site’s online presence. For every relevant blog post, you will want to also brainstorm the best title for it. Why? It’s simple. If you name your graphic or blog post after a potential search phrase, you’ll increase the chances that page will climb in the search engine rank pages (SERP).
[box] What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose By any other word would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d.
-Romeo & Juliet
However, when it comes to websites your content titles really count. [/box]
Think of it this way….say you run a website that sells pediatric medical supplies, you’ll want to customize your titles to match what your customers will search for. So, when it’s late at night, a young mother with a feverish child is going to search for something like, “My kid is sick, what do I do?” The trick is to put yourself in the mind of your audience. When they search, what are the words they will type into the search engine. Thinking about your title, and then using those words is your best bet.
During the webinar, he explained the importance of titles when he recommended that you “agonize over titles.” I asked him to clarify what he meant by this… would a good blogger be looking the most creative, catchy title, or the most clever blog title, I wondered? It turns out that I was off on that assumption. Way off.
“Look at it this way,” Ball said. “We had someone write a blog post for one of our clients on how to travel with a pet, in this case it was a dog. She came up with this great title, it was a play on words… Roughing it with your dog, but she spelled roughing it r-u-f-f, you know. It’s adorable, right? But no one would ever find that blog post by searching for it. Those words are never going to get traffic to your site. That post needed to be called something very obvious that someone would type into a search engine… like, ‘How to Go Camping With Your Dog.’ Bloggers hate it when I say this, but you have to save the clever titles to use as your subtitles and use phrases that someone would actually search for as your title.”
Don’t Call it That! P1P Pointers on Picking the Best Titles
- Name your blog posts after search phrases
- Agonize over your title
- Make the title relevant to the audience
- Use the power of emotion, negative and positive
- Use lists and numbers.
- Save the creativity for your subtitles
Obviously, if you are an adept blogger, you are already blogging about things that are relevant to your audience. For any writer, that’s always rule number one. The same idea applies to deciding on a title. If you are a pet store owner, your blog post about the high cost of tropical fish should reflect that in a way that is relevant to your audience.
Likewise, you can use the power of emotionally charged words for your titles. “Why I HATE eating cat food” is going to get clicked before “The Disadvantages of Eating Cat Food” ever will. Using topic-based categories and coming up with lists work well, too. If you post about your favorite candy bars, try calling it something like “The 5 Best Candy Bars Ever” or “Ten Reasons Why You Should Never Eat Another Twix.” People like information that is broken up into bite-sized little pieces, and a title that promises them a list of the worst or best of a category will reel them in.
When deciding on a title for a blog, blog post, infographic or other element of your website, what you name it matters. By giving it a search phrase inspired title, really considering what you name it, making it relevant and using tricks like emotion or lists will help you get more visitors to your site.
*If you aren’t familiar with these phrases and are looking to increase site popularity by using these tactics, you can learn about terms like “anchor text” here.