For good SEO, choose the right title.
As we all spend more time in social media, such as Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon or Sphinn, the ability to write catchy headlines becomes as important as it ever was. If someone skimming through a list of possible topics is intrigued by your headline, then they may dip in to find out what it’s all about. That’s why Brian Clark suggested you should be writing Magnetic Headlines. If you were using WordPress to write your blog, then you would presumably put that catchy headline in that field labelled Title. It all seems so easy, but in fact it’s a little too easy. In what follows to avoid confusion, we’ll call what appears in that WordPress Title field the Headline.
Although your Headline may be written to attract human beings, it may not work well in a search engine keyword ranking. Since the largest proportion of the traffic to your website will come via search engines, it may be worth using something that the search engine robots will find attractive. The problem is that WordPress uses the expression in that Title field in a number of different ways. It is of course used as the headline in the < H1 > heading for your blog. It is also used as the Title element in the head of your blog page. This is the text that appears in the bar across the top of the screen. If you have nominated Pretty Permalinks, then the WordPress will also use the same text to develop the URL for the post.
Creating Optimal Titles
This is where the dilemma arises. The Title in the head of the blog page is very important in search engine rankings. The URL may also have a slight effect on these rankings. Optimizing the text for search engine robots will likely produce something, which is not necessarily one of those Magnetic Headlines that was being suggested.
Luckily help is at hand from a variety of sources. For example, Stephan Spencer and his colleagues have developed SEO Title Tag 2.1.3, which allows you to specify a Title for the blog post, which can be different from the headline. A more complete solution is provided by the All in One SEO Pack PlugIn from Uberdose. This not only allows an independent title but also has a number of other useful features. Even used ‘out of the box’ with default settings the PlugIn will achieve a good part of what is needed to optimize your blog posts for the Search Engines. Katy Castro has a good description of how to use it.
Getting the Meta Description Right
An equally important element in getting search engine traffic to your blog post is the text in the Meta Description for the blog post. The All in One SEO Pack allows you to prepare a separate description for each page. If you don’t, the default is that it will take the first 155 or so characters from the start of the post and use that. That avoids a problem Google has in indexing blog posts that all have the same Meta Description. Checking your website with the Google Webmaster Tools website will tell you whether duplicate descriptions is a problem for your blog.
By writing the most engaging description of your blog post in 155 or less characters, you increase the chance that this is what Google will show in its search engine report pages (SERPs). Most such snippets are a jumble of words that Google selects to try to show that its selection may be relevant to the keyword search. A well-crafted sentence will encourage many more visitors to click through to your blog post.
Although the Keywords MetaTag is of limited value nowadays, the plug-in does allow you to specify what keywords are most appropriate. Again if you do not specify keywords, the plug-in will select keywords by default from either the categories or from any tags that post may have.
The URL Of The Blog Post
A secondary factor in the optimization of the blog post is the URL for the blog post. Selecting the Pretty Permalinks option is one important step here for a WordPress blog. Unfortunately as mentioned above, this is again derived from the Headline of the blog post. You will find the text used in the Post Slug element in the right hand column of the Edit screen. It is derived by taking the Headline of the Post, putting all letters in lower case and adding hyphens between the words. This is not something where the All in One SEO Pack PlugIn helps. However as the WordPress Codex recommends, if you want to create a more memorable URL, then you can create such a one using lower case words and hyphens. Often taking the Title you have derived for the All in One SEO Pack PlugIn and converting it will be a good way to go.
Users of the All in One SEO Pack PlugIn are effusive in their praise of how well it works, even using it ‘out of the box’. If at least for your more worthy blog posts, you go the extra mile by crafting individual entries for the PlugIn, then you will see a significant increase in your visitor traffic. If you want to see how such a post appears, you can check this post. The headline was of course, Headlines Are For Humans, Titles Are For Robots. However in the Title bar at the top of the screen, note the Title of the post, Write SEO Titles For High Rankings. A version of that also appears in the URL. Check the description by viewing the source code. It’s all extra effort but a very good use of your time.