If you’re a business owner or blogger, you likely know how important it is to have at least a basic knowledge of SEO. Without properly using SEO within your blogs, it can be very difficult for your content to be found in the search results and for your website to get the traffic it otherwise could. And when it comes to the search results, there is arguably one aspect of the SERP that most entices readers to click on your link: the title.
When creating a blog, it makes sense to spend a large portion of time writing your content. But your content creation shouldn’t stop once the body copy is written. The more SEO-based aspects of your blogs should also be given your time and attention in order for you to find the success you want with your content. So to help make this success more of a reality, here are three SEO-related reasons you should be spending more time on the titles of your blogs.
Increase Your CTR
Like was mentioned above, the title that’s shown in the SERPS can be a big help or hindrance for getting people to follow your link. In fact, Aleh Barysevich, a contributor to Search Engine Journal, shares that a well written title tag is a good determiner for having a strong click-through rate. Knowing this, if you want to encourage more people to click on the link to your blog that they find in the search results, it’s a good idea to put a decent amount of time and energy into crafting a quality blog title.
Get Those Keywords
While keywords definitely don’t have the clout that they once carried in SEO, it’s still important to include relevant keywords in your content, especially if you’re hoping to rank for a specific keyword or phrase. This is where thinking hard about your title can be helpful. Lindsay Kolowich, a contributor to HubSpot.com, writes that attempting to place one of your keywords toward the beginning of your title can help to show how relevant your content piece is for the topic in which you’re discussing. Keep in mind, though, that it’s really the general topic and focus of your piece that gives your blog relevance, not just plugging in a keyword in the title.
Making Friends With Search Engines
According to Hari Narayan, a contributor to ShoutMeLoud.com, there are certain types of blog titles that search engines seem to like more than others. These are called “SEO friendly titles.” Narayan writes that these types of titles usually contain a number in the title, like you would find in a blog that shares some kind of list. While this isn’t a hard and fast rule, it may be something to consider if you haven’t had previous success with your blogs.
By taking the time necessary to write a quality blog title, you have a much better chance at using your SEO to your advantage. Consider the tips mentioned above to help you get there.
You should always hire a search engine optimization (SEO) guru or agency, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the basics yourself. In fact, there are many aspects to SEO which you or your web designer can manage yourself. However, since SEO is a fluid field that’s always changing, this means keeping up with trends, updates and best practices. Are you really up for the job?
Just take a look at the history of SEO updates reported by Moz and it’s easy to see how “playing nicely” can be a challenge. However, some of the basics never change. Here’s why you need to know basic SEO, how to get started, and the easiest avenues for improving your rankings:
1. (Quality) content will always be king
The bread and butter of SEO always has been and always will be high quality, organic content. This can be in the form of a blog post that’s rich with SEO keywords (but not stuffed), a video with SEO descriptions, or an infographic that’s shareable. Whoever’s in charge of creating content for your site and social media presence, make sure they’re a professional writer and know which key themes and words to pepper in (and at what density).
2. Manage your local SEO (LSEO) well
Local and hyperlocal SEO is becoming more and more prevalent. Although advances in technology are changing LSEO as reported by Forbes, this doesn’t mean you can’t keep pace. However, it is a warning that you need to prioritize making sure your contact information, address and the like are correct on every platform from Google+ to Yelp. By ensuring your local information is correct, that boosts your results (and helps visitors find you).
3. Avoid black hat tactics
There are a number of “black hat” tricks and tactics which aren’t just poor SEO, but also “illegal.” Of course, since it’s not your job to know SEO, you might make one of these mistakes by accident. Recently, MediaPost reported on black hat tricks still being used from keyword stuffing to linking to spammy sites. If you don’t know what not to do, you might make a blunder and get penalized from Google. Remember that once you get slapped with a Google penalty, it’s tough to get back in their good graces.
4. Make easy updates yourself
If you didn’t know that every URL was an opportunity for SEO or that you should be monitoring your inbound links to make sure they’re high quality, you’re engaging in poor SEO tactics and don’t even know it. A lot of the bad practices are easy to avoid but require some self-education. If you’re in charge of maintaining your website, knowing the basics means you can maximize your SEO efforts without actually making any further efforts.
5. You won’t get taken advantage of
Not all SEO firms are created equally, and the smarmy ones can make a quick buck from taking advantage of people. All SEO agencies know that the vast majority of businesses have no idea what PPC ads are, white hat tricks or what their analytics mean. They can either use this to their advantage or be responsible, ethical, and help educate their clients. If you do a little self-training in SEO yourself, you’re armed with information to not become a victim of shoddy business practices.
Guest Post: I would like to introduce Larry Alton. Larry is a current columnist for a variety of different publications, including Entrepreneur.com, SearchEngineJournal.com, MarketingTechBlog.com, Tech.co and The Washington Times. And now, us!
He’s written a great post that answers questions you didn’t know to ask about hiring a Social Media Manager, and how to tell the difference between somebody who is simply”on” social media and someone who actually can manage “your” social media.
Thanks for a great post, Larry. MP
The 5 Biggest Differences Between Social Media Management and “Being On” Social Media
It sounds like a dream come true: You’re getting paid to be on social media all day. While some older generations might scoff at the title “social media manager,” it’s actually a very real, very challenging and ultimately very rewarding career that few people are capable of doing well. Thinking SM management is easy and always fun is like thinking being a bartender is easy and fun—after all, you’re getting paid to party, right? What SM management may look like to outsiders is nothing like the reality.
How do you know if someone really is a good social media manager, or just thinks they are? There are some clues to watch out for. If you’re hiring someone to manage your social media, don’t go with the first applicant you get—dig a little deeper. And if you’re the one wanting to segue into SM management? It’s going to take more than being a pro at Instagram.
1. SM managers know analytics
Not only do genuine SM managers know analytics, but they know how to explain the data in laymen’s terms. Ideally, you’re getting a rundown of your SM statistics once a week (more if you like or if you’re business is experiencing fast growth). How can you tell if someone is delivering with their SM management skills? The numbers will tell you.
2. They create unique approaches for each client
Take a look at other sites and businesses the applicant has managed SM for. Is it obvious all the posts were written by the same person and it doesn’t seem customized to each client? That’s a sign that they’re not “managing” these sites, but simply using their own voice and comfort fields to bring in some extra revenue. You shouldn’t be able to tell the same person is posting for different clients.
3. They have an impressive and lengthy portfolio
Everyone has to start somewhere, but do you really want to be the guinea pig for a newbie SM manager? Ideally their portfolio is online, on their website, and it’s clear that SM management is their specialty (not just one of the many things they offer). While technically anyone could put together (or even fake) a SM portfolio, that’s a rarity. If an applicant doesn’t have a portfolio for you to peruse, they either don’t take their job seriously or are too green to have one.
4. They give you a free consult
If you’re specifically looking for someone to manage certain social media platforms, that’s one thing. However, every professional SM manager should offer a free consultation that includes their ideas on the best platforms for your business. There’s so much more out there than just Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. It’s a sign of a pro if they do their research before getting hungry to start posting.
5. Their personal socialmedia pages are moderately active
It’s a huge red flag if you “stalk” your candidates online and find that their personal page has posts every 10 seconds. However, if you’re found their SM Manager professional page, that’s different. Just bear in mind that if they have time to be posting non-stop and collect friends like Pokemon, they might be bordering on SM addict and may not give your SM the attention it deserves. Moderation is key.
When hiring a SM manager, rely on someone with a proven track record who knows their numbers and how to translate them to you. They respect your time and your reputation. That’s the mark of a pro.