That’s a good question.
SEO professionals always have optimization on their minds. Ensuring their websites, content, and blog posts are as optimized as possible is critical to their success.
And, we’ve known for a long time that blog titles are a key element of optimizing a blog post. Brian Dean even states that they’re the most important on-page SEO factor. They’re a ranking factor on their own, and in recent years, they’ve become important for other reasons.
If you’re an experienced SEO professional or SEO content writer, you already know the importance of creating engaging titles and meta descriptions for your blog posts. And if you aren’t, I’m going to explain why blog titles are really important.
What Makes a Blog Title SEO-Friendly?
There are a few things to consider when it comes to blog titles and SEO. The truth is that most of the things that made a blog title SEO-friendly before 2019 still work. Most notably:
- Keep titles under 60 characters
- Include your primary keyword in the title
- Write an engaging title that encourages searchers to click on your link in the Google results
A title that does all this is still likely to help you rank. The biggest difference now is that Google is looking beyond the title itself, and is now looking at the behavioral metrics it drives through RankBrain.
RankBrain helps Google determine which pages are the best to display in their search results, and it does that by seeing how users interact with your page and its metadata as it’s shown in search results. It’s critical your titles are optimized for this.
So, in 2019, do all of the things listed above, but also pay attention to the impact your titles have on Organic Clickthrough Rate (OCTR), Dwell Time, and Bounce Rate. If a title is underperforming, it’s time to test out a different title. Your titles need more than just keywords, they need to be optimized to improve these behavioral metrics..
What Makes an SEO Title Clickable?
Optimizing your title for your target keyword is great, but what makes a title more clickable? There is no magic answer to this question.
You need to focus on a strategy that mixes SEO-friendliness with curiosity, intrigue and a little emotion. The goal of your SEO title is to persuade a user into checking out your material. A good title will accomplish this by making a user curious and tapping into their emotions.
Keep in mind, your SEO title (meta title) can be different than the on-page title for your blog post.
So, what does a clickable SEO title look like?
- The message behind the title is based on the intent of the search term you’re targeting and optimized to appeal to users searching for it.
- It’s short. Long titles often get cut off by Google, making them less effective.
- It should include your main keyword if you want your content to show up on Google for specific keywords. However, keywords should be used naturally, and there’s nothing wrong with stop words like “in, an, it, etc.”
- The value proposition should be clear. If you’re solving a problem, try suggesting that your blog post has the answers they need. But, make sure your title accurately depicts the depth of your content or you might get a high bounce rate.
And be careful not to fall for this trap either.
If Google detects your title doesn’t represent the content properly, it’ll change it on its own. This is bad for SEO, and will often diminish the value of your post.
In the end, clickable titles are based on human psychology. If someone feels that a post can solve their problem, there is a good chance they will click on it to find the answers they are looking for. That’s why understanding searcher intent is critical to titles.
Keyword Focused Titles Alone Aren’t Enough
Human psychology plays a large part in whether someone clicks your link or not. I mentioned it above, but the power of curiosity should never be overlooked.
Think about it like this.
Most searches start when a potential customer has a problem. The first thing they’ll do is search for that problem using a keyword. In this scenario, let’s say they broke their glasses frame and want to piece them back together.
Logically, they type something like “fix broken glasses frame arm.” Here is a glimpse at the results:
So, which one do you choose? The video has a direct title and may be helpful because it’s visual, but the best and worst ways guide will show you several methods. As a reader, the extra choices draw you in.
The words you choose to accompany your keywords are important. Choose the wrong words, and you can waste a perfectly good blog post. In the above example, all of the titles focused on searcher intent in some form, which makes it more likely a searcher will click on their link.
Okay. What words are best?
There is no single answer to this question. You have to understand the type of content that you’re writing, and who you’re writing it for.
Are you writing a guide? Your title should suggest you have the solution.
Are you trying to inform your audience? Try establishing why your topic is urgent and worth reading.
When your title appears in Google results, as shown above, it’s really acting as a headline for your post. And if the idea of writing strong headlines makes you cry a little inside, don’t worry, this next section was written just for you.
Headline Enhancing Tools Exist – Use Them!
Even some of the best content writers struggle with headlines. If this sounds familiar, there are tools you can use to improve your headline game.
I like the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer because it breaks the anatomy of your headlines down like DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man.
I made this headline up, but you can see that it scored reasonably well. If we look deeper at this headline, we can see that it had a strong mix of emotional and power words.
The tool also looks at your title length when determining your score. This feature is great as you can identify when your titles that are too long.
For WordPress websites, I recommend checking out Yoast’s SEO plugin. The plugin will analyze your titles and posts for things like:
- Focus keywords
- SEO-friendly meta descriptions
- Proper length
- Keyword density
- Internal linking
And best of all, both of these tools are free. So, you have no reason not to use them when it comes to creating SEO-friendly blog titles.
SEO Titles Take Practice
At the end of the day, SEO titles aren’t rocket science. Know your keyword, the intent behind it, and write a title that your audience resonates with. That’s the key to any successful SEO content, not just titles.
Just remember, creating high-performing SEO titles requires proper keyword research, a certain understanding of human behavior, and probably a bit of testing.
And some days you may feel like this:
But if you keep writing, improving, and plan for the long haul, you’ll do just fine.