Serious bloggers put a lot of thought into writing catchy blog titles. Plenty of articles have been written to help you do just that; however, most of them use a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
Even this article from Hubspot simply recommends that you “try” to optimize your blog titles for search and social.
The reason that the author put the emphasis on “try” is that it is not easy to optimize a title for your blog for all of the places your title will be seen. Let me explain.
It is so important that you should do more than just “try” to optimize your titles.
You must optimize your blog post titles for multiple display locations. Doing so will get more click-throughs, guaranteed.
That is why we decided to write this guide–to show you exactly how to optimize your blog titles to get maximum clicks.
Are you ready to get started? Good! But first, let’s talk about the different display locations.
Where Will Your Blog Title Be Seen?
This is very important that you understand this, so pay close attention!
In almost all cases, the blog title field in your theme is automatically used in several places:
- Throughout your website, such as your blog archive page, your site map, your menus, and perhaps even your popular posts widget,
- In Google’s search results pages
- In social shares to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
While this is by design to make it easy for new bloggers, advanced bloggers know that this is not optimal.
Think about it: A blog title that “works” to earn a click in Google’s search results is not necessarily going to be the same as what will earn clicks on social.
Even more, what works to earn a click on Facebook is not necessarily going to be the same as what will earn clicks on Twitter or Pinterest.
In this post, I am going to show you exactly:
How to optimize
- How To Optimize Your Blog Titles For Your Website
- How To Optimize Your Blog Titles For Search
- How To Optimize Your Blog Titles For Social Sharing
Are you excited yet? Good! Let’s start with your website.
How To Optimize Your Blog Title For Your Website
As we mentioned above, in addition to being seen on the actual page, your blog title will be seen in other places on your website:
- Archive pages
- Page title
- Menus or article lists
- Popular posts widgets
That is why you want to take the time to craft a title that will accomplish two things:
- Help your visitor understand what the blog post is going to be about
- Entice them to click through to read it
After all, why bother writing posts at all unless people are reading them, right?
The blog title for your article will be written in WordPress at the top of your post.
By default, your blog title will also be used as the title tag in the code of your page, likely with your brand name appended to the end.
Now, normally, this title would also be the one that shows up in search.
However, I am going to show you how to override this in the next section. That means that you do not need to be restricted to keeping it under 60 characters–the recommended limit so that it does not get cut off in the search results.
You should still strive to keep your titles short and sweet, but you don’t have to worry about a character limit.
So what makes a good blog title? A good blog title is written for your reader. It should be:
Pro Tip: Speaking directly to the reader by using words like “you” and “your” in your blog titles can help make them more personal and pique curiosity.
Of course, you should also make sure that your title is closely aligned with the topic of your blog.
For example, if your blog is targeting a niche of cat lovers, then a blog post about packing tips for your next trip isn’t going to do well no matter how clever your title. Keep it relevant!
While there are certain words and phrases that can help draw people in and entice a click, such as “how to,” these words should only be used if you are in fact going to show someone how to do something.
It is important that your blog titles let your visitors know what to expect when they click through to read your article.
For example, if you use the word template in the title of your blog post, your visitors will probably be expecting a free download.
We also recommend you should avoid the temptation to write “click-bait” type headlines. Sure, gimmicky headlines like “We Optimized Our Blog Titles And You Won’t Believe What Happened Next” might get more clicks, but it comes at an expense.
Headlines like these generally don’t deliver on the promise that they are making (in this case, that you are going to be totally wowed at our incredible discovery), so they leave the visitor feeling unsatisfied. If they leave unsatisfied, they are less likely to click next time.
How To Optimize Your Blog Titles For Search
When you are writing a blog post, you should always keep the search engines in mind. That is why it is important to do a little keyword research before getting started.
After all, the whole purpose of your title tag when it comes to Search is:
- To help rank well for your keywords
- To entice clicks.
However, even though you should keep the search engines in mind, you should be writing for the person searching, not for the search engines.
Pro Tip: A good blog title is written for your reader while keeping the search engines in mind.
Using Yoast, you can optimize your blog post title for Search. It will automatically create your blog post title, something like this…
You can edit your settings in Yoast to get a “title template” such as the one above, or, you can type directly in the SEO title box. If you use the title template, your title will likely be the same as the title of your blog post, with your brand name appended to the end.
Let me explain what I mean.
First, navigate to the Edit Post section of your dashboard and scroll down to the custom fields that look like the image above. Do you see the purple “tags” that say Title, Page, Separator, and Site Title? This is what I mean by the “title template.”
When you click on the title, notice how you can edit this. You also have several suggestions about character count. This is where the magic really happens when optimizing your titles for Search.
The other option is to leave the default settings. They are located by navigating to the Dashboard > SEO > Search Appearance > Content Types > Posts. We need to stress here that if you rely on these defaults, you are missing the point of this article.
Defaults are not optimized, so do not rely on them.
We are going to take it one step further and optimize your title for Search because what gets more click-throughs in the search results is different than what works on the page. You can do this by simply typing over the template tags.
Do you notice the changes I made? Instead of “How To” I wanted to say “Learn How To” and I decided to capitalize the words OPTIMIZE and MAX to help make the title stand out. I shortened Maximum to MAX to stay within the character limit, and I appended our Social Warfare name to the end for branding.
Including your brand name in your title is a good idea for Search. People searching for a particular topic might see your brand name several times before they actually click it; however, it is generally not used on your page or on social.
It is important to note that Google uses your CTR (click-through rate) as a ranking factor to decide if your website is relevant for a specific keyword. If your CTR is too low, it could hurt your position in Search. If it is high, it can help you rank better. That is one of the reasons that it is so important to optimize your blog titles for search.
Of course, clicks aren’t the only ranking factor to consider. Having a lot of clicks that bounce is not good either.
That is why it is important to consider the intent of the person searching and then craft your titles accordingly for the page.
For example, a blogger who is trying to drive more traffic to their website might search for “writing blog titles that get clicked,” in which case a “Learn How To Optimize Your Blog Titles For Max Clicks” title is likely to meet their needs.
How To Optimize Your Blog Titles For Social Sharing
One of the main differences in seeing a blog post shared on social is that the viewer is often not seeking it out.
In other words, they aren’t already on your website and they aren’t searching for something. Additionally, there is a lot of noise on social media that you are competing against.
So, how do you stand out?
You need to find ways to grab attention in the social stream. You can do this by:
- Using catchy adjectives and action verbs
- Including numbers (lists)
- Asking questions
- Adding clever hashtags and emojis
- Creating a call to action
If you are using our social sharing plugin, Social Warfare – Pro, you can make sure your content is shared exactly the way you want it to be shared by customizing the Open Graph Title and Description. You can customize it separately for:
- Facebook / LinkedIn / Any other sites using Open Graph for link previews
In this case, I want to create a call to action by inviting my audience to “Click To Learn How To Optimize Your Titles For Max Clicks.”
For my article “How To Create A ‘Best Food Blog’ In 2019 +BONUS Food Emoji Cheatsheet!” I wanted to get an emoji in the title.
With Social Warfare – Pro, not only are you able to optimize your titles for social, but you’re also able to optimize the content that is displayed to include things like:
- @mention your username on Twitter or Pinterest
All of this increases reach and engagement on social media. And, increased reach and engagement is going to lead to increased click-through traffic!
Don’t make the mistake of just writing your title once and calling it a day. Use the methods and tools we discussed to optimize your blog titles for maximum clicks and engagement, which will generate more traffic to your website.