3 Keys to Writing Optimized Titles and Headers
Why Does Optimization Matter?
Search engine optimizers will tell you over and over that a well-optimized blog is the closest thing to a golden ticket for your website. Blogs are especially effective at driving traffic via organic searches. Fashion brands often take that advice to heart and start creating blog content with little to no strategy. And while the topics may be relevant to the audience, the optimization of those blog posts fall by the wayside. On paper, your blog posts appear to be underperforming.
This leaves business owners wondering if the time and effort spent on blogging was really worth it. This is too bad since the lack of results is really just due to a lack of strategy.
A key to getting real results is to write optimized titles and headers that will increase your rankings in search engines. Of course, the bulk content of your blog post is essential too. However, it’s the optimization of those titles and H1 tags that can make all the difference. These will really help drive qualified, organic traffic to your website.
Breaking Down Titles vs. H1 Tags
If you don’t have a content strategist helping out, the difference between titles and headers may be a little fuzzy. Let’s take a moment and break them down before diving into our three key strategies.
A title refers to the actual title of the blog post. This is the hook that will entice users to read the article. Within the context of search engine optimization, there are two types of titles: a page title and a title tag. In the conversation of titles versus headers, we’re referring to the page title. A title tag refers to the HTML element that introduces the topic of the blog post.
A header, on the other hand, is more like a guidepost inserted into the content of the blog post to help keep your readers on track in the case of a lengthy word count article. The optimization of headers also play a role in search engine ranking, so when we talk about inserting keywords into the content, we’re referring to both the page titles and the headers.
Here are the 3 keys to an optimized title and header:
Create Organic Keywords Mentions
While one of the first rules of on-page optimization tactics is to make sure you have keywords in your content, it starts a couple of steps before that.
Keywords or key phrases are the triggers that tell Google to show your post or page to a user. It’s always necessary to have a list of relevant and attainable keywords you want your website to rank for.
Keyword research can be daunting and time-consuming, but don’t let that hold you back. Find the words and phrases that resonate with your brand and use programs such as Moz or SEM Rush to determine their value and strength. A good rule of thumb is to make sure the keyword has more than ten monthly searches and low competition. If you’re trying to rank for the same fashion industry keyword that Vogue is, they will always rank higher than you because of their status in the industry.
Make a list of the keywords you have found to be valuable and look at the blog post titles and headers you’ve already written. First, try to find a way to insert one of your keywords into the title or header while sounding natural. If you cannot seem to find a natural place to work the keyword in, rewrite the title to accommodate the keyword.
But a word of caution here. Google will negatively rank your website for a tactic called keyword stuffing which involves adding multiple out of context keywords to your content. Often this appears as a list of keywords at the bottom of a page or even using the same word or phrase multiple times in the same sentence or phrase.
The best way to make sure keyword stuffing doesn’t happen is to read the blog title out loud once the keyword is in place. If it sounds conversational and natural, your keyword is safe.
Write Engaging, Descriptive Content
On the most basic level, blog posts should be engaging and enjoyable to read, a content strategy that should also carry over into the titles and headers of the post.
User experience is starting to become a very influential factor in Google’s ranking. In addition to good website design, engaging content is a sign of strategic user experience. Just like people make snap judgments about each other, that same psychological phenomenon also happens on a website. The blog post title may likely be the only words a target user reads on your site. You have to draw people in with just those few words to help establish their positive perception of your site.
A few simple tactics for writing engaging titles and headers include:
- Keep your titles to around 70 characters in length
- Promise your users valuable information
- Avoid clickbait titles
Optimize for Search and Social
Following the steps above you’ve now made sure your website is rank-worthy, but nowadays that can’t be the only focus of a content marketer. A well-optimized blog post title means the content written is also share-worthy. The lines between social media and search engine optimization are starting to blur, and most optimizers recognize the power of social media to drive traffic to websites.
If your focus is on both the blog post and the title, you’ll end up creating content that makes both Google and social media happy. When creating your multi-purpose blog post title, keep these best practice social media tips in mind:
- Keep your words short and direct
- Consider asking (or answering) a question
- Add numbers for a better click-through rate
- Colons or parentheses allow you to add more detail
If you take the time to create well-optimized, well-written blog post, do yourself a favor and develop well-written titles and headers to polish off your post.
A fourth, and perhaps most important, key in the discussion of optimizing blog posts is to know your audience. By understanding what inspires your target users, and why they’re following your website or social platform, you will start to create content that resonates. With just a bit of research and some strategic planning, you’ll be able to expand your blog viewership and create a helpful and well-performing platform.