June 17, 2015

Catchy versus search-friendly titles in blog posts

It is always good to give catchy, attractive titles to posts. However, such titles often do not suite the purpose of search engine optimization (SEO). You should therefore write an attractive title for visitors while composing another title for search engines. The second one has to be matter-of-fact and search engine friendly in terms of keywords. Due to this, this title is most often boring to read, and so should not be seen by visitors.

If you think this duplicating of titles is a bad practice, let's assure you that this is a legal trick, and in fact encouraged by Google and Wordpress, the two blogging platforms that account for over 80% of all blogs.

We’d discuss how to apply two titles to Blogger and Wordpress blogs. If you have an independent blog that you tweak through some other CMS or by yourself, you need to change meta tags [In that case you already know more than us ;) ]

Post heading and permalink in Blogger

Blogger gives an easy option to implement a post title different from that seen by visitors.

Do this small experiment: Compose a post in your blog, and in the post editing window, type the following title for the post: Ladies, learn to make a rocking beauty blog in ten minutes. look for 'Permalink' in the right column. Click on it and you get two options: 'Automatic Permalink' and 'Custom Permalink'.

Blogger's post editor
Look at the URL of the post against Automatic Permalink; you’ll see an automatically created URL for your post consisting of the following: blog name, month and number of post and the title of the post. In this example, the title of the post comes like this: ladies-learn-to-make a rocking-beauty.

While the title of the post would catch attention of women wanting to make a beauty blog, the permalink (or URL, which search engines would read) does not identify at all with the topic of the post. Do you think a woman Googling for a blogging advisor for beauty blog would see this post in her search pages? The chances are as good as nil.

So, what we’d do is to click on the lower option, i.e. Custom Permalink and write something like this: make-beauty-blog. This is short, crisp and eminently SEO friendly permalink for the blog, isn’t it?

Two types of post titles in Wordpress

You can achieve this in Wordpress by editing the post title itself. Wordpress calls the last part of permalink as 'post-slug'. What you need to do is type the relevant keywords in the box at the end of 'Permalink'. In the example given in the image below, we have the post title How I built a blog that I sold for $5,000 and it automatically generated a post slug how-i-built-blog. We have put a new slug profitable-food-blog to bring the essence of the post into it.

Wordpress's post editor

By the way, in both these blogging platforms, there is an option to give ‘description’, which helps searches as well as search bots. We’d talk about this in the next post.