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Increase Blog Traffic with Obvious Post Titles

There's all sorts of search engine voodoo to bring traffic to your blog and beginning blogger can get overwhelmed quickly.

Here's a quick tip that will boost your search engine juice instantly:

Always Be Obvious

Or to put it a bit bluntly:

Stop Being Clever

The one thing every study of online habits shows is that nobody has any time. I don't have the time to comprehend that your post titled with a reference to Dante's Inferno is really about how to toilet train a cat. If your post is the top five things you wished you knew before you made buttercream frosting then don't use a post title that is more about your cleverness as a writer than about what I'm about to read.

If I see your post title in a Google search or a Twitter tweet I should be completely unsurprised when I click through to read it. I should know exactly what I'm getting myself into. Your post titles should jump out at the right people: 'Yes! That thing you searched for, that topic you're interested in, that idea in your head that you are researching? I'm writing about it right here in language that you will understand!'

The more words and phrases you use in your post titles (and categories, blog title, etc) that people might actually type into a search engine, the better off you'll be.

Comments

Cosmo Scharf

ha, but I thought blogging was about being creative!

Andy

Well by all means be creative but if people can't tell what you are talking about from your blog title it's going to be harder to get search traffic. It is really about creativity and clarity.

Catching The Waves

Well, I'm screwed. :)

Sylvia

Ya, you're right, but it's hard to resist being cutesy with post titles. That said I do find parenthetical tags like Lifehacker uses very helpful.

Andy

Doubtful. Just start using artist and band names in your post titles.
You can still be witty.

Andy

I'd experiment. Try using obvious post titles for a week or so and see
if it makes any difference.

RoxanneZYG

Interesting and will definitely keep this in mind. Thank you!

Account Deleted

Great suggestions, Andy!
I agree completely. Simple, direct and to the point in your title.

Even the first paragraph should be sort of in the same vein because often, like in a blog reader, your post is truncated--cut off.
I try to save my "wittiness" for a bit further down in my post or if desired you can even _end_ the post with some creative punch.

Categories too. They can feel like a pain after you written the best post ever. I go ahead and check off the categories before I write the post, then I don't forget (and of course I can add on more, if needed).

Jean Tsai

This is so true. I've been blogging since January, and am now showing up in google searches (yay!) even though I have no links. :( The other thing that I'm showing up under is Google images - all my pictures have straightforward captions of what's in the picture, and it seems to work.

PS - if anyone wants to link to me, feel free!

Jen Pierce

so "our mr. lileks and flying monkey BOO-YAH" is not a good title for a post, then?

Catching The Waves

Andy, thank you for your suggestion. Wait a minute, now I've got to include artist and band names in my post titles to garner search engine recognition AND dreadful puns and obscure wordplay to satisfy my overbearing ego? I'm not *that* witty. :)

However, I shall follow your good advice and see what happens. If nothing happens, I will go back to being completely insufferable instead of mildly irritating. My next post will be about this great young four-piece from Liverpool who I think are going to storm the charts. (Guys, if you're reading this - "Ringo" is a silly name. It'll never catch on.)

Andy

Try it out and see what happens. And/or make your 'tagline/puns' part
of the first line of your post and bold it or make it bigger so it
looks like sub-heading?

Andy

Unless I'm searching for reviews or how-tos on how to make said flying
monkey Boo-Yah's. ;)

Catching The Waves

Andy, I'll give the "plain and simple" approach a go and see what happens. I probably won't embolden the first line of my post as my posts are messy enough already.

By the way, I don't have any graphics for my site such as thumbnails, favicons, etc. Do you know where a complete newbie might find help/info on making what I believe is known as "Web 2.0 stuff"? :)

Thank you for your (anticipated) help. Sorry to be such a nuisance.

TAS  mania

okay Andy, instead of naming my newest entry TAG the World which references facebook's tagging of photos..... and I thought clever. I will use the most searched "AOL words of the day" and see what that does! Its hard to break the creativity thread when I write, but I pledge from now on I will reserve my creativity for the body content!

fiscally stimulated, job searching, free foreclosure information, bernie madoff following, tRACy

HeyJoe

Wait a minute. I came here expecting an article about the sudden increase in aristocratic (Titled) Blogs (which as you know is a cross between a bull and a wild boar or hog, indigenous to many parts of Asia ) written by a non-native English speaker who forgets to use his prepositions.

What a disappointment.

Andy

I think you may have just won Wednesday.

HeyJoe

I'll take Wednesday over Pugsley any day.

Sylvia

Here's an idea for innovation by Typepad: Subheadlines for blog posts, like newspapers have. Different line, different styling, but still grabbed by search engines.

Tipper

I've noticed posts that are titled the most clearly-relating to the content-do seem to get the most hits.

murray@efphotog.com

The question I have is how to reduce the timeframe Google goes out to hit a blog for updates? When I look at my stats, it indicated that the last time Google hit and cached was on Jan 18th. That means recent updates are not being indexed.

Any suggestions?

My website gets crawled every about 4 or 5 days.

Andy

How often do you post?

Do you have your Google Sitemap turned on? In TypePad go to Weblogs >
(your blog) > Configure > Publicity and check the box to build your
Sitemap. A sitemap in this case is a special file tailor-made for
search engines to quickly grab your posts as soon as they are
published.

Keith Smith

Regarding what murray@freelancephotog.com said...I'm still pretty new here so I was wondering, how do I look at my stats and see if and when Google has "hit and cached" my blog. Thanks!

murray@efphotog.com

TypePadAt least twice a week sometimes more. I just put the sitemap to my Google account earlier in the week. Maybe that will increase the index rate. I will be monitoring to see what happens.

Thanks for getting back to me. It is appreciated.

Murray Edwards

Alex Deve

I'll definitely link to you from my blog. Will also tweet about your blog which i find really cool and interesting!

Jean Tsai

Hi Alex - thanks for your link and tweet!  :)  I definitely seen some people pick them up.  I also really like your blog - the recipes and style are great.

Alex Deve

Thank you! Hope you enjoy TypePad!

Sherman College of Chiropractic

Great Tip! I'll be back for more.

Agnes

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the tip.

I am sure you're right but I did want to add one thing.

There's a difference between personal blogging and company blogging. Company blogging (I've never done it so I'm guessing) is probably done with the purpose of drawing attention to the site that can then be turned into revenue. So hits and numbers are very important -- it's quantitative.

When you blog for fun, like I do, exposure is still a nice thing to have and of course it's nice to get hits from search engines.

Search engines are robots not people. The way I picture search engines (I might be totally wrong) is kind of like a library catalog without humans. "To Kill a Mockingbird" would be under "nature" or "ornithology". "Catcher in the Rye" would be under "baking" and "baseball".

I have a little problem writing for robots. I am not some big writer by any stretch of imagination but I can smell it from a mile away when someone writes for search engines not people. And I am sure they get plenty of hits, but do they have actual readers?

Because when you're a real person, like me, who's a sucker for a good read, there's nothing that draws my attention more than a witty title. I only come back for more if there's personal magic in the writing. When you write for search engines, the personal magic is missing, you see.

Search engines can provide a certain quantity of hits, but I think most bloggers are after quality visits. You know, people who'll actually read our blog. People who bookmark us, come back, subscribe, comment, in other words: enjoy.

Andy

Yes yes yes!

The goals of your blogging and writing are always going to color the
practices and techniques you use. I might reframe things by saying
there are considerations in writing for search engines but in ultimate
you're writing for searchers: matching up what you write about with
words people might actually type into the search box. You could just
run a report, get popular keywords and churn out posts based on that -
but that is a bit soul-crushing.

You are after quality visits - and if what I'm looking for is exactly
what you have then that is quality visit. And your writing and design
will determine if I bookmark you, subscribe to your email alerts or
feed updates or add you to my Facebook profile and make you part of my
info-intake. Incoming traffic not aligned to your topic or interests
is pointless.

The second thing a new TypePad user always asks us is 'Okay that was
fun, but how do I get people to read this thing?' Along with reaching
out to friends and colleagues and existing social networks, search
engine strategies can help keep the antennae out for your next biggest
fans.

Thnx for writing back and have a great weekend...

Mark Simmons

Well said!

Account Deleted

HELLO...

ITS INTERESTING BUT I TOO WELL THIS.....IM A SEO

MY BLOG IS ....

http://indianfilm.co.cc/

KGA Blog

Good tip.

Roger Carr

This is a great tip.

The title of my blog comes before the title of my post on every page. Wouldn't it be better if the post title was first to stand out there as well? If so, is there a way to make that happen?

Peter Pappas

"How to Stay Home and Use TypePad/Twitter to Network a Major Conference." (My first TypePad / Twitter integration)

I figured out how to network at the ASCD 09 educational conference remotely with Twitter tools and a live Word Cloud embedded in my TypePad blog.
See how it's working and how to: http://tinyurl.com/d9qgqg
I've made great contacts and expanded my network. I have metrics on expanding contacts and blog traffic!

Also figured out a few things I'd do differently (For awhile, I think I lapsed into spamming, oops!) Anyway, there's so much to learn about social networking!

Karen McAllister

Very well put, Andy. Spreading this around to our Tampabay.com bloggers.

Andy

Fantastic - if you (or any of the other bloggers) have some success
stories from this strategy - please let us know!

Account Deleted

You gave me some Great Ideas! Now lets see what I can do with it. Thanks!

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