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Keyword Optimisation or Compelling Copy in Blog Titles?

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Brian Clark has some excellent ideas for writing effective titles in his blog copyblogger. He has recently re-written headlines submitted by his readers along with a rationale for the changes. It’s a good way of demonstrating what works.

At the core of his recommendations is the need to use the title to clearly communicate the value of the content to the reader. There are some tried and tested techniques for this such as:

  • “10 ways to ……”,
  • “How to (do xyz) and get (some benefit)
  • “What you need to know about (xyz)”

If you are optimising a page for the search engines the title is important because having keywords in the page title is one of the most important factors contributing to ranking well for those keywords.

So, should you optimise for the search engines by making sure the title contains keywords, or should you make the title persuasive so that the reader is motivated to click through and read the rest of the post or article?

There’s no reason why you can’t have both of course. A title can be both persuasive and contain keywords. That’s always going to be the best result. I would always make sure that consideration is given to keywords in the title for the following reasons:

  1. Using keywords will get more targeted traffic than people clicking a clever headline out of curiosity. Untargeted traffic doesn’t have as much value.
  1. If one of the goals is to get your article republished, publishers will search article directories for relevant content using keywords.
  1. The titles of most interest to your target audience are the ones that have relevance to them. Keywords are exactly that – words that have relevance for your target audience. If you don’t include the keywords the headline is less likely to stand out when someone scans a page.

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