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March 16, 2006

News & Opinion: Post Titles are critical!

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 7:48 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The titles/headlines of your posts (and blog) are very important.
Not only can they grab people and entice them to read, but they can also generate search engine traffic, and an incredible amount of Internet traffic, including for blogs, is driven by search engines. Many blogging platforms also use the blog title to help generate the filename they store the post in, making it even more important to search engines as they consider file names in their rankings.
Look Better Naked is an interesting title. The local health club is using it in their advertising. Hey, fit people look better naked. I think its brilliant offline.
Online, it has problems. It both contains no keywords or key phrases, things people would search on when looking for a health club, and its too generic. People might look because its cute and sexy, but it doesnt particularly appeal to someone looking for a health club, and it wont help get search engine traffic.
Let's improve it by adding keywords. The follow two titles are infinitely better:
  1. Exercise Look Better Naked

  2. Health clubs help you "Look Better Naked

So, what keyword is best, exercise, health club, or . . .
There are simple tools that will help you out. I like the Keyword Selector Tool (or look in the "Resource Center" at overture.com) - its free. Other keyword tools include the well-regarded wordtracker.com (free trial available).
The keyword selector tool tells you roughly how many times a term has been searched on in search engines in the past month. Its the relative numbers that matter.
  1. exercise has been searched on 116437 times

  2. health club has been searched on 333616 times

  3. gym has been searched on 183545 times

  4. world gym has been searched on 14572 times

Since this happens to be a World Gym, and that phrase includes gym, Im going to pick World Gym and the final title is . . . World Gym Look Better Naked.
No its not exact science! Health clubs help you Look Better Naked would be fine as well.
Now in the post, include the other keywords and phrases as well to please the search engines and help people find your no-doubt great content. Make sure you include them in a natural way i.e., write for the reader, not the search engines. DO NOT write something like the following garbage. People, and the increasingly intelligent search engines, will hate it!
Health clubs and gyms are great for exercise to look better naked. Everyone should exercise in a health club or gym. Give a health club or gym membership as a present to a loved one. I love to exercise in health clubs and gyms because I love exercising in health clubs and gyms . . .
Some hints:
  1. Keywords at the beginning of a title are better than keywords at the end of a title.

  2. Put keywords early in the post.

  3. Don't obsess over this!


One final hint:
if youre writing about a local establishment, for example the Worlds Gym in Seabrook NH, make sure you include Seabrook NH at least once or twice in the title and/or body!

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.