Better SEO through Blog Post Titles

Posted August 29th, 2006 by Mike Cherim

I was just asked by a fellow developer if I had any tips on how to improve SEO or Search Engine Optimization using WordPress. One thing, post headings, immediately came to mind — something I’ve been wanting to write about actually — and I took it as a sign and decided to make a quick post about it. In a previous article I discussed The Power of Natural SEO, and as if to exemplify the points I made there, I’m currently on Google’s page one for the “Natural SEO” and “Accessible SEO” search phrases. But with WordPress and other blogware where articles are being written often, what else can be done? Well, in addition to page accessibility, proper markup, title element use (which I do poorly here), solid content, and the other things I mentioned in that article, post title headings are really strong factors that need careful consideration.

In magazines and other print media, writers can get away with being super creative in naming their articles. On the web, though, such creativity can hamper your efforts of being found. Case in point: The aforementioned article was originally going to called “Spider Food,” but that would have been foolish. In a magazine article not being concerned with search engines, Spider Food would have been cool perhaps, but on the web, unless people were searching for a recommended diet for their pet spider, it just wouldn’t do. That’s not what I was after, and an article on SEO wouldn’t help those with pet spiders either: a lose-lose situation. On the web, you have to tell it like it is. “The Power of Natural SEO” better serves both sides. Pet spider owners won’t be misled, and those interested in SEO will find me as intended.

Now I’m not suggesting you be a fanatic in how you choose a domain name, or how you title your blog; creativity is cool and fun — it brings life and personality into the picture. I don’t necessarily want to be number one for “green colored beasts” (though after just checking this I am number three), but I wasn’t about to call my blog “Mike Cherim’s Accessible Web Development Blog” just for the sake of being found that way. I will let my content bring me to the place I want to be. But it is important that I name my articles appropriately and that I make them true to the subject matter they provide. I found this to be an extremely important and powerful factor.

To take it one step further, do make sure you put appropriate, telling terms in your posts. You might see some good search terms in this post. This isn’t unethical seeding, but it is wise and done with consideration. If it was unethical word seeding I wouldn’t bother with writing content in any readable form, I’d just publish the good words and leave the rest of it out of the picture, but that’s not my goal, and it wouldn’t be a lasting solution. I am trying to share and become known for providing valuable content. I not only want to lead horses to my trough, I want them to drink while they’re here. I want to offer value. There’s a fine line which simply mustn’t be crossed if I’m going to be for real; and being for real is my intent.

It is amazing what I’ve learned about SEO in the past six months. I never thought or planned to get into it or really focus on it. It happened naturally. When I figured it out, though, when the secrets revealed themselves to me, I went with the flow. I’m not, after all, opposed to being found and read. It’s an important tool that, like most things I discover, can be logically broken down. The logic in this case is simple: If I want to be found with a particular search term, then a good way to start is to write an article with that search term in its title. Again, on the web you must tell it like it is.

To wrap up this, keep it real and don’t expect overnight results. I’ve been busting my butt in this field for a couple of years so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t expect the same for yourself. To those idiots who send me spam telling me they’ll bring me to the top of the search results pages by paying them a fee are complete morons who don’t seem to be able to get themselves up there let alone help me do it. There are no free rides. I got one yesterday and I couldn’t find them using the very words in their domain name and on there website. What a joke. To the spammers out there, you’re wasting your time, you need to start working at it like the real people, and to those who pay someone else to “make them number one,” I suggest you start by searching for the company that is supposed to perform this magical feat for you. Not to say there aren’t tons of firms capable of helping you, there are, but you better look into their methods. In most cases, though, you’ll get better results reading my posts on the subject and then doing the required work. If you simply must pay someone, please pay me. Contact me and I’ll tell you how you can make a monetary contribution using your credit card.

16 Responses to: “Better SEO through Blog Post Titles”

  1. David Zemens responds:
    Posted: August 29th, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    I have read your several posts about SEO with interest. It seems that you have a good handle on what is necessary for a website to be accessible via SEO. What I have learned from you, Mike, is that there really is no shortcut to quality SEO. What it does take, like most things in life, is hard work and patience. Couple that with quality content and accessible site design, and you end up with a good search engine ranking.

    Needless to say, your take on this issue is a bit different than most, but the “Proof is in the pudding”, as they say!

    Great article, as usual!

  2. Mike Jolley responds:
    Posted: August 30th, 2006 at 3:45 am

    Some very good points raised, and i totally agree that most companies that do seo are useless.

    I believe content is key with blog SEO, and by ‘encouraging’ your contents popularity (by using digg etc) you could get your self alot of back links with sites of simular topic, since relevent sites will be more likely to link to your content.
    Having real backlinks is alot bet than using the barrage of useless directories on the net…im dribbling on,

    Tip conclusion: Spread your content around the web to get backlinks to boost your rank.

  3. Stephen responds:
    Posted: August 30th, 2006 at 4:43 am

    For me, it’s a delicate balance between “Spider Food” and “The Power of Natural SEO”. For example, if I’m trying to be witty or irreverent and only appeal to friends or the people who already read my blog I’ll use something like the former, but if I’m trying to reach a wider audience I’ll use the latter.
    I sometimes write about accessibility so in that case I might want as many people as possible to see an article who might have an interest in the subject, but if I am writing about how many bananas I’ve eaten today I’m not expecting a vast amount of interest.
    With blogs in particular, I guess it boils down to just how many readers you’re aiming for, if you are an ambitious blogger or just do it for fun. The thing is, I find Google will pick everything up, so if you do mention “Spider Food” someone with an eccentric taste in pets is going to find you!

  4. Joshua Kendall responds:
    Posted: August 31st, 2006 at 7:30 am

    I’m supposed to think about my blog post titles? Oops.

    Well, I must be really lucky then because I don’t really worry about SEO when I go to make a blog post (or even on any of my sites). Regardless of if I take the time to write it in Word or just go with the flow in Textpattern (often) I end up pretty good in Google.

    Of course… I don’t care if I have one or one million readers. The one that matters the most to me, well she visits almost daily.

  5. Joshua Kendall responds:
    Posted: August 31st, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    Well, I’m all over the place in topics, and I usually give some type of meaningful post title, but the ones that get indexed near the top tend to be posts with song lyrics. Those posts are always “Song Title” : Artist, and filed under “Music” and “Lyrics” which is probably why they do so well. I can see the point of this, I personally don’t do it, though perhaps I should.

  6. Christopher Conlan responds:
    Posted: September 2nd, 2006 at 5:37 am

    Mike - I’m an SEO guy by trade and a blog guy by night (The Blog Mill) and I wanted to let you know that I thought this was a very thoughtful and well written post. Think about changing up your permalinks and getting rid of the ? stop point - should read http:⁄⁄⁄blog⁄seo⁄better-seo-through-blog-titles⁄ (where seo is the category).

    set up the custom permalink to /%category%/%postname%/ and make sure your categories are “slugged” for optimization — naming them for the reader is more like your “spider” and “slugging” them is more like your post-title commentary.

  7. ThePickards » standards, accessibility, and ranting and general stuff by the web chemist » Blog Archive » Search strings responds:
    Posted: September 2nd, 2006 at 5:47 am

    […] ee posts recently which have made me think of this. Firstly, there was Mike Cherim’s Better SEO through blog post titles, then there was Bruce Lawson’s Shock Socialist Leanings Allegation w […]

  8. Anthony Brewitt responds:
    Posted: September 9th, 2006 at 10:49 am

    Thanks for the article, I am trying to make my post titles more descriptive of what the posts are about. I also thought id just post this quick link to a Wordpress plugin that I use to add post specific meta data =
    thanks, Anthony

  9. Anthony Brewitt responds:
    Posted: September 10th, 2006 at 9:52 am

    Yer im deffo having some problems, im fettling now!

Sorry. Comments are closed.

Note: This is the end of the usable page. The image(s) below are preloaded for performance only.