Let’s talk about blog post titles, shall we? Now, can anyone tell me why it is SO VERY IMPORTANT to write GREAT blog post titles? I mean, without a REALLY GOOD title, a blog post is simply not good enough in my book, no matter how much value you add to the body of the post itself.
More and more people these days just read headlines and post titles. We are all into skimming rather than reading the entire content, whether it is a book, a news article, or a blog post. And that is exactly why it is absolutely necessary that we write catchy blog post titles if we want people to even click on the titles to read the entire post.
In a sea of similar content on Google, a great blog post title is absolutely necessary if you want to attract your ideal readers to your post. Don’t believe me? Try this out for yourself! Practically anything you search for on Google returns a TON of results. So, how do you make sure your title is better than other post titles? It’s a skill that any blogger should put some effort into learning.
It is totally possible to learn to write creative and catchy blog post titles with a few tricks. Namely, structure of a post title, keywords, and catchphrases (or words). In this post, I break down all of these and show you a few tricks to mastering the structure and keyword research, along with a few tricks to using catchphrases or catchwords.
After reading this post you should have learned how to:
- research relevant keywords.
- structure titles for maximum impact.
- incorporate catchwords and catchphrases.
The First Step is to Come up with the Right Keywords for Your Blog Post
Personally, I use four different methods to try and come up with proper keywords.
- Google keyword planner
- Good old Google Search
- Pinterest Search
One of the best ways to make sure your post is shown to the right people is by using long tail keywords. A long tail keyword is basically a phrase that is at least 2 or more words long. For example, “recipe” can be a keyword, but “vegan quinoa salad recipe” is a long tail keyword, and is a much better option to use.
When someone is looking for a very specific recipe, for examples, a vegan quinoa salad recipe, using the long tail keywords to specify what your post is about will make it much easier for Google to index your content and show it to the right people. Now, I can go on and on about long tail keywords, but this post is not about that. Instead, here is an article by Neil Patel about the very thing, and you’ll find it extremely informative if you are looking to get well versed in long tail keywords.
Now, how does one find these keywords?
One of the Methods is by Using Google’s Keyword Planner
If you are a newbie blogger and do not have a ton of traffic, you want to pick keywords very carefully. I will get to that shortly, but first, let me show you how to work the keyword planner tool:
When you go to Google Keyword Planner, it takes you to a screen that is, to be fair, kinda vague. You have to first sign in (I am assuming you have a Google account already, if not, create one here.) After you sign in, you go to this blah page that’s really not very helpful. So here I have an image for you!
As you see below, in this gray and white blah page, you will need to spot that tiny wrench icon towards top-right. Click on it, then you see a bunch of other options opening up as a drop down. On the left-most column, as is seen in the image, there is keyword planner. Click on that, and that’s when you get to the actual planner tool, shown in image 2.
At this stage, click on the first item— “search for keywords using a phrase, website, or category”. When the next window opens, as shown in Image 3, type your keywords or phrases, and then click on the blue button that says “get ideas”.
Once you click that button, you get to the results page as shown in image 4. Here is where the magic happens. You see search volume (the number listed next to relevant search items), and the competition for each of these search items, marked as “low”, “medium” or “high”. As a newbie blogger, you should try to avoid high competition items. Those are usually used by websites that have been around for a while and are already very established. So if you and a really established and highly ranked blog, both used a highly competitive keyword, naturally, Google will show the higher ranked website results first.
Your goal should be to choose a low or medium competition keyword that is also searched for a good number of times. Let’s take a look at the examples we see in image 4, shall we?
Here we searched for Vegan Quinoa because, let’s say, you want to share a vegan quinoa salad recipe. Let’s look at all the options we have now. Let’s discard options that have a high search competition. Instead, let u see how to get the best keywords out of all the medium and low competition keywords. The first and the second items are searched a lot (100K – 1 Million), AND has a low search competition. We want to keet those in mind. Quinoa Salad Recipe also does pretty well.
Now let’s look at the second to last item: vegan quinoa salad! That’s what you are going to write about! But you see, compared to the others we have chosen, the search volume for this one is not that high. Only 1K – 10K. Now that’s not too bad! Imagine if 1K people searched for vegan Quinoa Salad every day, and landed on your recipe! Wouldn’t that be cool? At least for newbie blogger that’s not too shabby at all.
So, maybe we use vegan quinoa salad in our header, and use the rest a few times in the body of your post! That could totally work!
Takeaway: Choose a relevant, long tail (2 or more words) keyword that is low or medium competition, yet, has a relatively decent number of searches. Find that sweet spot between the two.
You can also Use Ubersuggest.io to Find Keywords
Ubersuggest.io is a nifty tool, and at times I like this over Google Keyword Planner. However, it doesn’t show you competition vs. search volume, so there’s that. This is a fairly intuitive platform. When you go to ubersuggest.io, you simply enter your own keywords to see which keywords are trending. It will give you a TON of results; the first block of items being the most searched for. Pick any of them (as it so happens, searching for vegan quinoa gives us vegan quinoa salad) that is most relevant to what you are posting about, and pick “Expand this keyword” from the drop-down.
And BOOM! You see even more keywords specific to that query. As you see on Image 6, after we expanded “vegan quinoa salad”, we get a ton more ideas and these are super long-tail keywords, as in super niche!
As you can see, you can expand even further if you want. How specific you want to be kind of depends on you and the kind of content your blog post will have.
Good old Google Search
This is a trick I only recently stole from someone (Thanks, Neville Medhora of kopywritingkourse.com!) It’s actually a pretty nifty trick and often will give you some amazing ideas for keywords!
You go to google.com and enter your own keywords, and for consistency, let’s pick, once again, “vegan quinoa”. As soon as you start typing, you will start seeing suggested search queries. That’s pretty good in itself, but let’s stick to just “quinoa salad” and hit search. We land on Google’s usual search result page.
Now check this out! Scroll down all the way to the bottom of the page, and you will see a ton of relevant search queries. Open a document or spreadsheet, and copy-paste all these search items on your doc/spreadsheet. Now pick the most relevant on these keywords, and click on it. Scroll down all the way to the bottom again, and repeat copy-paste. Do this a few times, and by now you will start to see some patterns.
Often you will see some repeat results, which is fine, and if it is relevant to what you are posting, then you may want to use this set of keywords!
Using Pinterest for Finding Keywords
Now, if I haven’t driven this point down already, for a millionth time already, PINTEREST IS A SEARCH ENGINE, NOT A SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM! Excuse all caps. I just really want you to internalize this fact. Now, all search engines depend on keywords to find relevant items. And if you have a blog or business, you should already be using Pinterest. If not, well, what are you waiting for? Get to it now!
Now, finding keywords on Pinterest is super easy! Just like you did on Google, start by typing your own keywords and see what automatic search queries Pinterest shows. If you find on that is relevant to what your post is about, you’ve got your keywords!
Important note on finding keywords: I have given you 4 distinct methods to finding keywords. usually one or two of these methods will suffice. You can choose whichever you like to work with the best and master that platform really well.
How to Structure Titles for Maximum Impact
I have two methods for you, and I suggest you use BOTH OF THEM to come up with your blog post titles. But before I get to them, here’s something you should know. A blog post is not an essay, it’s something that solves problems. Therefore, your blog post titles should always tell the reader what kind of problem you are solving. I have written an extensive post on this before, and you can check it out here if you want (I advise it!), but I will give you the gist of it.
A blog post title should not be, for example, “How we are affecting the environment by trashing old clothes.” That’s a fancy title for an essay. We are not writing an essay here. We are here to solve a very specific problem that readers have. Readers who are perhaps concerned about the growing shift in climate and are looking to reduce waste. What kind of blog post (and title) will help them?
Since we are talking about solving problems, how about this for a starter? “What to do with old clothes?” We have the skeleton of the title with this, but it’s not perfect. It’s not catchy enough for Google to pay you any attention, much less the readers! So, what do we do from here?
Structure Your Blog Post Title after other, More Popular Titles
Once again, I have to thank Neville Medhora for this nifty little trick!
Neville has a pretty elaborate tutorial on how to accomplish this, however, I have come up with a very slightly shorter version that works for me when I am formulating my own post titles.
I use Quora and Google Search (Neville suggest using Reddit and Digg also, but I find them a bit too tedious.)
Let’s start with Google. Just like in the previous section, we start by typing our generic title on the search bar and see what Google shows on the next page. The results are like this:
Now, let’s start by copying and then pasting some of these titles into a separate document. Scroll all the way down and click on a relevant search result item. repeat the process of copying and pasting relevant titles.
Now, go to Quora and search your generic title. When you get the results, do what you did with Google search results. Copy and paste some of the relevant and most popular (the items that are shown in the first page are always the most popular, so these are all good examples to follow) titles on your document.
Now, look at these various titles and try to emulate them in a way that goes with your topic and content. Do not copy the entire title word for word, but try to copy the structure of these popular titles.
Use CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to Structure Your Post Title
CoSchedule is not only one of my most favorite social media scheduling tool and has a stellar blog full of value, but it also has this nifty little app that analyzes your blog post title and gives it a score. It’s called CoSchedule Headline Analyzer. The higher the score the better your post title! basically, if you get CoSchedule to give your title a green colored mark, you are good to go. be warned though, CoSchedule doesn’t look at your keywords, only the structure. So, do not skip the keyword research step in this whole tutorial.
Let’s say that you wish to specifically write about what one can do with old clothes instead of trashing them. Let’s also say that after much investigation of coming up with keywords and good post titles on Google and Quora, we have this title: “What Can You Do with Old Clothes instead of Trashing Them?”
This title gets a whopping 67 points. It’s not too bad, but it’s not green, so not the greatest either. The structure seems fine, and similar articles are trending on Google and Quora, but why stop here if you can make it better?
Let’s see what CoSchedule Headline Analyzer has to say about your title:
Score: 67 (yellow)
Common words: 54% (too many common words)
A bit too wordy (not that big of a deal, but something to keep in mind for the time being, since it’s saying the title has a good number of characters!)
So, at this point, what do you think we can do to improve the title?
Pro-tip: Remember this well! Blog posts that start with “How to”, or “X-number of ways” tend to do better than other titles.
So, instead of starting the title with “What can you do with…”, how about, “How to Get Rid of Old Clothes instead of Trashing Them?”
Analyzer now gives a score of 69! Still yellow, but it’s already improved quite a bit! Let’s look at the stats now:
Common words: 18% (Yoohoo!)
Uncommon words: 9%
Emotional words: 18%
Power words: 0
Still a good number of characters but a tad too many words. (Usually, I tend to overlook this bit unless my title is WAYYY too long.)
So, can we make it still better?
I really cannot think of anything better. Can you? If you do, feel free to share in the comments!
I couldn’t get it to be green, but a 69 ain’t that bad, so I’m happy with this title for the time being.
Incorporate Catchwords and Catchphrases
Now, this bit is all about trial and error and a ton of practice. As you try to get better at writing blog post titles, you will see various patterns come up in your search for keywords or when you are trying to emulate popular post titles. The CoSchedule headline Analyzer also helps by providing stats such as common words, power words, emotional words, etc. Pay attention to these words and see which ones do better. For example, when I was formulating the title for this very blog post, I got a pretty high score (73) because I had 45% emotional words/phrases, such as: “killer”, “you need to know”.
Anyhow, that’s all I have for today. It’s been a very long post, but I have a good feeling that if you follow along, you will end up with a killer title! It may seem like a lot of effort for just a title, but remember, you hook a potential reader with a great title! Do not underestimate it! Also, as you practice, you will get better at it, and the time it takes to come up with a stellar blog post title will go down eventually.
Finally, here’s a nifty little workbook for formulating the best possible title for your blog post. If you have any question for me, feel free to leave them in the comments section!