Writing Headlines for Regular Readers, Search Engines, and Social Media

Writing Headlines for Regular Readers, Search Engines, and Social Media

Reader Comments (85)

  1. What are your thoughts on the use of the SEO title tag wordpress plugin?
    Would this help the titles be more useful for readers and search engines without re-writing them?

  2. Muhammad – Great article, thanks!

    My experience has been that with Digg, no matter how good the title or topic, it seems that someone with a large readership (like Brian’s CopyBlogger) must cover an article to take it over the hump.

    Do you find this to be true?


  3. Michael,

    Digg is a socially driven media site. You’ve got to be connected… so need either a large readership, or enough friends on the site.

    Good luck!

  4. Very nice and descriptive post, thanks!

    But I really liked your conclusion. I also think it is possible to write thinking about all three channels, although very difficult to do. But after all, all three are needed, right?

  5. As Tyler mentioned above, the SEO Title Tag WordPress plugin allows you to write headlines for (#1) regular readers and (#2) search engines by allowing you to name posts as you wish & use a custom title tag for search engines. The plugin also allows you to change the title tags of categories and pages amongst other things.

  6. Tomas,
    Thanks for putting the link to the Plugin up there.
    I was too lazy to go find it again. I just started using it and I think that it has some benefits. However, I wish I had been using it right from the beginning.

  7. This is a great article! Headlines are so important and it is quite possible to write one that reaches those 3 categories.

    As for Digg, even with only a few Diggs, you can still get a bit of traffic – more people visit than Digg. However, the readership is rarely loyal. Even if you get a big Digg. Then again I’m a girl and we all know Digg is for 20-something boys.

    Seriously, though. I agree with the comments above about the SEO title tag – i also recommend getting a Meta Tag plugin for those WordPress blogs!

  8. I think the biggest overlap is with posts for regular readers and for search engines, something informative containing the keywords is the easyest and safest…

    With the Digg titles, are do you mean you only change the title of the Digg post or change the title on the blog post too?

  9. This was a very helpful post. Thanks for writing it with such clarity. Quick question though. Do you think regular readers would ever become frustrated if the post titles always catered to the search engines and social media?

    I imagine they wouldn’t really care too much. You’ve already proven to them that your content is worth reading.

  10. Jermayn, whether hand publishing a page or blogging, you can control what the URL (or “post slug”) is by hand, without regard for how the headline reads.

  11. really good post.
    i also always spend lots of time on choosing post title, which is really important for SE and SN.

  12. Yes I agree you must try to use good headlines and keywords for search engines and also make the article or post interesting for the reader.

  13. My friend just tell me and I can’t believe it, Mike’s daughter are dead so tragedy and so sad. I am a big fan of him, he is a great guy, best boxer – crazy little bet but every body know him and like him.

  14. Writing titles for social media is not so cut and dried as getting traffic from Digg. Depending on your target market, Digg traffic can actually be a negative drain on your site resources while adding little or nothing to your bottom line. For me, the self-winnowing of StumbleUpon seems to work best. When I Stumble one of my better posts, traffic takes a nice blip for several days and I may even get a track-back. Works for me.

    I write a gardening blog.

    I’d rather have 100 people interested in buying garden seeds than 1,000 Diggers who aren’t. The thousand aren’t going to do much for my bottom line and any clicks they might give would be ‘cheap clicks’ that don’t result in a sale. I’d rather have adsense (and advertisers) see that the 3-4 who clicked through from my site on a particular day were ready to spend cash. Preferably plenty of it. That raises the value of the ad space on my blog. 1,000 views and only a few clicks with no purchases deals my rep as an ad host a death blow. Next thing you know, I’m hosting PSAs for the USDA on the same page where I rip ’em a new one. Sucks to be me.

    I recently got a bunch of mis-directed traffic (not from Digg) and my bounce rate went through the roof … nearly 90% when I usually run 15-18% (which I still consider high). What use is this traffic? It’s not even good for word of mouth. I’m eternally grateful that I didn’t have to explain where those numbers came from to continue earning a paycheck.

    The only time I’ve seen that number higher was when two plugins conspired to send all my traffic into the bit bucket. There for a few days I had 100% bounce rate … everything was 404’d.

    On another one of my sites, growth is up nearly 500% (month over month) and the bounce rate is .68% — less than 1%. And this is almost all organic growth. No Digg there, either … it’s an appliance repair site. Just good SEO and useful writing. When I got fired, my posts were starting on page two of the SERPs for our chosen terms … one started on page one at #7 … counting the paid ads and that !%&?(*&%$!! Google map. I hope whoever follows on behind me is an effing genius because if he isn’t, my new terms will be considerably more generous (to me) than previously.

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