June 26, 2019

Blogging SEO: Why You Should Give Up Sex and Devote Your Life to Writing Seo Optimized Blog Titles (Part 1)

Apparently this is what a SEO optimized title looks like...at least when it has been optimized for clickbait. But I am getting ahead of myself.

A couple posts back I showed off a mind map of blogging topics for the site's relaunch. My next step was to take my outline and devise a titling scheme for blog posts, one that plays to the value of content serialization and is SEO friendly. I have been spending quite a lot of time at the day job learning, teaching and generally shaking my fists angrily at SEO optimization. As a result, I have become acutely aware of everything I did wrong during the blog's first run and gleaned just enough knowledge to (editor's note: maybe) do one or two things right this time. Though most of what I've gleaned is that "right" is itself quite subjective. Still getting ahead of myself.

Blog titles, there we go. I started by working out a style guide for my post titles that maintains a consistent titling scheme, comprised of both categorical and post specific keywords. Sounds like a mouthful, so let's break it down.

Looking at the mind map, one of my broad themes, beer, contains the following categories:
  • Craft brewing
  • Gluten free
  • Home brewing
  • Recommended reading

The craft brewing category contains the post topics:
  • Events
  • Industry musings
  • Releases
  • Reviews

From this, I developed a set of keywords:
  • Craft brewing - beer
  • Events - event
  • Industry musings - musings
  • Releases - release
  • Reviews - review

Putting it all together, if I wrote a post about the Hellshire Barrel-Aged Beer Fest, I would title it something like, "Beer Event: Hellshire Barrel-Aged Beer Fest." And I did.

Likewise, if I wrote a post recommending Jeff Alworth's blog Beervana, I would title it, "Recommended Beer Reading: Beervana." This one hasn't happened yet.

I now have a point-and-shoot scheme for titling my posts, but how is the SEO? Like I said, it's subjective. Which is a horribly ironic statement since search engines are not subjective gods. But Google, Microsoft and the like have shrouded them is such mystique that entire industries of oracles now exist to help decipher their cryptic whims (editor's note: let's reign in the metaphors).

One such oracle (editor's note: watch it!) is Neil Patel, who explains how to create search engine friendly title tags. If you prescribe to Neil's brand of divination (editor's note: hey!), my title scheme should work well - Front-loaded, pertinent keywords and generally under 60 characters.

One point where we differ is my decision not to include the blog title in post title tags. Why? As we established in the mind map post, "Beer and Coding in Eugene" has become fairly disassociated from the current direction of this blog. So, there is little value in potentially eating up 25 characters of valuable space in Google search results with a mildly related blog title.

Case in point, which of the following is more appealing?

Beer and Coding in Eugene | Beer Event: Hellshire Barrel-Age 
Beer Event: Hellshire Barrel-Aged Beer Fest

Let's try another.

Beer and Coding in Eugene | Blogging SEO: Writing SEO optim
Blogging SEO: Writing SEO optimized blog titles

So, how did we get from, "Blogging SEO: Writing SEO optimized blog titles" to the mess at the top of the page? That would be Content Row's Headline Generator I came across while prepping for this post. It feels like something akin to the Wu-Tang Name Generator (editor's note: Phantom Overlord, nice!), but toss a title idea into the generator and you will get something that could pass for any clickbait title you see at the bottom of any clickbait article you are currently reading. Eerie.

"Writing SEO Optimized Blog Titles" resulting in the following recommendations:
  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Writing SEO Optimized Blog Titles
  • Writing SEO Optimized Blog Titles 101: The Essential Guide
  • The Most Incredible Article About Writing SEO Optimized Blog Titles You'll Ever Read
  • 8 Things the Media Hasn't Told You About Writing SEO Optimized Blog Titles

And of course the winning, "Why You Should Give Up Sex and Devote Your Life to Writing SEO Optimized Blog Titles."

Now we've come full circle. All things considered, I think I'll stick to my scheme going forward.

Phantom Overload

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