**Sensationalist Headlines** Worth it or no? (i.e. how to craft post titles)

Since the advent of the printing press there has definitely been a trend towards using sensationalist headlines in newspapers, and more recently in blogs. I see more and more blog post titles that are clearly made to encourage people to click through from Twitter or other social networks.  The title of a blog post is important for several reasons. From a search engine optimization standpoint they matter a great deal.

Here are 5 reasons they’re important followed by 5 tips for creating great post titles.

5 Reasons post titles are extremely important to your blog

  1. You want keywords in your URL. If you’re smart, you’ve already optimized your blog so that your keywords automatically end up in your permalinks (URL).  The next step is to make sure that your keywords end up as titles.
  2. Post titles often end up as H1 or H2 tags. H1 and H2 carry more weight than the paragraph <p> text on your site.  You want keywords here.  Search engines don’t get humor or sensationalist remarks.
  3. You want your site to work well with social. If you’re smart, you’ve already optimized your website so that your blog articles automatically feed to a variety of feeds and social networks.  You want people to click on these, but if they click an exaggerated headline and feel that you’ve misled them, you lose trust.  Not cool.
  4. What if someone looks through your archives. How would you feel if you looked through some-one’s blog archives and saw title after title that was just sensationalist fluff.  Not too impressive, eh?
  5. It’s not cool to inflate expectations. See yesterday’s post about being cool online.

5 Tips for crafting excellent post titles

  1. Know your keywords. Make a list of them and look at them often.  Use them in your post titles whenever it’s prudent.
  2. Think about what types of things you type into search engines. Most people have a certain style they use when they’re searching for information.  Try to write post titles like you would type a search into google (if that makes sense).
  3. Be creative. Try mixing your keywords with some humor.  Out in the social media space, you’re still going to want to have attractive titles or no one will click on your links.
  4. Re-read your title before you hit ‘publish’. Have you ever written a post title, then written the post and found that the post content had veered in a different direction from the content.  Make sure they match before you hit ‘publish’.
  5. Work smart not hard. There are tons of plugins that make Search Engine and Social Media optimization a snap if you blog regularly.  There already lots of blog posts that tell you how to optimize if you don’t already know how.
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