I fully admit that I haven’t put much effort into SEO – search engine optimization. I prefer to focus on creating great content, and building relationships with people who will help me share it.
On the other hand, I believe that by using SEO techniques, you can be of service to the people out there who desperately need what you have to offer. You are putting yourself in their path so they will find you and you can help them.
Now that’s something I can get on board with!
Three Tips for Keyword-Rich Article Titles
While I think we’ve already established that I’m not an SEO expert, here are three things I’ve learned about writing keyword-rich titles:
1. Do a little research. Find out what terms people are actually searching for (Google has a tool for that), related to your article topic.
2. Fish in a smaller pond. Choose the keywords people aren’t searching for THE MOST. There is less competition to deal with.
3. Be top-heavy: Use your keywords at the beginning of your title. Instead of “The Top 10 Ways to Discipline Your Teenager,” try, “Out of Control Teens (6,600 searches worldwide last month): Top 10 Discipline Techniques.”
So is that it? Just stuff your title with keywords and fight for a spot on the front page of the search engine results? Nope. I would always encourage you to write for people first, and search engines second.
Three Tips for Creative Article Subtitles
You might notice that I’ve used titles and subtitles in my examples. As a loose rule, put your keywords in the title and get more creative in your subtitle.
Here are three ways to bring more creativity into your article subtitles, so they’re attractive to your ideal readers:
1. Play with your words. An alternate title for this article might have been, “Article Marketing: How to be creative AND rich.” It’s a play on words – a deliberate deception, if you will – since instead of finances we’re talking about keywords. Be cautious here. If your article content is too much of a departure from your title, you risk losing the trust of your readers.
2. Make an outrageous connection. Get people curious to find out how the two things in your title could possibly relate, e.g., “Business Planning 101: What My Kitchen Renovation Revealed About My Business Goals.”
3. Repeat what works. What do YOUR readers respond to? Look at your open rates, click-through rates, comments and email replies. Which titles got the most response from your specific readers?
Also consider the type of article you’re writing, and for what purpose. For stock articles that you’re going to submit to general directories, you might want to experiment with a plain, descriptive, keyword-rich title.
But for specialty articles that you will email to your subscribers or submit to a membership site or specialized directory, you will want to inject more personality and flair.
Ideally, your titles will be rich enough to show up in front of hundreds of people, and creative enough for your ideal readers to self-select and click through.
Remember that click-throughs are only part of the story. You need that reader to get all the way to the bottom of your article so they find and follow your call-to-action (hopefully an offer for your pink spoon) and join your tribe.