When you’re writing for your site, whether it’s an article, blog post or article to be distributed, the title matters. It’s what readers see first and what interests them enough to give the rest of the article a chance, even when they don’t know if your site is a great one or auto generated dreck.
But without great keywords, in the title and the article itself, who’s going to find any of your articles?
Which Way to Go?
Article titles can get a bit of debate going. Some like to write them first. Others write them last. Some focus more on keywords, others on making it interesting.
I like to have a title ready, but changing it isn’t unheard of. I don’t think I’m one of the great title writers around, although I come up with a few I enjoy. A good title helps to set the tone of an article for me. I may change midway because the dratted thing no longer fits, but I like having a working title.
The important thing is to craft your titles in the way that plays to your own strengths. If you write best with a general idea, and then pull a title from that, go for it. If you need that title to guide your article writing, work that way.
There’s nothing wrong with either way. The only wrong way is the one that inhibits your ability to write in the first place.
What About Search Engines?
It’s certainly true that search engines care more about keywords than about an interesting title. Keywords are a part of what will bring search engine rankings on the keywords you’re after.
Keywords shouldn’t be your entire title in all cases, however. You should do your best to use your keywords, not only in the title of your article, but in the title attribute in the meta tags, and used appropriately throughout the article.
Your title will often be used by people linking to the page on your site. This helps your article position when your article is linked to with your keywords. Not everyone will use your title or keywords, but you want it easy for them to use your keywords when linking by using a good title.
What About People?
When people click on links to visit your pages, a good title draws them in. Humans do like keywords, so long as they’re used naturally and are relevant. If the title is clever or funny or otherwise interesting to a human reader, that helps to draw their attention.
A plain title can work, especially when people are looking for something specific. There’s rarely a need to get silly about that Canon PowerShot SD780IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera review page title. Relevance matters quite a bit when people are searching for something specific.
In the above example, you can still make the title interesting. It could imply problems with the camera. It could rave about the camera. When you’re being that specific however, the keywords in the title need that relevance to buyers, not people casually looking for information.
People looking more for information, on the other hand, will probably enjoy a title that stands out and promises a good read. A dry, keyword filled title shows that the article is probably about what they’re looking for, but doesn’t promise to be written in an interesting manner. Keywords used in an interesting way can be a big help in getting readers to your informational articles.