Use Post Titles to Create Social Signals (for Better SEO)

Apr 24, 2012   //   by Obaidul Haque   //   SEO, SEO Blog  //  14 Comments

Last few updates by Google have made it quite obvious that social signals will play a major role in ranking content. Five to ten years ago, ranking at the top of search results was all about algorithms. To rank at the top, all you needed to do was to optimize the content copy for a set of targeted keywords. Now, search is also about people while social is just about people. That means, social media and search are highly intertwined today.

Major search engines like Google have begun to understand people (and relationships). That’s why you need to create as many social signals for your content as possible for higher search rankings.

When it comes to creating social signals for your content, titles have got a major role to play. Apart from creating content that’s really useful to your audience, you also need to make sure that your content is shared by a large number of people. The more shares your articles get, the better social signals you send to search engines. And, titles have a huge impact on shareability.

Usually, sharing is instantaneous. Great content with average titles may get a good number of shares. But it’s actually harder. Many people would share an article only because the title grabbed their attention immediately. That’s a clear signal that titles can make a great impact in terms of social sharing.

Great Titles = More Social Sharing = Better Search Rankings

Writing great titles is also a good practice from SEO point of view. Today, post titles have far outweighed meta keywords and meta description. As SEO continues to evolve, major search engines are placing more value on top quality content and downgrading over-optimized ones.

Titles are more important today than ever before.

Those few words that you use in the title will decide whether your content will be shared by thousands of people or barely noticed. Well-crafted titles can spread your content like wildfire across the web.

In their book ‘Made to Stick’, the Heath Brothers state that any good news or editorial writer may devote 80% of their time to writing the title. The time that’s left will be used to put together the body of the content.

Since social signals are vital to enhance your SEO, it’s high time to pay some careful attention to crafting titles. Some of the most important elements that make a title attention-grabbing include emotion, expectation, curiosity and benefit among others. Titles that are short, descriptive and eye-catching carry high viral potential. Though a title is just a group of few words, it’s the real game changer in the world of social media. In any case, you should never compromise on the overall quality of the article.

There are multiple ways to assess the effectiveness of your post titles. One of them is using a URL shortener. A URL shortener like bit.ly can help you a great deal in this regard. It can tell you the CTR and the number of shares for each of your links posted to different social networking websites. Using such URL shorteners, you can also A/B-test your titles.

You can get started with it by creating two different shortened links for the same article. Next, you can use two different title versions to post the article. The bit.ly stats for those links will tell you which title version made the most impact.

I would also recommend the use of Most Shared Posts WordPress Plugin. Once installed on your blog, this plugin will inform you which of your posts received the most social sharing on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Google+. This data will help you analyze the effectiveness of your titles.

How much time do you spend crafting the title of your post? Please feel free to talk back in comments.

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Obaidul Haque

Obaidul works as an SEO manager handling client projects. He focuses heavily on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM). Also a passionate blogger and freelance writer, he shares his insightful views regularly on HelloBloggerz . You can follow him on Google Plus or Twitter.

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  • I am new to social media so I’m trying to read and learn all that I can. Thanks for your helpful articles.

  • The titles are the most important part of anything that I write. I share everything that I write via Digg, Twitter and StumbleUpon. The only thing that any of the readers can see on those sites is the title. That means it’s essential for the title to grab their attention so they will go to my site and read it. When they go my site I have all of my blogs truncated so they have follow another link to read the whole thing. Again, the title must grab their attention. Good post!

  • Bery C.P.
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great information. I like all your post. I will keep visiting this blog very often.I really learn more about social media marketing of this post.

  • Steven Papas says:

    This is so very true. It seems the blogging world has moved much more in the direction in social media than just keyword use. Now you must use you keywords to attract social media.

    • Obaidul
      Twitter:
      says:

      Absolutely. What I’m trying to say is – Don’t just SEO your post titles. Instead, craft the title in a way that compels people to share it in large numbers.

      Thanks for your visit, Steven.

  • Debbie says:

    Hi, Obaidul! Nice article. I hope you don’t mind if I add my opinion: title is important indeed, but the first paragraph may be crucial too – if you don’t catch you reader’s attention from the first paragraph, they might not read the full post.

    • Obaidul
      Twitter:
      says:

      Of course, the first paragraph should tell the reader what follows next. If you fail to make a hit in the first para, you’re most likely to drive the reader away.

      Thanks for your comment, Debbie.

  • biobank says:

    supreme information. I like all your post. I will keep visiting this blog very usually.I really learn more about social media marketing of this post.

  • Annabel S. says:

    Both content and social media are important – I must say though there is no other feeling like that you get when someone ‘shares’ your page via a social network :)

  • Pink says:

    This is the 4th article that I’ve read tonight about the impact of social signals on SEO. I agree that repeating keywords is not as important now as it was a couple of years ago especially with the recent Penguin update. And, it makes a lot of sense that the more popular your content is, the more likely it will get noticed by the SERPs and given high priority. But then again, like SEO, I think this can be easily gamed perhaps easier than doing traditional link building.

  • [...] Click here to continue reading about how important titles are to create social signals on Sem-Group….… [...]

  • Alex Braker says:

    The most important part of the topic is the title. When users come to your post at that time they first read the title and from it they understand what you are trying to say in the topic and then after reading the title they move forward to the topic. Therefore you should generate creative title for the topic and from the social networking websites like Digg, Stumble Upon and Delicious; you can get lots of traffic to your website.

  • Ryan Key
    Twitter:
    says:

    As they say, it’s all in the title. I have tried this strategy with YouTube videos and it works like clockwork. People will click on anything that has a good title.

  • This only makes sense given social media is truly organic. It’s because people naturally share what they find interesting or helpful, whereas link building is artificial.