Bloggers - Do Keywords Really Matter in Your Post Title?
“Forget the keywords, write for humans!” - Humanist Bloggers
“Keywords bring the traffic to your site!” - SEO Bloggers
Who’s right? Does it really ruin a great headline to throw in a keyword? Don’t miss an important distinction here - one that certainly gives you a great edge in your marketing.
You already know market research is essential: Know who you’re talking to and what they want. What people type into a search engine tells you more than what people want. It tells you how they talk. Gain your audience by talking more like them. So yes, use keywords.
Here’s the distinction: use keywords, but don’t misuse them. We’ve all seen awkward headlines. Someone wanted to shoehorn a keyword in, but it just doesn’t fit. It doesn’t sound like the way we talk.
Yet there’s another egregious way to misuse keywords here: not being specific. Bloggers often just can’t resist the temptation to use a high-traffic keyword like “internet marketing”. Their keyword tool says this phrase gets 1.5 million searches a month. You can’t go wrong with this, can you? Yes you can.
Imagine a light-weight boxer signing in for the heavy-weight competition. It just wouldn’t be a competition at all. If you decide to use such a highly-searched, competitive phrase, you’d better be ready with volumes of content about your subject. You’d better have tons of links from other sites and have throngs of people coming to your website. If you don’t have all of this, your keyword will simply be ignored. Plain and simple.
This is not to say you can’t use these words. Just don’t expect immediate results. If you want immediate results, use the right size keywords. Not too much competition, not too little demand. This boils down to being more specific.
How to be more specific? I could use “internet marketing in San Diego, CA” (insert city here). Or, I could talk about specific internet marketing strategies, like blogging. Notice in my post title above, I use the word “bloggers”.
I could have asked “Do Keywords Really Matter in Your Headline?”. But instead, notice I chose the smaller keyphrase “post title” (approximately 4000 searches per month, with almost no competition) instead of “headline” (550,000 searches per month, with tons of competition).
More people relate to the popular term, but the less popular term catches Google attention more easily. Without question, you should write for people first. So are people going to “get” it if you use the less popular term? Answer this question and you’ve reached the great compromise you need here.
Humanist bloggers are right too. You should always make your headline before you write your blog post. Your headline is a promise. Keep that promise, and keep it short as possible.
SEO is only a small factor in what really gets eyeballs to your website. People are afloat in a sea of information today. Your headline is a spec on a ripple on a wave in that sea. Catch more attention by using the bait other people use. Make your headlines short, tasty and tweetable if you want people to bite.