Blog SEO Tip #1: Put Primary Keyword in Your Post Title

This is the first in a series of McBuzz Blog SEO tips. It includes a short video (below). The post and the video show how to use keywords in your blog so that people can find you in search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN/Live Search. If you only have time to do a few things to optimize blog posts, do these first! (SEO, as you probably know, stands for “search engine optimization”.)

If you are new to this site and would like to learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services offered by McBuzz Communications, click here.

Before you can put keywords anywhere, you have to decide which ones to use. An essential part of the SEO process is choosing the best keywords. How to do that is a topic I will address in a separate post. For now, let’s think of it like this:

To choose a good keyword, answer two questions:
1. What is my post about?
2. How would someone search for this information? In other words, what would they put in the search box? That’s a keyword.

Here’s the catch: if people aren’t using the same words you use to talk about your products or services, they won’t find you. To some, this may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s not obvious, especially not to people who use particular terms to talk about their products or services.

One example: I’m working with a client whose website sells stylish, well-designed baby clothing that acts like a baby bib. She calls it “performance baby wear”. It’s a perfect characterization, because it brands the clothing as high-end so it can be sold at an appropriate price, which is more than one would pay for a standard baby bib. The problem: no one searches for “performance baby wear”. People search for “baby bibs”.

For now, let’s assume you have picked the best keyword, or at least a good one. I’m calling this the “primary” keyword. It’s the topic of your post. Here’s what to do with it.

I’ll use my own post as an example. The title is “Blog SEO Tip #1: Where to Put Keywords”. The keyword here is “blog seo“. I put it at the beginning of my title, and I put it in the first paragraph. And (bonus tip) I used “initial caps” in my title, that is, I captialized the first letter of each word.

Does the keyword have to go at the beginning of your title? No. But it’s a good idea for a number of reasons.

Here’s where the built-in SEO features of blogging software like WordPress come in. WordPress automatically does the following with your post title:
1. It creates the page title (one of the most important places search engines look to see what a web page is about), and
2. It creates the page URL (assuming you have the “permalinks” feature turned on*).
Both of these are vital to good SEO, especially the page title. A keyword is most effective when it’s at the beginning of a page title.

THE PAGE TITLE
Blog SEO: The Page Title

THE PAGE URL
Blog SEO: The Page URL

BLOG SEO HAS OTHER, NON-SEO BENEFITS
Here’s another reason to put the keyword at the beginning of your title: RSS feeds are used more and more to display blog post titles in desktop widgets and on web pages. See titles of recent blog posts at Alltop Social Media for one example. If your post title is long, it may be cut off.

By putting the keyword or keywords at the beginning of the title, you ensure that the main topic of the post will be seen. What if I had titled my post “Here’s something I really want to tell you about blog SEO”. How much would that tell you about the post if you weren’t able to see the word “SEO”! Not much at all, which means fewer clicks.

Same goes for putting the keyword in the first paragraph. By doing so, you make the topic of your post obvious. Lots of feed readers and widgets on computer desktops display previews of blog posts consisting of the title and first paragraph. If you don’t get to the point of your post until the second or third paragraph, no one will see it unless they click to read the whole post. If you want to find new readers, you need to grab their attention when you have the chance.

Start putting your keyword at, or near, the beginning of your blog post titles, and in the first paragraph, today. Your posts are sure to rank higher for your keyword than they would have otherwise.

*Permalinks or “pretty permalinks” are URLs in plain English, as opposed to URLs made of strings of incomprehensible letters, numbers and other characters.
http://mcbuzz.com/2008/blog-seo-tip-1-put-primary-keyword-in-your-post-title/
as opposed to
http://mcbuzz.com/2008/index.php?p=423
URLs in plain English that contain keywords are better for SEO.

BLOG SEO TIP #1: THE MOVIE!
This is my first run at putting a blog post into a video. There’s still plenty of room for improvement! Let me know what you think. (Better recording equipment coming soon – with better screen shots.)

Comments: 13

13 comments

i just wrote a pretty extensive post on how to write effective title tags, think you might find it interesting, some of our ideas overlap.

http://www.jmorganmarketing.com/quick-and-easy-seo-tips-title-tags/

Jacob

Thanks for the comment, Jacob. I will take a look.
Mark

This was helpful. Thank you.

I enjoyed your information and video. Your presentation was very clear and understandable.
Thanks for making it user friendly for us non-techies!

Hello,
I want to thank you for your videotutorials. I have used a couple of them and I was wondering if you could help me with the simple task of getting listed / indexed in google.

I have entered my site at different places – including the google listing, according to their report i have no errors/dead links/problems – and I have a top-level domain…davidhill.org – and it still does not register as a result when I enter it into google as a search. It does ask me if i mean davidhill.org with the link – I click theough and i have wikipedia…. I am flummoxed – and I don’t know where to turn…I am sure I am missing something obvious – but don’t know what.

@drhill Thanks for your question, David. I see that your site is not indexed when I google “site:davidhill.org” http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Adavidhill.org

Given the amount of content on your site and the length of time you have been posting there, this is surprising.

My first question is this: Is your site hosted on a third-party host like GoDaddy or Yahoo! etc. ? If so, who is the host?

I wonder if there is a robots.txt file somewhere that is telling robots not to index your site.

That leads to another question: In the WordPress Dashboard under Settings > Privacy there is an option called “Blog Visibility”. Check to make sure that the radio button next to “I would like my blog to be visible to everyone, including search engines (like Google, Sphere, Technorati) and archivers” is selected. Is that the case?

NOTE ADDED LATER: Well, I think I just answered my own question. Sorry. I should have checked this in the first place, but if you View Source (view the source code) for any page on your site, you will find the following meta name=’robots’ content=’noindex,nofollow’ near the top of the page. This keeps your site from being indexed.

The most likely reason this is in your pages is that the radio button mentioned above is not selected. Change that, and you should be good to go.

If that radio button IS selected, let me know. Something else is responsible for putting that code into your pages.

Once we clear this up, you can use the other suggestions I made already below to get your site indexed more quickly, and to get a better ranking in search engines once it is indexed.

It sounds like you may have created a Google Webmaster Tools account. Have you done this? Have you submitted a sitemap.xml file to Webmaster Tools?

Here’s how to do that:
http://www.mcbuzz.com/2007/web-marketing-tip-3-submit-xml-sitemap-to-google/

Also, I notice that your site has no Categories other than “Uncategorized”. That is probably not keeping your site from being indexed, but it certainly would not hurt to create some informative categories and assign them to posts. You can start by Editing the “Uncategorized” category by changing it to something else, like “Recordings” or “CDs” or …?

I usually recommend using just one or maybe two categories per post. You can use tags if you want to add additional descriptive terms.

I see the script for Google Analytics on your pages, but it appears near the top of the page. Do you know why it’s there and not in the footer.php file just before the closing body tag where they recommend putting it?

Finally, I am surprised there are not more sites linking to your site. When I do a “link:” search on Google I see two links:
http://www.google.com/search?q=link%3Adavidhill.org

Do you know of others that link to your site?

One of the best ways to get your site indexed is to get other sites to link to it.

Ask a few of your friends to include a link to your site somewhere, preferably not on a blog in the comments because these links typically use a “nofollow” that tells spiders not to follow the link.

Do you have accounts on any social media sites? Many of those will allow you to create a link to your website. These links are great for search engines.

Examples:
http://twitter.com
I definitely recommend starting a Twitter account. Link to your site from your profile. Use your real name in your profile. Looks like http://twitter.com/davidhill is taken. Is that your profile or someone else? I still recommend using DavidHill in your username – like DavidHillMusic or something else with DavidHill in it. My Twitter username is http://twitter.com/mcbuzz but if I had it to do over again, I would use MarkMclaren or Mark_McLaren

Other sites that let you link to your website from your profile:
http://linkedin.com
http://biznik.com
http://delicious.com
http://youtube.com
http://flickr.com
http://vodpod.com
http://friendfeed.com

Let me know your answers to these questions and try doing the things I recommend, and then we can see where you are in a week or so.

Thank you for your help.
I have:
1) changed the “Settings > Privacy” – to make it visible to search engines (imagine my surprise on this).
2) redone the sitemap.xml and re-entered this.
3) changed my uncategorized section and added the posts where they make sense.
I am not sure how to fix the google analytics aspect – will I need to remove the old code if I want to just add the new code to the admin-footer.php file? i honestlt don’t remeber how I got the code implemented originally.
4) I will start looking for propsective link partners.

Thanks again…I hope this will get me indexed / in the google results, do you think this will be about a week?

@drhill
Since you have done #1 above (changed the Privacy setting to allow search engines to crawl your site), I would be very surprised if your site is not indexed in a week or so.

If you want to use Google Analytics, you need to figure out how the Google Analytics code is getting into your pages. You don’t want more than one copy of the code on your site.

Did you install a plugin for this? Do you know if you have GA account? Do you look at your site stats using GA? If you can’t figure out how the code is getting in there, let me know and I may be able to look into it. You would need to give me access to the files on you web host server.

@davidhill
I see that your site has been indexed by Google, MSN.com / Live.com and Yahoo! Congratulations. The problem was definitely that you had (probably by accident) checked the box in the WordPress Dashboard under Settings > Privacy to keep the site from being indexed by search engines.

This puts a “noindex, nofollow” value in the meta robots tag, meaning that robots or “web crawlers” (aka “spiders”) were doing as they were told and not collecting any information from your site to include in their index.

If your WordPress site is not showing up in search results, this is the first place to look.

Now that your site is being indexed, you might consider changing your “permalinks” setting to “Year, Month, Day, Post Name” or Custom (with just the year and the post name – /%year%/%postname%/ ). You’ll find this under Settings > Permalinks. (Note that on a site hosted on WordPress.com, permalinks are turned on automatically. You don’t need to do anything.) This creates URLs that are search engine friendly, like “http://www.mcbuzz.com/2008/blog-seo-tip-1-put-primary-keyword-in-your-post-title/” instead of “http://www.mcbuzz.com/?p=346”.

There are also WordPress plugins that optimize your site for search. Here’s an example: http://semperfiwebdesign.com/portfolio/wordpress/wordpress-plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

A good resource for more info about the META ROBOTS tag is the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog. http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/03/using-robots-meta-tag.html

Mark –
THANK YOU – ok yes – I yelled – and I should. Your suggestions have gotten me recognized / in the google results. I was trying to show an acquaintance how my site did not register (last Friday) and imagine my surprise when it showed up with a few posts as well. You have been extremely helpful, and your advice was spot on! It looks like i have the latest version of code for GA, and it is providing good stats on my site.

@drhill
Outstanding!

By the way, advice on my site is completely free of charge (and subject to the Terms of Use http://www.mcbuzz.com/about-this-site/privacy-policy-and-terms-of-use ), but anyone who feels inspired to do so is encouraged to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – and Team In Training – two excellent charities dedicated to research and treatment of blood cancer. My wife and I are volunteers. More information here: http://ironmanbuzz.com
You can donate here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/wa/nbhtri09/mmclaren

It is amazing that this is still overlooked by people. For navigation purposes I find this makes a tidy blog, let alone the benefits to SEO. Great post, thanks.

Best advice to get good page rank on search engine for new website creation. Also helpful articles to do SEO. Also awesome advice.

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