Search engines are another huge vector for site traffic. Serious bloggers should always register their sites with Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. According to Experian Hitwise, these three account for nearly 95% of all search engine volume globally, with Google taking the lion’s share.
From Occam’s Razor to the U.S. Army: Keep It Simple, Stupid
You can leverage the power of these search engines by choosing titles that most accurately replicate common search terms for a particular topic. Simply put yourself in the shoes of someone who is looking for the topic about which you are blogging.
How would they phrase their searches? For one thing, they certainly would not waste time typing useless prepositions and articles. They will likely keep their searches simple.
That means you should keep your titles simple.
A verb and a noun can sometimes do the trick. Even gerunds can work from time to time. The bottom line is that the title should use the smallest number of words to express the essence of the blog.
In other words, do the opposite of what I did with the title of this article.
You can best take advantage of search engines by posting articles on popular topics just before or while they are happening. For search engines, the article need not even be good. The title and the timing will provide you with reader volume. It is up to you to provide good content on the site.
Think of search engine optimization in blogging as an opportunistic activity when news breaks. Getting a title and a quick post out faster than everyone else can land you on a choice spot on the search engines.
Here is a perfect example. On the day before the President and Congress narrowly averted shutting down the government, I wrote a post ranting about how not paying the military during a shutdown was a terrible idea. Without much forethought, I called the article, “Not Paying Military in Shutdown Bad Idea.”
Within minutes after I posted the article, my page views started rising rapidly. In the first day, the article garnered 335 page views. In the first four months of blogging, that single post accounted for 8.7% of all my page views out of a total of 120 posts.
I thought the article was an average one, so I figured its hit count had little, if anything, to do with its content. So I then decided to do a search on Google for the phrase “not paying military” and the answer to this mystery materialized before my eyes. My blog landed at the #2 spot for that specific search on Google, and I hit the jackpot.
While coming up with search engine-optimized titles will draw people to your site, it will not keep them there. Therefore, any good site needs a mixture of attention-grabbing titles to capture readers, and thoughtful content to keep them there.