Last Updated on December 10, 2019 by Michael Brockbank
As several people have expressed interest in creating content, I’ve decided to create a series to break down what’s necessary to write an awesome piece. So, what better place to start than with your blog titles and descriptions?
After all, a large portion of the work you may write as a freelance writer will come in the form of blog posts. Whether you’re working for a private client or grinding out content on Textbroker, blogs are prevalent.
And the more you know, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
It’s All About the Click-Through Rate
When it comes to attracting an audience, blog titles and descriptions are what brings them in. It’s the first thing people see or hear during a Google search. And I say “hear” because of the use of voice search from smartphones.
Your click-through rate, or CTR, is how often searchers will click or tap your results when they see it appear in sites like Google or Bing. If your post appears 100 times and 6 people click or tap it, your CTR is 6%. (6 clicks / 100 impressions)
Having a good CTR drives traffic whether it’s for yourself or a client. From a freelance writer’s perspective, the higher a CTR, the more likely the client will keep you around.
What is the Best CTR to Have?
A good average CTR isn’t the same across the board. Some industries just seem to perform better than others when it comes to engaging an audience. Obviously, you want the CTR to be as high as possible.
According to YouTube, a good average CTR on the platform is anywhere from 2 to 12%. That’s a huge gap!
But this is because every niche of content has a unique impact on viewership. The same is said about blogging.
And let’s not forget the individual post. Every topic is going to have an ideal CTR as well. While one post will perhaps get 1.3%, another will reach 20% and up.
Both the title and meta description play a role in CTR. If someone isn’t interested in the context, they’re probably not going to click or tap the article.
In the end, the best CTR to have is relevant to your own type of content. There are simply too many variables to say what is perfect to attract an audience. All you can really do is work to improve over time.
Never settle on what you think is a “good CTR.” If you are sitting around 5%, pat yourself on the back. But don’t think you can’t improve on those numbers.
Use Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a great tool to help guide you to better blog titles and descriptions. It not only shows you the CTR of each individual post, but it also breaks down how people are finding the content.
Keywords you may not have thought of might show your content on the results page.
By examining the data in Google Search Console, you can determine what style of blog titles and descriptions are the most effective. It’s all about what works for your specific target audience.
Is Click-Bait Bad?
Unfortunately, click-bait has gotten a bit of a bad rep. Nowadays, many will contribute click-bait to meaning “fake” content. That’s because a lot of writers will create blog titles and descriptions that seem perfect but fail to deliver in the actual post.
It’s possible to have a positive experience with click-bait tactics, though. You just need to deliver on what the title and description tell the audience.
So if you were to write something like “15 Amazing Places to Go Fishing in Colorado,” make sure all 15 points are in “Colorado” and include what makes each one “amazing.”
Creating Blog Titles and Descriptions
Now that we understand a bit of how CTR works and why it’s important, let’s get to why you’re here: creating awesome blog titles and descriptions.
This works for both text-based content as well as anything you produce on YouTube. When it comes to YouTube, though, you also need to keep in mind the image thumbnail. But I’ll go over thumbnails and featured images in a later post.
Understand Keywords and Phrases
Keywords and phrases are still an important aspect to creating content. Although Google doesn’t put nearly as much emphasis on them as it used to, they are still required to find certain content.
For example, you wouldn’t use the keyphrase, “barbecue chicken recipes” if your content is about replacing a fuel filter in a 1990 Dodge Daytona. It would rank poorly, confuse the audience and is simply not what people are looking for when searching the best recipes to cook barbecue chicken.
Structure Excellent Blog Titles
First, we need to come up with a great title that will engage an audience. This is often the first thing people see in search before they even glance at the description.
The more aligned the title is with what someone is looking for, the better are the chances of them clicking or tapping the result.
Be Succinct Yet Informative
You want blog titles to be short but still have the necessary information people want to see. Besides, if a title is too long, it will trail off of the results with an “…” which may include valuable text to the topic.
Conduct any search in Google to see how the results on the first page appear. For the most part, every title is easily readable. Also, keep in mind how keywords work in those titles.
Sometimes you’ll see a separator and then the blog’s name trail off the results. But most of the best titles will be visible as a whole.
Keep in mind that Google will only roughly show the first 63 characters of the title.
The words you use will make an impact on whether someone reads the content or not. Power and emotional words work great when it comes to sharing posts on social media.
This is an ability that is difficult to master at times. In reality, it depends mostly on your target audience. However, superlatives like “best,” “awesome” and “incredible” usually work well.
If you’re creating instructional posts or videos, “How to” usually works the best. This tells people they can learn how to do something with your content.
Make Sure the Content Matches Blog Titles
It’s vastly important to make sure the content you create matches the blog’s title. Not only does this keep visitors engaged and reading, but it also affects visibility in Google.
This will also affect your reputation and authority for people and search engines alike. If you don’t deliver the content within the title, visitors might never come back.
So if you’re doing a review about a place in your local town, make sure you highlight the good and bad points of that specific place. People want to know what to expect regarding the topic.
Using Blog Title Generators
When it comes to blog title generators, I’m a bit on the fence. That’s because most of them cycle through set terms and combine them. Since there are so many ways you can combine titles, there’s a possibility of creating something someone else has already created.
You have to figure that if you’re using it, so is the competition. This means there is a good chance you’ll have an exact matching title with another website.
However, blog title generators are often useful when it comes to helping you come up with ideas of your own. In fact, I’ve used blog title generators in the past to come up with some great titles and ideas.
Just be aware that not all generators are created equal, and a lot of them out there don’t really provide a strong platform.
One system I like to use is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer. It scores how well a title is structured based on word choice and statistics of the most shared content in social media.
Writing Blog Meta Descriptions
A meta description is the snippet of text that appears below the title in Google search. It goes beyond what the title delivers by offering a bit more information to searchers.
As with the title, it’s an important piece of text that will prompt people to click or tap to read the content.
Tell People What They Can Expect
The description is a short blurb about the content people can expect to read in the actual post.
Some will try to sum up the post within the limits of the description as a “short answer” to a searcher’s question. Others will view it as more of a teaser for the content.
This is another aspect that is gauged by your target audience. In reality, you should experiment with different ways of delivering this snippet of information while keeping an eye on Search Console.
You may find a method that works perfectly for those whom you’re trying to engage.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Like the title, you’re limited on the number of characters people can see in the average search results of Google. In the case of meta descriptions, it’s about 155 characters.
This means you need to break down what the blog post is about as quickly as possible.
Technically, there is no limit to characters in the description of a blog post. However, Google will shorten it to under 160 characters. This means you need to get to the point quickly regarding the content.
Good Blog Titles and Descriptions are Vital
Writing good blog titles will vastly impact how often people click on your content. From a freelancer’s perspective, it helps the click score well in Google, which may lead to them throwing more work your way.
The blog title and description are more than just searchable text in search engines. They are a handshake to visitors who are interested in the topic.
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