Search traffic to my new blog has NOT been happening. Yesterday, I was surprised when I started getting search hits from Bing and Yahoo on the term “FY 2013 Continuing Resolution”. This was exciting because: (1) I was seeing search referrals, (2) I had just posted the piece in the morning, and (3) I found that it had the #1 position for those terms on those search engines. Meanwhile, I was nowhere for those terms on Google.
While I think about search engine optimization (SEO) as something that I ought to think to do, I don’t really try to study the best practices and apply them when I edit, if I edit a post. But this difference in search position in Bing, Yahoo, and Google raised my curiosity, are headlines really much more important to Bing and Yahoo for search results? While Google is bigger, what if I did something small as a test to target these other search engines? I might actually get more search referrals just by putting a little more thought into my post titles; just as I had been testing with my posts to Reddit.
According to Adam Bauthues, I am actually seeing Bing credit the keywords in my post’s URL, which is auto generated by WordPress to match my headline.
Included in a post full of blog writing tips, Annabel Candy shared some specific ways to write better headlines, which really focus on the theme of making headlines more useful and informative for potential readers considering your post from a long list of other options…be explicit about your post’s value to them.
She also recommends breaking up a long post with subheading to make the post easier for readers to scan quickly and highlight the value available by reading all that text. I do recall a solicitation for SEO consulting services that shared the tip that such subheadings, using header tags in HTML, increase the visibility of our writing on search engines.
I have noticed that successful channels on YouTube often change the headline for their videos, which I assume is to increase visibility and attractiveness. Have you tried changing your headline on posts with disappointment traffic? If so, what did you find from your effort?
In doing an autopsy on my least successful posts in attracting traffic, I have tested them by gauging general interest for the topic using simple Google searches, or getting metrics for those ideas using Google’s Adwords Keyword Tool. In addition to identifying alternative terms with better metrics, I have sometimes found that there was not much interest in those ideas. Do you perform any such testing either before or after you post? If so, what did you learn?
Personally, I am going to give a bit more thought to my post headlines and test the results. It is a small first step that is not too difficult to implement.