December 16, 2015

How to improve blog headers & post titles for better SEO

how to improve seo for blog titles and headers

About a month ago I spent a very interesting afternoon with a guy that taught me a little more about general SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and how to improve SEO for my own website. And while I am absolutely no expert in this field, and probably never will be, because it is incredibly comprehensive and a profession on its own, I did learn some great tips from him. Several of those tips involved blog headers and titles, so that is what I would like to share with you today!

There are some tactics to become better visible in Google search engines just by changing some things about your blog headers and titles. Some can easily be done by yourself, for others you might need to hire a designer if you are not that into coding, but it might be worth the spend. So, let's see what you can do:

TIP #1 - PUT YOUR POST TITLE BEFORE YOUR BLOG TITLE

This is a tip that I actually shared in a post on improving SEO recently. I turned this tip into a separate post because I wanted to share a visual step-by-step guide on how to make this happen for your blog. So please read the post to find out which steps you need to take to change your HTML-coding in such a way that your post title shows up in front of your blog title in Google search results.

While this involves changing some HTML code, it is not that difficult, so most bloggers will be able to do this themselves.

TIP #2 - MANAGE THE LENGTH OF YOUR TITLES

Google is paying attention to the first 70 characters in a blog post title. That means that the subject of your post (or your keyword) should be incorporated in these first 70 characters.

The title of this post is 'How to improve blog headers & post titles for better SEO', that is less than 70 characters, so I don't have to worry about my keyword falling outside the first 70 characters. Not that many post titles will be longer than 70 characters, but in case it happens occasionally on your blog you know what to do!

TIP #3 - WORDS TO START YOUR BLOG POST TITLE WITH

I bet you have seen them all over the internet, titles that start with words like 'How to...', '10 tips for...' and 'What to do...'. Turns out these words at the beginning of your post title can help you rank higher in Google search results.

People looking for information on Google will often type in a question like 'How can I improve my blog's SEO'. That is why posts with these types of titles like 'How you can improve your blog's SEO' often rank higher than posts with a title like 'Let me tell you what you can do to improve your blog's visibility in Google'.

Besides post titles that mimic questions, the post titles with a number at the beginning often rank higher than regular titles as well. So if you are writing a post in which you share tips or even experiences, you can put a number at the beginning of the title, like '7 travel experiences in Thailand' or '4 tips for better blogging'.

Of course you and me are not the only ones being aware of this, so when you are using a question type title or a title with a number at the beginning also make sure you have a good keyword in your title. The '4 tips for better blogging' example I gave before will be used by many bloggers. So look for a title that tweaks that sentence a bit. If you are writing for fashion bloggers for example you could make it '4 tips for a better fashion blog'. Or when you are specifically giving tips for post writing, you can turn it into '4 tips for writing awesome blog posts'.

TIP #4 - CHECK AND CHANGE THE HTML-CODING FOR YOUR HEADERS

This will be the thing that you might need to hire a web designer for if you are not that familiar with changing the HTML-coding of your blog or website. Let me tell you first what a platform like Blogger does with coding for headers and titles. This could be different for other blog platforms, but just check it on your own blog!

In Blogger there are several options for titles and headers, by default and in most templates you will find:

- the blog title itself (which is a so called H1 type of title)
- the sidebar gadget titles (these are so called H2 titles)
- the blog post title (H3 type titles)
- subheadings that you can use in your blog post to emphasize parts of text, they range from Normal (regular blog post text font) to Minor Heading (usually H4 type), Subheading (usually H3 type) and Heading (usually H2 type) - see the image below for some clarification

how to improve seo for blog titles and headers

The H1 to H4 are just codings for the importance of a title or header. When you select a part of text in your blog post and you turn it into a heading (like I did in the image above), it automatically gets the code H2. Google looks at this coding. H1 is the most important header and with the numbers increasing (H2, H3, H4, H5 and even H6) the importance of a header or title is decreasing for Google. And so is its visibility in search engines! So you want to give your headers/titles the right codes for better ranking in Google.

How to manage the ranking of your subheadings (easy to do yourself)

Now how can you do that? Making subheadings in your posts isn't that difficult as the image above showed. Just select the text you want to turn into a subheading and give it the heading type of choice. Since I mostly only use one type of subheading in my posts I always use the 'Heading' type with the H2 coding, since this will be better visible than an H4 title.

For the subheadings of the tip numbers in this post I used 'Headings' (H2) and for the two smaller subheadings for this paragraph and the next I used 'Subheading' (H3).

So don't worry about the subheadings in your blog post text, since you can easily manage those yourself.


How to manage the ranking of your blog title and post titles (you might need help from a designer)

Blogger automatically gives your main blog title an H1 status and your post titles an H3 status. And for better ranking and visibility you want to decrease your main blog header's status to H2 and you want your blog post titles increased to H1 titles for best ranking possibilities.

This should be done in the coding of your template. If you are familiar with HTML-coding you can try to change the header coding settings yourself. Don't forget to save your current template first in case you mess up the coding!

But if HTML-coding is more than you can handle you might want to hire a web designer to do it for you.

Be aware of H2 titles in Blogger!

A lot of the Blogger templates you can buy on Etsy (including some of my own Premade Templates) have decorated sidebar gadget titles. There is a box around the title, a line underneath it, a colored background behind it, or sometimes even a little illustration around it. Since sidebar gadget titles are H2 titles in most Blogger templates you might get a surprise when you select some blog post text to turn into an H2 subheading. It will often take on the layout of a sidebar gadget title. What it does is that it reacts to the complete coding for H2 titles, including all decorations, backgrounds and underlining.

This can look pretty, but in some cases it just doesn't look great. If you use a lot of H2 subheadings in your posts and you are thinking about purchasing a template with decorated sidebar titles you might want to ask the designer how the H2 subheadings will look in blog posts.

To give you an example I used one of my own templates (A Colorful Mess) in the images below. The sidebar titles have a light pink background and a purple leafy illustration. When you turn your blog post text into an H2 subheading, it takes on the decoration code of the H2 sidebar titles, and while it looks pretty in the sidebar, it doesn't in the post.

This doesn't have to be a huge problem though. If you fall in love with a template with decorated H2 titles, you can opt for using only H3 subheadings in your posts. They won't take on the decoration.

how to improve seo of blog titles and headers
how to improve seo of blog titles and headers

Even if you can't put all the above tips into practise, I hope they helped you to get a better understanding on SEO for headers and titles. After all, knowledge is power!



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