Most of us fall prey to a simple mistake in the online world. We create useful content, come up with a title tag and use that title tag in many different places for many different purposes. We use it on Facebook, we use it as the meta-title for SEO purposes, and we use it as our blog post title.
The problem with this is that what works for one purpose can harm us in other areas. Those keyword-rich titles that we create for SEO purposes, in order to show relevant content in the search engine results page, don’t always make for good social media titles.
Often the titles that work best on social media are those that leave you guessing, with little or no keywords, so you have to click on them to find out more e.g. “You’ll never believe what happened when this guy sat down at the bus station”.
Yet, if you used that exact social media title trying to appeal to search engines, you would probably find that based on keywords like “believe” and “bus station” your post would show up amongst Christian theology sites, and metropolitan bus timetables in your local area. This might have little or no relevance to what the post is actually about.
Thankfully, you don’t only have one title that you have to fit everything into to serve different places and different purposes. That would be an almost impossible task. Every page you publish online allows you the opportunity to come up with three different titles.
I’m going to walk you through what each one is and how to use it for maximum advantage:
1. Post Title
This is what most people commonly think of when they think of titles. This is the title that relates to a specific post on your blog.
An example of this is the title that appears in bold at the top of this column. It is designed to grab your attention and make you want to read further. It should be interesting and captivating and help engage new readers.
2. Page Title
This title is the one that appears in the tab or title bar at the top of your web browser. It is also the link text that shows up in the search engine results page with the content found.
Blog hosting services often automatically generate this title for you, usually duplicating the post title but you should always choose to customise this yourself.
In HTML you can find the title in the ‘head’ section in the ‘title’ tag. The reason you want to customise this and write it yourself is that it has a slightly different purpose to the post title.
The post title is written primarily for humans whereas the page title whilst also written for readers, doesn’t have to be as eye-catching. It can be more pragmatic and help the readers distinguish if the content will be useful.
This is achieved through the use clear, descriptive and short title with one or two main keywords.
3. Social Title
Whilst currently the social title is seen to be the same as the post title in most cases, we do have the opportunity to alter this title as well, it allows you to mix up how you display your post to different markets.
Just like the post title, you should make this interesting and captivating in order to engage your readers, but remember to keep it relevant to your post.
In HTML you can add the social tags in the ‘head’ section with ‘meta’ tags. If you want to find out more information & see examples of implementing these social tags, head here.
So if you’ve ever struggled to find the perfect title and create headlines that meet SEO needs but also convey interest to readers, the good news is you no longer have to worry: you can do both. Using different titles for different purposes is becoming a well-utilised tool in the online world.
I hope you take the time to experiment with these strategies and I look forward to hearing your results.