Using Long Tail Keywords When Optimising Your Title In Article Writing & Blogging

Posted at 09:00am on 9th April 2010

In my last post on article writing and blogging – the first in this mini-series - I used (with permission) the correspondence that had taken place between me and my guest blogger, Lucy Cripps. As an ex-teacher, Lucy had kindly agreed to write a guest blog for me about her experience with peer education training, in respect of teen drug abuse. When she sent the first draft she invited me to be ‘as brutal as you want’.

In my article, Four Tips On Article Writing & Blogging & One New Blogger, I explained under the subtitle Blog Brand that Lucy’s article was to promote my book, A Painful Post Mortem (which is to inform, inspire and encourage the parents of children involved in drug abuse) and my website’s blog brand, which is also is to provide resources to inform, inspire, encourage in a number of different topics. This it did, admirably, in that it, too, was full of information, inspiration and encouragement.

Lucy, although an expert in her field of editing and proofreading, is relatively new to blogging. Below is her reply to my e-mail after she’d submitted her first draft.

Dear Mel,

I'm so glad you feel comfortable enough to give me proper criticism and suggestions! Thank you. There's nothing more infuriating than someone getting all 'gushy' over a first draft, when you know there is still a lot to do on it.

The keywords are no problem at all - I just have to do them! Same applies to titles and sub-titles.

Purpose, I know! I've tried to find links to more information about HYPE, but come up with nothing. I've contacted the Thames Valley Police to see if they can point me in the right direction. If not, I'll find a couple of UK drugs ed websites and request that I link anything that could be 'added to' externally to them.

NO problem at all sorting all of that out, but please, of course, feel absolutely free to do with it what you will as well.

I took her at her word!

FINDING THE LONG TAIL KEYWORDS ON GOOGLE ADWORDS

  • The first thing I did with Lucy’s article was to go through it to find the words and phrases she had used most frequently.
  • I then went to Google Adwords, and typed those words and phrases into the box.
  • The results of a search like that comes up as a list. Clicking the title Global Monthly Search Volume sorts the list so that long tail keywords and keyphrases (i.e. those with fewer searches) come either to the top or bottom of the list.
  • The small blue bar on the left shows the amount of competition you’re up against. In other words, how popular those words/phrases are with other bloggers.
  • Using the long tail means that because fewer searches are being done on these words, your article is more likely to come near the top. Better to be in position No. 10 among 100 searches than No. 100 among 1,000!
  • Mixing words that figure highly in searches with those that are lower down the list gives you the best of both worlds.

USING KEYWORDS IN ARTICLE WRITING & BLOGGING

  • I selected the ones I thought I might be able to use in Lucy’s article, then copied and pasted them above the article, itself. See what I mean here. And see keyword explanation here.
  • Using a split screen (Click Windows on Toolbar at top of screen, then Split) I can keep the keywords visible in the top pane whilst trawling through the article in the bottom pane.
  • Because this was not my article and I wanted Lucy’s approval, I also selected Tracking (TRK at the bottom of the screen on a Word Document). My changes were then shown in a different coloured font to the original, allowing Lucy to accept or reject (top toolbar) my alterations.

OPTIMISING YOUR TITLE

  • Your title must be keyword rich if you are to be found by the Search Engines and your potential readers.
  • Once found, you have only a few seconds to attract your reader and make them want to click through to your article. The first three words of your title are, therefore, crucial.
  • They should give instant information, telling your reader exactly what the content of your article will deliver, and how your article is different to all similar posts.
  • Your title should be punchy. However, it isn’t enough simply to string a few keywords together. They must make sense. Sometimes this may be achieved with a statement followed by a colon followed by an explanation of the statement.
  • The first alteration to be made with Lucy’s article was the title. She had used the acronym HYPE – Helping Young People through Peer Education – in her title, but I didn’t think this was specific enough. It didn’t mention drug abuse. And although it was enticing (helping young people) the acronym would not have sufficed as it would not have been well known.
  • Consequently, I suggested three titles to Lucy and asked which she preferred. In all three, I’ve shown the keywords and phrases in capitals. (‘Teenage drug abuse’ was an alternative keyphrase to that shown below, but I discarded that, feeling that the word ‘teen’ had more punch and modernity about it.)
  1. PEER COUNSELLING to tackle TEEN DRUG ABUSE
  2. PEER EDUCATION TRAINING used to tackle TEEN DRUG ABUSE
  3. TEEN DRUG ABUSE: PEER EDUCATION TRAINING challenges misconceptions
  1. Lucy had already identified PEER COUNSELLING as a keyphrase. Although it was quite acceptable, it was not the phrase used by HYPE and, since an explanation of the acronym was going to follow in the content of the article, it was not ideal.
  2. Which makes the second title a better choice than the first! However, it still leaves the reader unsure of exactly what the content will be about until he or she has read the first six words and reached the seventh, eighth and ninth.
  3. Here you have exactly what is needed. It stands to reason that anyone looking for help for their teenage son or daughter is going to type Teen Drug Abuse into the search box – not the method of help! However, the title also offers the means of help – and it’s an intriguing one; something that is likely to arouse the curiosity of your reader. Not only that, we now have two keyphrases – one following the other – in the first six words of the title. They are the hook that will make your reader finish reading the title and click through to your article.

This, in fact, is the title that Lucy chose. It is also a title which has already attracted a fair number of pageviews!

© Mel Menzies - All Rights Reserved

NEXT TIME

I’ll take a look at how we arrived at the keywords we used in the content, how they should be used and how often.

All Royalties from Mel’s latest novel, A Painful Post Mortem, are for charities benefiting children worldwide. Buy a copy here and help raise cash for children like Rachel, who, at 13 is mother to 6 kids orphaned by AIDS, or this project, drug-proofing teenagers in the UK

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