Custom Search

It’s no secret, when we blog, many are searching for the information we’re providing, and as bloggers, we’ve learned it often the title that captures our readers attention.

Some have also found, by writing catchy titles we pick up more search engine traffic. In fact, many of us have written posts showing our readers which search strings bring visitors to our site, and it’s often the keywords in our titles that caught the attention of a search engine.

Reviewing how others are finding this site, I realized if I don’t use blogging terminology to attract other bloggers to this site,  some of those that are finding it via search engines  are here for the wrong reason.

In fact, many of those visitors aren’t even interested in what I have to say, and I’m guessing they’re quickly clicking off.


Because my titles are not relevant to the content of the blog post.

Today’s Lesson

Case in point.

Last year I wrote a hypothetical post and titled it, “Wife Sues Husbands Blog for Alienation Of Affection”. It was a silly post that shows how we can get so wrapped up in our blogs, our significant others may begin to feel neglected. So neglected, they begin to think “the blog” is like a mistress.

Nearly every day, I’ll get traffic coming to this site based on search strings such as “how much money for alienation of affection”, or “how to sue to alienation of affection”.

Those visitors who land there, do not want to read a post about blogging. I would venture a guess they’re looking for the site of an attorney who may be sharing this type of information.

As much as their visit adds to my statistics, in my eyes it doesn’t count. In fact, too many of these types of visits can skew our numbers as they are not actual “readers”.

On the How To Capitalize On Your Blog Statistics post, J.D. Meier said the same,

…Otherwise, readers land for the wrong reason and relevancy is queen, if content is king. That said, I still sacrifice a post title now and then if it’s stickier … I just accept that I’ll potentially get the wrong traffic.

That’s right.

By using what we think are catchy or clever titles, we can attract the “wrong” traffic.

If I’m blogging about blogging, having people land on this site who are looking for something totally different, doesn’t benefit me or the person who is doing the searching. In some ways, I am misleading the reader, plus confusing the search engines.

The more traffic I see coming in based on non blogging search strings, the more I realize I need to change the way I write.

What do you think?

Today’s Assignment

Are you attracting the wrong “readers”/traffic to your blog based on your titles?

If so, do you care?

How do you ensure those who land on your blog are the audience you’re writing for?

Raise you hand and share your thoughts.

signature for blog post.

P.S. If I used Google AdSense on this site, the ads displayed could also be totally off base (but that’s a post for another day).

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Look Who's Talking
  1. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. I’m not an expert, but doesn’t it make a difference if we change the words in our permalinks; or at least help a bit? That way we could dream up a creative and catchy title to catch the reader’s attention, while the search engine would index the permalink. I don’t always do this but my titles are pretty straightforward. However, a title I used for one of the Quote Effect posts contained the word “naughty” in it and now I have a lot of people land on my blog looking for “naughty quotes”. Sorry folks, nothing “naughty” on my blog.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: On the Edge of Being =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Davina – Yes, that’s true. We can change the permalinks to our blog post titles and that’s actually something I do when I use the “All In One SEO” plugin.

      However, I believe search engines are also looking past our titles, so if we keep repeating the same keywords, the search engines may “think” that’s what our post is about, and that’s how we will get indexed.

      I’m laughing that some may think they will find something naughty on your blog. Happy digging, hey? 🙂

    • Yes changing the “slug” (i.e. permalink address) could help a little, but what I find is one of the best seo tactic you can do is whatever a user would type into Google, make that your title.

      So the title is highly relevant.

      Agreed, for some reason I find it funny people are arriving on your blog for “naughty” stuff.
      .-= Check out John Hoff- WpBlogHost´s awesome post: How To Install WordPress Manually and Why Beginners Should Do It =-.

  2. elmotNo Gravatar says:

    you indeed raised valid points that in writing catchy titles we may direct readers to our blogs with them ending up reading the material they are not expecting to read.

    however, i would still want to argue that catchy titles is more important for the sole reason that blogging should never be always a news style kind of writing. we should inject creativity to what we write and everything starts with an enticing title.
    .-= Check out elmot´s awesome post: Top Ten Emerging Influential Blogs: The Return of the Darth Vader =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Elmot – You’re right. Blogging should not end up just being “news style”. That said, I am noticing the title of your current post (via CommentLuv); you have found a way to incorporate a relevant title with a hint of intrigue, too. Had you only said, “The Return of Darth Vader”, many would expect that’s what the post is about – and not influential blogs.

      In fact, I’m headed over to your blog to check it out. 🙂

  3. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    It makes so much more sense to me now. It’s about using the right link bait for the right fish.

    Hooking a shark when I’m fishing for Tuna doesn’t benefit me or the shark. It really forces me to know my audience, what they want, and throw the right, relevant bait. The bait should be relevant and compelling, over clever and off-track.

    It’s really forcing me to revisit little things like even my tag line. I still haven’t settled. My test is, people can land on the page, know the category and the benefit without having to work too hard. My other test is, search engines send the most relevant traffic.

    Flipping back through my old posts, I see a lot where I really should have used better titles. It’s tempting to someday fix that, but meanwhile, I’ll apply what I know going forward, and partially address the old stuff by using better anchor text whenever I like to them.
    .-= Check out J.D. Meier´s awesome post: June 2009’s Most Popular Posts =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi J.D – You’ve brought up a great point about our tag line, as well. When people land on our blogs, they want to know what we’re all about. If the name doesn’t disclose it, the tag line should at least give them a hint.

      Going back and fixing those old titles, or maybe adding the correct search engine optimization information may help to redirect the proper traffic. I need to do that, as well.

  4. I typically try to write relevant titles to my articles mostly because I want it to be clear what people will find when they read my article.

    Don’t get me wrong, I always do think about SEO, but SEO comes naturally many times when all you’re trying to do is be clear.

    I do care to some point if people arrive on my blog and not find what they are looking for. No reason to waste their time.
    .-= Check out John Hoff- WpBlogHost´s awesome post: How To Install WordPress Manually and Why Beginners Should Do It =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi John – That’s so true. If we are misleading our readers with titles, we are wasting their time.

      When I’m doing research for work or blogging, that’s become a pet peeve of mine – landing on a site and them asking myself, “what does this have to do with what I searched for?” Unfortunately many are using SEO to gain popularity with the search engines (and to end up on page one), but if their visitors aren’t reading what they wrote, it may be all for naught.

  5. Hi Barbara

    One of my most succesful posts is one about How fat people can start running. It’s a good catchy title because it describes the content and it’s easy people can find that on google. Yet, still I get the wrong traffic. There are people out there who are googling for “funny pics of fat running” or something like that. Which, besides making me questioning their maturity level, made me realize some share of unwanted traffic will always be there. You can’t never know what keywords mean for some people.

    Another thing is in my web novel for young readers titled “Slave Prince of Samarkand”. I ended up retiring that novel disgusted at people arriving at it for the wrong reasons. Reasons that your anti-spam filter would not like me to type 😉

    I am learning to accept that, so I’m giving that novel a second try, only changing some keywords and having a draconian police on comments. Then if some *·$””·!! happens to read my novel, I hope he would leave soon enough, and if he wants to comment, he’ll have to get it approved first and I’m grown up enough to handle it, while protecting my younger readers.

    Sorry if I strayed a bit out of topic 🙂
    .-= Check out Miguel de Luis Espinosa´s awesome post: Exercise made fun: the Heroes of Leothendrail =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Miguel – No need to apologize as your comment addresses how not only how a title can attract the wrong readers, but how some of those readers may also leave nasty comments.

      You’re right. We won’t stop all misdirected traffic, but we can limit it by carefully constructing our titles, the words we use in the content and as J.D. pointed out, our tag line.

      I wish you well with the second release of your novel. Hopefully this time the visitors you attract will appreciate your efforts and the message of your writings.

  6. It all depends. I think if you can write a catchy title that also targets your niche market, you’re well ahead of the game wrt driving SEO traffic.

    For example, your title:

    Wife Sues Husbands Blog for Alienation Of Affection

    could be

    When Blogs Threaten Marriage – Wife Sues Husbands Blog for Alienation Of Affection

    The ‘blog’ aspect is more emphasized…but the title is still quite catchy.
    .-= Check out Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach´s awesome post: What Income Fitness is NOT Part II =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara – Thank you. That’s a great idea. While I’m working on future posts, I’m going to use your idea so I can still add some catch phrases.

  7. I’m just getting into this blogging stuff, and your site and all the user comments are of a great help to me!

    Look forward to more of your tips and advice. Many thanks.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Roofers – You’re welcome and thank you for your kind words. Please feel free to dig through the archives too. In the past we’ve covered many aspects of blogging and all who have commented added tons of value.

      Have fun blogging. Hope to see you here again soon.

  8. BunnygotblogNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I have had good luck with catchy titles. Not all of the titles have been very creative but it depends on the content.I am still learning as I go.
    .-= Check out Bunnygotblog´s awesome post: Advertising Towards Dummies – Teenage Illusions =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Bunny – I’m looking at your current title (CommentLuv link) and it looks like it’s spot on. I’ll be over later to read your post.

      And yes, it’s a learning process.

  9. LisaNewtonNo Gravatar says:

    I used to do catchy titles, but I don’t too much anymore. I’m not really sure why. I guess the direct approach works better for me and the search engines. 🙂
    .-= Check out LisaNewton´s awesome post: Free Park and Ride with the Los Angeles Metro =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lisa – With your blog being in such a tight niche, I’m guessing the search engines love you for being so concise, as do your readers. You give them what they’re looking for. Great job!

  10. Great topic! I think sometimes I write titles that aren’t attracting as many readers so, for the most part, I try to write clear, easy to understand titles. However, sometimes I just can’t help myself and I have to write something catchy (even if it’s not as direct).
    .-= Check out Positively Present´s awesome post: combat loneliness with e.a.s.e. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dani – *smiles* I hear you. At times we’re so proud of our creative tiles, we can’t help but share them – and I don’t see a problem with that as long as we don’t make a habit of it.

  11. I agree that niche writers need to keep this in mind.

    What about a non-nicher like me, kind of a mish-mash of stuff (often almost naughty — maybe I can get Davina’s crowd.) 🙂

    I guess for me, I need to pursue traffic on more of a “fan base” level, for lack of a better term, which takes a lot of legwork. But as the French say, “petit a petit, l’oiseau fait son nid,” meaning “little by little, the bird builds his nest.”

    And hopefully they’ll tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on…
    .-= Check out Jannie Funster´s awesome post: 74% Blogging Addicted, and you? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jannie – When I was writing this post, I thought of you and all of the search strings people have used to find your blog.

      Being non-niche raises other issues. Each time you post, you’re apt to attract a different set of readers – based on your title and keywords. While this isn’t bad, it’s just a matter of being prepared for it and knowing some may not comment and/or read every post.

      That’s exactly what happens on my Observation Mountain blog. I have 200 articles in the archives, but they are on a variety of things. Although the blog is steadily growing (even though I don’t update often), most visitors do not comment. The bounce rate is high and the majority of the visitors are new.

  12. This is excellent food for thought and action. I don’t try to be too cute with my titles but accurate. I’d rather have a steady flow of the right traffic. Yet getting better at writing titles that lure is something I definitely need to do. I try for either curiosity or inspiration in my titles and find that serves me well.

    PS You ought to offer to write for divorce attorneys if you’re getting that much traffic. 🙂
    .-= Check out Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s awesome post: What’s Your Main Thing? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tom – Thank you. Using curiosity and inspiration when we word our blog titles is a fabulous idea. If we can get the words right, people are more apt to click through and read.

      Hey, that’s a good idea – writing for divorce attorneys? Do you know of any who are looking to hire a blogger? 🙂

  13. Laurie PKNo Gravatar says:

    I just recently found you through George over at Tumblemoose. I like your “classroom and students” theme — even though I was a teacher for three years, and didn’t much enjoy it! (I taught grade 8 — it’s a tough crowd).

    My Quips & Tips blogs are very practical and geared to attract readers who need to solve problems, which is why my blog titles, introductions, and subtitles are (yawn) boring. I’ve learned that you can’t be cute when writing for the web, unless you’re not concerned about increasing your readership or you’re already well-known.

    Not only do you attract the “wrong” traffic with misleading titles — you run the risk of building a reputation as not being on target, or being downright misleading. If readers are misled the first time, then they might ignore you totally a second or third time if you appear in a Google search.

    Thanks for this post — and I look forward to getting to know you better!

    .-= Check out Laurie PK´s awesome post: Making Old Blog Posts Popular – Without Rewriting Them =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Laurie – Welcome to the classroom.

      Thank you for bringing up the fact we can ruin our reputation by being “too cute” with our titles. Like you said, we may get away with it once or twice, but if the search engines keep listing us high for information that is irrelevant, many will stop clicking on our link.

      I hope to see you here again. I’ll be by to visit you real soon.

  14. Hi Barbara – I agree with the commenters who are saying it doesn’t matter if you get the traffic if it ain’t the kind of traffic you want. Yesterday, we got a visit from someone whose search term was “blueberry scoop.” We’d written about that last summer sometime. Did they look around once they got there? Who knows. Perhaps we could do a better job with better analytics, but this is something I’d prefer to pass along for Pete to do. So far he’s not picking up on what I’m throwing down! 🙂
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: THE FLAME OF LIBERTY STILL BURNS =-.

  15. Let’s just say that as I slowly move from “social blogging” to a blog that relies more on Google traffic, my titles are becoming more and more boring. 🙂
    .-= Check out Vered – MomGrind´s awesome post: Retouching As An Act Of Kindness =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered – That’s true. Our titles can become a little more boring when we branch out and begin to attract search engine traffic.

      I wish you all the best on your “expansion”.

  16. JoeTaxpayerNo Gravatar says:

    So my post “mild bagel” which ranks #1 in searches for that phrase isn’t getting me readers who obviously know that on the Show “The West Wing” this was the expression for “recession”? Hmmm, your post raises new and interesting questions…….
    I need to rethink my approach.
    .-= Check out JoeTaxpayer´s awesome post: Thinking about Dave Ramsey =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joe – LOL. I’m guessing if someone is searching for bagels they’ll be a little surprised when they land on a blog with a tag line that reads, “Financial commentary for the average Joe”. However, finances is on everyone’s mind these days, so you may be drawing them in anyway.

  17. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    I sometimes catch myself to stop and look at the title before hitting that publish button. Because I am in a niche, I have a little bit of leverage but I still have to be careful. I still let ’em fly just for the fun of it. 🙂
    .-= Check out Linda´s awesome post: ‘Last man standing’ at wake for a toxic town =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Linda – Yes. When we’re in a niche, there is a greater need to be somewhat careful. We certainly don’t want to mislead or start attracting too many of the wrong audience.

  18. Since I’m doing the mom blog bit, I find I can have a little more fun with my titles. My readers seem to like it when I inject humor into my stories about motherhood, and they seem to click on the humorous titles more quickly than they do the boring titles. (Yes, I’ve kept track on occasion, just out of curiosity.)

    That being said, I find some of my minimal word titles to be the most catchy for my readers.

    Do I catch readers that don’t belong at times? Yes. And I’ve tried to be cognizant of them – frequently altering a post’s title more than a dozen times prior to hitting publish.
    .-= Check out RC – Rambling Along…´s awesome post: Keeping it clean =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi RC – That is one thing about mommy/daddy blogs. Having children can create some funny stories which are easily transferable to a blog title. The majority of parents can identify and like you said, they appreciate it when you inject humor. When we’re at our wits end it’s great to read a blog post that makes us laugh. All of a sudden, we realize we’re not alone when faced with the trials and tribulations of child rearing.

      BTW: I LOVE your tag line. 🙂

  19. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I try to write titles to attract the right readers, especially since my self defense blog has yet to come out of the sandbox, but I’ll admit I’ve found some of the best sites when I was looking for something else.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: How our intuition warns of danger =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lori – Good point. For new blogs, relevant titles are even more important. Like Laurie said, established bloggers may get away with it, but for search engines and new readers, we certainly don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

  20. Thanks for this — this was relevant for me recently because I had a post with a joke for a title recently and it got a lot of views, although I suspect a lot of them came from people who took the title literally. 🙂
    .-= Check out Chris Edgar | Purpose Power Coaching´s awesome post: 10 Motivational Metal Masterpieces =-.

  21. VincentNo Gravatar says:

    Keywords don’t work for me when I’m looking for an interesting blog.They work when you are researching facts, but I don’t look for facts in blogs. I look for qualities I cannot define in advance, or perhaps simply quality.

    By the same token, I wouldn’t expect the visitors who appreciate my blog to find it on a search engine.

    I find blogs by following up links on blogs I regularly read. That’s how I found this one.
    .-= Check out Vincent´s awesome post: Risk assessment =-.

    • VincentNo Gravatar says:

      PS I do tend to change my post titles several times after publishing them. Not to attract new visitors though. It’s just part of the editing process. Sometimes the title is a kind of riddle set for the reader, to read the thing and find out why it has that title.
      .-= Check out Vincent´s awesome post: Risk assessment =-.

  22. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    HI Vincent – That’s a good point. Like you, I find most of the blogs I read via comments or Twitter. One exception has been Problogger which I found via a search when I first started blogging.

    Your comment makes me wonder. How many blogs like yours are being written and not found. It’s sad to think the world may be missing out on the writings of wonderful authors all because using keywords and relevant titles aren’t conducive to your work.

    • ElizaNo Gravatar says:

      Ah, now see this brings up an interesting point. What is you are trying to attract people to? In my Urban Panther’s Lair blog, I was just being newsy about life in general. So, my titles were simply fun and catchy. If someone landed on my site in error and left again, I didn’t care.

      However, my Silver & Grace site is about facts. It’s about providing information to women. And I want searches to bring people to my site for the right reasons. My titles aren’t nearly as fun as at the Lair, but they tell you exactly what you are going to get:

      Understanding WEIGHT GAIN after 40
      EMPTY NEST SYNDROME is very real
      Joining the ranks of the SANDWICH GENERATION
      .-= Check out Eliza´s awesome post: Understanding weight gain after 40 =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Exactly, Eliza – That’s what you want. Relevant traffic for what you’re sharing. Your titles are spot on. No one has to guess what they’re about. I’m guessing the search engines will also be sending traffic your way real soon, as you’re writing what women would be searching for.

        BTW: You new blog is shaping up nicely.

  23. If catchy titles represent boldness I use them. I don’t use what doesn’t fit.

    Did you ever get that article I sent for guest blogging? If you’re interested either way let me know. I sent it about 3 weeks ago.

    And when did the Funster bra slinger learn French?
    .-= Check out Tess The Bold Life´s awesome post: A Bold, Bright & Happy Summer =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tess – For your site, bold titles represent not only your title, but your tag line and what you write about, thus you’re able to be more daring than someone like me.

      Re: The guest post. I’m assuming you sent it to the email address I leave in the comment forms. Unfortunately, due to the huge amount of spam that email address generates, I no longer check it. I’ll email you with my personal email address.

      For anyone else trying to reach me directly, please use the contact form at the top of the page as that will take you to my personal account, as well.

  24. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I’m kind of a titling nut. I do like to have fun with them and make them catchy now and then. When I go deep drillin’ over at analytics pond, I’m always amazed at the type of fish being caught. Rarely are people catching what I’ve baited the hook for.

    Merits a closer look and maybe some different tackle, me thinks.

    .-= Check out Tumblemoose´s awesome post: 10,000 words in a day =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi George – You do like to write catchy titles, don’t you? But then, being a writer, I’m guessing it’s in your blood. 🙂 I was just thinking. We could have more boring titles on our blog, but when we self promote on sites such as Twitter, we can get more creative – and hopefully pull in the right “fish”.

  25. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I do use catchy titles once in a while, like my latest post 🙂 but I generally refrain from using any words that will be overly accurate to my content. I also avoid using any bad words. Yes, I do care about the type of traffic that comes to my site. I prefer that it is more targeted. I prefer to attract readers who’ll be interested in what I write.
    .-= Check out Evelyn Lim´s awesome post: Love The Man In The Mirror =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evelyn – Good point. If we use “bad” words, we’re more likely to attract people who are searching for that kind of stuff. It sounds like you’ve got your targeting down pat.

  26. Ah, what we learn after the fact. Cute name for my blog, tons of traffic looking for frogs. Ah well.

    One fear I do have is that in allowing the machine logic of search drive our creative process it can dehumanize what we are doing. It would be nice if through tags, permalinks and some of the other methods mentioned we could overturn the importance of title when appropriate. (Or at least get the machine to understand context a bit better.)
    .-= Check out Fred H Schlegel´s awesome post: Following Instructions =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Fred – Yes. If we knew then, what we know now – that’s so true. This blog would probably have a different name, too.

      You’re right. Search engines could very well dehumanize our creativeness, if we let it. In some ways it can be a catch -22. We can blog to our heart’s content with no regard to search engines, or we can use the tools that are offered to us and get our writings found. It all comes down to our goals as bloggers and the choices we make. Each has a cost.

  27. jan geronimoNo Gravatar says:

    Gyutae of Winning the Web suggested a two-pronged approach to writing effective headlines. First, if I remember it right, you write a headline catchy enough for the social media. And when the ground swell of eyeballs/traffic has been reached you then modify the headline to make it more relevant for the search engines. What do you think of this? First you catch the attention and then after you tweak the headline for your post to make it more relevant – no disconnect with the core ideas of your post.

    It’s always somewhere in the back burner, but I have yet to use this technique. Once I write a headline the best I know how, I then move on. It takes a lot of work to obsess the second time around with headlines. Unless the first one is atrocious and misleading, I’d rather not touch it.

    I’d rather have fun commenting in other blogs, investigating what they’re up to this time. 🙂
    .-= Check out jan geronimo´s awesome post: How Do You Squeeze in the Time for Blogging? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jan – Changing a title is an option, however, I do wonder what happens if a search engine has already indexed the first title. Do they re-index it, or if someone were to type in the name of the first title (after it was changed) would they get a 404 error? I’m lost on how search engines “act” (for lack of a better word) when we start tweaking that which is already published.

      Like you, I prefer to leave the old titles as is. Although I might go back and add proper SEO data to a post, I’d leave the title the same.

  28. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Oh Barbara, I am afraid this post has made me feel even more behind the times and a slow learner. I just keep working at it step by step – I know some terms not to use, but I just do the best I can for the titles…my traffic goes up and down – Most of my new traffic, drop ins come from searches for the author of Breakfast with Buddha which I reviewed on my blog – very nice book.

    Then the several things that have been stumbled.

    Zenhabits refers the most reads to me and those seem to read a number of pages.
    I am working on some of JDs good posts right now, trying to get more learned in setting some business goals

    I just keep writing working on making the content quality writing about values and living life that is based on those values…
    still at baby steps and envying your skill in teaching. What would I do without all your archived posts? I just don’t know.
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: These Shoes Were Made for Walking =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia – Please don’t feel bad. I’ve been blogging for nearly two and a half years and learn something new every day. And when I come and visit you, you teach me even more. I love how that works. We all learn from each other and each of us have our strengths which we so willingly share.

      I think you’re doing wonderfully with what you write. Although having relevant titles can help the search engines find us, our friends find us no matter what our title is. Often quality is much better than quantity.

  29. VincentNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara says: “How many blogs like yours are being written and not found. It’s sad to think …”

    I see it differently. Most of the blogs I read have very few readers and sometimes no comments at all. For all I know they have one reader only, with always the possibility that someone else might stumble along. It’s enough. Why does blogging have to be a popularity contest?
    .-= Check out Vincent´s awesome post: Risk assessment =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi again Vincent – Blogging doesn’t have to be a competition, nor do bloggers have to worry about such things as SEO, social networking, who’s doing what, etc. It comes down to what each of us wants to get out of our blogging experience. Some are happy just writing, whereas others do want their blogs to be found (for whatever reason).

      The reason I find it sad how some blogs don’t get found is so much effort is put into what’s written, it would be grand if others could read it. But then again, I’m also a sucker for happy endings, so that probably explains my rational.

  30. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – I don’t think it hurts to have humorous titles – the intended audience enjoys them. Google diplays an excerpt as well as the link, so the searchers could look more carefully – I just tested it with your title and it clearly talks about a blog (but then, not everyone knows what that is!)

    I was bamboozled once when a blogging friend had a title about “poo”, and it turned out to be shampoo! (I thought I would be getting information about bowel habits – not that I actually wanted any) – R
    .-= Check out Robin´s awesome post: Counterclockwise, by Ellen Langer =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Robin – LOL. I think I read that same “poo” post. Wasn’t it about how we can have cleaner hair by not using shampoo?

      I have to agree. Humorous titles wouldn’t necessarily hurt a blog as long as the words used in the title are somewhat relevant to the content. You mentioned how the search engines provide a snippet of our posts. Your comment makes me wonder how many people actually read them. When I’m researching I do, but that may not hold true for others.

      Now you have me thinking, “how can I use humor to get a blogging message across”? Hmmmmm….

  31. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    Since my blog is mostly humor, almost none of my search traffic finds what they are looking for, although I do hope they like what they did find. I tend not to worry too much about search traffic for my own blog.

    Can I put a true confession here? On my forums, I’m often itching to change people’s titles to something more search engine friendly!
    .-= Check out Tracy´s awesome post: My two favorite emotions are lucky and enthusiastic =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tracy – I can imagine with the content you have on your blog, those that are searching and land on it, often find themselves in for a real surprise. I wonder how many ended up on the chicken in a can post by accident and then read it. 🙂

  32. EvitaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    This is another post with excellent advice and made me really think…

    I have been told by “others” or read in some blogs to have catchy titles as that is what attracts people. Now having said that it is a good thing that I don’t or didn’t quite listen. When I write articles, I find I want to make the titles concise and informative to what the post is about. Hopefully catchy, but maybe not, maybe just plain and simple to what I am writing about.

    I never check the word popularity or even track which readers are coming from where and who stays and who clicks off. Don’t get me wrong I love Google Analytics, but I just go there for an overall overview and never look in deeper. Someone may think this is ignorant to my sites, but I will tell you quickly why I do this and why I think it isn’t.

    Because I already try to make the titles fit the post, and because I write for the pleasure of spreading value, I don’t pay much attention to the details of traffic. It is not that I don’t want traffic, but at the end of the day, if I help 1 person then that feels better than having 1000’s of readers clicking on and off right away.

    Thank you so much, as you helped me feel I am on the right path with the titles (at least) 🙂
    .-= Check out Evita´s awesome post: Evolving Being in Action: Julie Riddle =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Evita – You’re welcome. It is written (by some) that we should have catchy titles, but just like the example I provided, that catchy titled got me the wrong traffic. Sticking with plain and simple isn’t bad, at all. It gets your readers prepared for what they’re about to read.

      I hear you about helping just one person with our posts. That tells us we did something right.

  33. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – That used to happen to me a lot. Nowadays I try to balance between keyword optimized titles and catchy ones. It’s tough though and often I’m just too lazy to optimize my posts.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Catherine – I remember when you shared the search stings others used to find your blog. Didn’t you even have someone searching for Dr. Lawson?

      I know what you mean about getting lazy about optimizing our posts. I haven’t done it for so long on this blog, it’s hard to get into it.

  34. janiceNo Gravatar says:

    I once wrote a post called How to Write Like Adam Lambert. It got more hits than any other. Then I had my duh moment and realised that teenagers were googling How to write to Adam Lambert. Only problem was, I got some semi illiterate teenager weeping suicidally on my blog the night Adam didn’t win American Idol ; problem was the show aired a day later here in Scotland. it ruined the whole finale for me.

    On a more serious note, I find it impossible to give my posts google friendly titles. I mean, today’s actually is about rapt attention, rain, gifts, decluttering etc – basically the daily details of my life and what I can learn and pass on from them. But how do I make that catchy without starting every post with What I learned from….

    And please don’t laugh, but what is the ‘sandbox’ Lori’s blog is in?
    .-= Check out janice´s awesome post: Rapt Attention,Gifts and Rain =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Janice – Thank you for sharing the story about your Adam Lambert post. That’s a great story.

      Giving our posts search engine friendly titles can be difficult. I would suggest to use SEO in some of the titles, and in the other ones, be creative. If you start getting more traffic from the search engines you’ll know it’s working.

      The sandbox? Supposedly Google puts new blogs in what is called a “sandbox” and doesn’t index the pages. Or if they are indexed, they’re buried deep in the search results. Some say the sandbox doesn’t exist, whereas others argue it definitely does.

      I thought this blog was in the sandbox as it was many months before I got search engine traffic. I don’t know if that was because I didn’t use SEO properly or if that was in the sandbox .

  35. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you for your encouraging reply – perfect timing…I fell over the curb on my walk this morning…my hands and chin are a mess the knees hurt but no broken skin…made me so embarrassed, but then along came two maybe 13 year old boys and they very kindly helped me get to my feet…snickering and I thanked them…and went on to my home….humbled – thank goodness for ice paks and kind thoughts…
    The fellows were such a help and so are you…:)
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: These Shoes Were Made for Walking =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Oh Patricia, I’m so sorry to hear about your fall. I pray all is well with you and the ice packs helped.

      That was very kind of the two young lads to help you.

      Take care and keep me updated on your healing process.

  36. This is a good point. I enjoy writing catchy titles and seem to go back and forth between relevant and catchy. But sounds like if it’s catchy but not relevant, it’s the wrong way to go…

  37. Dennis BloodNo Gravatar says:

    I think the problem is much deeper than just headers. Nowadays, much content even on very serious and respectable sites is created for web spiders and search engines, not for people. When a real human visitor arrives on such page s\he may be disappointed with all that buzzword mix instead of useful information. So, we gain visitors but we lose clients. It’s good that you spotted this important problem Barbara.
    .-= Check out Dennis Blood´s awesome post: Zeo, A Personal Sleep Clinic for The Home =-.

  38. Barbara,

    Thanks for this post. I enjoyed both the post and all the comments!

    I always struggle with titles. It’s a constant battle between going with the catchy phrase, the key word title or a true description of the post content. I vary on which I choose.

    Lately, I’ve been using more key word titles, but I haven’t noticed that this changed my traffic very much.

    Even though my blog is two years old now…it continues to a work in progress as do I:~)
    .-= Check out Sara B. Healy´s awesome post: Story Photo: What’s the name? =-.

  39. I used to write catchy/goofy titles but now I basically write titles that tell exactly what the article is and use words that someone will be using in a search. “How to …” I didn’t do this intentionally but most of traffic is coming from search engines so it must be working.

    I have a article from last year about how to use twitter rss feeds with google spreadsheets to create pie charts that analyze the tweets. Not something that everyone wants to know but it’s useful information. I called it “Green Tweeter Google Pie”. lol – No one is finding that article 😉
    .-= Check out Kim Woodbridge´s awesome post: =-.

  40. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    I guess, for me, I’m not sure it matters. As a mommy blogger, how much traffic do we really get from search engines? I mean, how many people get on the internet and think “gee, I wonder if I can find a good post about someone’s vacation” or “maybe I can find something on toileting or diaper mishaps”. For that matter maybe I’m better off misleading someone to my blog and hoping they’ll stick around. I think most of my traffic comes from blog rolls and visiting other blogs and commenting. So, in the end, does fretting over SEOs, really help me? I can’t really answer this question since I don’t spend a lot of time researching or worrying about SEO’s but it raises and interesting question.
    .-= Check out Debbie Yost´s awesome post: Mostly Wordless Wednesday – Our Fishing Troll =-.

  41. how do you define target audience?
    we people change every day/week/month/year our habits and interests. if i’m young and every night i’m going to night-clubs, drink alkohol, have fun with guys, how can i be your target? but imagine i’ll be married next year, i get a baby, sit at home and visit your site – oooh yes, i’m now your targeted visitor just b/c i make comments to your posts.
    imagine 2 years later i develop my own wonderful blog, find “better” blogs then yours and stop visitsing and commenting your blog. am i stil a targeted visitor?
    we have different needs at different times and nobody can cover all of them. that’s why everyone wants to talk and communicate with many people. every single person or blog give us different expressions and feelings.
    .-= Check out addicted to life´s awesome post: Favourite pictures from www =-.

  42. Great post thank you for the tag line advice

  43. MitchNo Gravatar says:

    It’s always an interesting debate as to whether one should write topics that are SEO friendly or write topics they feel will catch a reader’s eye. I don’t think there’s one standard to follow specifically, but if one is totally keyed on the SEO aspects then they can write what I’ll call the standard, boring topics that usually end up being standard, boring posts.

    Not that sometimes it’s not your only choice,such as if you’re writing about something specific and that’s what it’s called. I just like to shake it up sometimes.
    .-= Check out Mitch´s awesome post: Who Is Your Blog For? =-.