Monday, July 2, 2018

The Importance of Hashtags, Titles & Images for Blog Posts


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


A little teaching moment... 

With the chaos of social media, and the strict guidelines now in place with email, our digital connections have gotten more complicated. But one thing hasn’t change—the ability to be found through an organic search. 

This process begins when we know the basics of keywords and SEO. The post I wrote, Get Your Blog Found with SEO and Keyword Basics, will help you get started.

Recently I’ve been working with several bloggers about ways to get more organic page views. Organic views happen when someone searches for a topic—either through a search in a search engine or by searching for a topical hashtag. Beyond keywords and SEO, titles and hashtags are critical to getting found. 

It may surprise you to learn that it is possible to be found. But as bloggers, we need to deliberately set ourselves us to be found in a topical search. So today we’re specifically looking at the use of hashtags when we share a post on social media, the titles we choose for posts, and the images we pair with them. 

Hashtags
There are two times when bloggers need to carefully choose hashtags for a post.
  1. When composing a click to tweet within the post.
  2. When sharing a social media update about a specific post.

Here are the things we need to remember when choosing hashtags.
  • Choose two. Occasionally it may make sense to use a third, and even more rarely use only one. But the majority of your updates (unless you’re on Instagram) should have two. 
  • Choose hashtags that are relevant and specificI see more mistakes here than in any other use of hashtags. For example, if I was sharing a blog post about tips on how to deal writing rejection it might seem like a good thing to use rejection as a hashtag. The word rejection is not a good hashtag. The context of that hashtag is rejection—NOT writing rejection. It doesn’t help us get more views or likes because the people searching for rejection hashtags are primarily looking for relationship advice. Hashtags are a search tool and must stand alone in their context or they’re worthless.
  • If possible, hashtag words in the main message of the update. For example, if the word you want to hashtag is in the title, hashtag that instead of adding the word again unless it’s the first word. Avoid hashtagging the first word of a tweet.

Titles
Titles need to reflect the full topic of the post. This is not time to be clever or too generic. Here are three things to remember.
  • Your readers will evaluate your post's content based on the title. When a title is misleading or even ambiguous, the reader can walk away feeling cheated.
  • The blog title must stand alone—with full context—when shared on social media. For example, if we go back to that imaginary post about how to deal with writing rejection. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers who would go with the title: Tips to Deal with Rejection. At first glance that seems like a pretty good title for someone who is reading a post on a writing site. But what about those doing a search in a search engine or reading the text in a social media update? For them it’s misleading and generic. A better title would be: Tips to Deal with Writing Rejection. What makes sense to a reader who has the full content of a blog is much different from what makes sense without visual clues and context.
  • The title should contain a phrase that someone would type into a search engine to find the content in your post. It’s not clever, but I can see many people typing How to deal with writing rejection, into a search engine. That’s the final piece of the puzzle and immediately moves your post up in a search engine search. 

Images
It may seem like images are less important when it comes to being found in an organic search, but when we now how to do certain things, an image can provide a huge boost in visibility. 
  • Images need to illustrate the main focus of the blog post. Let’s once again go back to the imaginary blog post, Tips to Deal with Writing Rejection. If we’re not careful about the image we choose, we can lead potential readers astray. For example, choosing the image below could send the wrong message if someone misses the word, writing, in the title. 

  • We all know that images aren’t searchable….Unless they are captioned….Unless the file name of the image contains a searchable keyword. Yep. By taking a few extra moments to compose a relevant caption and saving the image with a relevant file name instead of some generic title you can increase your organic search views. Let’s once again visit that imaginary blog post. 
    • That image above has a file name that includes the word loneliness—this is what www.Pixabay.com lists as the title of this specific image. So this image is not only a poor choice, but with that file title it will reinforce the wrong type of results in an organic search. 

The bottom line is that the details matter. It’s important that we blog smart. By paying attention to the titles we choose, the hashtags we use, and the classification of images we can make a huge difference in the visibility of our posts. 

Now it’s your turn. What questions do you have about these details? Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETALBES

With #blogging, the details matter, don’t miss important information about hashtags, titles and images - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

13 comments:

  1. These are useful tips.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge, Edie!

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  2. Thank you Edie for a great article.

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  3. Edie, this is a fabulous post. I so appreciate the tips! As I read about captioning images, I'm wondering if the name the picture is saved under is going to act the same way an image is captioned. I rarely add a caption to my photos, but I title all of them.

    I'm sharing this post. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

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    1. Jeanne, they reinforce each other. Great question :)

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  4. Another great checklist to use. Thanks, Edie!

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  5. Hi, I'm one of your silent, long-time readers. I so appreciate and have benefited from your tips on blogging. However, I have not yet ventured onto twitter.
    Here is my question: to insert a click to tweet within a blog post, do I need to be active on twitter myself? Thanks in advance for helping me with what probably seems like a dumb question.
    And thanks again for all you do here!

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    1. Hi Debby, thanks for commenting! To answer your question, no you don't have to be active on Twitter to compose a Click to Tweet. BUT if you don't at least have an account, you're throwing away the opportunity to gather followers. For example, in the click to tweet for this post I give myself credit by using @EdieMelson in the tweet. I would recommend at the very least signing up for an account, even if you don't plan to use it yet. I hope this helps! Blessings, E

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  6. I can't believe I'm so late to the party! I have so much trouble with this aspect. I've been trying to increase my visibility on my author website, but I'm still only piddling along. I know there are 'top' key words that increase traffic to a writer's work, but for the life of me, it seems to escape my pen/choices/whatnots. Is there a site that has 'best words to use in titles'?

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    1. Donevy, Truthfully, "top" keywords don't help that much. Google is much more interested in "RELEVANT" keywords. Write a post about a popular subject, use the right keywords, title, hashtags, and images and you'll get much farther much faster.

      To answer your specific question, there are a lot of sites that have lists of popular keywords. The problems is they don't agree. Blessings, Edie

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  7. Thank you, Edie. I was feeling bad because I don't know those key words. LOL

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