Tuesday, June 23, 2020

The Basics of Hashtags, Titles & Images for Bloggers

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. 

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 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. 
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!

The Basics of Hashtags, Titles & Images for Bloggers - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.Connect with her on her website, through Facebook, Twitter and on Instagram


  1. Edie,

    Thank you for these details and insights about hashtags, titles and images. I know the details matter but I had never thought about the importance of what we name our images in the blog posts. Great insights here and I will be using it in my own blog.

    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

    1. Terry, I'm glad this was helpful! Blessings, E

  2. I', grateful to always be learning; because wonderful friends like you are always teaching. #BetterWriting #Blogging. God's blessings ma'am.

  3. Great tips, Edie.
    I have learned to caption images but titles remain tricky.
    Still working on improving my blog.

    1. Ingmar, it definitely takes practice! But it's a skill that will serve you well in all aspects of your writing, Blessings, E

  4. Thanks, Edie. I have been reluctant to blog in the past. I am currently enrolled in Serious Writer Academy's 'Introduction to WordPress' and am collecting information to go along with the course. This article is VERY helpful and will be printed and put in my notebook of additional information. Thanks again!

    1. Thele, that's a great course and I'm glad I was able to add to your information! Blessings, E

  5. Replies
    1. Crystal, thank you for stopping by! Blessings, E

  6. You always have the best tips, Edie. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. :-)

    1. Melissa, thank you for taking time to comment! Blessings, E

  7. Thanks so much for the helpful information, Edie. I have a question about Twitter. When I post a link to my blog post there, the picture is greyed. I searched for how to avoid this, and kept coming up with tips about adjusting Yoast. But I don't have Yoast. I'd have to upgrade my WordPress account to get it. I have the lowest-priced WordPress plan. Do you know of any other way to make my picture show up on Twitter?

    1. Barbara, first, make certain your image is posted as a FEATURED IMAGE, not just included in the body of the post. Second, I have issues with Twitter not picking up an image and I always upload it manually. Twitter is twitchy when it comes to images. Blessings, E

  8. Thank you Edie, I always learn so much from your posts. I didn't know the file name was important. What about the Alt Text and Title when I add media to a Wordpress post? How should these differ? Is Alt-Text a phrase or a list of words? I don't usually assign a caption because I have text on my image and I don't like to see a caption underneath. I also don't write a description.

  9. Thanks, Edie. These are the exact SEO tips I've needed to improve my Posts. Now to figure out if I can do this with multiple images (featured) within a single post, and naming the image file.