A Headline Title Trick to Maximize Social and SEO Traffic – The One Two Punch
April 27, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park
Social media is all the rage these days. Everyone wants to get in on the game and promote themselves on networks like Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Digg. Social media, when done right, is a proven method of Internet marketing that can send hordes of quality traffic to your sites (e.g. see my case study about how Twitter sent me 35,967 hits in 14 days). But where does on-page SEO fit into all of this (particularly the title tag)? Does your SEO need to suffer in order for you to do well on social media sites? Contrary to what you may think, the answer is no. In fact, you can utilize social media to jump start your SEO efforts and get the best of both worlds.
In this article, I’ll describe the role of the title tag in social media and in SEO and let you in on a little title trick you can use to maximize both your social media and SEO exposure.
Title Tag for Social Media
The ultimate goal in social media is to create compelling content that people will voluntarily share and spread virally via word of mouth (using various social sites). In order for this to happen, the title tag (and header tags) need to be optimized to spark readers’ attention and hook them in. The title is essentially the first impression of the article and many people will actually vote up stories on social bookmarketing sites like Digg and StumbleUpon solely based on the headline.
So what makes a good title for social media? The use of specifics, numbers, names, and descriptive power words always helps. For more guidance, check out Copyblogger’s article on how to write magnetic headlines.
Here’s an example. A current hot story on Digg is entitled “Electric Motorbike Does 0 to 60 in Under One Second!” Did that get your attention? It certainly got mine. That’s the mark of an effective headline.
Title Tag for SEO
Whereas title tags in social media should aim to get readers’ attention, titles tags for SEO should focus on incorporating highly relevant and popular keywords for the search engines. The title tag is by far the most important on-page SEO attribute and if you want to rank favorably for targeted keywords, you have to be sure that they’re strategically placed in the beginning of the title tag.
For example, using the previously mentioned Digg story, a better title for SEO purposes might be “KillaCycle Review – Fastest Electric Motorbike”. It’s descriptive with a lot of keywords, but it just doesn’t get your attention like the social media version, “Electric Motorbike Does 0 to 60 in Under One Second!”.
This presents a bit of a dilemma. On one hand, you want to optimize your titles for spikes of social media traffic, but on the other hand you want to optimize your titles for the search engines. What do you do?
The Solution – One Two Punch
Here’s the trick. When you first write an article, write the title (including both title tag and header tag) for social media. Be shocking or controversial. Do whatever you need to do to craft an interesting title that will be sure to get people’s attention. Once you have that in line, promote the article on social media sites. Get the word out and give it a chance to spread on sites like Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, Reddit, etc.
If you do a good job, you’ll get a big influx of traffic and links. However, after a few weeks, the traffic will inevitably die down and your article will be buried in the archives.
Once this happens, change the title tag on the article to be more SEO friendly by incorporating descriptive keywords with high search frequency (use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool). Leave the header tag as is with the social media version to entice search visitors to further read the content.
What does this do? You maximize sharing on social media by writing compelling titles – which aren’t always descriptive and search friendly. Once you get the traffic and links from that effort, you then maximize search traffic by changing the title tag to incorporate more keywords – and thus increase rankings. Make sense?
Have you used this tactic to increase both social and search traffic to your articles? If not, you may be missing out on a lot of new visitors you could be driving to your site.
Leave a comment with your thoughts. I’d love to hear more about additional strategies you’ve employed to maximize both social and search traffic to your sites.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.