This is the latest – and probably one of the most important – post in the A Gay Girl’s Guide To Blogging series! This post is going to give a very basic overview to SEO – that’s search engine optimisation to those of you who aren’t online marketing geeks – and why you should always be writing unique and specific page titles! If you want to read back over the blogging advice I’ve written about before, take a look at the rest of the A Gay Girl’s Guide To Blogging posts!
Okay, so first, I want to give a little bit of background. Many of us bloggers and website owners get a certain percentage of the traffic to our sites from search engines; the biggest ones being Google, Bing and Yahoo. When folk log onto the internet and want to know about ‘the best lesbian films’ or ‘how to tell if a girl is gay’ then they’ll often go to one of these search engines and type in their query. They’ll then see a nice list of results, allowing them to choose the listing which seems to best answer their question and clicking through to see that page.
But what the people using Google see is only half the story – have you ever wondered just how the search engine pulls out those websites or blogs and not other ones? Well, search engines all use their own algorithm, a computer program which will take into account multiple (over 50) aspects of a website and decide how relevant that blog, that page is to the search query that the individual first typed in.
In order to bring up search results almost immediately after you’ve typed your query in, the search engines have to ‘know’ about all of these aspects of ALL of the blogs, websites, social media profiles etc etc etc on the web before people have even searched. How do they do that? Well, as I mentioned back in this post, search engines send out ‘spiders’ – computer programs which ‘crawl’ the web. These spiders will travel across the web, looking for links taking them from site to site, and cataloguing what each website is about, what each page on a site is talking about. If the search engine thinks a page on your site is particularly useful to people who are looking for a particular term, then your page will rank highly when the search results pages do load.
So, background over. :)
So, what are page titles, and why are they so important? Well, what happens if you go to the tab that you’re currently on in your browser and hover over the word in the tab? You should see a little box with a description of the page you’re currently on – the page title. Alternatively, if you go to Google or any search engine, then the page titles are the links which you click on to visit the website or blog.
Page titles are one of the biggest indicators to the search engines what the page is about. For example – if a search engine sees a page titled which says ‘Best Lesbians TV Shows of 2013’ then it assumes that the page is going to be talking about lesbian TV shows, and so it might show that page when other people search for ‘lesbian TV shows 2013’. Now, that’s not to say that you can fool the search engines – if you have that page title, but then the actual content on the page is a load of homophobic abuse, the search engines can tell that your content isn’t relevant to your page title. Long story short, make sure that your page titles are relevant and related to the content on your page.
So, hopefully I’ve explained how writing good, relevant page titles can mean that more people can find your blog through search engines – the next question is how do you update your page titles? Well, if you have a self-hosted WordPress.org blog, it’s easy. Just read the next paragraph. However, for WordPress.com and Blogger blogs, you’ll need to have some HTML / coding knowledge. If you do have a WordPress.com or Blogger blog and would like to find out more about how to do this, just drop me a line and I can give you advice for your specific blog!
WordPress.org: Install one of the SEO plugins such as FV Simpler SEO or Yoast SEO – I personally love FV Simpler. Then, each time you write a post, scroll down to the bottom of the edit post page, where you’ll find a box which prompts you to add a ‘Page Title’ or a ‘Long Title’. You’ll notice that you have a character limit – usually 56 or 57 characters – in order to make sure that the page title isn’t too long to appear in Google. Add your page title to each new post you write, and your blog post are more likely to appear in the search engines!
I think that being able to write your own, specific page titles is really important for bloggers who are looking to find new readers through Google and other search engines; just another reason that I really really love WordPress.org blogs and self-hosting! However, if you want some advice for WordPress.com blogs or Blogger, just drop me a line in the comments.Carley