We’ve touted the adage, “content rules,” over and over again when it comes to publishing blogs and social media for professional services companies. And it’s true, “content rules,” but good content needs to be paired with well-optimized titles and images. Why? Because titles and images (and ALT tags) are the things that first catch the attention of both readers and search engines alike.
You can be the best content writer on the planet, but a crummy title creator, and there is zero chance your post will go viral – let alone get that many views. And just because you like the title, it doesn’t mean everyone else will.
A good title or headline can be the difference between a thousand and a million views of your post (source: Upworthy).
For a professional services website SEO consultant, creating a good title or image is worth the extra time.
By publishing to your digital media, you can accomplish three things:
- Get traffic from your post.
- Get social shares.
- Create interest in your business by educating your potential customers.
In today’s digital media-driven world, you often will attract followers and then your followers will become your customers. Catchy titles and images make followers.
How to Optimize Titles and Images
First, you probably can ditch your own intuition. Check out Upworthy’s informative and entertaining slideshare.
Second, good stuff doesn’t come easy. At New Destiny, we have this cool “blog topic generator.” How’s that work? Easy, you just add some keywords, click, “enter,” and voila! Do we use it? Nope. Some things are just too easy.
Creating a good title or headline can be formulaic: Content + Keywords + Buzz.
Content: That’s the body of your article. You know, the wonderful information you’re feeding to your target audience.
Keywords: Your article should contain at least one keyword. Your title also needs to contain that keyword, and give the reader a sneak preview, in just a few words, of the content of your article.
Buzz: Think, “attention-getting.” Here are two titles from a previous blog we worked on. #1: “Why Links on Your Website Can Be Bad.” #2: “How Backlinks Helped Destroy My Business.” You can guess which one has the “buzz.” The buzz title will always yield more views to your publication.
In a former town in which I used to live, an attorney had the slogan, “He hates to lose.” Someone once asked him why he didn’t pick a more positive slogan, “He loves to win.” The reason, of course, was that his marketing consultant advised using the negative because it was catchier and made a stronger statement.
Images: Rules for optimizing images are similar to those used for titles. Since search engines don’t have eyes like we do, they need to read the image descriptions you write. Image descriptions are housed in the HTML ALT tag. Google Webmaster Tools has some great guidelines on the use of ALT tags.
Here are three key points to follow when optimizing images:
- The Image needs to have an accurate description, without keyword stuffing.
- It should contain at least one keyword.
- It should not be wordy.
You get the idea by now, right? But what if you want to employ metrics to see what’s really working, and how well it’s working – or what else might work better? To accomplish those goals, you need to experiment using A/B testing.
A/B testing is just as it sounds: testing one thing against another. You can test your current iteration of an email, CTA, or landing page against another.
In the image above, according to Hubspot, ditching the green CTA in place of the red CTA above increased one company's conversion rate by 34% (Image credit: Hubspot).
Segmenting an existing email list provides a more controlled environment than heading to the wild west of the open Internet but if you’re looking for sheer volume, doing A/B testing on a landing page, for example, would be a way to go.
Key take-a-ways from this blog post:
- You must write high quality content.
- Titles and images attract both readers and search engines to your quality content.
- Once you've been publishing content for a while, consider doing some A/B testing.
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