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SEO Article Writing: Using Keywords in Article Headlines
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Learn how to use keywords effectively...

A keyword rich title is useful to human readers and search engines.Â

So you’ve figured out what your keywords are, and you’re trying your very best to optimize your articles for the search engines. You’re trying to figure out how to balance SEO article writing with writing for humans, and you’re just not sure how to reconcile those two.

If you overdose on your keywords or use them incorrectly in your article titles, then your article will be less attractive to publishers and stands a good chance of being declined.

  • Where is the line for using keywords in titles?
  • What are some tricks for optimizing titles in a way that is attractive to publishers?
  • What methods can you use to correctly and effectively use your keywords in your article titles?

Publishers actually appreciate keyword rich titles provided that the title is not over-optimized (keywords stuffed in unnecessarily), is grammatically correct, has accurate spelling, and conveys the specific topic of the article.

This post teaches how to use (and how NOT to use) your keywords in your article headlines.

Here’s where some authors go wrong:

1) They think the title doesn’t matter as long as the article itself is up to par.

Truth: Many articles are declined on the basis of a publisher looking at the title and going no further. The title is seen as an indication of the article’s quality, and if the title cannot meet the guidelines then the entire article is declined.

2) They forget that the main purpose of a title is to serve humans rather than search engines.

Truth: Titles are great spots to use your keywords if they fit naturally within the title, make sense to a reader, and accurately indicate what the article is about. First and foremost though, the title should serve the reader. If the title is not clear to a reader, does not have correct grammar and spelling, and otherwise sounds like something only a search engine would understand, then the title is not serving its purpose.

Let’s go over some further guidelines for using keywords in your article headlines…

Your title should relate to your article body.

That seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Mainly this decline reason comes into play when someone tries to include their keywords in their title when the article does not relate to the keywords. If the article title promises something specific, then the article must fulfill that promise.

For example, if your article title is “10 Ways To Choose A Gym In New Jersey”, then the article should specifically address how to choose a gym in New Jersey (as opposed to just finding a gym anywhere). The author needs to provide information in the article that is specific to New Jersey if the article title is specifying that location.

If an author has a general article about how a person can choose a gym, then the solution would be to change the article title to something like: “10 Ways To Choose A Gym”.

Likewise, if your article title is “10 Healthy Soup Recipes”, then your article must provide 10 soup recipes. If your article title is “101 Ways To Show Your Wife You Love Her”, then your article must contain 101 ways to show your wife you love her.

Your title should be be useful to a reader in indicating what your article is about.

Your title should not just be keywords.

You’ve done your research, and you’ve identified certain keywords and key phrases that your target readers are typing into Google when they’re searching for sites like yours.

If you have SEO tunnel vision, then you might reason that the best title would just be your keywords or keyword phrases. Why add any other words to your title? Why not just put the keyword phrase in the title field and leave it at that?

=> Well, the prime reason would be to make the title make sense. Keywords are great, but they are not usually worthy of comprising a title all by themselves, unless they are long tail keywords. A long tail keyword phrase has at least 3 words in it and is usually very specific (“how to home school”). Depending on what your long tail key phrase is, you may be able to just use the phrase for your title.

What I’m actually referring to when I say “don’t make a title that is only keywords” is the shorter 2 word keyword phrases, such as “hiking boots”.

=> Your title should state specifically what the article is about. Unless you’re using long tail keyword phrases, most likely your key phrase is rather general. Even a long tail phrase (unless it is already in title form) needs to have extra words added to it for clarification and to make it look like an article title.

=> Your title should read naturally to a human being. A short phrase may serve a person well when searching for information on the internet, but when a person is looking at an article title, they want to see some specifics. For example:

Bad title: Used Car Pricing

Better title: Used Car Pricing: How To Negotiate When Buying A Used Car

Your title should not be a list of keywords.

Listing your keywords in your title or article body is not an appropriate way to use keywords in article marketing. Above all, your title should serve your human reader, and human readers would not get much use out of a title like this:

Sailing boats, Sail boat gear, how to sail a boat, Sailing lessons, Sail boat

What is a reader to make of that “title”?

It doesn’t make sense, and it’s pretty obvious that the author was just trying to insert keywords in the title for SEO benefits. Most publishers would decline an article title like this right off the bat.

So, how can I use my keywords in my article titles?

Great question–that’s what we’ll be covering next time.

Photo by Bohman


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3 Responses to “SEO Article Writing: Using Keywords in Article Headlines”

  1. [...] already covered what NOT to do with keywords and your title, but in this post we’ll discuss how to use your keywords in your [...]

  2. Terry says:

    I agree. It is sometimes difficult to work out a title that sounds good and contains the keywords wanted but articles I wrote that only considered the quality of the title and its relevance to the story got many more page views than ones with awkward titles that considerd only the search engines. May seem unlikely but it is true.

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