A year or two ago, I posted a thread where I offered to give feedback on hubs and how to improve them. I then went on to write a post based on the most common mistakes I saw people making (you can read it on the slider on my profile.)
This time, I'm going to offer title suggestions. Post ONE title of a hub which you feel could be improved and I'll give you a title suggestion and/or point out any major problems I see.
Note: Some of this information may be used in an upcoming hub. I can't guarantee how soon you will receive your title suggestion, based on my own spare time and the number of replies to this thread.
Cardisa: People Google answers, not titles.
Sue Adams: Use 'answer words' in your titles.
Hi WryLilt Thanks for the generous offer. My title is listed below. The URL is different. Thanks, I know the title is too long. Audrey
http://brakel2.hubpages.com/hub/The-Gol … weds-Again
Finding Solutions for Forgetfulness and Other Issues of Aging
"Finding Solutions for Forgetfulness and Other Issues of Aging"
-Make it a list. You have stacks of great options here.
-Remove the words "solutions" and "issues". Too broad.
15 Tips To Avoid Brain Aging: Elderly Forgetfulness
(Avoid Brain Aging) and (Elderly Forgetfulness) are based on Google suggest.
I generally like to keep stuff like this to myself, but this is something that really irks me that I see a LOT here...
You shouldn't use colons like that.
Use pipes instead... "|" (The symbol just above the "\")
Google ignores colons, and reads that entire title as a single phrase, which takes away from your keyword strength.
Formatting "15 Tips To Avoid Brain Aging: Elderly Forgetfulness" to instead be "15 Tips To Avoid Brain Aging | Elderly Forgetfulness" looks just as good, but it actually provides you with two much stronger individual longtail keywords in the title. This can and will improve your rankings searches involving either of those. I have seen this firsthand as recently as yesterday.
Thanks for the feedback, Matt. Do you have any links to back this up? From what I'm aware, Matt Cutts has said there is no impact - basically a separator is a separator. However there may be some indication that dashes work better than pipes from memory, but from an aesthetic and CTR point of view, not SEO.
I use dashes in my titles.
In this short video, Matt Cutts discusses dashes and pipes as separators but makes no mention of colons. Not a conclusive answer, I appreciate WryLilt, but may be worth a minute of your time.
Should I use pipes or dashes in my titles?
You may want to read this http://blogs.iit.edu/iit_web/2013/04/01 … nderscore/
I need to give pipes a try, no harm trying right. Plus it does seem legit. Thanks for the link
None at all. They make a big difference.
I personally just last weekend moved one hub from #8 to #4 on Google for a certain number of keywords (#1-3 were all .gov pages, hard to beat) JUST from switching to a pipe.
I did not know that about pipes. Very helpful.
Ugh! I was recently told to get OUT of the habit of using dashes, and to use colons instead! Now what??? I have to go back through all those hubs and change the colons to pipes???!! Grrrr
Interesting tip, I just changed a couple of my titles to use pipes instead of colons, but left the ones which use dashes, to see if it makes any difference.
You may not always want Google to separate the two parts into different units though, for example I have one with the title "Low Cost DIY: Zoned Central Heating System with Wireless Actuator Valves" which I would want to come up in searches for a search like "DIY zoned central heating" which crosses the divider - so perhaps colons would be best in that kind of situation?
That's a good question.
Really, it comes down to - what is searched for more AND/OR which do you rank higher for? This is where it is important to use Google Webmaster Tools to do keyword research.
It is unlikely that you are going to rank high for "low cost DIY" so in this instance separating them might not be the best option, so it is a matter of which is the better option, DIY zoned central heating system or just zoned central heating system.
Now in most cases I'd say do your keyword research, and target the one you are ranking better for. (If webmaster tools puts you at #11 for one and #56 for the other, your time is better spent trying to rank for whichever is #11) But in this specific case, you could be getting two very different audiences. People searching without the DIY might be looking for something completely different, so yes - I'd leave the colons.
This is why webmaster tools are so important...it allows you to look at your ranking for keywords, see what exactly you are ranking well for, and really zone in on those specific keywords. But...that's more information than I usually like to give - Google can help with the rest ;-)
How about using the keyword "memory improvement" in your title?
"Memory Improvement Ideas for Aging and Forgetfulness"
Not sure what you mean. Please give me specific examples / suggestions. I have been using the former "TitleTuner" in the past. That may have elongated some of my titles incomprehensibly. Any improvements would be welcome.
Ok, but can you do anything for menstrual cramps?
I love that you answered that with a straight face.
If we were alone, I'd have a few replies for you.
"How to Not Worry"
I've struggled with that one for awhile, it is truly a bad performer. Along with several others.
Thanks for your offer. Here is a title I think needs some improvement:
Netball Drills: Fitness, Exercise & Shooting Drills
"Netball Drills: Fitness, Exercise & Shooting Drills"
Tips: You've repeated the word drills twice.
I can't give you an exact suggestion because it looks like all the main words in your title have a high amount of competition from bigger netball sites in Google.
I'd suggest you start typing into Google and use some of the suggestions for ways to narrow it down. I'm not aware of the lingo, so some more appeal to you more than others.
netball drills for goal shooters
netball drills for two players
Hi WryLilt, I do not have a question about any of my titles but I do have another question I have been meaning to ask you.
In a previous forum you stated that if a hub does not have good traffic after about a year you go ahead and delete it. How do you determine which of those to delete? Many of my hubs will have a 0 for the day, but a few views per week,and many more for month.
Does that mean that Google looks down on the other hubs because of those poor performers? If I delete them, are the others likely to perform better?
I went ahead and deleted some Brazilian recipes and my hubs on eastern religions. The others are performing better. Should I get rid of some of the others that have little traffic?
Thanks for your advice. I realize that none of us really know what Google wants, but I have learned a lot from reading some of your comments in the past and know that I have room to improve here.
If they're getting Google views at all, I usually leave them, then try to give them some SMO (social media optimisation) such as a good MFP image. Social media sharing can raise rankings in Google, especially if your summary and image captions contain relevant keywords.
I've yet to see any indication of poor performers negatively impacting a website. I've seen more evidence that low quality content negatively impacts a website - so as long as your content is high quality, not spammy etc, you're usually fine.
If a hub became unfeatured due to traffic, I'd probably delete and move it unless I had a very good reason not to.
Wow excellent marketing on your profile page and here too. I could not resist and went to look. I look forward to reading more from you in the forum.
Hi WryLilt, thanks for doing this again. I've changed the title on this one at least 10 times. It's a lemon that just doesn't do well at all. I think it might be the content:
"Act Out of Character Poem / Human Nature and Behavior"
I had a Taoism hub like that, and in 2 years it gained less than the 1 day traffic of many of my hubs. I tried changing the title many times but finally just deleted it
The "Act Out of Character" poem may never do well.
Jan, may I suggest this title?
"Poem about Life: Human Nature and Behavior"
The first part of the title is the keyword. A basic search gave me 12,000 avg monthly searches. The advertising is very cheap as with any poem but you my get more views.
I will definitely try it. It cannot do any worse than it has been. Thank you very much. I will come back and let you know if it jumped in hubscore and views.
Update on title change: The hubscore increased by 4 points - but it's still at the bottom - #73 of 73 hubs, lol. I also changed a few other titles based on your advice about repeating keywords. That worked out well, too, increasing hubscores. Thanks again, Cardisa.
WryLit, you have found my weakness. So wonderful that you are willing to help me overcome it. This one is my worst worded title, but I can't think of a better wording:
What Do Women Look for When Buying a House
Great idea for an article and I like the title although you might get a new, improved, better, exclusive one. Sorry I have been in comma training. My mom sold houses for a while and told me the woman makes the final decision. I would enjoy reading that article.
"What Do Women Look for When Buying a House"
-Make it a list. 10 things women want...
-Google suggest indicates there aren't many searches for "Women buying house", but "Wife buying house" might be a good area to explore.
Buying A New House: 8 Things Your Wife Wants
I also wanted to point out that if anyone is looking at the discussions at the bottom of the page, HubPages provided some Exclusive Titles in the past, but that program did not work and is no longer available.
I appreciate your gracious offer and hope you'll take a look at this title and tell me how to improve it.
"Donate to Charity Without Spending Money or Time - One Simple Way to Help"
Thank you WryLilt.
Your webpage is fascinating.
I like your article idea too and am looking forward to it.
I wasn't sure if you were responding to me but in case you were, thanks! I've used the first title that was suggested by WryLilt and hope this helps improve traffic.
Yes, you are right. I was directing it to you. Her suggestions are good too. Let me know how it goes. I would have taken her up on her article if I were ready to publish something. Titles are the toughest it seems. People who write for the big newspapers make more money than the people who write the articles. It is the title that sells with newspapers. Here on the web is a little trickier because we have to rank too. Again let me know how it goes.
"Donate to Charity Without Spending Money or Time - One Simple Way to Help"
-Change to donations not donate.
-Include words free and volunteer.
-Lose the "one simple way to help", "spending".
"How To Give Free Charity Donations With Coke" or "10 Free Charity Donation Ideas - Including Coke, Volunteering & More!" - Lists are great for MFPs plus they seem to do well in Google.
-Add another capsule at the end of the article outlining other free ways to donate, so you can justify using these ways in the title. People may not be looking for "coke donations" but they may be looking for volunteering info. If they don't know to look for your topic, they won't look for it.
-Include mention of the ice bucket challenge for ALS somewhere. Time relevant but may help, as it's a big deal right now!
I'm going to jump in and offer some general tips on creating titles, I'm sure WryLilt wont mind .
Using the same word twice is sort of redundant and may appear to be keyword stuffing. These titles often have trouble getting indexed.
Think about what you would search for on the subject you are writing about and not what you think may look pretty. Selling newspaper headlines requires catchy titles but the internet requires search friendly titles.
Get directly to the subject of the article and what it's about.
Measure your title in a text editor and make it no longer than 65 characters with space. Titles should be at least three words short, less than that and you may have a problem.
Go ahead! I mentioned you in the first post, so you're totally famous and stuff. Can I have your autograph while I'm here?
I have changed the Title to this Hub at least three times. I know it is too long. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Bring Back The Monarch Butterflies By Planting Milkweed. Photos Showing How I Am Preserving The Monarchs
I want readers to know I included photos of the butterfly from the egg stage right on till it hatched out.
Thanks so much.
Mary I'll let Susannah help you with the title. But, just a pointer: You're title is going to be chopped off and people won't know you have images!
Try and write about the images in the summary (meta description) it would show on search most of the time. Photos included Or Images Included should suffice if you want to place it on the title.
I'm not that great at titles myself, but I would observe that your information that you have photos would be better placed in the summary section under the title. That information will show up on Google under the title, so potential readers will see it. That way, your title would be more compact and to the point.
"Bring Back The Monarch Butterflies By Planting Milkweed. Photos Showing How I Am Preserving The Monarchs"
"Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle with Milkweed in my Garden"
I'd mention the photos in the summary. I do think that title may be a bit competitive, so you may want to play around with Google suggest for some more specific niche words people are looking for.
"In my garden" is something that people are more likely to be asking questions about on Google, too.
Many thanks for your help. I have shortened the title of my Hub, and also mentioned the photos in the summary.
The Title now reads: Bring Back the Monarchs; Plant Milkweed In Your Garden
Mary I suggest you change it to Planting Milkweed in my Garden rather than plant milkweed in your garden.
People searching would look for help on: "Planting milkweed in my garden" not "plant milkweed in your garden".
How about "Planting Milkweed In My Garden To Bring Back The Monarchs"? Thanks so much for your suggestions.
That's really nice. Short and to the point. Plus contains your keywords as well
I don't know much about SEO for sure, but it seems to me I got everything I needed from your title... no need to read the article. lol
@WryLilt. I see you are getting an overwhelming response to your offer to help. I generally do not need any help with the title however I do have a particular hub which needs some expert advice. This hub is "How to Save on Foreign Exchange Fee When Travelling Abroad". The keywords related to foreign exchange are high competition keywords (Serp 1 to 10 populated by established travel site with article pagerank PR5 to PR3) but I am not ready to give up. I published it in May 2014 so it still has to mature and gain some organic backlinks.
For long tail keywords my SERP (checked by some free SERP checker) is as follows:
Foreign Exchange Fee When Travelling Abroad - 26th Position
How to change money abroad - 60th position
Changing money in a foreign country- 78th position
Please suggest changes in the title and meta description if you have time. Thanks!
I remember your previous very kind offer - Thank you.
http://hubpages.com/hub/Picture-these-d … ragonflies
"How to Save on Foreign Exchange Fee When Travelling Abroad".
I must admit I have no real suggestions for this one! It's a very competitive topic. The only two things I'd suggest, since it's such an awesome full on hub with great info...
-Make it a list. 10 ways to...
-Make an MFP image and see if you can promote it on Pinterest and other social networks instead, travel pages etc.
Thank you, WryLilt.. Social media promotion is not my strong point, but it is worth exploring. I also liked the idea of MFP picture or even better, an infographic which can be a storyboard for the entire hub and can be shared on social media.
Once again, thanks for reading and suggestions.
Re pipes; Writer Fox uses pipes, and he is good at getting traffic. Thanks for the help with my title. My hub is on first page of Google without much traffic for my chosen keywords. Thanks for new ideas.
WOW...welcome back, we missed you............
I nominated you for forum queen on your new account
Well, I'm working on these search-friendly titles, but I have one that is stumping me. It was written in 2012, and has but 617 views to date.
I know this is not what people might search for, but I'm kind of stumped as to how else to phrase this title. Currently it exists as:
"Fun With Ridiculous Words"
A better idea would be useful. Thanks in advance!
Two of my titles. Lets see what you have got.in the bag.
"Pench National Park in MP in India"
"Hotels in Kanha National Park"
I have an idea as to what to do with this one, which is either leave Dog Beds in or take it out. Dog Beds | Choosing The Right Bed For Your Dog I just noticed that we have a dash in between every word in our url.
Thanks for your generous offer. This hub attracts poor traffic and I had the title changed several times. The latest title tries to have more keywords (at least that's what I thought!)
"Plan for Your Children's Future Now - Why it is Important to Have Wills for Your Children"
Oh; have you stopped offering suggestions now WryLilt? I was going to ask about one if you are still doing it. It's 'Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas For Him 2014'. I have just updated this for 2014 so it would be good to get some traffic to it.
Hi there. Thanks for the generous offer of helping people edit their article titles. Can I get some help too?
I'm kind of really bad with titles and I think a lot of mine might be too long so I'm always changing them and trying to come up with alternative titles. I saw the info here about pipes so I tried that with this title but, I don't know. Maybe it's still too long / vague / not descriptive / too descriptive or something else entirely?
This is the article title: "Why Dumbledore Shouldn't Know How Voldemort Killed The Potters? | Harry Potter Plot Holes"
You are so kind to offer to help with titles to our hubs. I've struggled for 3 yrs with this one. http://vocalcoach.hubpages.com/_1ictfyq … List-Hands
Thank you so much.
I have a question.
What if someone has used keywords for an effective title already (eg. How To Clean Green Shoes), the "clean green shoes" being the keywords. If their article is a bit crap and is not from Hubpages, should we try to use the same title (which is the most efficient title to use in this case) or should we try to create a different title.
Is there any punishment in Google for having a title the same as someone else's?
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