What is a headline and what is an SEO title?
As a new blogger, I wanted to punch a wall while looking for answers to these seemingly straightforward questions. And finding helpful articles to link to from this post made me want a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
Allow me to shed some light…
First, we’ll address the various names for a blog post title… it has more aliases than James Bond.
What is a headline?
A headline is the SAME thing as your blog post title.
The blog post title is described as a title for your readers. It shows up above your blog post.
Also known as:
- H1 header
- H1 tag
- Header tag
- Headline of the post
- Post title
Now, all of these aliases aren’t exactly accurate, but I’ve seen them many times in reference to blog post titles.
Here’s a question posed to me the other day: “Does my blog post title count as an H1 tag, or do I need to repeat it within the blog post?”
My reply — and this entire post — will only pertain to WordPress users. Sorry about that… but it’s what most business bloggers use.
[If you’re brand new, and don’t have your blog set up yet, I highly recommend just going with WordPress right from the start.]
What is H1?
H1 tag HTML is simply code that’s placed around text so that it displays as the largest text for a post or page. For WordPress users, the title you type into the very top box is your blog post title and it displays as the largest text (H1).
It doesn’t say H1 beside it, but most WordPress themes have that built right into the title text. I’ve put a red star next to the title box in the screenshot below.
Multiple H1 tags
WordPress also offers H1 as an option in your blog content header (text) sizes. As shown below in that drop down menu.
This causes needless confusion. There’s really no reason to use H1 headers a second time in your post. Adding more than one H1 isn’t good SEO practice. It’s also very weird for your readers to see multiple “titles” all over your post.
Since H1 is so big, it’ll definitely look like multiple titles throughout your post! Use the Heading 2,3, and 4 etc. to break up content. That’s what they’re for. 😉
While we’re talking about headlines a.k.a. blog post titles, let’s look at a few different types.
Your headline is extremely important because it’s the deciding factor for that click into your post. This is why studying some copywriting and using headline analyzers is a great idea!
Several types of headlines:
- List post headlines
- How-to headlines
- Shocking or click bait headlines
- Fear of missing out headlines
- Authoritative headlines
- Personal story headlines
There are dozens of headline variations and many great tutorials on how to craft a perfect headline.
What is an SEO title?
The SEO title (also called meta title) is what comes up on Google’s search result pages. It’s the clickable blue headline that describes your post. It also shows up as the title on the browser tab at the top of your screen.
Think of the SEO title as the search-engine friendly title. It can be a good place for detailed post/article information or variations of your keywords.
If you sell products on your blog, you may not want a price in the actual blog post title. However, it might make good business sense to put that price in your SEO title so Google searchers will click through. That’s one advantage of the SEO title.
Meta title examples:
An SEO title has several different aliases as well. Isn’t that special?
Other names for an SEO title:
- Page title
- Title tag
- Meta title
And there may be others, but these are the common ones.
WordPress SEO title
You can find and edit your SEO title in WordPress through the free Yoast plugin. If you don’t have Yoast yet, you should definitely download this useful SEO plugin. The free version works just fine.
**You do not have to create a separate SEO title. If you choose not to, your blog post title will become your SEO title by default. That’s what will show on Google search results pages.
You can add a specific SEO title in the “Snippet Preview” section (bottom of your post) when you click “edit snippet”. You’ll see an SEO title box where you can add a different title than the one you put at the top of your post.
Key points about headlines and SEO titles
No matter what you decide about creating a separate SEO title or defaulting to your blog post title, here are some key takeaways.
- Always make both titles as clickable and enticing as possible.
- Use strong relevant keywords (preferably longtail) in both titles.
- It’s optimal to put the keyword/phrase near the beginning of a title whenever possible.
- Improve titles by using headline analyzers and studying some copywriting…the clicks are in those headlines!
If you take time to craft a catchy headline and title, you’ve got a great start towards best SEO practices. The more traffic you attract with quality content and enticing titles, the more Google attention your blog will get.
Separate SEO titles aren’t always necessary, but now you have the tools to go forth and create as needed!
If SEO is completely foreign to you, here’s a simple way to grow a thriving audience AND implement strong keywords into every post.
Please PIN and share!