Why It’s Important to Use Keywords in Linkbait Titles

A few days ago I reached the del.icio.us front page for the second time, and the results have exceeded my expectations.

Here are some of the results at a glance:

  • 20k+ new visitors
  • 100 new subscribers
  • And 23 new links so far (and counting)

But this is not what I didn’t expect. What I didn’t expect is something else. Soemthing that has a more long term benefit.

Yes I am talking about search engine traffic. Only 16 or so hours after this post got on to del.icio.us front page, I started getting search engine traffic for the keywords in the post title.

The post was titled: “20+ free web design ebooks and guides“, and I did title it with the intention to maximize the SEO benefit. What I didn’t expect was that search engines will pick the post so quickly and put it high up the ranking page for its keywords.

If I had made the title cute, funny, provocative, or interesting but keyword-less, it wouldn’t have received more than the temporary direct traffic from the links. But since I kept the proper keyword in the title, people who linked to the post used the title as anchor text, and the post got more and more credibility in the eyes of search engines with every new link.

Now, as a result, even though the social media traffic is slowing down, a new and constant trickle of search engine traffic has opened up which will continue for a long time.

Moral of story?

Resource lists and linkbaits are created for the sole purpose of getting links. Links clearly outweigh other short term benefits such as a temporary spike in traffic.

Always keep the keywords that describe your post in the title of your resource lists and linkbaits. Don’t give it a meaningless title such as “x resources for these people or this task’. Nobody is searching for ‘resources’. People search for specific things with specific keywords, so be as helpful as possible. Think of your post’s title as a summary of the contents to follow, and describe what exactly it contains.

I’ve made this mistake myself. My first post that reached del.icio.us front page was titled “54 typography resources every designer should bookmark“. Even though I cleverly left a hint in the title suggesting that it was a bookmarkable list, I could have used a better, more search engine friendly title for the long term benefit.

Your thoughts?

What about you? How do you title your linkbait posts?

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