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How to optimize SEO titles with popular keywords

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How to optimize SEO titles with popular keywords


30-second summary:

  • Title optimization of articles, blogs, or webpages is critical to get traffic, conversions, and earn money from Adsense and affiliates
  • The standard advice is to stick to one keyword phrase per page to maintain strict relevance and avoid getting penalized for keyword stuffing
  • Adding extra related keywords, however, apart from the modifiers and words to create a sensible title has the potential to get more traffic to websites
  • Here are some good insights and tips on how you can optimize your keyword titles

Optimizing titles of articles, blogs or webpages is critical for getting traffic and earning money from Adsense and affiliates. The standard advice is to stick to one keyword phrase per page to maintain strict relevance and avoid getting penalized for keyword stuffing. But adding extra, related keywords, apart from the modifiers and words to create a sensible title, has the potential to get more traffic to your site.

In this article, I’ll review, my own experience in carefully crafting multiple keyword titles.

Keep the title short – one keyword phrase to a page

As a golden tip, start targeting individual keywords on separate pages and use multiple pages for related words. General landing pages for mixed or general topics generally will not work because you will not be able to compete for popular single keywords without adding phrases for longtail titles. The general advice is that you should keep the title short (less than 70 characters) and only target perhaps two or three primary keywords that are highly relevant to the content of the page and its objective. You can of course develop long-tail keywords that include your primary keywords plus a series of modifiers to make a ‘sensible’ title that makes sense to humans and the test the bots use to evaluate your sites.

Avoid keyword stuffing

There is a lot of information on the dangers of keyword stuffing, which means over-use of your keyword or keywords in the title, description, and the body copy. Google invokes a penalty for keyword stuffing, though the threshold keyword density is not exactly known. There are various tools for counting keyword use frequencies. Keyword Density is simply measured as the relative number of times your search term (Keyword or Keyword phrase) occurs as a percentage of the total number of words on a given page. The ideal Keyword Density must not be greater than 5.5 percent. But various search engines have different thresholds before they apply penalties. Reasonably, high Keyword Densities can help boost page rankings but you don’t have to overdo it.

Keyword Density can be boosted by using your keywords repeatedly in the:

  • Title tag
  • Header tag
  • Comment tag
  • Body tag
  • Anchor tag
  • Image tag
  • Alt tag
  • Domain name, and
  • Paragraph tag

Another general piece of advice for titles is not to exceed using the identical keyword in the title more than twice.

How Google and other search engines crawl and rank your keywords in the title

It is not widely understood, but Google and other search engines register and rank every individual keyword in your title and every combination – including various orders and positions for the keywords. Although there is a priority for phrases with the keywords in the order they are in the Title, and for words that appear first, Google will register all the keywords and phrases and derive a ranking for them.

Dilution of the weight of the keywords in the title

Google also appears to regard long titles as more likely to be Spammy (especially very long titles). Longer titles may also appear keyword-stuffed. Research has shown that the first keyword in the title has the highest weight; the second keyword has somewhat less weight and so on. By adding more words you may dilute the weight applied to each of them. For targeting two-word searches and phrases, it is important to keep keywords close to each other and in their ‘natural’ order. Try to match the likely order of the terms in the search phrase, to the order in the title.

Use multiple keyword phrases multiply your traffic

If Google derives a rank for all the words in the title, surely, by including two or three keywords rather than one will be more likely to get more traffic. The traffic for each word should add up and multiply. Understanding when this is appropriate and when it is not is the crux of optimizing titles. As explained previously the weight or value of the keyword appears to fall rapidly as you move from the first word to the last. More keywords appear to dilute the weight given for each word. Also, there is the important issue of relevance. Your page may be penalized if the words you use are not highly relevant to the content of the page.

The key aspect is competition – only use a single phrase if the competition is high

If there is a lot of competition for a keyword then it is best to only use a single keyword or phrase. Stick to the keyword phrase you have found using the Google Keyword Planner for use in the title. You know the statistic and competition for that exact phrase and it is unwise to fiddle with it. Various tools can be used to estimate competition for the phrase and the likely traffic. The Keyword Research tool shows how even minor changes in the phrase can dramatically affect traffic and competition.

If the competition is high you have to maintain the strength of your page and title to compete. Adding extra phrases will dilute the weight applied to the keyword. You will be competing against pages that are likely to be strongly targeted on that keyword phrase as well. You could lose the battle if you don’t have that singular, highly focused title for the keyword.

If there is moderate competition enrich your title with more keywords

For moderate competition, there are several ways you can go to use multiple keywords in the title.

1. Use two or more Modifiers

The solution to not duplicating the keyword is to add one or two extra modifiers or action words. If you look at the competitive keyword phrases shown by the Google Keyword Tool you will often find that two phrases look promising that both contain the primary keyword or phrase.

[action word 1 keyword] + [keyword action word 2] = [action word 1 keyword action word 2]

Let’s say, for instance, you are after a keyword title for your article about Green Tea health benefits and you want to use a longtail keyword narrowing the search to extracts. The obvious solution is:

  • Health Benefits of Green Tea Extracts

This provides a title for four phrases

  • Benefits of Green
  • Health Benefits of Green Tea
  • Green Tea Extracts
  • Health Benefits of Green Tea Extracts

Another example is a title about Professional Make-up Artists

Reviews of Professional Make-up Artists + Make-up Artist Portfolios = Reviews of Professional Make-up Artist Portfolios

This makes the title target four phrases in one:

  • Reviews of Professional Make-up Artists
  • Make-up Artist Portfolios
  • Professional make-up artist portfolios
  • Reviews of Professional Make-up Artist Portfolios

In both cases, this very simple tactic makes it possible to create a short concise title that is enriched by optimizing it for more than one key term and narrowing down your target audience. Perhaps your article is about creating portfolios and how to find and review make-up artists and this title targets these keywords. Of course, it is often hard to find word combinations similar to these and it emphasizes that title design is a real art. These examples also show how the use of action keywords and modifier phrases to target buyers who are ready to buy, which will fulfill the aim of your website.

2. Long tail action based keyword choices

Long-tail titles using action words are generally more effective, as action-based queries usually attract users that have already got their credit card out and are hungry to find what they want and to buy it. Targeting your audience will lose part of the potential audience but the ones you have filtered for will be more likely to buy.

The role of SEO title optimization is to enrich the keywords in the title that potential buyers might use when conducting a search to target the group that is interested in your product or services.

The best strategy is to build the longtail keyword title, not by using poorly selected action words as modifiers, but by researching the action words and phrases as well for maximum benefit.

Combine competitive keyword phrases to enrich the title

The Google Keyword Planner Tool might show two promising keyword phrases essentially related to the same topic. Let say, for instance, that you are trying to market green tea extracts using their health benefits, particularly to help people having issues with losing weight. The Google Keyword Planner Tool shows three competitive phrases

  • green tea health benefits
  • green tea extract
  • green tea health benefits for weight loss

These phrases can be combined in ways that retain the order of the words (with green tea as the first phrase) but allow all these phrases to work in your title.

For example

  • Green Tea Extract: Health Benefits for Weight Loss

This longtail keyword is optimized for all three competitive phrases.

The ideal separator for two phrases

What is the ideal separator when using multiple keyword phrases? It does not really matter. You can use a pipe (|), a colon (:) a dash (-), or a comma (,)

However, don’t use the underscore ( _ ) as search engines don’t recognize it as a separator. These characters have no ranking benefit, but they help make your title readable.

Dealing with plurals and synonyms

In some cases, you may want to expand the keywords in the title to include plurals, synonyms, and other expressions for your topic. For example “architect supply”, “architectural supplies” and “technical drawing equipment” essentially deal with the same topic. You will need to craft the title to include these variants if you can.

For example: “Architectural supplies: Technical Drawing Equipment for Architects”

One of the potential dangers with targeting a single term in your title is that it creates a tendency for over-optimization, even when it’s not intended. You may use that single keyword everywhere on your page. If you include variants this is less likely to happen.

Don’t overdo it!

You need to be careful because adding more keywords can mean that each of them will have less and less impact. The more you try to stuff extra keywords into the less natural it is going to sound. For example, if you use the following title it will appear in the search results as –

Cheap Coffee | Gourmet Coffee | Ground Gourmet Coffee

Google won’t like it as it will be interpreted as keyword stuffing. Your potential customers won’t like it because they will see it as unnatural and likely to provide useless promotional material

Much better would be:

Low Price Ground Gourmet Coffee and Fresh Roasted Bean Suppliers

Which version looks better in the search results? Which one is less likely to be seen as keyword stuffing and deception?

If you have a keyword ‘Recycling Information – How And Where To Recycle

What if you want to optimize an article for the keyword “Recycling Tips” as well?

You could build a title such as

Recycling Information – Recycling Tips – How and Why Recycling is Better

But this is clearly keyword stuffing and Google will probably penalize it.

A better option is

Recycling Information – Tips, Tricks and How to Recycle

You can see that your second keyword recycling tips is in the title, but with the keyword word information in between. This will be slightly less effective but Google will still list you page for the keyword Recycling Information – Tips. If you look at the search results where the matching keywords are shown in ‘bold’, you will notice that this often occurs even for pages that appear high up in the search results.

Final thoughts

  • Building traffic is important, but it is conversion rates that really matter
  • The keyword “tail” should not “wag” your dog (marketing strategy). Keep the focus on the major keyword and keep it at the front of your title.
  • Use association and keyword matching to group keywords. Rank your potential phrases for search popularity, but make sure you can compete for them and cascade down by adding modifiers to build a longtail title that will work.
  • Never forget that a human user will determine your conversion rates, not the search engines
  • Your titles must be readable and appealing

If you do all this along with writing high-quality content intended for people and optimized for Google, your articles, blog, or webpages will suddenly be ranking for multiple keywords with high conversion rates. You may even end up being in the first spot for a keyword that was never your main focus.


Jacob M. is a copywriter, marketing blogger, inbound marketing consultant, and founder of Write Minds. He can be found on Twitter @jmcmillen89.

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How To Create A Child Theme & Block Theme

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How To Create A Child Theme & Block Theme

When should you use a child theme for WordPress? It is important to create a child theme if you plan to make any custom changes to the code.

This way, when the theme is updated, any custom changes to the code will not be overwritten.

Traditionally, when working with WordPress, this has required making a copy of the functions.php and style.css to create the child theme and enqueuing the child theme to the parent theme.

With the different file structure in Full Site Editing, some adjustments needed to be made for all of the appropriate files to be found.

Fortunately, with the creation of the Create Block Theme plugin by WordPress.org, creating not only a child theme but a completely custom theme or style variation is easier than ever.

Screenshot from WordPress.org Plugin Repository, December 2022Create Block Theme plugin

Setting Up The Create Block Theme Plugin On WordPress

First, you will want to install and activate the WordPress block theme that you want to create your new theme or child theme for – in this case, I’m using Twenty Twenty-Two.

Twenty Twenty-Two themeScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022Twenty Twenty-Two theme

Next, take the following steps:

Go to Plugins > Add New.

In the search window, find “Create Block Theme.”

Click Install and Activate.

Plugins pageScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022Plugins page

With the plugin installed, you will have some new options under Appearance, including Create Block Theme and Manage theme fonts.

Appearance optionsScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022Appearance options

Creating A WordPress Child Theme

The Create Block Theme plugin is an extremely simple way to create a child theme for a block, including a Full Site Editing Theme. The plugin will automatically create the parts folder, templates folder, theme.json, and style.css.

Once the plugin is installed, you are ready to create the child theme:

  • Under Appearance, select Create Block Theme.
  • Next select Create child of Twenty Twenty-Two (if you selected a different theme, it will list that theme).
  • On the right, fill in Theme Name, Theme Description, Theme URI, Author, and Author URI.
  • Click the blue Generate button to create the child theme.
child theme infoScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022child theme info

Your child theme will be exported as a zip file.

child theme zip fileScreenshot of Generated child theme file, December 2022child theme zip file

Under Appearance > Themes, click Add Theme and Upload Theme, and select the zip file that was generated.

Go to Themes and make sure that you see your new child theme.

Creating A Custom Image For A WordPress Child Theme

One shortcoming of the plugin is that it does not allow you to add a screenshot.png for your child theme, nor does it use the one provided with the parent theme.

This can be easily fixed and provides a nice custom touch for your child theme.

Using your favorite image editor, create a new image that is 1200px by 900px in size, and name it screenshot.png. 

Place the new screenshot.png inside the folder of the child theme that you created.

files in child themeScreenshot of theme files for WordPress child theme, December 2022files in child theme

Navigate back to themes and your new image should appear with your child theme.

Active Child Theme imageScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022Active Child Theme image

Now that a child theme is set on your block theme, changes can be made to the theme.json and style.css template files without overriding the parent theme files.

This way, the parent theme can be updated without any problems.

You can also export the new child theme with the changes made, such as the image, to use as a child theme for new installs of the parent theme.

Creating A Custom Block Theme On WordPress

The Create Block Theme plugin provides a number of options to create your own theme. You can clone the current theme and make your own custom changes using that as the template. 

Once you have made the changes and are happy with them, you can then use the plugin to export the theme with all of the changes that you made in order to use your new theme on other websites.

Additionally, you can create a completely blank new theme that uses the current theme as a boilerplate. This is a great way to make something that is completely custom.

To make a completely new theme, take the following steps:

Under Create Block Theme, choose Create blank theme.

Fill in all of the information on the right side, name it and add your name as the creator, and hit Generate.

Create blank themeScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022Create blank theme

Your new theme will be downloaded as a zip file.

Under Appearance > Themes, you can upload and activate your new theme.

Take the same steps as the child theme, if you want to add a custom image for the screenshot.png.

Activate the new theme and use that as the starting point for your new theme.

new blank themeScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022new blank theme

Use patterns, blocks, template parts, and the styles editor to build out your new theme to your desired look.

Once you have completed work on your new theme, return to Appearance > Create Block Theme and export the new theme, which contains all of the changes you made to it.

It will export as a zip file and can be uploaded to any new WordPress installation.

Managing WordPress Theme Fonts

Another great feature of the Create Block Theme plugin is being able to easily add and delete fonts for the theme.

Typically, to add new fonts to a theme, the fonts would need to be downloaded, added to the fonts folder, and enqueued in the functions.php file, or a Google link would need to be added to the code.

Adding multiple fonts can complicate the process even more.

With the plugin, Google fonts and local fonts from your computer can be added or removed easily from your custom theme or a theme you have installed and activated.

For Google fonts, click Add Google Font and the dropdown window will get you a list of the Google fonts available.

Select the font, check the checkbox and click the button to add Google Font to your theme.

Manage theme fontsScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022Manage theme fonts
Add Google fontsScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022Add Google fonts

Adding a local font that you have downloaded is a similar process.

Click to Add Local Font, upload the font file, fill in the font name, style, and weight, and hit the button to upload the local font to your theme.

Local fontsScreenshot from WordPress Dashboard, December 2022Local fonts

WordPress Child Themes Made Easy

With Full Site Editing and the Create Block Theme plugin, creating your own theme and style variations is easier than ever before.

Using the plugin instead of manually enqueuing files and changing code makes child theme creation and adding new fonts a simple process.

Patterns, style variations, and reusable blocks when used with the plugin are great simple ways to create your own custom theme that you can export and use again.

All without the need to touch any of the theme code.

More resources: 


Featured Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

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