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As per this question, the first word in the <title> tag is usually treated with more importance than the rest of the <title> tag.

How can I write naturally looking titles with the keyword that I'm targeting being the first word in the title, without resorting to doing something like this: keyword - real title?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

For many pages you can't, not without making the title either under-descriptive or really awkward and spammy at least. Front-loading is a really unnatural way to write.

If you have general topics, like Wikipedia pages, then it's easy to do something like:

  • Labradors
  • Labrador training
  • A/C repair

But most blog articles, news posts, etc. out there aren't generic encyclopedic knowledge though. If you're lucky, you can make the title a declarative statement or proposition:

  • Audis are fun to drive
  • SHA1 vulnerability found

You can also define the keyword using a colon:

  • SEO: It is essential for your website.
  • Stack Exchange: the best website online.

But if the topic has a subject and an object or multiple subjects then it becomes unnatural to try to clump the topical nouns immediately together at the front of the sentence/title:

  • Mark Walberg was Marky Mark -> Mark Walberg Marky Mark was
  • Beyonce wins Song of the Year at 2009 Grammys -> Beyonce's Grammy 2009 Song of the Year win
  • "Things You Should Never Do, Part I" -> Software Development Rewrite Code You Never Do Should
  • The Complete Guide to Writing Front loaded Titles -> Front loaded Title Writing, the Complete Guide
  • "Why File Upload Forms Are A Major Security Threat" -> File Upload Forms Security Threat Major

As you can see, the front loaded variants are much less user-friendly/readable. In most cases, you end up just removing the verbs/conjunctions/articles/etc. (or placing them at the end, where they serve zero purpose, and you might as well just leave them out) and sound like someone trying to speak a language they're not fluent in.

As you can probably guess, I'm not a big fan of this search engine policy. I don't think the Google engineers or whoever came up with it understands how people use language, and he's definitely not a writer himself.

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