How to Optimise Your Blog’s Name for Google

Naming a blog is more important than naming a child. Believe me, I’ve done both and only one is any good at driving web traffic and business my way. Isobel’s hopeless at SEO and can’t even say SERP let alone explain to me how to use keyword optimisation to affect my Google ranking. Bloody kids…

Naming a blog is a branding exercise. It’s often the first point of call between yourself and your readers/potential customers and, as such, has great power. The name should be catchy, memorable and meaningful; it has to sound good and have a ring to it, and it should also ideally communicate something about your subject matter. There’s also a rule of thumb I’ve seen quoted that says keep your blog name to four syllables or less, the reason being that it becomes a pain to repeat it if it’s any longer.

It’s easy (fairly) to come up with weird, wonderful and creative blog names, but if they mean nothing it’s harder to get traction. Case in point: my first blog was called ‘Tribal Boogie’, which I loved. But it meant little (other than to me) and I always remember one guy on Twitter saying “Love the article, but I can’t bring myself to follow a blog called Tribal Boogie.” He may have been joking, but many a true word spoken in jest. What credibility did I have with that name? On the flip side, a corporate blog name that I think works on all levels is deBugged, the blog of my client Rentokil (which, I hasten to add, I did not name).

But there’s more to it. A great blog name is born with SEO in mind, as that’s where a lot of traffic will come from. So without being an SEO geek, where do you start when naming a blog? Try this process:
  1. Brainstorm relevant keywords and phrases within the topics you write about that people might search for. Make a list. A long list. Don’t discount anything at this stage.
  2. Use Google’s keyword tool to first add to this list with relevant phrases, and to then review everything on your list in terms of a) how many searches are carried out on a monthly basis (the more the better) and b) how much competition there is for that phrase (the less the better). Identify the keyword phrases that have the best balance between these two factors.
  3. Brainstorm potential names that incorporate these keyword phrases.
  4. Check out whether the domains are available for your favourites. If they are, job done. If they’re not, back to stage three.
  5. Having identified a name and purchased your URL, write a meta-title and a meta-description. The meta-title is the text that appears as your title in the SERPs (see below). The meta-description will sometimes appear as the text under that title in a search (depending on the search carried out; it doesn’t in this example) and so needs to make sense, but importantly tells Google what the blog is about. Incorporate as many of your keywords into the title and description as you can without destroying the legibility or flow.

It’s not rocket science, but it is important to undertake this process fully. When it came to naming The Social Web, I thought long and hard about it, but as a result I now appear high up the Google rankings for several target keywords. In the example above, I’m sandwiched between Brian Solis and Deidre Breakenridge on page one of a Google search for ‘PR 2.0’. Which is not a bad place to be sandwiched, let’s face it! And I feature second behind Wikipedia but ahead of Mashable, ZDNet and The Economist in a Google search for ‘social web’, a phrase that gains over 60,000 monthly global searches.

There’s a hell of a lot more to optimising a blog, but this forms a great start. So, any questions? Anyone got any more tips and tricks?

(Oh, and naming Isobel was far more important than naming my blog, just in case you’re wondering if I actually meant that…)

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