Should you use Hashtags in your #Blog Content Title?

Blank sheet Hashtag by rawpixel with embed by Yourschantz CC0 Public Domain

Hashtags help people find inform­a­tion on specif­ic topics on Social Media. They are widely used on Twitter, with moder­a­tion on Facebook, and on other social media sites. Think about any subject and there is probably a hasht­ag (or six) for it. There are also some very stupid tags, which should mostly be avoided.

      Most people are famil­i­ar with those that are import­ant in their life, because they have seen them so many times before.

Using Hashtags

Hashtags by Ariapsa CC0 Public Domain from PixabayThere are tons of hasht­ags out there. You, create, or use, them for any topic at any time. But, when using them it is best to use exist­ing, popular tags, the ones people search for every day — even if they are not an exact match. Those popular tags bring visit­ors to your site.
      It is wrong to publish a post talking about the talents of a young college football player and use the tag #super­bowl. #Orangebowl is closer, but again question­able. #Sportingtalent or #sportstal­ent are better. They work best as subject keys and your post must fit the gener­al theme.
      Publishing a recipe for Monkfish Ragout in Vermouth you may find sever­al possible tags. These include #fish, and #recipe at a minim­um. If your post is for first time buyers then the tag #firsthome may be appro­pri­ate. You may also find some combined tags like #firsthome­first­meal also right in certain circum­stances.

The Right Tag?

Picking the right tag is vital. There is a tag #writing, but the more popular tag is the action tag #amwrit­ing. But remem­ber the #amwrit­ing tag really applies to people who are writing about the process, or skill, of writing. If your post is about plumb­ing, electric­al wiring, or anoth­er subject then that tag is not applic­able.
      Your blog post was produced by the act of writing. But, that is not what it is about. You wrote it, but that is not appro­pri­ate to the reader nor to the tags you use for publi­city. You could tell people “#amwrit­ing my next blog post, will tell you more soon”. This may be of interest to other writers you connect with. They could wish you well.

Google

Google and HashtagsRecently Google has updated their search engine code to ampli­fy the visib­il­ity of hasht­ags in organ­ic search results. Because of the Google Plus social network they have realised the value and demand for use of the symbolSearch Google using a hasht­ag and it will often find recent popular posts on social sites as well as related websites.
      That said, Google changes every few months how they handle social media posts within search results. The challenge here is shear volume of activ­ity that the search engine must sort through. If you want to search for something published on a social site their own search will probably provide better results. The Twitter and Facebook search engines are very good at identi­fy­ing topics published on their sites. On Twitter simply click on the tag to find related mater­i­al. These searches are very effect­ive at finding recent posts related to hasht­ags. I use these searches frequently when looking for mater­i­al.

Latest Trend

According to Red Crow Marketing “#Hashtags now go beyond being used only for discov­er­ing the latest trend­ing topics. They can now add value to your #SEO… and, by using them properly on social media, you can drive long-term, steady refer­ral traffic back to your site.”
      When people search for a popular subject they will also see results for the most relev­ant hasht­ags along­side other search results. Many people are now start­ing their searches by enter­ing a hasht­ag.

The Power of Twitter Search

Twitter BirdDid you know the world’s second most popular search engine is Twitter? Of course what you will find on Twitter’s search result are a list of Tweets, those lead to web pages. The major­ity of the web pages found on Twitter searches are blog pages, so it is a great way to bring prospect­ive readers to your site, provided you are tunes into the right hasht­ag.
      But they are not limited to Twitter. All the primary social sites recog­nise hasht­ags in their searches. On social media using hasht­ags helps increase traffic and subscribers. There can be little doubt about that.

Headlines and Post Titles?

The case for includ­ing them seems to be that with the various auto-publicise facil­it­ies that exist today. Not simply WordPress, Blogger, or whoever your provider is, but other tools that operate from your RSS feed. IFTTT is one example where the public­a­tion of your blog post can gener­ate one or many actions. There are many others.
      By putting the hasht­ag in the title of the blog post, usage will not be forgot­ten.

Pro Usage…

“You put appro­pri­ate hasht­ags into your title, hey presto! There they are in the ready gener­ated tweet, so anybody looking at the hasht­agged subjects you’ve chosen will see the tweet, and hopefully come to take a look at your blog post.” ~ Deborah Jay on The Write Stuff.
      The case for using hasht­ags in your post title is founded in the poten­tial expos­ure through social media searches. It is automat­ic­ally included in the social post. The people seeing the post is not limited to those follow­ing you, but includes anyone search­ing the subject through their social channels. By includ­ing the hasht­ag in your blog posts title short­cuts the process, there is no search­ing for room to use the tag.
      Hashtags in a post title allow users to get a quick overview of what your post is all about. They know what they are looking for. Be specif­ic the ones you use

Against Usage…

Using Hashtags indic­ates that you focus solely on social media as your publi­city channel. In theory that is true, but Google is paying atten­tion nowadays.
      Hashtags are ugly. They glare at you as if something is wrong. They stand-out shout­ing their ugliness! Arguably, they STOP the user from reading easily. Especially true when a large number are used in a post or manufac­tured tags are used.
      There is a tendency to over use them. The writer thinks one will not be enough. The rule is “one or two only”. Don’t use hasht­ags that people will not under­stand at first glance. just because it is obvious to you doesn’t make it obvious to every­one.
      Don’t use Hashtags on everything. Once you get used to using them people look for ways to automate their usage.

Branding?

Nike SwooshThe one you use must be relev­ant, but unbranded, hasht­ags. Companies have been quick to under­stand the brand­ing poten­tial that hasht­ags have. There are so many examples of their use. They use tools today to analyse hasht­ag trends and under­stand which one offer them greatest advant­age.
      For example, #justdoit, is clearly associ­ated with sportswear manufac­turer Nike. The senti­ment is an amicable one, and may people have been encour­aged to get on and do something in their life. However that hasht­ag is clearly brand related and should be avoided for that reason.
      Corporations are always looking at new ways to promote their brands. Bloggers also need to look at new ways to showcase their work. There will be somewhere near 500 million pages of blog content published today, but yours needs to stand out. Bloggers need to under­stand brand­ing and use of Hashtags can help in doing that.

Only if it Fits…

Hashtags serve to make your content discov­er­able to a wide audience. The truth is, not everything you produce is going to fit into that category.” Warns Evan LePage, on the HootSuite Blog. Even if your blog is about fishing that tag is not appro­pri­ate for every post you write. If you are talking about fish stocks in a partic­u­lar river then local hasht­ags may be more appro­pri­ate.
      Stop, think. Remember, I just said hasht­ags are ugly. They can give an impres­sion that you are a techno-freak. The type of person who is driven by gadgets. That may not be the impres­sion you wish to give.

A Fad or Forever?

Does it work or is it just anoth­er fad? This is a valid question. We all know that fads tend to fade fast!
      It is not possible to say that hasht­ags are here forever. Forever is a long time. They will however be a part of our life for the discern­ible future. TV news broad­casts have used them when report­ing stories. They are likely to be used until anoth­er, better, concept comes along to replace them.
      There is no doubt hasht­ags work. They provide expos­ure on social media, they also provide expos­ure on search engines. They are not a fad. But I do caution against overuse.

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If you like this post then make a donation to the upkeep of GobbledeGoox . #Follow Peter on Twitter. What are your thoughts on using Hashtags? Something to contrib­ute? Please leave a comment. The images here were either created or owned by Peter Giblett or have been sourced from a public domain location, such as Pixabay.

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