Last Updated on: April 9th, 2016
Do you use hashtags in your blog post titles? Yes or no? (Yay or nay?)
Why should you?
Why shouldn’t you?
Today we will discuss the pros and cons of using hashtags in your blog post titles.
By the end of this post, you will have a better idea of whether or not you should adopt this technique for yourself and/or your business.
Hashtags: A Definition
Hashtags are created by inserting the number sign (often called the tic-tac-toe board or the pound key, on a phone) in front of words.
The word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) is used to identify messages on a specific topic.
Hashtags are used on different social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram.
Why Use Hashtags at All?
Hashtags help people find information on specific topics, especially on social media.
For example, writers who are looking for writing tips will use and search for #writingtips. Do-it-yourself-ers will look for #DIY or #DIYtips. Businesses will use #B2B or #B2C and marketers will use #mktg.
There are tons of hashtags out there. Hashtags can be created for any topic, too.
In fact, you can create your own unique hashtag if you want people to search for a particular thing. Say I was running a contest on Wording Well. I might use #WordingWellContest as my hashtag.
The Beginner’s Guide to the Hashtag is a useful resource to use.
If you prefer a video, here’s a good one:
Should I Register My Hashtag?
Registering hashtags is not necessary, but claiming ownership of a particular hashtag could be integral to discussions around a trademark, logo, promotional campaign, or any other type of event. Some consider hashtags essential to branding your business, too.
You can register specific hashtags using Hashtags.org.
Twubs also allows you to register a hashtag.
Using Hashtags in Blog Posts
Most bloggers have realized the importance of installing social media sharing buttons on their blogs. (If you don’t have any yet, shame on you! Get some free ones from Shareaholic or about.me… right away!)
Okay, now that you have sharing buttons, you’ll notice that whenever your blog post is shared, the title of your post along with the link to your post comes up, regardless of which social platform your post is being shared on.
The buttons are prepopulated automatically with this information.
The thing is, if your blog post title already contains a hashtag, then this will automatically show up, too.
Use Hashtags to Increase Traffic and Subscribers!
By using hashtags in your blog posts, you are increasing your chances of others coming across your post. When your current readers share your posts, they can simply click a share button and be done. (A few super-helpful readers will add an additional hashtag if they want to, but this rarely happens.)
This, in turn, increases your odds of gaining a new visitor to your blog.
In turn, this increases your odds of gaining a new blog subscriber (especially if you have a freebie to give away to new visitors via a pop-up on your site!).
So, by inserting one simple character into your blog post title, you are really increasing your odds of new traffic to your blog!
As bloggers, we all want more traffic, right?!
Does Using Hashtags in Your Blog Post Titles Hurt Your Search Results?
Using hashtags in blog post titles is not a new concept. It seems to be a thing many bloggers are doing.
But is it a good idea? Does it hurt your chances of being found in Search?
The answer, simply, is NO.
Hashtags are so commonplace nowadays that even Google has recognized them as a part of SEO.
Hashtags in a post title allow users to get a quick overview of what your post is all about. For example, if you’re a book blogger and you title your post #Review of [INSERT BOOK TITLE HERE], social media users will quickly see the #Review tag and know that your post is about a review.
If you use a hashtag that they are looking for, they will likely click your link.
However, you run the risk of driving traffic away from your site, too. For example, if you use a hashtag in your blog post title, your future readers might click on the hashtag instead of the link to your blog. It could happen!
For more information, read about The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags.
But… Hashtags are Ugly!
Yes, hashtags are tough on the eyes, if they are over-used. So use them sparingly, and only with good intentions.
Never write a blog post title that says: #HowTo #Finance your #Writing #Career while Making #Money #Blogging.
Ouch. That’s hard on the eyes. And spammy-looking. No one will click on anything! I can guarantee you that much!
The basic rule is to use no more than two hashtags at once. In some cases, three are acceptable, if they are short. For example, in one of my latest Tweets, I used these three: #B2B #B2C #mktg. But it’s rare for me to ever use three. Two is the norm.
Using only one is perfectly acceptable, too, and in my blog posts, I will usually use only ONE.
According to this post:
Some people have hashtag aversion syndrome. There are some people that just do not like hashtags… or they don’t understand them. So, when they see them within your post title it might turn them off from reading. There are also users who want to re-Tweet your post titles but don’t want to use hashtags in their Tweet. This means they have to edit your Tweet, which they do not want to do. It is one more step that might prevent them from re-Tweeting your post title.
Essentially, I wouldn’t want to jeopardize my blog traffic. Neither should you.
Which Hashtags Should I Use?
Before using any hashtag, check Twitter for common ones currently being used.
Start typing your keyword using # before the word, and you’ll notice a few words pop up. Choose one that’s trending, if you want your post to be found faster by others.
Choose unique ones for unique situations. As I mentioned earlier, if I was running a contest, I would create a unique hashtag for that specific contest. Or a generic one, unique to my site, such as #WordingWellContest. Then, when promoting this contest, I would add #contest to my social media status updates or my Tweets.
My best advice is to choose your hashtags carefully!
For more information, read Hashtags Explained: The Complete Guide to Hashtags in Social Media.
Or take a look at the following infographic, courtesy of Neil Patel of Quick Sprout:
Now, thank Neil:
Why I Won’t Always Use Hashtags
Let’s Start a Discussion!
Don’t forget to speak your mind in the comments!
I’m really curious to know how many of you will or won’t use hashtags in your blog posts!