Tip: how to make a blog work for SEO (and ZANE)

Reflections in a shop window

Confused headlines

Last week a spark of light landed on a clue to the mystery of blogging.  It was followed by a ‘clunk’ as a slow-moving cog in my brain rolled into place.

The clue in the spotlight – headlines.

What did I learn?  Blog headlines should not be: clever; funny; there for the rhythm; oblique; mysterious; challenging … any of that.

Headlines should be a menu in summary, a very short list of exactly what is to come.

The reason for this is that Google (other search engines are available) doesn’t do ‘subtle’ or ‘vaguely relevant’, and ‘funny’ only works if it can still do its menu-job.

Search engines are precise, logical creatures and if they can’t make sense of a blog’s first few ‘here-I-am’ words that blog may well stay stuck in limbo forever.

The task for me now is to choose my flag-words carefully and fly them high.  To:

* aim for headlines that are ‘literal, specific, clear’ and maybe just a tiny bit unique; and

* smother all signs of fogginess or fun.

It was Jane Friedman who shone the light for me in her webinar:  “How to Blog Meaningfully and Grow Your Audience”.  She brought the strange blur of search engine optimization (SEO) and key-words into focus.

It may make a difference … it may not but it’s worth a try.  I can’t go on flying paperless thoughts into the web to have them mostly whizz around unnoticed until their wings give in.

To test my new knowledge I plan to re-blog some of my earlier pieces to see if they can fly a little bit further.

The Benyons

Tom Benyon OBE, his wife Jane, and dog, Dinah arrive at the Martyrs Memorial in Oxford

First off the runway will be Zimbabwe a National Emergency (ZANE) – a  charity that has always done its utmost to reach as many as it can of those who really need help in Zimbabwe.

I first heard about ZANE from my sister Cate.  It was the charity her family chose to receive the donations made at her funeral.

As with so many things Cate was right – ZANE is a wonderful charity and I hope that the pieces I’ve written will give you an idea of what ZANE is like and of how hard it works to raise money.

Apologies and thanks to those who’ve read the pieces before.  I’ll let you know if the new headings do reach new audiences.

(More on Italy will always follow!)

In the meanwhile if you would like to make a donation to ZANE here is a link to their website:


Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018

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