Choose a Title and Keywords for Your Instructable

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Introduction: Choose a Title and Keywords for Your Instructable

About: Hi! I'm a slightly feral mountain hermit that likes to be helpful. I do community management at Instructables & Tinkercad. 🙌

Choosing the right title and keywords can be the difference between an instructable going to the front page of Google search results or crashing and burning into the dreaded no-views land of the internets.

While keywords and title are not the only thing that will determine the popularity of a project, choosing the right ones will help other people find and share your work!

Disclaimer: I am by no means an SEO expert, but I have been publishing instructables for nearly eight years now! As of 7/30/2016 I have over 46.6 million views and 452 instructables, 73 of which have 100,000 views or more. I'm also the author of the previous most viewed instructable on the site. So I guess I'm saying I know a thing or two. ;)

Plus, I think anyone at Instructables HQ can tell you I obsess over naming things properly. Whether it's a project or a contest, my first thought is always: "Yeah, that sounds awesome... but what are you going to name it?"

2021 EDIT: Hi, it's me again! This instructable used to cover how to use Google AdWords to choose a title, but they've changed the tool and made it harder to access. So instead I'll walk you through using your favorite search engine to find a title.

Step 1: Coming Up With a Title

The first step of coming up with a title involves thinking about what other people will search for to find your project.

In this step, let's use my recent instructable for ice cream cake as the most basic of examples. I made it with the intention of being a copycat Dairy Queen ice cream cake, so that should be taken into account for either the title or keywords.

The best way to come up with titles is to ask yourself, "What would I type into Google to find this project?" For the ice cream cake, this is what I came up with:

  • ice cream cake
  • ice cream cake recipe
  • dairy queen ice cream cake
  • homemade ice cream cake
  • DIY ice cream cake
  • how to make an ice cream cake

In my opinion, titles are best when they're no nonsense and tell you exactly what you'll see when you click. I always try to stick with that when I come up with titles.

Step 2: How to Approach Hard to Title Instructables

As a caveat - not every instructable is going to be super easy to title. It can go either way - sometimes the project itself is quite simple and could do with a flashy title, and sometimes a project is very complex and will benefit from a title that helps explain what it does.

If you have a complex instructable, try to simplify it as much as possible. A shorter, more concise title is much better than a long one - long titles will often get cut off in search results!

Often it's best to leave off words that describe the processes to make the project and instead describe the finished item. So instead of telling your audience all the components of the project focus on telling your audience what the project is AND what it does. If it does many things, focus on what you think people will get most excited about.

Here are some great examples of titles for complicated projects:
MintyBoost! Small battery-powered USB charger
Big digit backwards counting bluetooth clock
A simple laser brush for painting with light

The other extreme of hard to title projects is something that can benefit from a catchy or strange title. My favorite examples of this are Unicorn Poop and Unicorn Barf. Otherwise these projects would probably be called "rainbow sugar cookies" and "marshmallow marshmallow treats" - not as catchy! If you choose to go with a ridiculous title make sure that your photography is great - it will really encourage people to click. :D

Step 3: Finding a Title Using Search Engines

One of the easiest ways to find a title is to use your favorite search engine.

Start typing what you'd call your project and you'll see a list of suggestions related to what you're looking for. You may notice your title auto-completing with terms that aren't relevant: for example, "ice cream cake" is now a popular strain of a certain plant, so the search term "ice cream cake" on its own is not as useful as it once was.

But we can alter the search by typing "DIY ice cream cake" or "ice cream cake recipe" to find articles and projects that better fit what we're making. Once you actually click to search, you'll be able to see how other folks titled similar projects.

You might be tempted to avoid a title that a lot of other folks are using, but it's actually the best way for people to find you - that title is often *exactly* what people are searching for. If you'd like to make your title a little more exciting, you can add an adjective like easy, tasty, simple, best ever, etc.

The best bet is to choose the simplest, most popular title and then work on making your photos and text stand out to make your tutorial THE BEST :D

Step 4: Reusing Those Extra Titles As Keywords

Chances are you came up with loads of possible titles. What about the rest?

It's time to make the extra titles into the keywords!

As you can see above, I reused many of my other "ice cream cake" titles as keywords, as well as the instructable title and the words "copycat" and "recipe" - that way if people type something like "copycat ice cream cake" they might find their way to me.

There are a few rules I follow for keywords. I can't say these are the end-all-be-all and you must absolutely do it this way, but it works for me :D

  1. Use "long tail" keywords instead of short ones. Long tail keywords are basically phrases like "ice cream cake"
  2. Don't use vague and super broad keywords. I see this all the time on the site and they don't do much. Examples of these are cool, awesome, sexy, etc. If someone types one of those words in, chances are they'll never actually get to you, but will instead wade through a ton of irrelevant stuff and quickly choose something else to search for.
  3. If you're going to use descriptive one word keywords, make them relevant. See the example in the photo above for more info.
  4. If your project is called multiple things in other areas, use the keywords to add in the other names. A good example of this is for something like eggplants - they're called aubergines in the UK so adding "aubergine" to the keywords in a good idea.

Step 5: Repeating Your Title and Keywords

Another good tip for getting your project found in search is repeating the title of your project in the introduction step. I always try to repeat the title (and throw in extra keyword name-drops) at least 2-3 times.

For example, in the intro to ice cream cake, I used the phrase "ice cream cake" five times, and used "Dairy Queen" twice. This combined with my title and keywords will let a search engine realize I am really serious about this ice cream cake. :D

Try to work it in casually - just typing your title over and over is pretty strange. I wouldn't recommend that.

And that's it! Please ask questions if you have them. :D

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    61 Comments

    0
    Emily Snavely
    Emily Snavely

    5 weeks ago

    Thank you so much! This was super helpful!

    1
    AIONINNO Technologies
    AIONINNO Technologies

    2 months ago

    I am really very thankful to you for this article! God bless you!

    1
    NirL
    NirL

    1 year ago

    This has been really helpful, thanks!

    1
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    Reply 1 year ago

    You're welcome! Happy it helped :)

    0
    NirL
    NirL

    Reply 1 year ago

    I should have actually asked this in the previous comment, but anyway, maybe you'll have a pro tip for me - I'm wondering if it's better to add text or not to my cover images. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't, but I wonder if you have an opinion on this!
    I guess I mostly scroll through the pictures before clicking, so having text on the cover image is nice, but I don't know what others think of this! maybe it's more of a clickbait this way?
    Thanks again! Nir

    IMG_0290_new.jpgmain photo.jpg
    1
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    Reply 1 year ago

    I think it's definitely more click-baity that way, but in a good way! I think people are becoming more and more accustomed to the "busy" info-heavy style of thumbnails that many Youtubers make.

    And for a project like "Things You Can Make With Pencils" I think the text is a wonderful choice! It can be hard to show multiple projects in one thumbnail, so text is the next best thing.

    0
    CraftAndu
    CraftAndu

    6 years ago

    Hey, thank you for the information.

    I have hard time understanding how google AdWords works. I try to sign up and it wants money to start advertising my webpage. Am I doing something wrong?

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    Reply 5 years ago

    It seems they've changed it, but I think I found a workaround on another site:

    https://serps.com/library/guide-google-keyword-planner-seo/

    0
    SusanMcL
    SusanMcL

    Reply 1 year ago

    Nope. Not anymore. That's a 404 page. :(

    0
    sheetmetalalchemist

    Howdy Jessy! I'm digging using the keyword planner, but I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to do it without starting an AdWords marketing campaign. I can't seem to get to the tool without also giving google my CC# to start an ad campaign.

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    Reply 5 years ago

    I've gotten lots of comments and PMs about this lately, so I did some digging.

    Maybe try this website's walkthrough to get access?

    https://serps.com/library/guide-google-keyword-planner-seo/

    0
    ChipsWoodShop
    ChipsWoodShop

    Reply 2 years ago

    This domain doesn't seem to exist. Is there a typo?

    0
    1stoogex1
    1stoogex1

    Question 2 years ago on Step 5

    where is are my saves ?

    4
    1stoogex1
    1stoogex1

    Question 2 years ago on Step 5

    the thing says please add keywords and i do but it still says it

    0
    larry_gorham
    larry_gorham

    Question 3 years ago on Step 5

    How many Tags are allowed?
    Great tutorial.
    Thanks,
    Larry

    0
    BergHelenes
    BergHelenes

    Question 3 years ago

    What is ( please add at least one image to your introduction)?

    instructables error.JPG
    1
    Miss Crystal Shine
    Miss Crystal Shine

    5 years ago

    Hi Jessy! I'm new on this website and i have an instructable in my drafts...I am having trouble adding keywords...Whenever i write them , it says "please enter keywords" .. i tried seperating with commas too...It still says that ..What should i do please help me Jessy :-(

    1
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    Reply 5 years ago

    Huh! You may be running into a bug. Try entering your keyword or keyword phrase and then hit enter - that should work! If not, you may need to try another web browser. If that still doesn't work, I'd recommend clearing your cookies and cache in whatever web browsers you're using! There have been quite a few site updates lately, so that may be affecting the site for you. :)

    0
    the modzg
    the modzg

    5 years ago

    how do I use keyword???