Previously I was titling my posts at whim. For instance my post/recipe for Rhubarb Crumble Pie was titled something like 'I love rhubarb' (I forgot the exact title), and my post about how to make tofu was titled "Milking the Soy Bean, Part 2: Tofu". As an experiment, I tried renaming those posts to "Rhubarb Crumble Pie" and "How To Make Tofu (Milking the soy bean part 2)" respectively - in other words, to titles that plainly described the contents. Previously, both of those posts weren't appearing on page one of the search results for "rhubarb crumble" or "how to make tofu".
Results for the change to "How to make tofu blabla" - it's now listed on the front page at position 4 or 5, depending on the day or something.
Results for the change to "Rhubarb crumble pie" - the post is now listed no. 2, right after the BBC Food recipe for rhubarb crumble!
Note that both posts are quite old - the rhubarb crumble one is from 2004 even.
Another thing: if your blog is in English, don't use accented characters in the titles. Example: I had a review for a restaurant called L'Espérance in the village of Saint-Père-sous-Vézelay in France. Previously, my title was correctly accented, but it seems that the search engines skip the accented characters or something, so if your typical English speaker typed in L'Esperance my post didn't even show up at all. I changed the title to non-accented, and now it at least shows up on page 2 of Google results. I don't like to do this since it isn't correct, but there you are. (Same goes in my case for several posts with Zürich in the title - I make the u-umlaut a plain u.)
For your front page, it really helps to have your mission statement or something on that page, that explains in plain language what the site is about, positioned fairly high up on the page. Example - my previous mission statement or site slogan was "Why do you write about food, and not about wars or love?" (yes that is taken from MFK Fisher). While that was closer to my heart, when I changed it to what it is now my search ranking for people looking for Japanese food, or better Japanese food blog, did shoot up remarkably.
On the HTML level there are two important things:
- if you have control over this, make sure your blogging software puts the individual post title in the <title></title> of the page, preferably before your blog name - especially if you have a long blog name. (mine looks like Post Title | Just Hungry)
- Make sure your post title is wrapped in <h1></h1>, or at the very least <h2></h2> header tags. Headers are more important for search engines than regular text.
Anywho, this got rather long, but I hope this will help someone.
Oh, and one very important thing: if you change the title of an older post, make sure your blogging software doesn't change the URL (or permalink) of the post itself automatically, or old links to that post will break!