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Posts Tagged ‘SEO’

Search-engine optimization sometimes gets a bad rap from journalists (more on that later). But I always thought a headline’s job was to attract eyeballs, to get someone to read the story.

That’s the job of a digital headline, just like it was when I wrote print headlines as a copy editor for the Des Moines Register 35 years ago.

What’s changed is how people find our headlines. Instead of having the newspaper delivered to their door, and browsing pages for a headline or photo that catches their eye, many people find our stories in answer to the questions they ask search engines. Just as I tried my best to catch the browsing reader’s eyes, now I try to catch the search engine’s eye.

But it’s a two-step process: I need some keywords (utilitarian and sometimes dull) so the search engine will find my story and I need an enticing headline, so people will click on it (getting onto the first page of search results only gets me the chance to compete with nine other headlines for your click).

Susan Steade has a great metaphor for the SEO headline: Business up front, party in the back. In other words, start with some keywords, so the search engine will find your headline, then have some fun, so people will click on your headline rather than the others the search engine presents. (more…)

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I will be leading a workshop at the Daily Local News of West Chester, Pa., this evening for local bloggers.

The workshop will be fairly short, then I’ll answer questions and we’ll socialize for a while. I will share with the bloggers some tips from these earlier posts:

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Even a novice blogger needs to understand how people use search engines to find the content they are looking for. You want to help people find your posts. This practice is known as search-engine optimization, abbreviated SEO.

I am not expert enough in SEO to cover the matter in depth (for more on the topic, I recommend Danny Sullivan‘s excellent Search Engine Land blog). I will cover some basics for a workshop today for the music staff of the CBC. When you are working on a blog post, consider these factors to help people find your post:

  • Relevance
  • Headline
  • Keywords
  • Google trends
  • Links
  • Photo captions
  • Metadata (more…)

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What is the value of news judgment as a job skill today?

That was the question that arrived by email from someone I have never met (I think; we might have crossed paths at a conference or seminar), but have interacted with on Twitter and in comments on my blog. The email is below, edited slightly. I have changed the name of a person he mentioned, out of respect for that person’s privacy. In place of the name of my correspondent’s friend, I have used Jimmy Larson, the longtime, legendary (and deceased) news editor of the Des Moines Register. I think my correspondent is asking whether editors like Jimmy would have value in the journalism that lies ahead. (more…)

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I’ll be speaking today to Steve Klein‘s “Writing Across Media” class at George Mason University.

I’ve written lots about traditional writing in the style of newspaper stories and those styles and issues remain important. But digital tools and platforms present a broad range of challenges and opportunities for writers, which I will focus on here and in my presentation to the class. The best way to learn each of these writing techniques is to practice it. I will offer a few tips and link to some helps (I appreciate other links, if you can offer them in the comments). Some good places to learn about writing for different media are Mindy McAdams’ blog or Mark Briggs’ books. Some digital writing tools and types I will encourage the students to study and try: (more…)

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