This Boring Headline Is Written for Google – New York Times


Link: This Boring Headline Is Written for Google – New York Times.

A good piece which looks at how online sub-editors are now writing headlines in terms of search optimisation rather than traditional journalistic punnery – the point about the BBC site having effectively two headlines – one for SEO and the other for more usual journalistic reasons – is quite telling.

Take these two extracts:

Journalists, they say, would be wise to do a little keyword research
to determine the two or three most-searched words that relate to their
subject — and then include them in the first few sentences. "That’s not
something they teach in journalism schools," said Danny Sullivan,
editor of SearchEngineWatch, an online newsletter. "But in the future,
they should."

And:

Such suggestions stir mixed sentiments. "My first
thought is that reporters and editors have a job to do and they
shouldn’t worry about what Google’s or Yahoo’s software thinks of their
work," said Michael Schudson, a professor at the University of California, San Diego, who is a visiting faculty member at the Columbia University
Graduate School of Journalism.

"But
my second thought is that newspaper headlines and the presentation of
stories in print are in a sense marketing devices to bring readers to
your story," Mr. Schudson added. "Why not use a new marketing device
appropriate to the age of the Internet and the search engine?"

On the first point, is editorial now simply a means to "wrap" key words?

And on the second, is the prof suggesting that why not cut out middle man (ie editorial) and simply get on with the business of dragging eyeballs to a site?

Just more examples of the Googlisation of our lives…..

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