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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : February 06, 2007

Newspapers alter headlines for search engines

In their ongoing quest to draw in readers and advertisers, newspapers are now altering some headlines for search engine optimization.

by Kristina Knight

In the past, newspapers have been known for creating catchy headlines that grab reader's attention. However, as more readers get their news from online sources like search engines, some newspapers are changing the way they write headlines for their online counterparts. To get better placement from search engines, newspapers are creating keyword-rich headers that are likely to draw more search results.

"We have Web 'heds.' We go into the newspaper (production) system to create a more literal Web headline," said David Beard, editor of and former assistant managing editor of its print sibling, The Boston Globe (via CNET). "We've had training sessions with copy editors and the night desk for the newspaper. It's been a big education initiative."

Papers like the Boston Globe that are educating staff on how to create keyword-rich headers are having great success. In addition to keyword headlines, papers are also creating title tags, text that appears at the top of a browser window, to get more results. They are also integrating a date line and headline snippet that will be caught by search engines.

The right combination of headline and tag will catch a greater share of search results than traditionally written headers. A greater share of search results means more people reading the content and more advertisers willing to spend ad dollars with the paper.

Tags: newspaper advertising, newspaper revenue

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