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Old 10th April 2006, 01:42 PM   #1
thejenn
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Default Should SEO Be Part of Journalism 101?

Authored by: Jennifer Laycock

Full Text: http://www.searchengineguide.com/laycock/007247.html

A Snippet:

There's an article in today's New York Times that talks about the growing interest in search engine optimization among journalists, editors and newspaper staff. The obvious point of the article is that in a world that increasingly turns to the Internet and search engines to search for news coverage, newspapers can no longer afford to ignore search engine friendly tactics like keywords in story headlines and text.

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Old 10th April 2006, 10:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennifer
In other words, both the world of journalism and businesses as a whole need to get past the fallacy that search engine friendly writing is boring and robotic.
That's really the bottom line. At some point, it will become natural for the writers that are growing up with the Internet.

There's no reason why you can't have the best of both worlds, and that's what the journalists need to understand.

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Old 12th April 2006, 11:31 AM   #3
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Default Creativity in Headline SEO

Journalists who make a living on the web first will often understand the importance of keywords - while those with a print mindset will struggle to understand how to write creative headlines which include important keywords. It's really very easy (and fun) to write headlines. Try Googling the word "SearchQuake" or "Keyword Voodoo" and you'll find my articles.

It's not that hard to come up with interesting, factual headlines. That New York Times article Jen mentioned was titled, "This Boring Headline is Written for Google" - I rewrote it for them (and wrote my own article on the subject) and I'll bet you can find it within a week (Arpil 20) by doing a search for my new title. "Google SEO Sleeping Pill - Yawning at Dull News Headlines"

I picked up a copy of my local LA Times from this weekend and saw a headline typical for print, "Tear Down, Ring Up, Clear Out" which, without the accompanying photo and subhead, makes no sense at all. It's about the closing of the Robinson's May store in Beverly Hills.

I can't wait for reporters to be required SEO101 so we get some better headlines in both print and web versions of the news. Great suggestion Jen.

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Old 12th April 2006, 02:01 PM   #4
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The bottom line is high level SEO ingredients should be taught in Web Design, Development, Journalism/Copywriting courses. Of course the more these new grads learn about SEO the easier our jobs will become or needed less.

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Old 13th April 2006, 07:09 AM   #5
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Unnecessary. Website OWNERS, be they journalists or marble makers, should focus on becoming authorities in their fields.

SEO should be the responsibility of site designers, and done as an afterthought to the content of the site (albeit an important one).

Journalists already struggle to determine the truth, and its a full time job. Write articles for people, and then let someone else inject the spider food.

Everyone can't be an expert in everything....

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Old 13th April 2006, 08:02 AM   #6
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Kevin, there's no reason for them to become an expert in SEO. They don't need to know how to build a search friendly site, how to do link building, etc... They don't even need to really learn keyword research if they don't want to. They just need to learn to write in a manner that integrates "real people words" into the mix and the title.

In other words, if you read the headline and don't knwo what the story will be about...they've not done it right.

SEOs CANNOT be responsible for optimizing the articles on a newspaper site because SEOs CANNOT go in and edit the content of a journalists article. Thus, the only way this change will ever come about is if journalists learn very basic ideas of how to write for the web and how to write with search in mind.

We're talking about people who make their living by writing...it's their JOB to learn how to communicate.

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Old 13th April 2006, 12:28 PM   #7
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I'm willing to concede the headline part. In fact, most journalists (or the editors or other folks who may determine the headlines), do a poor enough job even getting People to understand what they're talking about, much less the SE's.

My point was more along the lines of:

Basic SEO is natural, in some respects. I realize that basic SEO isn't rewriting entire pieces for the purposes of search engine placement. I just would hate to think that any supposedly objective journalistic piece is even remotely OPTIMIZED simply for search engine rankings.

The website that publishes the articles should strive to become an authority in other ways, thereby garnering more backlinks. Get your ranking through RSS submission, quality link exchanges, and other non intrusive SEO practices.

I'm not against writers keywording their articles, per se, but I suppose that's not the way I see SEO. I see other factors that more greatly influence the ability of a news source being found on the web. In fact, if an article is truly news, it should already naturally include popular keywords, even if they are only temporarily popular.

Traffic to online news sources comes from trust and quality journalism.

As an aside, the more I think about it, the more I think I mostly agree with you, and I just look at the term SEO as a whole, most of the time. Plus I was already aggravated with something I read on another site before I read your article...

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Old 13th April 2006, 03:43 PM   #8
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ROTFL. That's about the easiest time I've ever had convincing a man to see things my way.

I do agree with you that I don't want to see articles highly optimized. I'm thinking "the long tail" and basic good common sense writing for the web.

In reality, don't you think most people read newspapers the same way that they read online? Skimming, looking for the primary points? I'd think that newspapers are the one offline type of writing that would MOST benefit from online copywriting techniques.

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Old 14th April 2006, 06:19 AM   #9
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I would have a comment on this if I had picked up and read a paper newspaper in the last 2 years

In truth, I've become wary of even a lot of the online news sources. Advertising is SO prevalant on those sites these days that I often wonder how much things are spun to keep advertisers happy.

But to your point: Adding a one paaragraph important synopsis or list of bullet points at the beginning of each article (even off line), would probably improve any news periodical. They should indeed write the way people want to read.

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