Newspaper copy editors strive to write headlines that are clever and informative, but they also have a wonderful opportunity to practice search engine optimization at the same time.
Consider these two simplistic examples:
- Local Weather Forecast Calls for Heavy Rain
- Richmond Weather Forecast Calls for Heavy Rain
Assuming that there is space for the three extra characters of the word “Richmond,” the second headline is more specific and localized. Fair enough — that’s an example of effective headline writing for a newspaper.
But the second headline also implements search engine optimization. If the headline of the story is used as the title of the story document on the newspaper Web site, it is picked up by search engines and used in search engine result pages.
Anyone searching on the keyword phrase “richmond weather forecast” will find the story more easily than if the headline had used “Local Weather Forecast.”
A copy editor with a few minutes of extra time — not always possible on a deadline — will find that using a keyword tool to identify the more widely searched words will benefit the development of a headline.
Otherwise, the newspaper Web staff or the copy desk will have to go back into the story to alter the headline. It is far better for time management and the sake of limited resources to take that step during the time that the headline is first written.
The end result will be stories uploaded to the Web site with titles (headlines) that are already optimized for search engines. Readership of the print product may benefit as well.