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The Title Style

Or, Which Title would Kenneth Patchen have written for the Benefit of Search Engine Optimization

Literary articles titles? Or, Boring articles titles?

This Boring Headline Is Written for Google by Steve Lohr [April 9, 2006] muses on this.

“JOURNALISTS over the years have assumed they were writing their headlines and articles for two audiences: fickle readers and nitpicking editors. Today, there is a third important arbiter of their work: the software programs that scour the Web, analyzing and ranking online news articles on behalf of Internet search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.”

Mr. Lohr has stated precisely what SEO Professionals have long advocated, i.e., after articles (or, propaganda pages found on web sites) are published, two users exist: fickle visitors and nitpicking spiders. Page titles of a web site are headlines. [Note: Literary or search optimized titles arguments become muddled when one includes arguments about usability aspects but that’s later.]

The thing about arguments over literary, clever or boring titles in search engine optimization is that they are but a single aspect of SEO. If one uses titles filled with irony or sarcasm or puns in the absolute prominent position of a page, one may lose first prominence.

That’s all.

Numerous other placement methods exist.

Keywords in article URLs. Keywords in article titles. Keywords in descriptions. Keywords in content. Keyword prominence in titles. Keyword prominence in content. Keyword density in content. Primary keyword phrases with lateral keyword usage in content. Keywords in link text. These are the most significant places where keywords are used. [Note: There are a few others but those placements are not pertinent to this article.] So, if one doesn't optimize page titles, one has numerous placement opportunities that can mitigate the loss of Googleized titles.

Regarding Mr. Lohr’s search optimization methods for “This Boring Headline Is Written for Google”,

<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/09/weekinreview/09lohr.html?ei=5090&//
The Content Management System (CMS) does not allow for titles to be converted into text.
Meta Description
<meta name="description" content="News organizations large and small have begun experimenting with tweaking their Web sites for better search engine results.">
An excellent example of a one-sentence summary of the article. And, it has keywords included.
In-Page Article Title
<h1><NYT_HEADLINE version="1.0" type="">This Boring Headline Is Written for Google</NYT_HEADLINE></h1>
The title of the article is set as an <h1>.
The content of the article has very balanced inclusions of primary keyword phrases and lateral keywords. And, as an assumption, I would believe that Mr. Lohr did not make any attempts regarding content optimization. However, he’s performed fundamental search optimization nevertheless.

What sort of search corpus prominence occurred? The following results were obtained on Wednesday, April 12, 2006.

“boring google headline”
First natural position in Google’s search results of about 2,520,000.
And, N° 3 from Yahoo’s search results of about 890,000,

What sort of search corpus prominence occurred for other keywords in the article?

“journalism search engine optimization”
Not in Google’s first two hundred (200) search results of about 57,900,000.
And, N° 40 from Yahoo’s search results of about 291,000,
“new york times journalism search engine optimization”
Not in Google’s first two hundred (200) search results of about 13,700,000.
And, N° 9 from Yahoo’s search results of about 60,500,
“new york times search engine optimization”
Not in Google’s first two hundred (200) search results of about 27,800,000.
And, N° 34 from Yahoo’s search results of about 1,100,000,
“news organizations search engine optimization”
Not in Google’s first two hundred (200) search results of about 49,400,000.
And, N° 89 from Yahoo’s search results of about 1,410,000,

Monkey with different keywords selected from the article and, see what happens. (Results May Vary.)

I digress.

What should be done about literary titles versus boring titles?

We find, after reading further in Mr. Lohr's article,

“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?”

It’s academic.

Divers devices exist. So, each will do.

Kenneth Patchen did it.

Sean Fraser posted this on April 14, 2006 01:44 PM.

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