With many newspapers increasingly moving to the web, search engine optimization (SEO) has become a top priority for many publications. As a result, the way outlets write their articles has also changed.
This is especially the case with headlines, says a new article from the New York Times. Headlines were traditionally written with a publication’s human audience in mind, designed to be witty and evocative. Now, they are written for search engines, packed with proper nouns and written as concisely as possible.
The key is keeping context in mind, general manager of Politico Jim Brady told the Times. While headlines have a certain amount of leeway in a publication devoted to a specific subject, the internet doesn’t provide that context, so headlines must be clear and understandable to everyone.
“The headlines don’t have to be boring, but they have to be descriptive and direct so that they show up in mobile and RSS feeds in a way that lets people know what they are being asked to click on,” Brady told the New York Times.
While some newspapers are embracing search engine optimization (SEO) and the internet in general, others are less accepting. Rupert Murdoch, head of the Wall Street Journal, recently called search engines “vampires” that steal content, according to Investors.com.