Optimising the Search Engine

It is so tempting to add the word BOOBS to my title, just to see if Charlie Brooker’s SEO theory works out.

It was all about planning for the machine and writing for the human in this week’s online journalism lecture. Sounds quite clinical put like that, but the idea is fairly easy to wrap your head around.  Basically, in the miasma that is the scope of online journalism there is no room for witty headlines and punning toplines.  You’ve got to think about what people are searching for, and deliver.  Simple as.  Except when you’ve spent the last two years with every article you’ve ever written headed by a carefully-crafted cracker.  Examples that stick in the mind (is haunt too strong a word?) include ‘The Eagle has Landed’, ‘Busted!’ and ‘You’re nicked!’  Ah, memories.

So what are the important things to remember when trying to carve a presence in the world of online journalism?

  • Bullet points are your friend – they break up the page and are easy to read
  • Say what you mean.  No more ‘miasmas’ and ‘the world of…’s.  Damn.
  • Try and get the main point of your story/post into its opening 25 lines.  No more rambling about ‘When I Was a Local Reporter…’ in manner of nostalgic and slightly seedy old man
  • Categorize and tag for extra search hits.  We all know about tagging thanks to the joys of that morning-after Facebook notification.
  • Hightlight the super-important bits.  But don’t overdo it otherwise it will end up looking like the words are shouting at you.  A BIT LIKE WHEN YOUR PARENTS FIRST LEARNED HOW TO TEXT BUT DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO TAKE OFF CAPITALS.
  • Write links that mean something.  Link to something that will add to your story rather than illustrate some point you’re too lazy to analyse.
  • Keep it short, keep it snappy.  People tend to switch off after the first 200-500 words.  On that note
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About Jmb

Writer, journalist, mummy, redhead, wine lover, fan of epic fantasy* and Devon-girl-at-heart. Started out as a local newspaper reporter in the cowpatty-idylls of South Devon at the tender age of 21. Since then I have dabbled in radio, TV, online journalism, b2b and novel-writing. After finding self unexpectedly knocked up in January 2013, I gave birth to my blue-eyed girl the following September. Two house moves, one (very soggy) wedding, two unpublished (and several works-in-progress) novels, one triumphant return to work, two 30th birthdays and a LOT of wine later, baby number 2 is expected in the summer of 2017. *and by that I mean staring at Kit Harrington whilst the vast majority of all politically spellbinding, ethically ambiguous and incestuously gratuitous content in Game of Thrones blithely passes me by. View all posts by Jmb

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