Writing headlines for the web
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Writing headlines for the Web. SEO: Search engine optimization Making a Web headline SEO-friendly means making it easier for users to find the content on search engines such as Google. Include in the headline important words and phrases that are key to the story.

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SEO: Search engine optimization

Making a Web headline SEO-friendly means making it easier for users to find the content on search engines such as Google.

Include in the headline important words and phrases that are key to the story.

Place names: West Palm Beach, Greenacres, Wellington, Palm Beach County. These should be spelled out.

Important words: Crist, Everglades, real estate, Target, Starbucks, CityPlace, bikini teacher

Cutesy headlines: Not useful for SEO purposes. i.e. label heads found on Accent packages.


Avoid libel in headlines

Avoid libel in headlines

When people are arrested or charged, they're not guilty yet.

When they're convicted in court, awaiting sentencing or sentenced, they're guilty and we can say they did the crime.


Libel rule: Don’t say “for” doing something if the person hasn’t been convicted.NO: Man arrested for shooting woman in the neckYES: Delray Beach police: Man shot woman in the neck


NO: Man arrested for beating child with leather belt person hasn’t been convicted.

YES: Authorities say man beat child with leather belt


NO: Delray Beach man appears in court for ramming cop cars person hasn’t been convicted.

YES: Delray Beach man accused of ramming cop cars shows up in court with black eye


Libel rule: Don’t say a person did something if the person hasn’t been convicted.NO: State will drop charge against Wellington woman who had sex with a teenager

YES: Wellington woman accused of sex with teen will avoid felony charge


Libel rule: We hasn’t been convicted.can call someone a criminal for whatever crime they did, if that person has been convicted.YES: Child killer says he won't appeal death sentence

(Because story says:) A killer convicted of kidnapping and torturing two young siblings from Idaho says he doesn't plan to appeal his death sentence.


Web headline tip include a person s name only when the person is notable and known

Web headline tip hasn’t been convicted.:Include a person’s name only when the person is notable and known


NO: Gutierrez sentenced to 18 years in Turnpike slaying case hasn’t been convicted.

YES: 22-year-old underling gets 18 years in turnpike slaying case


NO: Palm Beach County school district cop Jonathan E. Kelly charged with stealing identities of 20 teachers, students

YES: Palm Beach County school district cop charged with stealing identities of 20 teachers, students


YES: Police: Palm Beach Gardens teacher Heath Miller's cell phone has sexual photos of him with young girls

(Because Heath Miller has been in the news enough to be a recognizable, notable name)


Web headline tip phone has sexual photos of him with young girls:Don’t be constrained by print space limitations (but don’t write a novel in the headline, either)


NO: Services for paramedic Thursday phone has sexual photos of him with young girls

BETTER: Services Thursday for Martin County firefighter-paramedic killed in motorcycle crash


NO: Celebrity Chatter phone has sexual photos of him with young girls(label headlines don’t work on the Web)

YES: Wholesome Shirley Jones plays prostitute in A&E drama 'The Cleaner'


NO: Celebrity Chatter: Rachel Weisz phone has sexual photos of him with young girls

BETTER: Rachel Weisz learns to rap, unicycle for ‘Brothers Bloom’


NO: Recession hot dogs phone has sexual photos of him with young girls(Not enough information given)

BETTER: Nathan’s lends an economic hand with 5-cent hot dogs


NO: Struggling mom's life turns around phone has sexual photos of him with young girls(not enough information given)

BETTER: Post readers' help overwhelms struggling Lake Worth mother of five (notice the city is also added, for SEO)


BORING: FAU's Brogan gets rave eval phone has sexual photos of him with young girls

BETTER: FAU President Brogan refuses $50,000 bonus (adding a dollar amount always helps a headline get clicked on more)


Web headline tip phone has sexual photos of him with young girls:Focus on most interesting part of the story(rather than feeling you have to be super-serious and summarize-y)


BORING: Old West Palm Beach library demolished phone has sexual photos of him with young girls

BETTER: Old West Palm Beach library demolished with cake, confetti, then a crunch


VAGUE: Delray Beach police arrest Home Team Advantage owner on fraud charges

BETTER: Delray Beach police say remodeler stole $50,000 from homeowners


BLAND: Elections office gets solicitation complaints on fraud charges

BETTER: Palm Beach County voters say campaign supporters accosted them


Web headline tip: on fraud charges

Add specific details to spice up

the headline, or at least choose

interesting wording


Man admits to stealing jewelry from safe deposit box; none recovered

Wellington man admits taking $96,000 in jewelry from safe deposit box


E-mail spam dwindles after major server provider shut down recovered

Inbox-clogging spam plunges 70% worldwide after crackdown


Palm Beachers use 5 times more water, West Palm Beach says recovered

Palm Beach may crack down on island's water hogs


Police seek help in finding purse snatcher recovered

Woman snatched handbag at Publix, Palm Beach County deputies say


Judge rejects plea deal in sexual assault case recovered

No deal for man accused in girl's sex assault, dumping


Riviera police investigating a murder recovered

Man shot in Riviera Beach drives a block, crashes, dies


West Palm outlines stimulus package recovered

West Palm Beach to spend $127 million to boost economy


BLAND: Expert dispels rumor about horses in big cats' feed recovered

BETTER: Dead Wellington polo ponies end up as lion food? Neigh!


Web headline tip: recovered

Avoid “process” heads.

Focus on people, not

government or bureaucracy


JARGONY: Home prices reach point of sale recovered

BETTER: Florida home sellers finally get real about pricing


BLAND: Palm Beach County OKs road cuts to fund bus service recovered

BETTER: Palm Beach County yanks cash for roads, gives it to bus service


BLAND: Judge appeals ruling, seeks new election recovered(bureaucratic, government-y)

BETTER: Losing judicial hopeful Wennet won't give up (Wennet is a newsworthy name, so adding it helps the headline)


JARGONY: 1.2 million Florida mortgage borrowers have negative equity, study says

BETTER: 1 in 3 Florida homeowners owes more than home is worth


JARGONY: Congress sides with consumers on credit card overhaul bill (bureaucratic, government-y)

BETTER: Credit card users may soon get relief from steep rate hikes, fees


BLAND: Florida Supreme Court stops Wednesday execution overhaul bill (bureaucratic, government-y)

BETTER: Man who killed woman in Broward County in 1983 won't be executed just yet (also adds SEO-friendly details)


GOV’T FOCUSED: State reopens wildlife areas to hunters, froggers

PEOPLE-FOCUSED: Hunters, froggers again welcome in once-flooded Everglades areas


BUREAUCRATIC: Palm Beach Gardens officials testify at administrative hearing

BETTER: Palm Beach Gardens officials grilled about gated country club development


BUREAUCRATIC: Riviera Beach marina improvements on the agenda for CRA

BETTER: Riviera Beach, developer to talk about $500 million in marina spruce-ups (also adds dollar amount, which helps headlines get more clicks)


BUREAUCRATIC: Palm Beach County to sell bonds for FPL plant agenda for CRA

BETTER: $90 million infusion to help FPL pay for power plant


BUREAUCRATIC: Hastings seeks money to cut wait times to vote agenda for CRA

BETTER: $1 billion idea could slash wait times at the polls nationwide (focus is now on how it affects you, not on what a politician did)


BUREAUCRATIC: West Palm Beach commissioners vote for ordinances requiring referendum before any future move of city hall, library

BETTER: West Palm Beach voters will get to decide on city hall, library moves


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