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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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.
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
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
YES: Authorities say man beat child with leather belt
NO: Delray Beach man appears in court for ramming cop cars
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 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
NO: Gutierrez sentenced to 18 years in Turnpike slaying case
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:Don’t be constrained by print space limitations (but don’t write a novel in the headline, either)
NO: Services for paramedic Thursday
BETTER: Services Thursday for Martin County firefighter-paramedic killed in motorcycle crash
NO: Celebrity Chatter (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
BETTER: Rachel Weisz learns to rap, unicycle for ‘Brothers Bloom’
NO: Recession hot dogs (Not enough information given)
BETTER: Nathan’s lends an economic hand with 5-cent hot dogs
NO: Struggling mom's life turns around (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
BETTER: FAU President Brogan refuses $50,000 bonus (adding a dollar amount always helps a headline get clicked on more)
Web headline tip: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
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
BETTER: Palm Beach County voters say campaign supporters accosted them
Web headline tip:
Add specific details to spice up
the headline, or at least choose
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
Inbox-clogging spam plunges 70% worldwide after crackdown
Palm Beachers use 5 times more water, West Palm Beach says
Palm Beach may crack down on island's water hogs
Police seek help in finding purse snatcher
Woman snatched handbag at Publix, Palm Beach County deputies say
Judge rejects plea deal in sexual assault case
No deal for man accused in girl's sex assault, dumping
Riviera police investigating a murder
Man shot in Riviera Beach drives a block, crashes, dies
West Palm outlines stimulus package
West Palm Beach to spend $127 million to boost economy
BLAND: Expert dispels rumor about horses in big cats' feed
BETTER: Dead Wellington polo ponies end up as lion food? Neigh!
Web headline tip:
Avoid “process” heads.
Focus on people, not
government or bureaucracy
JARGONY: Home prices reach point of sale
BETTER: Florida home sellers finally get real about pricing
BLAND: Palm Beach County OKs road cuts to fund bus service
BETTER: Palm Beach County yanks cash for roads, gives it to bus service
BLAND: Judge appeals ruling, seeks new election (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 (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
BETTER: $90 million infusion to help FPL pay for power plant
BUREAUCRATIC: Hastings seeks money to cut wait times to vote
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