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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

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.

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

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

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