Tumblelog by Soup.io
Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

BBC News website adds SEO friendly headlines

The BBC has made changes to its news website to make its headlines more SEO friendly.

The headlines appearing on index pages are short and concise as usual, but clicking through to the story reveals a longer headline with search keywords.

For example, the index headline on the story on Google’s Chrome browser is “Google previews operating system”, which lacks search keywords.

But click on the story page, the headline becomes “Google previews Chrome open source operating system.”

And the report on the Fort Hood killings has an index headline of “Killings prompt US Army inquiry”, while the story page has the more descriptive “Gates orders Army inquiry after Fort Hood killings.”

The changes have just been introduced as older stories still have the same index and page headlines.

The short headlines were a result of length restrictions as the content was distributed on other platforms, including Ceefax.

It meant that journalists tended to have limited room for keywords.  The new BBC headlines are applying standard search engine optimization tips.

BBC News website editor Steve Herrmann explains the changes in a post on the BBC Editors blog.

The front page headlines will remain limited to between 31 and 33 characters and will continue to appear on Ceefax and Digital Text, as they do now, along with the top four paragraphs of each story.

The space constraints on those platforms mean that on the website the headlines have always been short – which, it has to be said, also has its merits, making them easy to scan and fit into lists. They will also continue to appear on mobiles.

The new longer headlines will be up to 55 characters (with spaces) and will aim to include any key words which we might expect a search engine user to type in when searching for news about that particular topic.

So the lead story on the EU presidency has an index and story page headline of “Belgian PM named as EU president.”

But the title tag of the page has a SEO friendly headline: Belgian PM Van Rompuy is named as EU president.”

The BBC News website has had journalists working on search engine optimisation for some time.

I wonder if the list of most popular stories now reflects what people are searching for on Google.

Don't be the product, buy the product!