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PostPoints tip: "SEO" explains why Web headlines can seem boring

Ever notice that a Post story will carry a different headline online than in print, and that its Web headline may lack the zing of its paper counterpart? That's because we, like many other publications, want to help search engines to find our stories, and one way to do so is with a specific, straightforward title that matches up with the sort of query that a curious person might type. This usually means dispensing with puns and cultural references in favor of a straightforward subject-verb-object construction--as in the case of a Monday Sports article headlined "Miller claims an Olympic trifecta" in print and "American Bode Miller wins gold in men's super combined event at Vancouver Olympics" online. This tactic, along other things that sites do to make their content more visible to search engines, goes by the name of "search engine optimization," or SEO for short; see Wikipedia's detailed explanation of this. So the next time you see a Web title on one of our stories that seems drab, please take a moment to think of the plight of frustrated copy editors who are losing an outlet for their talents.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 23, 2010; 9:10 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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