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Web headlines: Think Google

As we’ve discussed, print headlines don’t always translate well on the Web. Much news site Web traffic is driven by search engines, so editors have begun to think differently about Web headlines. When you write a headline for the Web, think about what you would look for if you were doing a Google search. Often that means cute and clever don’t work. Instead you might need to be more literal. You definitely want the key words in your headline. And you don’t want to rely on art or graphics to explain your headline. A New York Times article on search engine optimization, written in 2006, explains how newspapers were just starting to understand that Web headline needed a different approach. And Shawn Smith in a blog called New Media Bytes, clearly spells out the differences between print and Web headlines. 

Your assignment: Read the New York Times story and Shawn Smith’s post in the above links. Find a print headline that you don’t think would work on the Web. In the comments section for your lab, cite the print headline (tell me what it is and where you saw it), and tell me how you would rewrite it for the Web. Because we won’t have labs next week, this assignment is due at the beginning of your labs the week of Dec. 1.

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