I found an article that caught my interest when I browsed Slashdot.org. It caught my interested because I work as a web developer in a big Internet editing office. Our net journalists continuously work to pull as many hits as possible to our content with the help of “pithy, witty and provocative headlines”.

A quote from the original article at Cnet News:

Pithy, witty and provocative headlines - the pride of many an editor - are often useless and even counterproductive in getting the Web page ranked high in search engines. A low ranking means limited exposure and fewer readers.

But more and more realise - including my employers - that this is not the way to go. Many online magazines jumped right into the web with just the old bag of horrors - the tricks from the printed magazines. These tricks are just not adequate enough to cope with the online readers. The use of these “tricks” only leads to a soup of ads and text bound together with despair.

The article mentions boston.com as a very good example on how you can increase your page ranking by using Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I could pull examples of good and bad online magazines out of the magic web hat forever, but that will not get us anywhere. The point is, and I hope my readers - you - will bear it in mind when you make your next article or blog post. Will you make the title witty or will you make the title to actually reflect the content of the article?

Lorelle at Lorelle on Wordpress, mentions eight key ingredients to make a successful online magazine, pay attention to point number three:

  • A great name that defines the topic
  • A defined audience and clear purpose
  • A compelling headline or subject line
  • Valuable information readers can use
  • A call to action
  • A customized template or plain text formatting
  • A bonus incentive for subscribing
  • CAN-SPAM Compliance and a privacy statement

A must to have in mind is this: the only good way to get really good page rankings, is to get linked and plugged by other sites. Nothing more, nothing less. The tips and tricks you hear all around you, even here, will only adjust and fine tune your blog or magazine. Lorelle states this perfectly:

These tips won’t flood your blog with visitors - no SEO tips will. Use these tips to improve your site, and fight for a lot of backlinks and visitors by writing quality content and putting a lot of work into it. It has never been easy to run a website, and it for sure isn’t getting easier.

And I will ask you a rhetorical question to summarize this article: when will online magazines bow to SEO demands?