Understanding headlines in SEO and news analytics

In class today we reviewed the slides from yesterday which looked at how analytics work in the newsroom and the specific parts of content that we need to pay attention to as student journalists (typically headlines and intros).

We then looked at my high-scoring (5k views and counting!) collection of social media policies (see policies on this page) and decided to write some new headlines to improve on the page’s SEO-ability. Why is this? Because the page is not turning up when we search for words like “social media policies” and “news organisations

Clickable headline tool

We used this cool Moz tool to preview the clickable headline (aka title tag) and then students submitted their entries to be used on the piece.

Students also suggested that I change around the intro to see if that helps the piece get picked up and shared more widely and I think they might be right!

I am running an A/B test on the headline and the winning headline-writer is going to get a gift card!

The winning headline-writer will be the one whose headline gets the highest Content Engagement Rank from Google’s new News Analytics. As you can see from the screenshot below the original content with the original headline was ranking a lowly 7th on my site.

May the best student win!

Social media policies in leading mainstream news organisations

Curated list of public-facing social media policies available in Australia; Britain; Canada; Ireland, Italy, Spain and the U.S
*The guidelines must be publicly available online to be included*

1. ABC Australia Exhaustive and excellent Older version

2. Agence France Presse  Updated version Older version

3. AP Guidelines (2013) Detailed advice on retweets

AP revised Guidelines (2022) Update May 2022  

4. BBC 2020 guidance / Virtue signalling

BBC 2019 guidance / Be aware of risks

BBC 2015 guidance / Don’t do anything stupid

5. BuzzFeed 

6. CBC Canada Updated 2017 – new link added 2019

7. CAJ Canada Last updated 2011

8. CHANNEL 4 n/d

9. CNN – goes to a pdf download

9. ESPN Must for aspiring sports journos Updated 2017 

10. Globe and Mail  Updated 2017

11. Guardian (UK) 2022

12. IPSO UK Independent Press Standards Organization Updated 2016

13. LA Times  No public update since 2009

14. La Stampa, Italy English translation (c/o Alessandro Cappai) Updated 2016

15. New York Times Updated 2017

16. NPR Updated 2021

17. Reuters 

18. RTÉ 2022 much more specific

RTÉ  2013 – very general guidance

19. RTDNA No date

20. SKY News 2014/2015

21. Washington Post Last updated 2011  Article about proposed (and contested) changes 2017

22. Wall Street Journal 2009 Memo to WSJ Staff 2017