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SEO for Journalists: From Paper to Screen

leverage-online-journalismMost of us journalists know that the internet is the future. In terms of communication and content, this particularly affects journalists who, even if they don’t feel really passion about it, must recognise its benefits and get involved in the digital world. Once this step has been taken, we need to talk about the relationship between the writer and the new world. But let’s be honest. Sometimes getting into the SEO scene isn’t easy, but the key thing to keep in mind is to forget for a while what you have learned during your days at the School of Journalism and try to think in a more simple way: What can you offer to the readers and how can you portray your message?

In order to not go crazy, it´s useful to follow some tips that will help the new SEO writer to adapt his content to the online world. And one more thing: it will also help journalists to put away the idea that SEO involves stuffing keywords into their articles at the expense of good writing.

1. The Inverted Pyramid: Emil Dovifat theory has been used by the classic School of Journalism in order to structure the information. It says that facts have to be displayed from most relevant to less important. In this sense, the online world works in the same way. We need to gain the reader but also the search engine. It’s because of that, we need to remind ourselves that the internet is the biggest information kiosk ever! If our article doesn’t catch people’s attention, there will be another that will.

2. The language: Writing for the online market is different from the way we would do in printed publications. We need to modify the way we work with the language and this means we have to avoid complicated language and expressions that maybe we would use while writing an article for a newspaper section (It doesn’t signify that we have to post a piece using colloquial language). People don’t really appreciate the writer’s style (Let’s leave the literature for the e-books) but they look for useful content, which must be offered through a clear language.

3. Titles and the body of the article: Anyone that wants to write a post needs to ask themselves: How do people look for the information I want to offer in my article? In this sense, it´s important to use titles such as “5 tips….”, “Top ten websites…” (Even if they start with a number, which can be a bit painful at first).  Another important tip is to organise the text by paragraphs and do not include more than one idea per each. Last thing but not less important is to write not very long posts. Leave 1,000 word articles for newspapers!

4. Hypertextuality: We understand by “hypertextuality” a text displayed on a computer display or other electronic device with references (hyperlinks) to other text that the reader can immediately access. In the digital world we have the chance to add relevant information to our message. This is achieved by “linking”, and this must be done in a specific way, as the engines discover how pages are related to each other and in which ways.

5. Social sharing: The good news for the online planet is how easy it is to spread the word. After writing a post you have the power to share it through social services such as Facebook, Twitter, Google + and many more. But it is also possible the other way round: Readers can also share and retweet your post, which can be a good way to get feedback on your content.

This is how journalists can benefit from the online world. Be smart, make people find you on the server and remember that relationship between Journalism and SEO doesn’t have to be unhappy.

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