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The Power Of Headlines: The LA Times Gets It Right With Their Piece On The Inauguration

Journalists call them headlines; SEOs call them titles and headings. Whatever you call them, they’re the words that tell someone that your article is what they want to read. Look at Google News any day of the week for examples of headlines that give you absolutely no idea what the article might be about. Search engines don’t know what to rank them for; users don’t know whether to click.

Bad Headline

One trend I watch is that of searchers asking what time things start. For any event, you can be sure that searchers will take to Google to find out the start time. I chronicle this every year, for instance, with the Super Bowl. Every year, we search for the start time, and every year, the sites that should have the data either don’t have it all, or have headlines like “countdown clock” until this year when the NFL  built exactly the right page (and I was so happy!).

Yesterday, I was similarly happy when I saw this headline from the LA Times. It’s descriptive and succinct.  It may be based on what people are searching for, but it’s using that information to better understand the audience and meet reader needs.

Obama Inaguration

The article contains valuable information and not just a bunch of words in an attempt to capitalize on search traffic.

Obama Inaguration

Well done, Morgan Little.

PS – this article currently ranks on the first page of Google unpaid results and in the News onebox for the query [when is the inauguration]:

Obama News

Obama SERP

Related Topics: Features: Analysis | Search Society: General | SEO: Titles Descriptions | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. She shares her perspectives on how search impacts marketing, user experience, and web development at ninebyblue.com. Her book, Marketing in the Age of Google, (updated edition, May 2012) provides a blueprint for incorporating search strategy into organizations of all levels. Follow her on Twitter at @vanessafox.

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