SEO in headlines: how the colon became king

Mediterranean migrant deaths EU has moral duty to act

Someone, somewhere, ought to be doing some research on the increasing use of the colon in news article headlines online. That simple character has already become the go-to option when it comes to fixing your headline for search engine optimisation (SEO).

One of the ‘rules’ of SEO is to make sure you get key words in your headline. A second rule is to try to get those words at the front of your headline.

The colon allows you to do both.

Here are just a few examples:

Morning sickness report 1 000 abortions a year in Britain due to extreme form of illness during pregnancy Health News Health Families The Independent General Election 2015 Students being put off voting for Lib Dems over tuition fees U turn General Election 2015 UK Politics The IndependentOf course you don’t need a colon to put the key words at the front of the headline – as this example from ITV News shows.

Migrant deaths a man made tragedy ITV News

And of course the colon also gives you the opportunity to add some extra keywords too. In most of the headlines below ‘Japanese volcano’ was the most searched-for term, but the headlines hedge their bets by adding ‘Mount Ontake’ after the colon:

mount ontake seoI’m always on the lookout for similar examples, so if you spot any, please post in the comments.

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2 thoughts on “SEO in headlines: how the colon became king

  1. Pingback: Brushing up on Blogging… | Rachel Marsden's Words

  2. Pingback: Top 5 headlines destroyed by SEO | X City Plus

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