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:
- Mediterranean migrant deaths: EU has ‘moral duty’ to act
- General Election 2015: Students being put off voting for Lib Dems over tuition fees U-turn
- Morning sickness report: 1,000 abortions a year in Britain due to extreme form of illness during pregnancy
Of 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.
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: