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April 22, 2008

Watch Your Keywords

As more newspapers migrate their content to the internet, a lot of research has gone into optimizing articles for processing by search engine robots. Google's spiders pay particular attention to titles, which means that clever headlines like "Skywalkers in Korea cross Han solo" are dropped for more easily indexed titles like, "World High Wire Championships in Korea." But the spiders also look to other things for direction, like tags and keywords that are inputted by computers or human editors once the piece is ready for publication.

Oftentimes, these keywords remain unseen and harmless; the only way most of them are sussed out is by right-clicking on an article and then clicking on "View Page Info." But with the advent of RSS feeds and other aggregators, some of these keywords are brought out into the open, perhaps to the chagrin of the web editors. Here, for example, is how my Bloglines categorized a recent New York Times article about an update to Essence Magazine's website:

Essence Bloglines

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