Words matter. Not just to communicate but also to drive presence. Presence is the new currency is messaging. If you can’t get the right words in and around your message – not matter how good it is – people might not find it in an online, search driven world.
The Huffington Post knows its way around search engine optimization, or S.E.O. as it’s known. A story about whether the president would play golf with Rush Limbaugh was headlined: “Obama Rejects Rush Limbaugh Golf Match: Rush ‘Can Play With Himself.’ ” It’s digital nirvana: two highly searched proper nouns followed by a smutty entendre, a headline that both the red and the blue may be compelled to click, and the readers of the site can have a laugh while the headline delivers great visibility out on the Web.
The Huffington Post sometimes tests two different headlines in real time to see which the audience is responding to. (“How to Reduce Your Oil Footprint” did better than “How to Say No to Big Oil and Reduce Your Oil Footprint.” Go figure.) The site also uses its Twitter account to solicit reader suggestions on headlines. Arianna Huffington, editor in chief and a founder of the site, rejects any notion that it is dumbing down in search of eyeballs.