The Editor's Weblog features an interesting post today about the way print publications (newspapers, specifically) are teaching their writers how to write articles so that they are optimized for search engine rankings on Google's news page:
UK newspapers are teaching their reporters how to write articles. How so? By writing in ways that show up at the top of search results from Google and other search engines. This is a look at how the online news portal oligarchy is concretely changing journalism.
The Times of London is training journalists in making their articles show up at the top of Google’s unpaid search results. "You make sure key phrases and topic words are embedded in the top paragraph and headlines," says Zach Leonard, the Times’ digital-media publisher
This isn't exactly news, as businesses of all stripes have jumped on the blogging bandwagon as a way of attracting potential customers to their sites; although, it does seem to suggest that editors are far more willing to blur the line between editorial and advertising than they once were. Online news sites generate additional revenue (for the parent print publication) through the sale of banner and textual ads, and by actively altering the way an article is written to be ranked higher on a search engine listing seems to have more to do with increasing site traffic, and thereby increasing ad impressions, than it does with the quality of the article itself.