Shorter Headlines Can Lead to Google Juice

October 10, 2007

Google juice

Lock up your long-winded headlines. Google alerted us this week that press release headlines should not exceed 22 words. That’s eight words shorter than what we were told months ago. “An ideal headline should be between two and 22 words,” advises the search engine giant.

While there are no guarantees, certain practices maximize your chances of getting Google juice. Having something to say, for example–something that is “news,” not “olds.” Writing clearly is a good bet. Keeping it brief is also advised.

Unlike most of Business Wire’s distribution which is pushed out via our patented NX system, there’s no such thing as a “feed” to Google. They are invited in to spider our news and do so every few minutes. And, because of the amount of fresh content we post daily, Business Wire is considered an authority site.

Every now and then, a release fails to post to Google News. The reasons are a mystery. Google deliberately protects its algorithms, the instructions written by programmers for the robots that match web content with search queries. Presumably, this secrecy serves democracy, accuracy and as a deterrent to hackers gaming the system.

So, even with best practices and timely technology, guaranteed Google juice doesn’t exist. With Business Wire, your chances of being indexed by Google are extremely high. But, a random bullet point, a link in the headline, a formatting glitch–can sometimes keep your release from being scraped into the news bucket.

Any wire service that says otherwise is not being honest.


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