(Originally posted April 5, 2011)
One piece of a Q&A interview with the editor of Slate hits on a topic that remains a fault line in the newsroom: writing with search engines in mind. I’m happy to read David Plotz’s response because it sounds like the right way to handle it — you don’t let your knowledge of what gets picked up by search engines affect what you choose to cover, but once you write about something you sure as heck make sure you’re doing what you can to be sure search engines will find it. The relevant Q and A:
How much are Slate writers and editors encouraged to think about stuff like SEO when crafting a piece?
If there’s a story that we want to do just because we want to, we go ahead and do it. But when we’ve done it, we look to figure out what people are searching around this topic, what they are going to be searching for, and how we can ensure our menu lines and the various things that search engines pay attention to reflect how readers are actually searching.
Sometimes we see that people are looking for such and such topic on the Web, and if someone has a great angle on it, we decide how to do the story. So of course we keep an eye on it – it would be a mistake not to keep an eye on it.