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SEO friendly titles used by BBC

Posted on November 27, 2009

 

We’ve written here at StuckOn many times about how your page’s Title tag is the most important aspect of your page’s SEO. When you’re writing news stories and articles, the title you choose is essential in writing good quality content that will receive traffic from search engines, and a good title can make or break an article in terms of how many page views it generates.

The BBC is one of the best websites on the Internet for content, with thousands of new pages being added every day. Their website is cross linked thoroughly with relevant news stories appearing on the side of each article, and always ranks at the top of Google’s index for topical searches. However, all of this was done within the restraints of having a tight restriction on the character count for titles to news stories. This meant that the BBC’s content writers couldn’t craft truly search friendly titles for their news… until now.

The BBC has lifted the tight restriction it had on titles, which was around 33 characters long, and has increased it to 55 characters. This means that copywriters can create more SEO focussed titles on their news, as you can see in this image from the BBC’s own blog.

bbc-seo-headlines-001

The BBC has done this because they have admitted that around 29% of their traffic is driven by search engines, and that traffic can now increase drastically with some SEO thought put into titles.

The old, shorter titles will still appear on the BBC homepage, and on mobile browsers, the new longer search engine friendly titles can be used on the actual news pages, which is what will be indexed by Google.

The BBC’s Steve Herrmann explained:

The practice of ‘search engine optimisation’ – making content in such a way that it is easily retrieved via search engines – is an important area for us and for others across the web.

The BBC gave an example of how one of their titles would change for SEO. The original title read:

Possible counter-bid for Cadbury

When the character restriction was changed and more words could be added, the title became:

Ferrero and Hershey in possible counter-bid for Cadbury

What this means for SEO companies and SEO professionals is that the BBC has just upped its game, so you can expect it to rank for even more phrases at the top of Google. Things have just become even more interesting in SEO.

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