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How Huffington Post's Clever Traffic-Generation Machine Works 165

Hugh Pickens writes "Frédéric Filloux writes that traditional newspapers that move online are losing the war against pure players and aggregators because original stories are getting very little traffic due to the poor marketing tactics of old-fashion publishers. Meanwhile, aggregators like the Huffington Post use clever traffic-generation techniques, so the same journalistic item will generate much more traffic. Here's an example: On July 5th, The Wall Street Journal runs an editorial piece about Mitt Romney's position on Obamacare and the rather dull and generic 'Romney's Tax Confusion' title for this 1000-word article attracted a remarkable 938 comments. But look at what the Huffington Post did: a 500-word treatment, including a 300 words article plus a 200-word excerpt of the WSJ opinion and a link back (completely useless) but, unlike the Journal, the HuffPo ran a much sexier headline: 'Mitt Romney is 'Squandering' Candidacy With Health Care Snafu.' The choice of words for the headline takes in account all Search Engine Optimization prerequisites, using high yield words such as 'Squandering' and 'Snafu,' in conjunction with much sought-after topics such as 'Romney' and 'Health Care.' Altogether, this guarantees a nice blip on Google's radar — and a considerable audience : 7000+ comments."

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