SourceWatch:Search engine optimization of articles

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So you've started a great new SourceWatch article. Thousands of readers will flock to your page and discover, slackjawed, that the 'non-partisan' talking head they saw on the TV last night is a career flack. Journalists will experience a collective Damascene conversion and forswear their lazy reliance on the dubious experts you have so masterfully exposed. Fantastic. Of course, this happy scenario supposes that readers can find your article.

Optimizing a SourceWatch article for search engines

Here are a few simple tips for how you can improve the ranking of a SourceWatch article in search engine results. This process is known as search engine optimization (SEO).

Ensure your article title contains your keywords

There are two reasons that this is important:

  • A feature of the wikipedia software that SourceWatch uses is that the URL of an article contains the article title. Most search engines give an effective boost to keywords contained in a webpage's URL. The reason for this is that many inbound links to a URL feature that URL as the anchor text, and search engines give a boost to keywords in the anchor texts of inbound links to a page.[1]
  • The title of the article features as a top-level heading in the article's text. Most search engines give a boost to keywords that feature in headings.[2]

Use keywords early, often, and in section headings

According to SEO consultant Morgan Carey, "The H1, H2...H6 tags are given special relevancy weight, and by virtue of this logic, if something has an entire paragraph labeled and dedicated to it, it must be important... You should try to get your main keyword phrases as high up in your source code as possible. The higher up a word or phrase is in the body of a document, the more important it must be... Try to write a keyword-rich last paragraph as spiders pay particular attention to the beginning and then the end of the document." [3] For SourceWatch, this simply means that if it is possible to include your keywords in section headings in the article without the result looking artificial, do so, and try to ensure that your keywords appear near the end of the article. They will of course appear at the beginning of the article since the article title is the H1 heading.

Maximize linkage to the article from other SourceWatch articles

According to Carey, "a link from an internal page with 'X' amount of PR contributes exactly the same PR weight as a page from a different URL with 'X' amount of PR weight to distribute" (PR denotes Page Rank). [4] In other words, links to a SourceWatch article from other SourceWatch articles are just as important as links from external websites. So take some time to search SourceWatch (either using a search engine or the built-in site search) for existing articles to which you can add links to the new article. A suitable search engine query is keyword(s) site:SourceWatch.org.

Use keywords in the alternate text for images

If your article contains a photo, make sure to provide alternate text that contains your keywords, as this text is also indexed by search engine spiders. [5] For example, instead of [[Image:AlanMilburn2004.jpg]], use [[Image:AlanMilburn2004.jpg|2004 photograph of Alan Milburn MP]]. However, remember that the purpose of the alternate text is to make the page comprehensible for visually impaired readers.

Don't go over the top

The most important consideration is that SourceWatch articles should be accurate, informative, and well-researched. Please don't allow any of the above advice to obscure this goal!

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