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Changing Titles Daily to Increase Click-Through and Pageviews

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Changing Titles Daily to Increase Click-Through and Pageviews

There are a handful of publications I read daily outside of the search marketing spectrum, one such publication being BaltimoreSun.com, the website of Baltimore’s newspaper, the Baltimore Sun. I read the Sun for various reasons, onesuch being keeping up on the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles (I grew up in Maryland and now reside in Tampa).

I’ve noticed that while visiting their Sports page several times a day, 7 days a week, that the new stories being served at the top of the Sports headlines are sometimes not new stories at all, but only refurbished stories from the day before with a paragraph or two of new information, or the same exact story with a new title.

Look at these two stories for example :

These are the same stories, printed on different days, with different headlines and URL’s, but the same content. If I fell for it, I’m sure hundreds of thousands of other loyal readers may have also. Since the Baltimore Sun is a news publication and sells advertising on a CPM basis, my theory is that it is part of their strategy to increase pageviews using this technique, to assist with enhancing the reach and “circulation” of their news stories.

Also, The Sun does not limit this misleading publishing technique to their Sports section, but their Politics, Homepage, Entertainment and other areas.

Now, would a print newspaper be able to get away with printing the same story twice on different days with different headlines? No, it would not.

As a blogger, would I be able to change one of Search Engine Journal’s stories from What Can or Should Be Included in a Page Title to Ultimate Guide to Title Tag Optimization? No, I would not. Not only would the backlash from the search community be hell to deal with but it would result in SEJ losing trust and readers. Furthermore, my bouncerate would increase substantially and there would be tons of duplicate content issues to address, and all of these problem could negatively influence my overall search rankings.

It does look like this practice may have already damaged their Google News indexing.

I’m wondering if it is worth it for the Baltimore Sun, owned by Tribune, to use this practice and whether the short term CPM’s are worth leaving their readership feeling bewildered.

Your thoughts?

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Loren Baker

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ... [Read full bio]

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