AP Style or Search Engine Optimization?

Friday, September 30, 2011

The AP Stylebook has been in existence for a considerable amount of time. It is important in order to ensure consistency amongst journalistic publications. But is its usefulness beginning to wane as publications transition into online formats?

There are many reasons to like the AP Stylebook, including the reasons found on this list by a professor from Kansas University. There have been many instances in this accelerated semester where I have had to reference this book. The information contained within is incredible, even breaking down individual sports terms. Helpful lists such as this, covering baseball terms, can help spread the word to bloggers to increase the consistency of journalism.

But is AP Style worthwhile online?

There may be a more important focus to consider when writing for an online format. In order to improve readership, a website is recommended to utilize Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the use of strong, relevant keywords within articles and websites that will place you higher and more frequently in search results. The end result would be more readers having a chance to click upon your website.

If the popular search is "base ball" instead of "baseball" and "web site" instead of "website", following the AP Styleguide could mean losing thousands of potential readers. Citizen journalists, who choose not to follow any style but their own, will see increased readership over the legitimate, professional journalists.

Is it almost time to consider changing to SEO instead of AP for online journalism? I think it makes enough sense that a strong case could be argued. What do you think?

For more information on the SEO and its uses for journalists, check out an article from the Online Journalism Review and this blog that writes about SEO for Journalists.

Pictures courtesy of creative commons.


SarinaRhinehart October 4, 2011 at 3:43 PM  

Professional journalists need to stick to AP Stylebook because this is what makes them professional.

A journalist’s job is to find the truth and then report it in an understandable yet formal article. If professionals use Search Engine Optimization, it will lower people’s trust in these sources.

The AP Stylebook lays down rules that create uniformity in stories.

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