One in five release headlines too long for portal
Google News ignores 21% of news releases because their headlines are too long.
Or so say the folks at Schwartz MSL, in their latest News Release Optimization Report. For their report, Schwartz MSL researchers analyzed more than 11,000 releases issued over BusinessWire in a 31-day period.
How can you put your release among those that actually can be posted by Google News?
|What to do||Why||How we’re doing|
|Keep release headlines to 65 characters or fewer.||That’s the number of characters that Google and other search engines index. Longer, and your headline will be truncated on search engine results pages.|
|Keep release headlines to 24 words or less.||Google News ignores headlines that are longer. (No wonder! At Wylie Communications, we call 24-word message blocks paragraphs, not headlines.)||Google News trashed 21% of releases because the headlines were too long.|
|But don’t make it too short.||Include too few characters, and you don’t have enough room for long-tail search terms.|
Plus, Google News rejects releases with one-word headlines.
|The shortest headline in the study was 20 characters long|
Don’t get your head cut off.
Is your head too big for mobile? How long should your release headline be to fit on mobile phones and apps?
Cover a single story.
One way to keep your headline short: Telegraph a single newsworthy story in your release head.
Here’s a quick test to run on your headline: Count the number of commas, semicolons, dashes and other punctuation it includes. If your total weighs in at more than zero, it may be a clue that you’re trying to cover too many ideas.
“PR professionals need to push back on their clients and explain that writing long headlines may not catch the attention of more readers,” the Schwartz researchers say. “On the contrary, it may mean that readers never find the news.”