Did search engine optimization make Arianna Huffington’s newly acquired from AOL 310 million dollar fortune?

New York Times ponders on the merging of journalism and search engine optimization

Search Engine Optimization to Lure Readers – NYTimes.com

The Huffington Post has hired veteran journalists to beef up its news coverage. But a
significant chunk of its readers come instead for articles like one published this week: “Chelsy Davy & Prince Harry: So Happy Together?”
The two-sentence article was just a vehicle for a slide show of  photographs of the couple and included no actual news. But “Chelsy  Davy” was one of the top searches on Google that day, and soon after the article was published it became one of the first links that popped up in Google’s search results.
It was an example of an art and science at which The Huffington Post  excels: search engine optimization, or S.E.O. The term covers a wide  range of behind-the-scenes tactics for getting search engine users to  visit a Web site, like choosing story topics based on popular searches.
In addition to writing articles based on trending Google searches, The Huffington Post writes headlines like a popular one this week, “Watch: Christina Aguilera Totally Messes Up National Anthem.” It amasses often-searched phrases at the top of articles, like the 18 at the top of the one about Ms. Aguilera, including “Christina Aguilera National Anthem” and “Christina Aguilera Super Bowl.”

As a result of techniques like these, 35 percent of The Huffington Post’s visits in January came from search engines, compared to 20 percent for CNN.com, according to Hitwise, a Web analysis firm.

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Sorin Adam Matei

Sorin Adam Matei - Professor of Communication at Purdue University - studies the relationship between information technology and social groups. He published papers and articles in Journal of Communication, Communication Research, Information Society, and Foreign Policy. He is the author or co-editor of several books. The most recent is Structural differentation in social media. He also co-edited Ethical Reasoning in Big Data,Transparency in social media and Roles, Trust, and Reputation in Social Media Knowledge Markets: Theory and Methods (Computational Social Sciences) , all three the product of the NSF funded KredibleNet project. Dr. Matei's teaching portfolio includes online interaction, and online community analytics and development classes. His teaching makes use of a number of software platforms he has codeveloped, such as Visible Effort . Dr. Matei is also known for his media work. He is a former BBC World Service journalist whose contributions have been published in Esquire and several leading Romanian newspapers. In Romania, he is known for his books Boierii Mintii (The Mind Boyars), Idolii forului (Idols of the forum), and Idei de schimb (Spare ideas).

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