I won’t lie: When the Associated Press announced they were changing the entry in their stylebook from “Web site” to “website,” several of us here in the office danced a little happydance. Despite being users (and lovers) of AP style, that was one word we did not agree with them on.
Robert Niles of The Online Journalism Review explains the importance of the AP’s change in this recent blog post, referencing a tweet he made regarding the change: “If you’re publishing online, Google style (i.e. SEO) always trumps AP style.”
I don’t completely agree with Niles; I think it’s still important for journalism students to learn AP style. But it’s also important that they learn to write for the web.
People are using Google to look for your content, and if you’re still writing like you’re publishing a magazine or newspaper, by default you’re making it more difficult for Google to find you and, therefore, connect a potential client, customer or reader with your content.
That’s not to say that all AP style is Google offensive, because it’s not. But if you’re writing a piece for your website or blog, you can’t ignore what search engines look for. SEO (or “Internet marketing,” for those who think SEO is a negative term) isn’t just making sure you have your title and alt tags in place. It also involves using words and phrases that accurately describe what your article or blog post is about in a web-friendly way to help Google connect the right searchers to you.
Read more from OJR: The Online Journalism Review.