Article Highlights: Good for Users, Good for Search Engines

Yesterday Steve Rubel pointed out how the article highlights on sites like CNN.com and iMedia Connection are a good time saver for him.

CNN.com places a “Story Highlights” section with bullet points to the right of the headline, for example:

CNN story highlights

While a great feature for users, article highlights are also an effective SEO technique. The placement of keyword-focused, descriptive bullet points near the top of the page gives the engines useful information for determining the topical relevancy of the page.

A similar method is the more traditional “dek” below the headline, as seen in this example from BusinessWeek.com:

Businessweek.com article dek

The use of article highlights or summaries is particularly helpful in instances where the on-page headline does not provide a clear, literal description of the content. While editors and producers should always be encouraged to incorporate literal text in their headlines, in reality this won’t always happen. So the highlights help to offset pages with more witty, print-style headlines.

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