SEO vs AP Style

Versus fuck it, let’s all just write in cuneiform and complain about those kids today and their cave paintings:

Last week, journalists reacting to the Associated Press’s announcement
that it would replace “Web site” with “website” in the AP Stylebook
pushed the phrase “AP Stylebook” onto Twitter’s trending topics list.
(FWIW, OJR’s style for the past several years has been to use
“website.”)

Most journalists approved of the news, though a few
skeptics, such as the University of Florida’s Mindy McAdams, demurred.
Though I disagree with her on this, I loved the snark of her Twitter
response: “Everyone but me is cheering AP style change to website. I
think it resembles parasite.”

I jumped in with this: “If you’re publishing online, Google style (i.e. SEO) always trumps AP style.”

And… “Really, j-schools need to ditch AP style and start teaching their students SEO instead. More valuable to their careers.”

[snippity]

SEO will help you gain new readers online. AP style will not. If need
new readers to make money, then SEO will help you more than AP style.
That’s it. It’s just the reality of publishing online today. You can
either adapt and accommodate it, or shake your fist at it and resist.

I don’t see the need to “ditch” AP style so long as most newspapers are still using it. Newspapers, we will have with us for many, many, many years, and as much as I long for the future when you can jack the paper into your head like the Matrix, we’re not there yet, and we do kids a disservice by saying X is more valuable than Y when Y is gonna be around for the first 25 years of their careers. And longer than that, if the owners of media companies pull their heads out of their asses.

(I’m not betting on it, don’t worry.)

A.

5 thoughts on “SEO vs AP Style

  1. Jude says:

    I think it’s funny that “Stylebook” was fine, while “website” was not. I say we go back to the convention of hyphenating damn near everything, just like they did at the turn of the last century.
    In that case, we’d be reading in the AP Style-Book that the approved term is web-site. Also, a big part of an ice-shelf became an ice-berg, and a President was impeached over a blow-job.

  2. Doc says:

    This is one of the stupidest arguments ever in terms of picking one or the other.
    In academia, you submit to journals of all kinds that have all sorts of variations on style. Some, like APA, have in-text citations while others, like Chicago, have footnotes. There is MLA, APA, Harvard and more. Saying that there will be a constant web (or Web) style is ridiculous. What IS key is understanding that we need to appreciate conformity of style among peers in a field so that we’re all speaking the same language and doing it in a consistent fashion.
    Also, if we had this dumb-ass argument about ten years ago, we’d be arguing for NetScape style or something. It’s just like design. If you can design a newspaper page because you understand the underlying tenets of design, you’ll be fine. If you learn how to run Pagemaker, you’re screwed when they change to a completely different system.
    It’s the underlying skills and values, not if SEO or AP or PDQ or FU style is better…
    Doc

  3. whet moser says:

    Funny you should mention that. As an editor who’s actually had to tell a writer that, no, we style it “Web site” instead of “website,” I was glad to hear it, and I was not alone in the office. But all it really amounts to is that “Web site” at this point in time feels kind of unnatural and archaic, and “website” just seems like… how people naturally write it.
    It’s really an angels-on-heads-of-pins matter, but FWIW my tiny OCD monster that lives in my brain was satiated.

  4. Interrobang says:

    I basically agree with Doc. As someone who’s never formally been in journalism but who’s spent a long time in academia, the idea of havingone style that you useall the time seems kind of ridiculous to me. I mean, I don’t write the same way in blog comments as I do when I’m putting together an article for publication, and I don’t write for publication the same way as I’d write in academia, and so on. That said, you will take my MLA citations from my cold, dead, keyboard-callused hands. 🙂

  5. jcbatucan says:

    SEO will help you gain new readers online. AP style will not. If you need new readers to make money, then SEO will help you more than AP style. That’s it. It’s just the reality of publishing online today. You can either adapt and accommodate it, or shake your fist at it and resist.
    SEO
    SEO Nottingham
    SEO Company

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