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Or maybe just: Denton: Shorter headlines.

Gawker Media boss Nick Denton is instructing the staff of his sites to cut down their headlines to a more manageable size. How manageable? No more than 70 characters. In a memo to staff, Denton says the “inescapable reality” is the sites need places like Google and Facebook to help drive traffic:

Why this drastic measure? Google and others truncate headlines at 70 characters. On the Manti Teo story, Deadspin’s scoop fell down the Google search results, overtaken by copycat stories with simpler headlines.

Deadspin’s headline was 118 characters. Vital information — “hoax” — was one of the words that was cut off. Our headline was less intelligible — and less clickworthy — than others. And Google demotes search results that don’t get clicked on.

“Nick Denton wants shorter headlines for Gawker Media stories” has 60 characters, so it would still meet the bar. “Denton: Shorter headlines” has just 25.

— Justin Ellis
                                   
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Justin Ellis    April 15, 2014
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