What One Writer Learned At Bleacher Report UniversityS

Nick Bond, writing for our friends at The Classical, recently went through the training program at Bleacher Report, a sort of orc pit out of which all B/R writers must climb before they write for the site. Bond's entire piece is well worth your time, but the best artifact is this horrifying paragraph, part of a lesson about "text optimization":

"Keyword-rich headlines don't by themselves guarantee search-engine visibility for published B/R articles. On the contrary, search-engine algorithms also factor the position and frequency of in-text keywords when determining an article's placement in keyword-specific search listings, which means you should optimize the text of each of your B/R submissions by...(a) including your best keyword as the first word(s) of the text; (b) including all of your primary keywords once each in the first paragraph of the text; and (c) including all of your primary keywords at least 1-2 more times in the subsequent text."

As Bond points out, if you run "search-engine algorithms also factor the position and frequency of in-text keywords when determining an article's placement in keyword-specific search listing" through an internet-buzzwordese translator, you get something like the ancient newsroom axiom of "don't bury the lede." But the above is so abstracted from the human experience of writing and reading that it might as well be a line of programming code.

Bleacher Report was recently purchased by Turner for $175 million; it just became a content partner with CNN. There's a tiny, tiny part of you that has to marvel at what the site has done, in a heighten-the-contradictions sort of way. B/R is what you get when you strip writing of the pretense of being anything other than a commodity.

[The Classical]