The journalism profession has changed dramatically in the digital age as the internet, and new technologies, in general, have created new working conditions in the media environment. Concurrently, journalists and media professionals need to be aware and possess a new set of skills connected to web technologies, as well as respond to new reading tendencies and information consumption habits. A number of studies have shown that search engines are an important source of the traffic to news websites around the world, identifying the significance of high rankings in search results. Journalists are writing to be read, and that means ensuring that their news content is found, also, by search engines. In this context, this paper represents an exploratory study on the use of search engine optimization (SEO) in news websites. A series of semi-structured, in-depth interviews with professionals at four Greek media organizations uncover trends and address issues, such as how SEO policy is operationalized and applied inside newsrooms, which are the most common optimization practices, as well as the impact on journalism and news content. Today, news publishers have embraced the use of SEO practices, something that is clear also from this study. However, the absence of a distinct SEO culture was evident in newsrooms under study. Finally, according to results, SEO strategy seems to depend on factors, such as ownership and market orientation, editorial priorities or organizational structures.
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