Instructor Explores Web Writing Secrets

Instructor David Wheeler is working at a publication in Florence, Italy, this summer.
Instructor David Wheeler is working at a publication in Florence, Italy, this summer.

An article on search engine optimization by David Wheeler, an instructor at Asbury University, has been published by several news agencies after its initial debut on The Atlantic’s Web site.

Titled “’Google Doesn't Laugh’: Saving Witty Headlines in the Age of SEO,” the article was featured on the “Most Popular” list of stories for several days following its release, reaching No. 5 at its peak. It was also picked up by Yahoo! News, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal’s tech site All Things Digital, as well as the Public Relations Society of America’s site.

Search engine optimization is a strategy in which people publish content on the Internet in ways that are most “attractive” to the search engines, such as Google, that drive traffic to different sites. Wheeler’s article describes the frustration of professional writers whose efforts at clever, funny headlines are being thwarted by the need for literal, explanatory writing. The article can be found at

Wheeler serves as the faculty advisor for Asbury’s student newspaper, The Collegian, and teaches classes on various topics relating to journalism, including a new class on blogging that will begin this fall. He is working for an English-language newspaper in Florence, Italy, this summer.

“Maintaining journalism credentials is especially important these days, in a fast-paced and turbulent media environment, when there seems to be a completely new way of doing journalism every three or four months,” Wheeler said. “It’s a challenge — but it’s a fun challenge. The experience of getting published by The Atlantic will be a great thing to share with my students this fall. I’m already thinking of ways I can incorporate it into my classes.”

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