With the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington beat the media establishment by creating a world in which everything is interesting and nothing is durable. The site is built on thousands of blogs, all unpaid.
“HuffPo” also is particularly adept at outsmarting competitors. For instance, the site exploits search engine optimization, a computer term for making Google love you. How it’s done is cloaked in mystery, but one clue came after the death of actor Heath Ledger.
HuffPo crafted its search terms so that anyone Googling a variation on the words “Keith Ledger” would see the HuffPo story at the top of the search results, thus capturing those who didn’t know how to spell the actor’s unusual name.
The closer to the top a story appears in Google search results, the more page views—and advertising dollars—it hauls in.
— Adapted from “The Oracle,” Belinda Luscombe, Time.