The Point to Point blog has an excellent article about how witty headlines and SEO can go hand-in-hand. Dominic Litten explains how many news sites have the ability to put the SEO-friendly headline in a separate field to the witty headline.
For many journalists, SEO = headline + keyword stuffing. It’s all they know. However, if journalists really want to know and understand how SEO can help them and their publications they should worry a lot less about the importance of headlines and focus on their company’s sitemaps, site architecture, endless duplicate content, internal linking and the like.
Litten goes on to say:
We get the love for your headlines, we’re just over it. SEO didn’t kill the cute headline, the click did. The sheer volume of content, growing exponentially and shared on social media, rendered the witty and non-descriptive headline useless. We consume media so radically differently than we once did, so why are some journalists clinging to out-dated best practices?