Search engines are the gateway through which most people enter websites, and those looking to find the website of Miami Fox-affiliate WSVN can be forgiven for thinking that the station covers news from the Boston market.
If you type “WSVN” into Google or Bing, the top result will likely be the station’s website. But the listing is accompanied by the following description: “Stay with 7NEWS for the latest breaking news in the Boston area and around the world.”
So why is a Miami station promoting itself as a Boston news source?
Well, Sunbeam Television, which owns WSVN, also owns Boston NBC-affiliate WHDH and its apparent that the company has used mutual resources in developing the stations’ brand identities. Both WSVN and WHDH are channel 7 and they both go by the name 7NEWS, using identical “7” logos. Their websites have similar interfaces, clearly built by the same people–and this is where the problem lies.
It appears that WSVN’s website was essentially built on top of WHDH’s framework and no one bothered to change parts of the metadata. Most websites include background information–referred to as “metadata”–in their code to provide search engines data with which to organize and display them.
Although wsvn.com’s metadata includes keywords such as “Miami News” and “South Florida News,” the description of the site that is read by search engines is that of whdh.com: “Stay with 7NEWS for the latest breaking news in the Boston area and around the world.”