Old school journalists dread succumbing to keyword-focused writing while occasionally throwing in news worthy content here and there. But let’s face it, today’s journalism needs to be optimized if you want to be found and read. In the same breath, search engines equally need high quality written content.
According to the Newspaper Audience Databank study in 2007, newspaper readers use both online and printed editions, reaching 78 percent weekly. Below are the statistics generated from the study:
-Some 17% of adults read a daily newspaper on the internet.
-Just 3% read online-only editions.
-Overall, online readership of daily newspapers has grown 11% from 2006.
It also showed that readership for both daily and weekly newspapers is still high with three quarters of Canadians, 13.9 million adults 18+, read a printed edition of a daily newspaper each week; and 73 percent of Canadians usually reading the local news.
Though the statistics show that online readership has not greatly impacted print readership and ad revenues, it also shows the trend of a growing online readership. With this in perspective there should be a greater anticipation for journalism and SEO to co-exist. Journalism should adapt to the changing times where news is available 24/7, and readers are looking more on the internet for their quick news fix
Here are some suggestions on how to write an optimized news online:
1. Optimize names and title tags
Optimizing title tags means including keywords in it to improve ranking for that particular keyword. And because there is an abundance of competitive keywords, using them does not assure a page 1 ranking. You may try using long tail keywords that match your content.
Optimizing for a prominent name also works. Take “Dalton McGuinty,” as an example.You could get a good chance of making it to the new results page if his name is in the news.
2. Optimizing for Google News
Google ranks news in the same manner as it ranks articles and other contents. It sends out crawlers or spiders known as “Googlebot” to your website to find the news URLs. It would be helpful to create a News sitemap especially when the news area is updated frequently. After this, Google scans the content and goes over the keywords in order to sort and categorize it into topics such as entertainment, sports, lifestyle, etc. It will also be classified according to regions like Canada, USA, and then filed.
After these steps, Google decides how much editorial interest the story has outside its primary source. National or international news stories such as the recent oil slick in the gulf will generate more interest with other newspapers, compared to an entertainment story involving American Idol Fantasia Barrino’s alleged attempted suicide. Google then clusters news stories on its home page and ranks it.
In ranking news of the same topic, Google gives the top ranking to the freshest and original news item. If other sites are linking to the original story in your site this will help push your news to the top of the cluster. Remember this when distributing a news item and send it to relevant recipients.
Just like any other media, Google maintains its standards. For images, the search engine only likes JPEG file extensions. The best location for an image is at the start of the story. Images enhance a story and can prompt clickthroughs of headlines.
Google News wants friendly URLs which are short, permanent and unique. Google is familiar with the numerical IDs assigned to stories. But, for really long URLs, you can use bit.ly to shorten the links. Avoid linking your pages within the site, and adding comments and feedback as this does not sit well with Google News. This means keeping your texts plain with no links so that it will be properly
indexed to the News homepage.
Don’t forget to submit your news site to Google News. Landing a news article in the SERP, or getting the number 1 spot, is good for temporarily building traffic. Keep track of what’s hot at the moment, and optimize it for Google and SERP. This means using a keyword/ keywords that will run hot for some time, like these “BP Oil Spill Live Update.” Journalist have to do this anyway as part of their jobs. All that’s needed is an additional effort to optimize the article.