Satisfying Audiences Blog

Satisfying Audiences

3 SEO techniques to increase the bottom line (and decrease your waistline)

14 January 2013 · By Claire Hawley

The same strategies that work for getting physically fit can also be applied to a news organisation’s effort to drive online audience: Stick to a schedule; build a support network; and when you hit a plateau, shake up your routine.

Just like many of you, I’ve emerged from the holidays with a little added padding and am now muffin-top-deep in spreadsheets, poring over results from 2012 and planning how to tackle the new year. I’m also making sure to find time to ramp up the endorphins at the gym.

While I’ve resolved to improve my physical fitness, we’re also taking inventory of where we can improve our discipline to better drive’s audience. The same methods that work to shed a few pounds can be applied to increasing audience from search engines and ultimately, revenue.

  • Stick to a schedule and be relentless.

In the words of Tony Horton (fitness instructor from Beach Body’s P90x series), “Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your body.” So it goes for the Web. It takes consistent effort to increase audience reach.

Developing a steady routine for monitoring zeitgiest Web conversations is crucial to keeping our editorial staff informed and armed to quickly post relevant coverage that will bring in a steady flood of readers.

The key is utilising the best tools to support a trend analysis system that works to identify content resonating across the social Web. There are literally hundreds of choices, many of which are free, and I particularly like:

  • Hootsuite: You can set up keyword searches to monitor trending topics of particular beats.

  • Google Trends and the trending section on Yahoo’s homepage: You won’t be first to scoop the story, but you can catch up fast. 

  • Social search engines like Topsy and SocialMention: Monitor specific topics or see what’s hot.

Since Google News launched its “Realtime Coverage” section, they have emphasised greater importance on freshness, making this strategy crucial to driving consistent traffic.

There might be limits to how many ways you can add meaningful value to a story like, “Justin Bieber caught smoking pot.” But less than 24 hours after that story broke, Google reported more than 500 versions of the news — and the “Realtime Coverage” section continued to refresh at seizure-inducing speeds. 

Spammers beware: Merely scrambling the text of someone else’s well written, reported, and edited story will not qualify it as a new version, or at least not for long. While search engines serve up the same syndicated story from various Web sites initially, the bots quickly determine and rank the originating source ... making a nice segue into my next point.

  • Build a network of support.

In fitness, it’s easy to fall off the wagon if you don’t have a support team. In an industry experiencing such dramatic disruption as news publishing, sharing a little love can have big payoffs.

As mentioned, search engines will sometimes pick up syndicated versions of an original story on a third-party site and rank them higher than the source. While this can be a cause for concern, it’s important to remember that one of search’s biggest-ranking factors are the links pointing to your site.

Even without an HTML link, the syndicating site is crediting you as the source, which might still have an impact on search rankings and certainly helps promote brand recognition. In short, content syndication can be a quick win for search audience and revenue development.

Another way to build support is by using Google’s standout tag when your story references another publisher’s example of high-quality, in-depth, exclusive, or investigative journalism. By being responsible and proactive to credit the other source, your use of the standout tag on your own content might carry more weight. 

  • When you hit a plateau, it’s time to try something new.

Fitness fanatics can attest that the best way to continue to get dramatic results is to switch up your routine. As the lines between search and social begin to blur, the volume of social shares and the activity within social circles are affecting rankings. Therefore, redefining the way a narrative is presented online is one way to encourage sharing.

Stories sustain social power longer when incorporating video and multi-media in visually rich and stunning ways, like LA Times’ series on prescription drug abuse or The New York Times project on the Tunnel Creek avalanche, Snow Fall, which received over 1,500 comments and continues to be shared frequently on Twitter.

As we crack open the door to 2013, what will you try to break through your plateaus? It’s only fitting (just like September’s jeans will soon be) that I close with some more words of wisdom from Tony Hunter, “Do your best and forget the rest!”

print article send to friend

blog comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The Satisfying Audiences Blog aims to reflect print and digital content not just across platforms but extending into consumer events, non-news-related subscriptions and other audience vehicles for newsmedia companies. This blog written by INMA members is dedicated to identifying the emerging linkages between content, audiences, and platforms. The blog is an initiative by the INMA North America Division Board of Directors.

Meet the bloggers

Julie Anderson
Senior Vice President of Digital Publishing/Florida
Tribune Publishing
Orlando, Floria, USA
send message

Nadine Chevolleau
Consumer Marketing
The Toronto Star
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
send message

Kathleen Coleman
Sales & Marketing
S-R Media
Spokane, Washington, USA
send message

Kevin Curnock
General Manager
Brunswick News
St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
send message

Jim Fleigner
Managing Partner
Impact Consultancy
Santa Monica, California, United States
send message

Sara Hill
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
send message

Dan Johnson
Vice President,
Business Development
Gilbert, Arizona, USA
send message

Sandy MacLeod
Chief Operating Officer, Print
The Toronto Star/Metro English
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
send message

John Newby
Muskogee Phoenix
Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA
send message

Nicki Purcell
Chief Digital Officer and Senior Vice President of Consumer Sales
The Dallas Morning News
Dallas, Texas, USA
send message

Maria Terrell
Director of Content
Dallas, Texas, USA
send message

New York City, New York, USA


RSS feed

Blog archives

May 2016 ( 2 )
April 2016 ( 2 )
March 2016 ( 2 )
February 2016 ( 3 )
January 2016 ( 3 )
December 2015 ( 2 )
November 2015 ( 4 )
October 2015 ( 3 )
September 2015 ( 4 )
August 2015 ( 2 )
July 2015 ( 4 )
June 2015 ( 4 )
May 2015 ( 4 )
April 2015 ( 4 )
March 2015 ( 2 )
February 2015 ( 5 )
January 2015 ( 4 )
December 2014 ( 3 )
November 2014 ( 3 )
October 2014 ( 2 )

Blog roll

Brain Traffic

Join INMA Today
Upcoming Events
INMA Ideas Day on Audience Development
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
17 June 2016
INMA International News Media Conference
São Paulo, Brazil
23-24 August 2016
INMA South Asia News Media Conference
New Delhi, India
30-31 August 2016
INMA European News Media Conference
14-17 September 2016
INMA Latin American News Media Conference
Panama City, Panama
22-23 September 2016
INMA Business Strategies 2020 Conference
Chicago, United States
03-04 October 2016
INMA Silicon Valley Study Tour
San Francisco, United States
17-21 October 2016

More Events

Member Profiles

  • Kamilla Ming Høj

  • Troy Niday
    United States

  • Miller Hogg
    United Kingdom

  • Christoph Maier

  • Stig Waagbø

  • Andrea Tóbiás

©2016 INMA | Home | About | Contact | RSS | Privacy