Consistency helped VíaPaís use Google’s algorithm to compete against larger media

By Victoria Urruspuru


Buenos Aires, Argentina


The murder of Lucio Dupuy, who died at the hands of his mother and her partner, had a great impact in Argentina due to the brutal story of child abuse hidden behind it. The perseverance when covering the case was a key strategy for VíaPaís in positioning itself well in Google in regard to this topic.

From anguish to frustration, the boy’s murder moved many people. It all started when a family judge revoked personal care (that is, guardianship) of the child’s father and granted it to his mother.

There were hundreds of signs that were overlooked, revealing, from that moment on, that the victim was repeatedly violated. Neither doctors nor teachers provided any warnings about the serious injuries Lucio carried throughout his body, and his mother did not allow him to see his friends or his paternal family either.

The murder of Lucio Dupuy gripped Argentina, and VíaPaís reported on the progress of the case every step of the way.
The murder of Lucio Dupuy gripped Argentina, and VíaPaís reported on the progress of the case every step of the way.

I remained in contact with Ramón Dupuy, the child’s grandfather, every week, and he informed me about the news in the file. Over time it came to light that the boy had been beaten, mutilated, sexually abused, and, finally, beaten to death.

I tried to anticipate every evolution of the case. I also covered the progress of the Lucio Law, a project that emerged in the child’s name seeking to address the violence of child abuse. In parallel, it gave the family a voice: Far from morbidity, this gave them a chance to say what they felt and their expectations in the face of the trial.

Among the legal cases I had to cover throughout 2022 and so far in 2023, the murder of Lucio Dupuy was and is the most relevant. Knowing that I was competing with large media outlets, my forte was coming out with my own stories when no one published anything on the subject.

Providing information goes hand-in-hand with helping

By attributing the violence to the child’s guardians — his mother and her partner — this became a story of intrafamily child violence.

According to an article published in 2020 by UNICEF and ATA, 42% of Argentine girls and boys between the ages of one and 14 experienced physical punishment during their upbringing, and 51.7% experienced psychological aggression.

When I got involved in this case, I knew I was not facing an isolated incident. The bill promoted as a result of his death, once sanctioned, will seek to detect and prevent similar cases. So, this also served to communicate what should be taken into account in these situations. 

Journalistic coverage: setting a goal and achieving it

At first, my goal was to publish at least four articles per month, but that figure grew. As I already anticipated, the key was to constantly produce content, even when no one else was. Google’s algorithm instantly favoured the most recent article.

However, to maintain that position, my Web articles were accompanied with an SEO strategy: keywords in the title, subheadings, and first paragraph. These had to match the results returned by Google Trends and Google Search Console.

Articles about the case tied back to other articles previously published by VíaPaís.
Articles about the case tied back to other articles previously published by VíaPaís.

Now, part of doing comprehensive coverage also comes with a huge advantage: There’s a great compilation of articles behind it. Linking the most-read notes within the most recent ones means the latter can be traced back.

By the middle of the year, the section of VíaPaís dedicated to Lucio touched on a variety of topics: the trial, the progress of the law, the creation of an NGO in his name, and also articles that contained testimonies from family neighbours and sympathisers from other countries who felt touched by the case.

The boy received several tributes throughout the world. Aware of the maelstrom of painful articles about the case and their detailed descriptions of how the little boy was tortured, I also focused on this news, which offered relief to readers.

The key was to be checking, asking, and updating all the time. Of course, sometimes there was no news, so a viable option was to provide summaries on how the case had turned out or what was known so far (so as not to leave behind that established objective).

More users are looking for information through cell phones and social networks, where the data is presented to them in a more dynamic and summarised way. When covering the marches that were established in Lucio’s name, for example, I got a lot of audiovisual material that I used it to decorate enhance articles and summarise what happened in seconds.

Competition against the big media from a small publisher

I believe that among journalists, we are colleagues. However, it is true that when covering a case, there is some competition to attract an audience. Since starting at VíaPaís and taking up Lucio’s cause, I knew I was facing big media that often dominate Google.

By having direct sources to the facts, my credibility increased and, with it, readership. Also, as noted, I started attending protests happening on behalf of the victim, so I could become even more familiar with the case and produce a lot of my own content.

Not all media did this. On the contrary, during the last demonstrations, there was no direct coverage by other journalists. Except, of course, for mine in VíaPaís.

It was thanks to this, added to the perseverance at the time of publishing, that the number of people reading my articles continued to grow. Not only did I notice that over time they ranked better in Google, but that they remained among the top ranked for days.

Seeing me invested in the case, his father’s family began to look for me, instead of me having to go to them every time. That is to say, when there was some sudden movement in the trial or with the law in Congress, they would approach and notify me.

I also receive messages from people who live in different parts of the world who comment on how this murder affects those places. On the one hand, this shows me that people consume content from VíaPaís abroad, and, on the other, that they noticed I covered Lucio’s case as much as possible.

Each of these stories was published in this small publication, and it was differential content. In addition, and with intention, this was a relief for readers, because every time they plunge into this murder, anguish and frustration are not lacking.

As I became involved in this cause, I learned that journalistic coverage is not just about making a few calls and communicating. It is also based on looking for sources, venturing out, asking questions, learning to use new terms, updating what I’ve learned and written, informing clearly, providing solutions, and, of course, being constant.

About Victoria Urruspuru

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