I’m a news buff and love reading pieces from a variety of sources including major newspapers, blogs with inside info, statistics from independent research firms, as well as articles by former CIA operatives (e.g. Robert Baer) and other government (or ex-government) officials. I compile my own, self-researched opinions on subjects and almost 95% of the time this is done via the internet.
While researching topics online over the years, I have found that a vast majority of news websites are clearly lacking in the SEO department (if one even exists). I’m talking about large media companies that bring in billions of dollars per year and employ 10,000+ employees, but they’re simply dropping the ball. Out of 10,000+ employees, is there not one SEO professional? Not one person that can work hand-in-hand with editors to achieve a level of SEO-friendly news zen so articles can receive more exposure?
One problem I commonly see is short, irrelevant article titles that include words most search engine users will never apply to a real-world setting. Interesting, fun, catchy titles are good, but only to a certain extent. The goal is to word an article title in a way that’s catchy, but also hits the main keywords that potential readers will use in search engines. Media companies paying writers for content that’s not optimized for SEO are only extracting a portion of the content’s true potential, thus loosing website visitors and ultimately ad revenue. This is a major “nicht nicht” as Borat the SEO consultant would say.
Secondly, article titles should be around 8-10 words. Often times I see major news articles, from renown news sources, with titles that are a measly 3-5 words in length. What’s the mentality behind this? Why give up immensely valuable real estate? To put it in perspective, if you had a news website with 1,000,000 unique visitors per day, would you give away free advertising space on the site? Unless the site is for humanitarian/charity purposes, or you’re just a nice fellow, the answer is no. Constructing article titles that entirely exercise the space allowed in search engines (for titles) will increase website traffic by offering the ability to target a broader range of keywords per article; basically spreading a larger net with which search engine users will be caught and reeled in.
Thirdly, not only should the article titles themselves be optimized for SEO, meta titles and descriptions need to be modified. Many times I see news websites that use the article title as the default meta title. Sometimes it’s good to mix things up and have a meta title that’s more branded (e.g. Shmohawk Announces New Haircare Products – XYZnews.com) and an article title that’s more topical (e.g. Shmohawk Launches New Haircare Products for Young Males).
In conclusion, as newspapers, magazines and other tangible news sources are phased out in favor of digital siblings, SEO and social media marketing will play an ever-increasing role in gaining exposure, attracting readers and ultimately providing revenue to media companies.
The Brainchild Group
Aaron Schoenberger is an SEO and social media consultant with 10+ years of advertising experience. He has worked with renown businesses throughout the world, but has never consulted for a news company and is up for grabs. Aaron is prepared with truffle butter and comes with a side order of positivity, creativity and a heaping portion of proof in the pudding. Hungry? Contact Us.