Especially in competitive markets such as news, being well positioned in searches goes far beyond having good content published. Relevant content will only be half the job. In this article I will show you 10 SEO tips for publishers to strengthen their positioning in the SERPs.
Google’s algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated, as well as improving the identification of the best sources of information for readers.
Looking at Google’s mission we understand the reason for this:
Our mission is to organize the world’s information so that it is universally accessible and useful to everyone.Google
But for that Google needs our help. There are billions of searches conducted every day. Google updates its algorithms on average six times a day in search of better results. By adopting some practices we can help the search engine to better understand our sites and also benefit from it.
Align your web presence with Google’s mission. Here are 10 tips on how to do this:
- 1- Optimize your site’s architecture
- 2- Follow on-page SEO best practices
- 3- Add biography and image of the authors
- 4- Optimize for Google Discover
- 5- Use a suitable featured image
- 6- Publish news quickly
- 7- Stay inside your editorial universe
- 8- Produce evergreen content
- 9- Include images and videos
- 10- Publish!
1- Optimize your site’s architecture
Google has placed increasing importance on user experience. Proof of this is that in 2021 we will have Core Web Vitals officially as a ranking factor.
Read also: Google Page Experience: UX as a ranking factor
When I talk about experience I don’t mean just performance. Loading speed is important but also whether the site is intuitive and easy to navigate. You can improve this in a few ways:
Have a clear and consistent navigation
Show your user a way to navigate (main menu) that creates no doubts about what he will find on the site. Use concise menus (desktop and mobile) and lead the visitor through the most important areas of your site.
Look how elegant and enlightening the headline in The New York Times is. Each piece of information is meticulously inserted so that the visitor can go to any area of interest with one or two clicks.
Clearly show your editorial universe on the homepage
Every visitor who enters your website homepage must understand who you are and what you do. However, take into consideration that not all visitors will enter through the home page. In fact a large portion will come in through other pages.
Allow these visitors to locate themselves easily through the menu or even the footer.
See that at the bottom of the NYT you can access all categories, opinions, diversified notebooks, manage subscription, and much more.
Have a site map
Adopting a sitemap (and here I don’t mean the .xml sent for indexing) or site map is a good practice when the publisher is very extensive or complex, such as a large newspaper.
Sitemaps help not only readers but also search engines find and index your entire site.
2- Follow on-page SEO best practices
On-page SEO best practices tend to be aligned with content SEO best practices.
Always keep it in mind:
- Write your titles using keywords, and preferably use them as early in the title as possible;
- Put a lot of effort into the meta descriptions. Use keywords in one or two sentences with a compelling CTA to entice readers to click through to your page;
- Make your headlines, callouts on the inside pages, the same as the title. You can even use them differently, but this tends to confuse the reader and is not a practice that Google recommends;
- Use subheadings to group similar topics in your content and contribute to the reading experience. Subheadings help considerably in scannability of the content.
3- Add biography and image of the authors
Google places more and more emphasis on concepts such as expertise, authority, and reliability (the so-called E-A-T).
While adding a box with authorship alone will not gain you search rankings, transparently signaling who produced the content will bring more trust and credibility.
Avoid using authors such as “admin”, “team” or “editorial staff”. Actually inform who produced the content. This is a user experience detail that can help strengthen your reputation.
4- Optimize for Google Discover
Discover is a product that offers content in a personalized way for each user. It can be a good source of traffic, but for this it is important to adopt some practices:
- Produce and disseminate quality and reliable content (the basics, right!);
- Produce content that is considered evergreen, these have a better chance of being displayed on Discover;
- Use images and videos to enrich the visitor’s reading experience.
5- Use a suitable featured image
Whether for Google Discover or traditional search, an attractive image makes all the difference in grabbing readers’ attention. Original images, graphics, and custom images generate more engagement .
If you must use an image from a third party or image bank, be careful not to use one that has already been used on several other sites.
Always remember to optimize your images for SEO. Things to do:
- Compress images to improve page load time;
- Use relevant file names and if possible even use keywords;
- Use the alt tag on images;
- Be careful with the path structure of the images, Google will consider this for ranking the images;
- Make sure your images are mobile device friendly.
6- Publish news quickly
Tedious to remember but publishing news quickly can be a big differentiator from the competition. In the case of news, often the winner takes all. Publishing (correctly) first can be the difference between a story getting 10,000 or 1 million page views.
- Create Twitter lists and follow feeds from various outlets;
- Join different Facebook and LinkedIn groups;
- Follow your competitors on social networks;
- Monitor industry news aggregators (e.g. Google News) to identify stories as they emerge.
What if you can’t report it first?
I always like to emphasize that publishing original content is not necessarily publishing something new. If you couldn’t break the news firsthand, use your creativity. Use a different approach, a personal opinion, or some complement to the story (photos, videos, graphics, etc). Apply your own point of view and try to take some advantage of this way.
Read also: SEO Tips for News
7- Stay inside your editorial universe
Google really likes well-written and engaging content. But do you know what he likes even more? Relevant, authoritative content written by a subject matter expert.
Make sure you demonstrate this authority and expertise by staying within your editorial universe. Be recognized for what you do. What does this mean? Choose the topics that will be covered by your vehicle and stick to them, always.
For example, if I wrote a lasagna recipe on this blog today, it would hardly have any relevance in searches. No matter how well written the content is and even if I employ all the SEO tactics I wouldn’t stand much of a chance. My blog is about SEO and analytics, I could hardly get good positioning for a recipe.
8- Produce evergreen content
While factual content is important for the news industry, also produce evergreen content that doesn’t age as quickly.
If a post has stopped getting traffic, maybe it’s time to turn it into something more timeless. You can:
- Update statistics, facts, or images that may be out of date;
- Write new introductions and conclusions;
- Review the CTAs of the story;
- Add new material;
- Redirect (301) all old content to a new page on the topic, thus maintaining any SEO gains already made.
9- Include images and videos
Users want visual content.
Videos and images significantly increase the chances that a content will be shared. Add videos to your posts whenever possible. Consider including the video transcript in your produced content (when it makes sense, of course). Don’t forget that there are also elements of a video that need to be optimized for SEO.
Likewise, images and infographics are valuable for your SEO strategy. In them you have the option to include keywords and improve the readability of your content. Captions are read up to 300% more times than the content itself.
SEO works best if connected to the other acquisition channels.
If something goes viral on any social network the chances of success increase. Consider sharing your content on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, etc. Keep in mind that each network will generally talk to a specific audience. Know your target audience.
If it is difficult to rank for an important term, supplement your SEO strategy with sponsored links.
However, the best tool for link building and audience building will be the “publish” button. If you produce relevant and authoritative content people will come to you.
Use best practices for content production and don’t let perfection stand between you and the publication. You will be amazed at how relevant content can be to readers even if it is far from perfect.
Remember: it is your reader who says whether your content is relevant and of quality, not you or your editor.
Read also: What is it and how to create quality content?
I presented 10 tips for publishers to increase their audience. They are:
- Optimize your site architecture;
- Follow on-page SEO best practices;
- Add biography and image of the authors;
- Optimize for Google Discover;
- Use a suitable highlight image;
- Publish news quickly;
- Stay within its editorial universe;
- Produce evergreen content;
- Include images and videos;
- Publish! Publish! Publish!
If publishers and copywriters do not invest in technical and content SEO, they will find it increasingly difficult to rank their content in searches.
SEO may seem complicated, but adopting a holistic strategy will go a long way toward dominating the SERPs.
Continue reading: SEO ROI: How to Calculate the Value of Organic Traffic