Especially in competitive markets such as news, being well positioned in search goes far beyond having good content published. Relevant content will only be half the job. In this article I will show 10 SEO tips for publishers to strengthen their positioning in SERPs.
Google's algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated, in addition to improving the identification of the best sources of information for readers.
Looking at Google’s mission, we understand why:
Our mission is to organize the world's information so that it is universally accessible and useful for everyone.Google
But for that, Google needs our help. Billions of surveys are conducted every day. Google updates its algorithms an average of six times a day in search of better results. 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 website architecture
- 2- Follow on-page SEO best practices
- 3- Add biography and image of the authors
- 4- Optimize for Google Discover
- 5- Use an appropriate highlight image
- 6- Publish news quickly
- 7- Stay within your editorial universe
- 8- Produce evergreen content
- 9- Include images and videos
- 10- Publish!
1- Optimize your website architecture
Google has given more and more importance to the user experience. Proof of this is that in 2021 we will officially have Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor.
Read too: "Google Page Experience: UX as a ranking factor“
When I talk about experience, I don't just mean performance. Loading speed is important but also if 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 for them to navigate (main menu) that does not create doubts about what they will find on the site. Use concise menus (desktop and mobile) and guide the visitor through the most important areas of your website.
See how elegant and enlightening the headline of The New York Times is. Each information is meticulously inserted so that the visitor can go to any area of interest with a click or two.
Clearly show your editorial universe on the homepage
Every visitor who enters your website's home must understand who you are and what you do. However, keep in mind that not all visitors will enter through the home page. In fact, a large portion will enter through other pages.
Allow these visitors to easily locate themselves through the menu or even the footer of the website.
See that at the foot of the NYT it is possible to access all categories, opinions, diversified notebooks, manage subscriptions and much more.
Have a sitemap
Adopting a sitemap (and here I am not referring to the .xml sent for indexing) or sitemap is a good practice when the editorial area is very extensive or complex, such as that of a major newspaper.
Sitemaps help not only readers but also search engines to find and index your entire site.
2- Follow on-page SEO best practices
Always keep in mind:
- Write your titles using keywords and preferably use them as much at the beginning of the title as possible;
- Capriche in meta-descriptions. Use keywords in one or two sentences with a compelling CTA to entice readers to click on your page;
- Make your headlines, called on the inner pages, equal to the title. You can even use them differently but this tends to confuse the reader and is not a recommended practice by Google;
- Use subtitles to group similar topics in your content and contribute to the reading experience. Subtitles help considerably in content scanning.
3- Add biography and image of the authors
Google increasingly emphasizes concepts such as expertise, authority and reliability (the so-called EAT).
Although adding a box with authorship alone will not bring you gain in search positioning, transparently signaling who produced the content will bring more confidence and credibility.
Avoid using authors like "admin", "team" or "newsroom". In fact, tell who produced the content. This is a detail of the user experience 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 considered content evergreen, these are more likely to be displayed on Discover;
- Use images and videos to enrich the visitor's reading experience.
5- Use an appropriate highlight image
Whether for Google Discover or traditional search, an attractive image makes all the difference to attract readers' attention. Original images, graphics and personalized images generate more engagement.
If you have to use a third party image or an 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 the images to improve the page load time;
- Use relevant file names and if possible even using keywords;
- Use the alt tag on images;
- Be careful with the structure of the image path, the Google will consider this for image classification;
- Make sure your images are mobile friendly.
6- Publish news quickly
Boring to remember but publishing news quickly can be a big differentiator compared to the competition. In the case of news, the winner often takes everything. Publishing (correctly) first can be the difference between a story having 10,000 or 1 million page views.
- Create lists on Twitter and follow feeds from different vehicles;
- Join different Facebook and LinkedIn groups;
- Follow your competitors on social networks;
- Monitor industry news aggregators (eg Google News) to identify stories as they arise.
What if you can't get the news out first?
I always like to emphasize that publishing original content is not necessarily publishing something new. If you were unable to break the news first hand, use your creativity. Use a different approach, a personal opinion or a supplement to the story (photos, videos, graphics, etc.). Apply your own point of view and try to take advantage of it in this way.
Read too: "SEO tips for news“
7- Stay within your editorial universe
Google is very fond of well-written and engaging content. But do you know what he likes even more? Relevant, authoritative content written by a subject matter expert.
Be sure to demonstrate that authority and expertise while remaining within your editorial universe. Be recognized for what you do. What does that mean? Choose the themes that will be covered by your vehicle and stick to them, whenever.
For example, if I wrote a lasagna recipe on this blog today, it would hardly have any relevance in searches. However well written the content is and even if I employ all the SEO tactics I would not have much of a chance. My blog is about SEO and analytics, I would hardly get a good position for a recipe.
8- Produce content evergreen
Although factual content is important for the newspaper industry, it also produces content evergreen, that do not age so quickly.
If a post no longer receives traffic, it might be 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 in the story;
- Add new material;
- Redirect (301) all old content to a new page on the topic, thus maintaining any SEO gains already obtained.
9- Include images and videos
Users want visual content.
Videos and images significantly increase the chances of content being shared. Add videos to your publications whenever possible. Consider including the video transcript in the content produced (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. There you have the option of including keywords and improving the readability of your content. Subtitles are read up to 300% more times than the content itself.
SEO works best if connected to 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 usually talk to a specific audience. Know your target audience.
If it’s difficult to rank for some important term, complement your SEO strategy with sponsored links.
However, the best tool for building links and increasing your audience 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 come between you and the publication. You will be impressed how relevant the content can be to readers even if they are far from perfect.
Remember: whoever says your content is relevant and of good quality is your reader, not you or your editor.
Read too: "What is it and how to create quality content?“
I presented 10 tips for publishers to increase their audience. Are they:
- Optimize your website architecture;
- Follow best on-page SEO practices;
- Add biography and image of the authors;
- Optimize for Google Discover;
- Use a suitable highlight image;
- Publish news quickly;
- Stay within your 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 towards mastering SERPs.
Keep reading: "SEO ROI: how to calculate the value of organic traffic“