Every day, numerous new articles appear on the internet. As a result, journalists and news sites have to constantly compete for the attention of the public. To improve the online findability of news sites, it is important to implement the right SEO strategy. Curious about how you as a journalist can optimize your articles to score in the search engines? Seeking help from SEO companies should always be your go-to option. But if you only want to learn more, then read our tips!
What is SEO for journalists?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, also called search engine optimization in English. Here you will optimize a website to score better within the organic search results of Google. Today, Google is still widely used to find information.
Google can spend every day reading all the pages that appear in the SERPs, but of course, that doesn’t happen. They mainly look at the first positions. That’s why there’s SEO for journalists. Time for news sites to conquer the first positions in search engines! The goal is therefore to appear in the very first search results for relevant keywords, which are related to your news items, articles, interviews, and columns.
Importance of SEO for journalists
Of course, SEO for journalists also offers advantages. SEO ensures that classic media can survive in the digital world. In general, we describe three major advantages:
- Visibility: Google’s top positions get a lot more visibility. Less than 1% still click on a link from the second page of the search results. By improving your news site’s SEO, you’ll ensure that readers can easily find you.
- Organic traffic: Users also click much more on the first links. So readers come to your website via organic traffic. So it doesn’t cost you anything at all to reach your potential readers.
- Authority: In addition to the most impressions and the largest number of clicks, the first Google results also have the highest authority. This means that they are seen as confidential by Google and offer the best quality.
SEO for journalists tips
Improving the SEO of a standard website can sometimes be quite a challenge, let alone a news site. SEO for standard websites cannot be compared to SEO for news sites at all. These types of sites produce large amounts of content on a daily and weekly basis because the volume is important in their strategy. If they want competitors then they have to increase their output and communicate everything. Yet you can also optimize this so that you score better than your competitors. Wondering how you can optimize your news site for Google? Discover our 10 tips below!
1. Google front-page news
Did you already see these snippets appear at the top of the search results when you search for something online? That’s Google front-page news. According to Hubspot, the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) of this content is two times higher than the standard CTR.
A higher CTR also ensures more organic traffic to your website. Featured snippets were introduced in 2014 and are known as position zero, among other things. This is because they appear at the top of the SERP and contain the answer to your question.
How do you ensure that you are shown in these featured snippets from Google? You do this by focusing on question-based keywords instead of long-tail keywords. When writing articles, it’s best to focus on questions that start with:
Another way to claim position zero is to use keywords that readers use for current news.
If you enter a keyword via Google, you will automatically see related search terms below. This will give you an idea of which keywords you can still use in your article.
2. Submit the website through Google News Publishing Center
Google News is a part of Google that filters thousands of news websites and displays worthy articles to its users. In addition, Google distributes these articles based on preferences and interests. In the Google News section, you as a user can sort the news based on categories. This is also important for your published news. This way you ensure that the chance that you will be shown is greater.
Do you want your news website to appear in the Google News Publishing Center? Then you submit an application online via Google News. After this, Google will verify your website, and once accepted, your website can be included. To get a better chance of your article appearing in the Google ‘In the News’ section, you need to have a clear SEO strategy. In addition, you always ensure that the news is timely and factually correct.
3. Experiment with AMP stories
Google has been experimenting for a while with a special section for showing AMP stories. These stories are similar to the stories from Instagram or Facebook. In addition, with these AMP stories, you can combine videos, texts, and images and even integrate them on different websites and apps.
Stories are more effective at engaging users than standard news stories and are hosted on the publisher’s website. This means that they do not disappear after 24 hours, as is the case on social media. By focusing on creating AMP stories, you’ll enjoy a number of benefits:
- Your website is optimized for mobile users.
- Your website has a faster loading time.
- AMP stories are much more engaging and can be shared faster.
Both the optimization for mobile users and the faster loading time ensure that the SEO of your website gets a real boost.
4. Have a clear structure
A website must always have a clear structure to score in the search results. You can do this by dividing your articles into categories such as sports, economics, etc. This makes it not only easy for the users to find news but also for the search engines.
In addition, your website must also contain a good loading speed and XML sitemap. A sitemap of a news site has the following characteristics:
- Contains only the news of the last 48 hours
- Updates when new posts are published
Do you regularly post new content? Then the speed of crawling will increase. The Google bot detects new elements when it crawls your site. So she keeps coming back to record more information.
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5. Create valuable content
An essential part of SEO for journalists is creating relevant and original content. Within these types of websites, authenticity is of great importance. Because of this, you have to be careful about what you publish.
For example, the headline of your article should not be offensive or misleading, and your content should be correct. Usually, new articles have a short lifespan. They no longer get traffic after a while. One solution to this is to make your content evergreen. You do this by using relevant keywords and internal links. Is the content already outdated? Then you can direct your readers to newer and more relevant articles.
Do you think that your old articles cannot be improved with the above techniques? Then you can also refresh the articles by adding more information, new images, and videos.
When writing your article, try not to opt for long and boring sentences. Make your text vivid by using bullets and subheadings. In addition, it is best to try to avoid irrelevant content or duplicate content, because this only ensures that your site scores worse.
Journalism uses the inverted pyramid structure. This means that the most important information is always at the top, followed by the less important content.
6. On-page optimization
With SEO for journalists, you also have to make sure that your on-page optimization is on point. The most essential elements are:
- Headlines: Have a clear and concise headline that encourages your audience to click. In addition, a good headline also contains relevant keywords to score in the search engine and with the reader. Always try to place the keyword at the beginning of the title.
- URL: Go for short and clear URLs without connecting words such as and, or, etc. In addition, you must ensure that the URL is always relevant to the article.
- Meta title & description: these elements appear within the SERP when someone performs a search. The meta title must always contain less than 60 characters and the description must not be longer than 156 characters. They both describe what the page in question is about and contain relevant keywords.
- Images and alt text: When you add an image, remember to mention the photographer and add the alt tag. Thanks to these alt tags you describe what can be seen in the image. Google can’t see images, but thanks to the alt tag, they know exactly what it’s about.
7. Use social media
Do you want to quickly increase traffic to your website? Then it is best to combine SEO and social media. Via social media, you can quickly share your latest news and content. In addition, social media can help you to interact with your audience. This way you know better what your target audience wants to see on your website.
In addition to interaction, social media can also increase your brand awareness and improve your reputation. As a journalist, you have to be able to influence your target audience with your articles.
8. Mobile-friendly website
In 2021, more than half read the newspaper digitally. If your website is not mobile-friendly, you will miss out on a lot of traffic. To offer a mobile-friendly website, it is best to pay attention to the following things.
- Make sure you have a mobile responsive website: this means that your website also shows well on mobile, e.g. no titles that are dropped, images and videos that are presentable, etc.
- Regularly improve the loading speed of your website. Nothing is more annoying than a website that loads very slowly.
In addition, you should also make sure that you place a maximum of one pop-up on your website.
9. More than just articles
As a journalist, you have to constantly adapt your content and add new features to entertain your readers. In addition to publishing articles, you can also bring other ideas such as vlogs, podcasts, and interviews to your readers.
10. Measuring SEO efforts
Finally, it’s important to measure your SEO efforts on a regular basis. You do this with the help of tools such as Google Analytics. With GA you understand which SEO and content strategy will best help you to achieve your results. To measure the effectiveness of your SEO techniques, you determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).