Google Juice and SEO for the news industry

On Monday we’re going to talk about search engine optimization (or SEO) for blogs and news websites. Ahead of this discussion, make sure you’re familiar with different types of Web analytics (scroll down for “key definitions”).

In a stroke of good timing, MediaShift (consider this site essential reading) posted a nicely relevant piece just the other day: How Newspapers Can Increase Their Google Juice. (See also this MediaShift post from April: 9 Tips to Improve Search Engine Optimization.)

In it, Mark Van Patten looks at what newspapers large and small can do to help their work garner a greater presence in search results … and thus better traffic … and thus more money to finance good journalism. It’s still largely about the eyeballs, although the value of attention varies greatly by medium: Research estimates that it can take several dozen (or more) online readers to “offset” — in terms of advertising revenue — the loss of a single print subscriber. Wow.

But my point in sharing this is to mention that the MediaShift piece references online marketing guru Mitch Joel‘s 10 things every newspaper must do to enhance its Google Juice. I’d like to quote one of the key sections from the MediaShift piece:

Online Stories Should Not Mirror Print

Recently, 50 C-level newspaper executives met at a closed door summit held by theAmerican Press Institute to discuss “concrete steps the industry can take to reverse its declines in revenue, profit and shareholder value.” Joel said that tackling that issue was like “boiling the ocean.”

Joel suggests that, better than boiling the ocean, newspapers can solve those problems by making small, incremental changes to build their community. He lists ten such changes newspapers can make, including:

  • 1) Link Journalism — Newspapers get lots of links in, but rarely, if ever, link out. Search engines like sites that link out; it also provides a better user experience.
  • 2) Formatting — Break up large blocks of text with bold and /or italics, and use bullet points. 
  • 3) Tagging — Give the reader an idea of what the story is about before they read it.
  • 4) Blog Directory — Promote bloggers, make them feel an allegiance to the newspaper or at least an appreciation.
  • 5) Cross Promote Effectively — Be smart when using a URL in the newspaper. Don’t just point to the generic newspaper URL, be specific.
  • 6) Unique Web Address — See above, but keep the URL simple.
  • 7) Highlight Your Contributors — Let readers peek behind the curtain of the newspaper wizard. If local bloggers are proficient, link to them.
  • 8. Comments — Allow story commenting. Demand that reporters respond to readers.
  • 9) Correct Mistakes — The online newspaper should be an ever-changing record of the news.
  • 10) Collaborative Filtering – “If you liked this… then you might want to read this…”
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5 Responses to “Google Juice and SEO for the news industry”


  1. 1 mitchjoel November 16, 2008 at 5:59 am

    If you would like me to call in to the class (is that even possible?) – I would love to rake part, answer questions and/or debate 🙂

    Feel free to email me to coordinate.

  2. 2 Caitlin W November 16, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    This was SO helpful. And it makes so much sense! I particularly like the example of the changed headline from print to web. This is definitely going to make me pay more attention to how I title my own posts on our group blog. Formatting is another great tip that I need to apply. I think Brittany already does this really well; I remember that her posts usually have bolded text that, as a reader, keep me more involved or allow me to be drawn to particular points of interest. Great post! I’m excited to look at Google analytics.

  3. 3 Kristin November 17, 2008 at 12:21 am

    I hope we get to chat with Mitch. His list makes so much sense. I’m glad to finally have it all compiled together. I like the idea about turning every long article into a list of links.

  4. 4 internetmarketingthoughts November 22, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Hello.
    @Kristin, where does the article discuss “turning every long article into a list of links?”
    As to the post, nice post though it seems like a rehash of the linked to article twist image, but such is the nature of the beast. Either way, decent enough article.
    I may end up suggesting some of this be used on the Reverse Search Engine Optimization site http://reversesearchengineoptimization.com .
    Thank you.


  1. 1 Shurik » Blog Archive » Google Juice and SEO for the news industry « The Future of Journalism Trackback on March 31, 2009 at 11:09 pm

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