How To Improve Google News Stories
Over the last 15 years I have worked with many publishers both large and small. I’ve consulted for some of the largest publishers in the U.S as well as many small niche publications. There are three key points that they all have in common.
- They lack writers who understand how people use search engines.
- Not providing writers with the right tools or motivation
- Not giving writers their own “beat”.
Now that news is more digital – there are still some organizations that produce print publications. However, what works in print doesn’t work will for digital.
Many times, the writer who produced the print content is also repurposing the content for digital. In most cases using the same headlines that are used in print are used on the website. You can get away with flashy, vague or dull titles in print because the person has already paid for the paper – the writer doesn’t have to work at getting his or her article read.
Keywords are important for SEO because in many cases people are already aware of what’s going on in the news. They may have heard it on TV, radio, a friend or another news source. People who want to know more details or breaking updates will perform a search.
If you think about how someone who has heard about a news story would perform a search to learn more, they would probably remember the basics.
- Who was involved
- What happened
- When it took place
- Where it took place
These facts will never change and so when writing a headline – the more of these facts you can add to the headline and answer in the story the better chances you will have for ranking.
Writers should have tools that not only help them find the right trends, hashtags and key terms to use, but also to create content that can drive epic amounts of traffic.
Here is a list of some very useful sources:
- A free web app to take the pain out of transcribing recorded interviews.
- Create charts
- Create Story maps
- News training by Google
Creating interactive charts and graphs around topics is a great way to build links, authority and repeat traffic to your site. News has a very short shelf life and the more you can do to lengthen life of your content the less you’ll have to work to maintain or grow your existing traffic.
I’ve worked for organizations that provide real time reporting on traffic to news stories so that writers could see real time how many visits and shares their articles were getting. This will also allow writers to see how they stack up against their coworkers. I’ve seen news organizations offer prizes to the writers who drive the most traffic at the end of a month.
Also providing writers with their own reports of their top stories will help them review why some stories did better than others. This can help them to fine tune their skills.
Why should writers have their own beat or niche? It makes it easier for a writer to become an expert on a topic. Readers are usually interested in following writers who write about specific topics. This increases the chances of readers subscribing to RSS feeds, newsletters and the social media of writers which will increase the amount of repeat traffic.
If you need additional help with training and educating your editorial staff you can learn more here or contact me.